The easiest thing to start off with is what hasn’t changed. Road to Glory, nothing new, same as the last few years. Graphics are the same as they have been the past two or three years, stadium’s look the same as they always have been, crowd looks the same. Sidelines are packed with players and coaches will randomly disappear. The cheerleaders and mascots have terrible animation. The commentary is the same old rehashed clips they have had for 7 years. They have added a half time show that overlays some highlights from your game but I have found that they talk nothing about your game that is playing. There are some nice pretty menus and overlays but nothing too new or groundbreaking. There are some uniform changes but most teams don’t have their new 2013 look. EA says new uniforms will be available for download free of charge, but there is no ETA. Also, there are no player names but you can download named rosters from other gamers by entering their gamertag and downloading their rosters.
One great new feature is neutral site games. If your team plays in the kickoff classic then you will play the game in the NFL stadium just like in real life. Even games like WVU vs Maryland this year is played at M&T Stadium in Baltimore so that’s where it’s at in the game. It’s a great touch that should have been in the game years ago.
The biggest new 2014 edition of the game finally adds the Infinity Engine 2.0 from Madden 13. With this addition to the game it probably makes it the best version (technically) of this generation. Running the ball has never been easier or looked better. You can use the right stick to juke, cut and spin through defenders and this is where you see the improved physics come into play. You bounce off defenders and stumble and stagger only to put your arm out and regain your balance or fall to the ground. Push forward on the stick and you will lower your head and slam into defenders knocking them back or pushing them out of the way; and now with the return of a speed burst button you can hit the hole and get a big burst of speed to get the extra yardage or touchdown. But the more you use the speed burst the more quickly your back will tire and have to come out to rest. Even on defense the speed burst and right stick can come into play. If you are on the line, hit the speed burst and move left or right on the stick and you can sometimes run over your blocker putting pressure on the QB but sometimes this can back fire and your defender will go flying to the ground.
Even with these improvements there are still some old issues that raises its head. Sometimes after a reception or a toss play the receiver will start running in the wrong direction or stutter before taking off. Sometimes defenders will still magically come off blocks to make a tackle or a defender will come out of nowhere to make an interception.
Dynasty mode is back with some major changes. Gone are the phone calls to recruits, now you assign points. Everything you do, your coach gets XP that you spend on skill trees that give buffs like your team may be better on the road or tougher against the run. It adds an RPG aspect that I really like. It takes less time than the old way of calling recruits and gets back to playing the game. Online Dynasty returns as well and is unchanged from last year. Ultimate team is also added this year but it feels tacked on, plus you have to connect online to play it, which really doesn’t make sense.
With this edition most likely being the last major upgrade for this generation of consoles I think the game is worth the price. The Infinity Engine really gives the gameplay a more realistic and weighted feel but the graphics are just not up to par. If you are a huge college football fan like me you know you are going to buy it anyway. With the PS4 and Xbox One I hope there will be new innovations and huge improvements but with EA having exclusive rights to both NCAA and NFL I fear that NCAA 15 on the next gen will be a game with a huge lake of features that will take EA another 6 years to get right. Time will tell.
I give NCAA Football 2014 a 4 out 5 (The PS3 version was used for this review).
Look for the video review and game play videos coming soon at www.youtube.com/GoozerNationPodcast
If you’re interested in getting named rosters for your game check out www.operationsports.com there free!