Switching Consoles: A Review Of EA's NCAA Football 09

Matt GardSenior Analyst IJuly 23, 2008

Far be it from me to turn down a great sports video game, but after awhile I realized that the NCAA Football series for Playstation 2 wasn't getting any better due to the development of the PS3, and it was time for me to upgrade.

I opted to go for the XBox 360 over the PS3 and, yes, the Wii, which wasn't even in my thoughts because of the Nintendo system's undesirable concept and complete lack of attention to graphics.

I am obsessed with graphics, which is why you can imagine that NCAA 09 for the 360 was a good purchase for me.

The Positives As I just stated, the graphics are amazing, incredible even. The players look real, their moves look real, the equipment and everything in between is amazing. Quite possibly the most impressive aspect though, I think, are the stadiums.

I'm an Indiana football fan, so you can imagine I play a lot of games at Memorial Stadium in Bloomington. With the PS2 version, you have just the basics of the stadium. You're lucky that they even put the giant banners on the stadium walls.

On XBox 360, however, Memorial Stadium features everything from the pathway that the players come out of before each game to monument busts on the side of the field, to The Rock, which lies beyond the North end zone and is touched by players before each game.

To me, though, the most unbelievable part is a church steeple which appears on the game. The church actually exists about three blocks from the stadium. That kind of care to detail is simply amazing.

While we're on the subject of Memorial Stadium, I'd like to point out that every third down, IU plays "Welcome to the Jungle" and the crowd goes wild. What could be better than that kind of atmosphere?

NCAA 09 for the 360 makes it possible to do so with the Stadium Sounds feature. Users can rip their CDs to the 360 and hear them over the stadium PA in a number of different situations.

Another thing I've always loved is the recruiting in dynasty mode. The new and improved dynasty mode allows the player to recruit up to 35 players at a time, giving him the capability to call each player during the season. During that time, the player learns how their recruit feels about 15 different aspects of heading to college as an athlete. It is much more in-depth than the last version.

Negatives When I was still in high school, I loved putting my New Prairie High School Cougars on NCAA 09 against the rival La Porte High School Slicers. It was one of my favorite parts of the game every year.

Such a thing is no longer possible as the 360 version does not have the Create-A-Team feature. To be honest, it was obvious that EA was going to phase this out. They never really added anything new to the feature every year, including their use of the same old created logos over and over. Still, I'll really miss this feature. 

I also don't enjoy that EA discontinued the use of FCS teams. Come on, how are the Appalachian State Mountaineers supposed to upset their second consecutive FBS opponent if LSU actually plays host to the "FCS Southeast Lizards" in the game?

It's very upsetting to me, especially considering IU plays host to the "FCS Southeast Lizards" as well in 2009. In IU's case, they're actually the Murray State Racers.