These days, people always expect the best from EA Sports. Whenever EA Sports needs to be at the top, they deliver a perfect strike. This holds true to all their sports titles. Whether it be football, basketball, soccer, or baseball; EA Sports is the company that can get you to put that disc in your system and stay up all night. Now why don’t we take a look into their latest college football title, NCAA Football 2004.
For some, football games can last a very long time. I’m not a huge football fan myself, but after playing NCAA Football 2003 I figured I might give this one a run for its money. You will be glad to hear that I played this game for about 6 straight hours the night I got it, and that is a lot coming from me on a football game mind you.
When I popped this bundle of joy into my PS2. I wasn’t exactly ready to be astonished…and for the first few minutes I was somewhat disappointed with the silly intro movie with the college students yelling and screaming for their team. After that has passed, it asked me what my favorite college team is, I selected The University of Texas and went on to the main screen. What surprised me was that every time I would put the game in, on the main screen it would show my favorite teams flag and play their ’fight song’. This was a nice addition, which allows the user to interact more with the game through customization.
The newest ’mode’ that is added to the year 2004 games from EA Sports is the EA Bio. This nifty little thing tracks how much time you spend on each EA Sports game, your win/lose records for each of these games, and finally grades you on your EA Gamer performance. You really don’t get anything from an A+ but it is still pretty neat to see how much you play and how you get better as time goes by.
If you ever played NCAA Football 2003, then you know of the great Dynasty Mode. This somewhat new mode allows you to take any team you want and take them through 30 seasons of rigorous college football. A new part of Dynasty Mode is the Sports Illustrated magazine. This shows highlights from the weeks football games and even puts you on the cover of SI. At one point, I was so good that I was put on every page. So you are probably thinking, 30 seasons…great, what the hell is going to motivate me to play even 20 seasons? At the end of each season you are able to recruit players, change coaches, hire new coaching jobs, and edit your plays and depth charts. The players that are already seniors in college and are graduated can be saved onto a memory card and imported to EA’s Madden NFL 2004 for PlayStation 2. This way you can have real rookies instead of the crappy fake ones the game generates for you.
Dynasty Mode isn’t the only thing that is shakin’. You are also able to create your own player, create your own team, and yes; even play on-line. I personally do not have my PS2 set up to online, but I can imagine how great an on-line football game would be. Competing against hundreds of football fans from all over the world right from the comfort of your leather seat. On-line play is free, fun, and will probably make the game last a lot longer for you. Another nice addition is the College Classics mode, in this you will play through 20 of history’s most remembered games and see if you can re-write history and win a game that was lost 25 years ago.
This game has some great new stuff, but is still lacking in features from its predecessor. NCAA 2004 is very, very similar to NCAA 2003 and there really wasn’t much new stuff to do with 2004. The new Sports Illustrated magazine features helps with motivate players, but really isn’t that wonderful. New rosters are nice and the ’create a player/school’ modes have been improved. Once again, if you have NCAA 2003 then this really isn’t a big step for you unless you are going for on-line play. If you don’t have NCAA 2003 yet, pay the extra buck and go for 2004.
Boy is this a change. The graphics in this game are somewhat of a turn-off folks. The menus are really rough and edgy at times and the frame rate is pretty slow. The game lags when there is a lot of action on the screen but it is thankfully bearable. Once again, graphics haven’t really improved from NCAA 2003. The player models look to be the same, but the edges on the players and stadiums are much sharper. They also worked hard on the crowds because they look very good for a change.
I will go as far as to say that sometimes the menus are just plain ugly. For instance when in a game you will see a little box that shows you the score and remaining time. This box was is very rough on the edges and is not too pretty too look at. Of course these are all very small details and it won’t effect your gaming too much, unless you are just plain picky like me.
The great thing about NCAA Football 2004 is that it will take a long, long time to get old. You can break those 50 yard runs, you can catch that interception and run it for a TD, you can throw that 60 yard pass, hit that 50 yard field goal, and so much more. The adrenaline starts pumping as if you were really in there with the players after you recover a fumble when down a touchdown. The whole point in sports games these days is to make you feel like you are right in all the action, and no college football game can do that better than NCAA Football 2004.
Like I said before, EA Sports is all quality. This game delivers in all the right places and is probably the best college football game I have played. Though it is somewhat lacking in graphics and new stuff, it still hits right on the spot after you go out and sweat playing some real football. I strongly suggest giving this game some thought if you don’t have a college football title in your closet, again this is coming from Stan, hater turned football maniac by a game.
The owner and editor-in-chief of Darkstation.com. I've been apart of the website since 2002 and purchased the website in 2010. Owning and running Darkstation is a dream come true. I love video games and I love writing and talking about them even more.