Proving once and for all that Bears rule.
It's fourth down on a windy Berkeley day at Cal's Memorial Stadium. Stanford,
at Cal's 32-yard line, sets up for a field goal with thirteen seconds left in
the game. The score: Cal with 52, Stanford with" nothing. Heh. A-haha. Hahaha.
Stanford's pathetic attempt at getting on the scoreboard falls miserably short
of the goal posts and drops dead as a doornail on the soggy Berkeley field.
my, it looks like Oski is kicking the snot out of the
And that's NCAA Football 2002 from EA Sports, folks. Even though it's
awfully similar to the PS2's other two EA football titles, this is the only
PS2 football title that college football fans will die for.
This game offers the comprehensive college football experience, featuring all
117 Division 1-A schools as well as 27 1-AA schools. Yay team.
True to the EA Sports line, NCAA Football 2002 looks awesome. With all
of the attention to detail thrown into the game, you can tell that somebody
at EA Sports loves making quality videogames.
The animations are so stellar, I don't know where to begin. Just about every
action in the game has a well-implemented animation that will knock your helmet
off. I nearly cried when I saw a whole cluster of players collapse in a heap.
There were so many individual animations working off of each other that I couldn't
come close to keeping track of them all. It looked real" oh, so real.
It's too bad there's a little slowdown during the post-play close-ups and
some weird screen craziness whenever you play a rainy game, but neither one
of these issues really detracts from the overall experience.
NCAA 2002 doesn't disappoint aurally, either. Brad Nessler, Lee Corso
and Kirk Herbstreit provide the play-by-play and commentary, and they do the
best job possible. Sure, there's some repetition, but the speech is all fluid
and well integrated and the designers actually shed some light on what went
wrong in botched plays. They still grate, but at least they're kind of useful.
The sound effects are totally stock, but they get the job done. No tackle
would be complete without EA's signature grunt/crunch byte.
The gameplay itself is really cool, even though there's really nothing groundbreaking
going on. The deepest aspect of the gameplay seems to be the running game. As
men charge downfield to mash your sly, speedy half-back, you can lead them into
your waiting blockers, opening rifts in their defenses to be exploited by your
blinding speed and agility.
On the other hand, the play mechanics have some serious downsides if you're
playing defense. There just isn't enough time to adjust to a changing field.
Say you're running the weak side trying to cover a receiver, when all of a sudden
the opposing QB throws a strong side bullet. You've got plenty of time to switch
and then make the tackle after your opponent has caught the ball, but due to
the speed of transition, you miss out on any strategic opportunity prior to
the catch. I want my INTs, dammit!
Passing the ball well depends largely on timing, as well as visually knowing
where your receivers should be when the ball leaves your hands. This isn't nearly
as straightforward as it sounds. For one thing, you have very little control
over where the ball is placed. Don't be surprised when you toss a ball way out
of bounds that was supposed to go to what looked like an open man. It just happens.
Fortunately, NCAA 2002 includes a Practice mode (which is essential
if you want to be a passer) in which you can fine-tune your long bombs and short
outs. A little hard work goes a long way.
Speaking of modes, NCAA 2002 has more than a few for you to choose
from. You can play a quick Exhibition game, a full Sseason mode or you can take
the helm of your team and all its decisions in Dynasty mode, which is for your
serious college football loony.
In Dynasty mode, you assume the title of general manager/head coach of your
favorite team and track more stats than you would have ever thought existed.
You'll monitor every aspect of the team and then try to make informed decisions
based on thousands of bits of data. I found it a bit paralyzing myself, but
for those of you who love to agonize over strategy and practically bathe in
football trivia, you'll be in gridiron heaven.
NCAA Football 2002 is simply a really good football game If you have
no interest in college ball you might find greater enjoyment in the new Madden
2002 game, but as college ball games go, this game is a smash. It's fresh,
it's fun, and finally Cal can kick Stanford's ass.