At the end of an 8 year console generation sports games have been making big strides in becoming more and more realistic, adding endless amounts of new features like new game modes, rpg elements and more. However, with the next-generation of gaming right around the corner, releasing another entry in a tired franchise at the end of the generation may have not been the best move and NCAA 14 shows it.
NCAA 14 adds the Infinity Engine – first introduced in last year’s Madden 13 – which allows for more realistic player physics. Player size and strength accounts for physics based reactions when making blocks and tackles and so on. Just about everything that we saw in Madden 13 is here in NCAA 14 gameplay wise.
The Infinity Engine has been a bit more refined in NCAA 14, allowing the animations to take into account a player’s shifting weight when making a cut or sharp turn. It adds more realism, but at the same time the console tech shows its age with various glitches occurring like players randomly falling in places and tripping over each other, which is actually quite comical at times.
The newest feature of NCAA 14 is Dynasty Mode. This mode actually happens to be one of my favorite modes of the game. Acting as the coach of a school’s football team, your goal is to lead the team to the national championship. While doing this some RPG elements come into play, allowing you to allocate points to “coach skill trees” that affect traits on and off the field. Some skills will help your quarterback out in a clutch situation and others can help with the streamlined recruiting system. The higher level skills take longer to unlock which creates a grind like affect to unlock the more advanced skills. There’s also a new NIKE Skills Trainer mode as well to help you improve your skills, since the more realistic these games become, the more challenging they get.
Graphically the game doesn’t look all that different from its 2013 counter-part. There are subtle little changes here and there, but aside from better player animations, somewhat improved crowds and lighting there isn’t much to say in the graphical department. The same could be said about the game’s sound design as well, although I do enjoy the main menu music quite a bit. It does a good job of getting you pumped up for some great games of football.
The overall package here is exactly what you’d expect from the next iteration in the NCAA Football franchise. New modes, refined gameplay and graphic, but at the end of the cycle it’s certainly showing its age. As an annual release, I can’t exactly make the complaint that not much has changed as I don’t expect that much will until the next-generation release hits next year. It’ll certainly be interesting to see how the franchise evolves as the next-generation of gaming begins.
ONLY SINGLE PLAYER SCORE
Story – N/A
Gameplay/Design – 8/10
Visuals – 7/10
Sound – 7/10
Lasting Appeal – 9/10
Overall – 7.5/10
(Not an average)
Platform: PS3, Xbox 360
Developer: EA Tiburon