The 2006 edition of Madden for the Xbox 360 left a very sour taste in the collective mouths of the gaming community. It was just bad, and Electronic Arts made no attempt at hiding the fact that the company rushed out a poor product in order to take advantage of the young, supple next-gen early adopters who were eager for some pigskin action. NCAA Football 07 represents EA’s first real football offering since Madden NFL 2006 for the next-gen platform, and fortunately, while Madden was a steaming pile, NCAA is a solid offering to the gridiron gods.
Sadly, like Madden before it, NCAA 07 for the 360 has inexplicably been stripped of a number of features, though their absence is likely only to bother those who have followed the franchise for a few years. The most notable loss is the ability to make your own school, which EA has completely removed this year. Granted, the list of schools to choose from is ridiculously long, but a lot of people found joy in creating something zany like the Lakeside Barking Beavers and bringing them to national stardom. The other notable mode missing from the game is the Race for the Heisman. This is not a big loss to the game as the mode wasn’t anything spectacular to begin with, but it still represents yet another thing stripped from the game by EA.
Missing modes aside, it’s really all about the gameplay on the field. Paragraphs could be wasted discussing the dynasty mode and going through 60 seasons with a single team, but that is neither here nor there. If the whole game were put into a pot of boiling water and cooked down to its basic elements, you would end up with a cauldron brimming with delicious gameplay. It just keeps getting better and better each year. The hits are harder, the passes are crisper, and the animations are better. Hell, even the fans seem more rabid. In a road game where the other team has the momentum, there are a hundred thousand fans screaming for their team to get back into game. And it’s not simple for the added ambiance; players are more likely to make big plays when the crowd is worked up. EA has done a magnificent job taking all of the blood and guts of the college game of football and pressing it onto a round wafer that can be read by your Xbox 360.
The graphics are, of course, head and shoulders above the other versions of the game, as well as past iterations, and generally look deserving of the A