Every player on my team has dreadlocks.
While NCAA Football is a yearly tradition for some sports fans, it's an annual annoyance to gamers like me. Who the hell cares about simulation sports anyway? I'm from the school of NFL Blitz, where every year, Steve Young throws for the San Francisco 49ers, despite not having his name on the back of the jersey. Do we really need another NCAA Football game?
If you're finding this review from anywhere that doesn't tell you our grade upfront, I'd say we probably don't. I'm handing out the same letter last year's edition of NCAA Football received. Despite a long list of improvements, NCAA Football 12 manages to maintain itself. Sports games tend to take risks in increments, not noticeable for the reviewer. The last time I played a Madden game, you had to use the left stick to turn the quarterback's view so he could more accurately throw to a receiver. What happened? People didn't like that? People are stupid...
Regardless, NCAA Football 12 definitely earns the B+. Online and offline, Dynasty Mode manages to deliver all the football you could want, especially if you've got a handful of gamers to play with over the net. It's the ultimate fantasy football experience. Easily the best way to enjoy NCAA Football 12 comes from Road to Glory mode, where your player can go from high school to senior year, all the while earning every step of the way through in-game accomplishments.
My player, Jim John, kind of blew it his first time out. In senior year of high school, he underperformed nearly every step of the way and managed to just miss his scholarships from the only college football teams I'm familiar with. Jim Jam, on the other hand, played enough games to grind up to a scholarship with Oklahoma. That's a big school, right?
Once you've made it onto a team, you have to grind your way through to the first string. You have to maintain your coach's trust to keep your first string standing. In high school you're given the opportunity to play both sides of the field. Once you accept a scholarship, you'll choose between an offensive or defensive position. Running drills can get tiring, but that's the collegiate experience.
The sim aspects of NCAA Football 12's Road to Glory mode are the most appealing. If you're playing as a quarterback, for example, you can skip any play that doesn't give you direct control over the on-field action. You can sim any play you want to and any game you want to throughout your high school career. If you sign with a school as a second-string player, your playtime will get relegated to drills until you make your way to first string.
When all is said and done, NCAA Football 12 packs in everything you want, plus an entire host of features you never knew you wanted. I crafted a team called Dreadlock Force Five. Their college only allows dreadlocked students. The football team is no different. I can't imagine not having all of those beautiful dreadlock physics. There's also a massive chunk of new content tailored to specific teams, including mascots, school anthems, and more. 12 even allows you to pit two mascots in a battle to the death. How did I not know about this?
Another year, another NCAA Football game. If you skipped last year, feel confident in NCAA Football 12 and its ability to deliver every ounce of virtual pigskin action. Feel confident in the simulation capabilities, Road to Glory and Dynasty modes, and dreadlocks. It'll more than appease your desire for runnin', passin', and tacklin'...
At least until Madden is out.