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NCAA Football 11 Review

Review; Jan. 21, 2011; Channels: Video Games; By Ryan Goodman

Each year, EA updates its sports franchises with a new version. Most of the time, it adds some minor tweaks to slightly improve the previous entry, while occasionally, it will give that franchise a complete makeover. Unfortunately, NCAA Football 11 pretty much falls in the former category.

NCAA Football 11 Screenshots
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Despite a lack of abundant new features, NCAA Football 11 is still a fun game to play if you’re a major fan of college football. Most, if not all, of the teams are here, from the BCS schools, to some of the smaller mid-majors. One big improvement this year adds to the realism of the game play experience: all 120 schools featured have their own playbooks that reflect their playing style. Every college style is represented, from a pro-style offense that’s used by schools like small school powerhouse Boise State, to the spread used by bigger schools like Texas and Florida. This adds a whole new element of game play and strategy that will have any college football gamer salivating.

While the different types of offenses do add to the mix, the rest of the game is pretty much more of the same from previous years. The game still plays like the older games, and not like its bigger sibling, Madden 11, which got a major upgrade with its “gameflow” option. While playing through an entire four quarters is still fun, it can be time consuming. Hopefully, next year’s entry will include something like “gameflow” to make the experience faster paced. One interesting game play mechanic present in this edition is a one-button mode, which takes away some of the complexity for beginners. While it’s good for newbies at the very beginning, it won’t be long before you’re asking for a little more control than is offered.

Along with playing a standard four quarter game, there are also the other modes you would normally find in an NCAA football game. There’s dynasty mode, in which you pick a school and lead it to become a powerhouse that dominates for decades to come. One cool feature in this version is the ability to play this mode online. You can start a brand new one with friends from scratch, or join a friend’s campaign mid-season. There’s also the "Road to Glory" mode, in which famous ESPN reporter Erin Andrews chronicles your created player’s career from his senior year in high school all the way to the Heisman Trophy. Outside of the inclusion of Andrews, this mode isn’t very different from other entries in the NCAA franchise. This is one place that could use some added realism, as you can pick your hometown, and even a suburb of that town for your created player, but actual high schools that are in each individual town are not present. There are only generic ones for that hometown. If you want a little breather from the in-depth modes, there’s also an option to play as a team full of your school’s mascot. The only flaw here is that only a few dozen teams are available, and not all 120 schools are represented.

One thing that the 2011 edition gets right is its presentation. Playing through a game makes you feel like you’re either watching the game on ESPN or seeing it from the stands of your Alma Mater. The commentary from Brad Nessler and Kirk Herbstreit is spot-on, and all the music from ESPN and TV effects are present. Each school also has their individual fight songs and drumline cadences that play following most plays on the field.

Overall, NCAA Football 11 is only for the college football diehards, or if you’re in real need for an upgrade from a much older version. While the basic game play is unchanged, there isn’t much else added to the mix to make it worth a purchase if you just bought the previous year’s version.


Review Score


Titles rated E (Everyone) have content that may be suitable for ages 6 and older. Titles in this category may contain minimal cartoon, fantasy or mild violence and/or infrequent use of mild language.

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