NCAA Football 12 is best described as a pool of minor tweaks to its predecessor.
The visuals have been improved, especially the lighting, and the game is now available in 1080p resolution on the PS3.
The new game has a collision-based tackling system; in the older version, defenders were sucked toward anyone carrying the ball. Zone-defense has been slightly improved, with defensive backs now covering receivers in their zone instead of standing around.
The playbooks are customizable, which allows players to mix formations used by Brady Hoke and Rich Rodriguez if they don’t want Denard Robinson under center.
EA has added an entire high school season to the game’s Road to Glory mode. It allows players to play on both sides of the ball in high school, unlike last year’s version.
The growing hype over recruiting has resulted in EA having players pick their top three schools as well as other schools trying to gain the player’s interest.
The player’s star rating will change during the season based on performance. Concurrently, players will accumulate scholarship offers, although there won’t be a cash incentive if a player becomes a 5-star athlete.
The added seven to 11 regular season games to “Road to Glory” is a nice feature, and seems to draw its inspiration from the popularity of TV shows like Friday Night Lights.
Its biggest problem is the lack of difficulty. Players can become superstars far too easily, sometimes as early as the third game of their freshman year. Rating increases should not be earned so easily.
The inability to call plays also gets frustrating at times. It does add another level of realism, but calling more run plays than passing plays on third and long situations is dumbfounding. All in all, the good cancels out the bad making Road to Glory mode an average playing experience.
Coaching Carousel is new to Dynasty mode. It starts players as an offensive or defensive coordinator and lets them move up the coaching ranks. The school you select will give you a contract that include tasks that must be completed, such as tallying a certain amount of touchdowns.
It can be gratifying to start as an offensive or defensive coordinator at a doormat and work your way up to a head coaching position at a perennial power. It is a nice addition to the series because of the massive exposure college football coaches receive.
The only thing that needs tweaking is the coordinator. He should only be able to recruit players on their side of the ball or not at all. The online mode is also fulfilling.
Presentation is not the biggest concern for a video game, but it is frustrating in this one. The menu layout looks great, but suffers from severe lag.
There are also a few issues with online play if you are using a low-end broadband internet connection, but otherwise the online experience continues to be almost perfect.
Overall, NCAA Football will satisfy the avid college football fan clamoring to play in the untied shoes of Michigan’s quarterback Denard Robinson or use the arm of MSU’s gun slinger Kirk Cousins, but the casual fan would be better off sticking with a copy of last year’s edition.