NCAA Football 2005 review
A hearty helping of year-round pigskin action

The good:

Real NCAA schools, stadiums, logos, and more. Realistic graphics and gameplay. Includes major 1-A, 1-AA, and historic teams. Lots of game modes. Good play-by-play. Multiplayer and online play.

The bad:

Slightly tight controls. Play-by-play quickly gets repetitive.


NCAA Football 2005 represent's EA's latest effort in the excellent series, giving armchair QBs everywhere the chance to take virtual control of their alma mater and keep the rivalries going long after bowl season ends. There are plenty of ways to do it here between simple arcade-style games, more realistic simulations, Dynasty mode, and online play, just to name a few ways.
Despite some rough edges on the player models and a kinda static crowd, the graphics are both outstanding and realistic. Great attention to detail shows in accurate recreation of fields and team logos, and the animation is very smooth. The crowd shots show nice emotion and good details but more variery would've made it even better. Sounds are almost as authentic as possible, with music supplied by bands playing fight songs just like at the game. The commentary is excellent and usually right-on, but comments about the crowd state quickly get repetitive and there's not quite enough variety in the dialogue. The crowd often sounds too loud when they should be quiet too. Controls, although complex-looking, are fairly easy to learn and responsive, and you can change settings to allow for on-screen guides while passing, which really comes in handy since you always know who you'll be throwing too. Controlling the players is easy but due to realism, they feel just a little tight especially when you try to move quickly from one direction to the other, so you almost have to plan ahead a little bit. Gameplay has just too much to list here-there's a nice "Play Now" option for those who just want to get on the field quickly, and for everyone else there's all kinds of customizable options so you can have a dead-accurate sim of a real game or fast, furious arcade play. I like the Dynasty Mode, which lets you take total control of your team on and off the field, including areas like recruiting. Multiplayer lets up to 4 people get in on the action and you can take the rivalries anywhere with Xbox Live. The only real disappointment is because of NCAA regulations, real player names cannot be used in the game, so everyone can only be referred to by position (QB, RB, etc.) and number.
Overall, this is an excellent way to keep the college season going, long after the season has ended. The many play modes and 100s of teams offer almost infinite replay value, and Dynasty Mode lets you make your own USC out of a Prairie View if you're good enough. If you prefer the college game to the pros, this game will keep you playing long after the bowls are over.

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