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NCAA 98 (PC) Review

Publisher: EA Sports
Date Release: 11/5/98
Sport: College Football

Get your season tickets out and put your tailgates down, for we are once again shy of the season of gridiron battle we so lovingly call "football". Something else you may want to break out is EA Sports' NCAA Football 98, because this is the closest you will get to true college football, and pales all other competition once again. Electronic Arts Inc. has again wetted the taste buds

The first thing you will notice about NCAA Football 98 is the true realism that the game gives its the players. Hard hitting action is not only seen, but heard with true-to-life grunts and moans to go along with the "mama said knock you out" contact. You will hear the fans in the stadium chanting your favorite chants (insert Florida State's Cherokee Chant) new and old. Now when I say old, I mean old! The most out of place chant for today's football teams is "Go Team Go!" that is heard from time to time, but was mainly popular back when most football programs started! But that isn't what the crowd does best, it's reaction to the game that is caught most beautifully. For instance when 3rd down rolls around the home crowd turns up the volume to prevent the visiting team from converting for a first down. Or how about when your punt returner breaks past the punter for the inevitable touchdown and the crowd goes wild, well your not going to miss that in this game! Stadiums do not change only with the weather anymore boys and girls, in this game each and every stadium for all 112 College football programs are fully rendered right down to the paint on the walls. The only thing lacking is the scoreboard updating as teams rack up the points, or showing how much time is left in the game.

Even as NCAA Football 98 makes a valiant effort to be all it can be, it does fall short of what could have been. The most notable item missing from the game is the lack of customizable options. You can't create custom players with custom statistics, nor can you create custom teams. This is somewhat surprising since Electronic Arts has proven its capability to create this as a standard feature in last year's Madden 97. Another lacking feature is the rendered players that have shown up in such titles as Madden 98, NBA Live 98, and NHL 98. This should be standard issue in today's sports video games. Lets also not forget the missing "Dynasty" mode which was cut during production for some reason. The Dynasty mode package would have given players the chance to start with their favorite college team and follow them year after year, bringing in new players and seeing the veterans graduate and leave the team. This is a feature that was not forgotten in the Sony Playstation version, but the PC version is much more realistic in gameplay as a trade off.

Unfortunately, I was looking for a fuller, more robust College football simulation than what I got, however the sheer fact that somebody has released a decent title in the college football arena gives Electronic Arts and EA Sports credit where credit is due. This game truly does deserve credit simply for being a college football simulation, but come on guys, more work really does need to be put into a game these days to make it successful. This one, unfortunately for EA, fortunately for die-hard college football fans, is simply a 'test the water' football game and deserves a 82 on our 1 to 100 scale.

By: Doug Pierce- 5/31/98

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Audio: 78
Gameplay: 90
Difficulty: 85
Learnability: 75
Overall: 82
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