Close your eyes and open up your imagination as we enter a fictitious world where NCAA Football 18 released this week.
It’s July, which has always traditionally meant the July 4th BBQ, College football preview magazines, and the release of EA Sports’ NCAA Football.
This year’s game brings a host of new features, some brought on by the changes in the college game itself and some brought in to enhance an already great user experience.
In short, NCAA Football 18 is so good we truly wish we could play it all day long.
No seriously, we really do wish NCAA Football 18 could be played.
We really wish it.
EA has been delving into eSports quite a bit with its professional titles, but thus far NCAA has avoided that. This year though, with the inclusion of eSport centric features like play-styles (arcade, sim, competitive) and the new DB/WR controls, its clear EA wants NCAA to be amongst the discussion.
Mimicking college football is always a tougher task than the NFL. There are a lot more play styles from the Wishbone Triple Option to the wide open spread, and a lot bigger gaps in talent. This year, more than ever, playing as UL Monroe against LSU feels like you are UL Monroe.
A lot of this centers into EA’s refocusing on how to do line play in NCAA Football, as the lines are where you see some of the biggest gaps in skill in the college game today. Monroe doesn’t have the same athletes moving bodies around the field that LSU does. Because of that, finding space as a running back or getting time to get passes off is at a premium if you are a smaller program playing one of the bigger ones.
EA also redoubled efforts on more ‘trick’ plays like the jump pass. Trick plays are a big part of NCAA Football, and seeing them better represented in this year’s game adds a layer of authenticity we have been missing.
There have been big changes to the rules in recruiting and the guys at EA did a great job remaking recruiting to fit the new processes. The early signing period does add some certainty and a bit of a rush to try to get some recruits committed and signed before you jump into the bowls. This allows you to concentrate all of your remaining resources on those final players the final weeks of the offseason.
The other big addition to recruiting is the inclusion of next year’s class a year early. Granted, next year’s class isn’t quite a fully fleshed out class (there are 300 or so recruits to go after), having to decide how to spend your limited resources on players for next year’s class vs. filling out this year’s is a mind-game that’ll leave you not knowing what to do. If you don’t spend some resources, you are going to be so far behind the curve on getting any top talent next year that you may not recover. This means that some programs are going to just naturally have better years than others.
Those two changes in and of themselves are enough to change how the game plays. EA also went above and beyond and added a ‘Historical Dynasty Mode’ which allows you to play in historical eras complete with historical programs aligned in correct conferences with accurate schedules with scenarios from the 50s to today. Teams are randomly generated but their strengths are pre-determined: Oklahoma is a powerhouse in the 50s, Notre Dame and USC dominate the 60s, etc.
The cool aspect of this mode is you can play campaign like scenarios where you are tasked with things like matching Oklahoma’s 47-game win streak in the 50s or complete BYU’s improbable 1984 run. While not every season and is available, the campaign aspect allows you to experience several eras of college football while trying to build up teams and complete missions.
It’s a long needed breath of fresh air to the mode and of course, it ties in wonderfully to NCAA’s Ultimate Team mode.
Did I mention we really wish NCAA Football 18 could be played?
Unfortunately, due to an ongoing stalemate over player rights and universities not wanting to participate in a game that opens them up to litigation — the above review is entirely fictitious. NCAA Football 18 doesn’t exist, and as of right now its not looking good for a return anytime soon.
However, if you want to still get updated rosters, there are users working on them in our NCAA Football Roster forum as we speak. Be sure to check those out if you do need a college football fix.
In the meantime, leave a comment letting us know how much you miss NCAA and what you think NCAA Football 18 would look like! We want to see as many comments as possible! And most importantly, we want NCAA Football back!