Review: “NCAA Football 13”

EA Sports’ college football video game, aptly titled NCAA 13 hit the stands this week in its annual mid-July release, giving college football fans a good month and a half to prepare before the season officially kicks off in September.

Right off the bat, the one thing you notice about this game is that the gameplay hasn’t changed too much from last year. The graphics are essentially the same, and there haven’t been too many changes to the actual in-game features that stand out.

However, where this franchise makes its money is in the game modes, and this year is no exception.

The newest feature to this game is the “Heisman Challenge,” where you can take select former Heisman Trophy winners, place them on whatever team you want and play a season. The goal is to surpass the statistics they put up in their Heisman winning season.

There are 16 former winners available. Guys like Robert Griffin III or Eddie George are available to use right away, but if you want to play as Tim Tebow, you need to have Xbox Live (or the PS3 equivalent) to download him.

Regardless of the relatively small number of winners you can use (there are 76 all-time winners) this is a cool feature that EA has added, similar to the “Be a Legend” mode in its NHL franchise.

The only reason I buy this game anymore is because of the dynasty mode. EA Sports has made constant improvements to its dynasty, and they don’t disappoint this year.

Case point No. 1: you can now scout prospects while recruiting them, revealing their approximate overall rating before they commit to a school. This eliminates a lot of frustration with landing a bunch of “blue chip” prospects, only to have them all rated lower than expected.

However, that does add the time it takes to actually do recruiting, so if you are someone who likes to fly through that, this particular feature might not be for you.

Additionally, not every prospect has a set top-10 schools list anymore. Most will have between one and five preferred schools, with the remaining slots being blank, allowing you to jump in on any prospect if you recruit them well enough. This can be beneficial if you like to play as a “less prestigious” team, such as BG.

In short, the recruiting feels more “realistic” in this year’s version.

Over the years, it seems that EA has gotten lazier with making improvements to its college football series, because it has no competition and people still buy it because of the significant roster changes in each college football season. However, they did a good enough job of adding new and improved content this year to make it work the buy.

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