Let me start off by saying that it feels great to finally have a football game that feels realistic in game play. Those of you who owned last year’s Madden on 360 should know what I am talking about. This game feels great, the running game is done very well, and there seem to be an expanded number of tackling animations added.
Perhaps my favorite visual is when carrying the ball between the tackles the running back will bounce around and sometimes drag defenders for a very real feeling run game. The passing game is similar to the past and still functions very well. On the defensive side of the ball, movement feels smooth, and user interceptions seem to be more about timing than pure luck like in previous games. Kicking has been revamped and is now done with the joystick rather than simply pushing a button.
Dynasty mode is the only real form of in-depth game play available in the 360 version which can be extremely frustrating especially when one has become accustomed to playing Race for the Heisman in last year’s game. That being said Dynasty mode is serviceable and will provide some in depth game play in this year’s installment of NCAA.
I’m not a big fan of the recruiting process, I’d much rather prefer to trade players and sign contracts in Madden’s franchise mode, but I realize this could be just personal preference. I just don’t get exciting by assigning my assistant coach to make a phone call to an offensive tackle.
One interesting component of the game that I want to point out and applaud is the real feel of momentum shifts. Big plays at big times really turn the tide of the game, and it can be felt. Players perform better with the momentum, and Impact players are often the ones who swing the momentum following a big play. Although this can be frustrating it really adds something of a surprise element to the game.
Although the absence of Race for the Heisman mode is a big turn off this game will service those of us who were dying to get our hands on a good on the field football game for the XBOX 360. When playing on the correct difficulty this game will demand a player to be attentive to play calling and every single second of on-screen action. This game is a must have for football fans longing for a 360 football game.