Saturday, July 12, 2008

NCAA 09 PSP Review

After a 2 year hiatus, EA's NCAA Football is back for the PSP. EA took a year break after the game killing "running" bug that plagued NCAA 07 for the PSP. I'm happy to report that this version is better in almost every way than it's predecessor.


The graphics for 09 are largely unchanged from the 07 version. I searched far and wide for a copy of 07 just to compare both games since I wasn't a PSP gamer when that version came out. There's been a bit of tightening up the graphics, but it's not as noticeable as in other titles. I'm not saying there's anything wrong with the graphics, they just look unchanged from previous versions.

The sound for this title is first rate. I love the commentary team of Nessler, Herby, and Corso and they're all here for the PSP version. The fight songs are all in and the in game sound is great as well. Since this was my first NCAA game for the PSP, I'm pleased to see that all of the sound of the big console games made it into the handheld version.


You'll see many of the same options you see in the 360, Wii, and PS3 versions, including a great dynasty mode, rivalry mode, mascot mode, and exhibition mode. The controls are a bit tougher to learn if you're used to the 360 or PS3 version of the game. You'll need the instruction book to figure out how to do the simplest moves from the 360 and PS3 versions.

Here's where the review gets a bit tricky. The game has a severe fumbling problem which I cannot seem to fix even with sliders or gameplay adjustments. I am seeing at the very least 5 to 6 fumbles over the course of a 20 minute game (5 minute quarters) for both myself and the computer. It happens against low and highly ranked teams and there's no rhyme or reason to it. I've tried most everything to fix it, but haven't found a fix yet. I may try to edit a few of the players to see if I can fix it via ratings.

The gameplay is great if you can get over the fumbling. I'm seeing just a few interceptions as well (well within normal parameters). If anyone has any suggestions, I'd be more than happy to try them and re-rate the score for the game.

Bottom Line
If the fumbling problem were fixed, this would easily be a 9/10 game, but with the fumbling problem intact, I simply can't recommend this game to anyone. Give it a rental at best. 

Final Score 4/10 due to the fumbling problem. It makes games unplayable at times.

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