Let me start off by saying I'm going to be doing a review mostly for people who've played last year's title, since most people who buy sports titles, do so for more than one year.
Last year's game was pretty good, but this year's is a notable improvement.
The game's outlay looks sharper, the overall presentation is just nicer.
Road to Glory, the replacement for Campus Legend is much improved. A new game mode called season showdown allows for you to play with others across the country on behalf of your favourite school and win it points they call credits. I thought the presentations from Erin would begin to get really annoying, but it's kinda cool how they track your college player for the four years he's at school. They've also added the option to re-arrange the conferences at the beginning of your dynasty when you choose your team.
The graphics are much of the same, a little nicer, many of the animations are improved. Tackling is cleaner, the QB's throws aren't a little off he's hit while throwing, but now are short floaters when he's hit while throwing at the perfect time. Also the stadium weather and time looks much nicer than the previous title. Game's starting in the evening will finish at night and game's starting in the afternoon will finish under an evening sky.
The music is still the same good ol' college band sounds. The annoying 20 min sports center update is still there, but you have the option to turn it off so it doesn't really take away from the game, just allows those who like the feature to use it. The on field sounds are good, the broadcast feels real, so far the announcers haven't got crazy annoying after repetition.
Gameplay, graphics and sound are the core to a sports game, but the online experience is just as important with sports titles. With the addition of season showdown an extra layer of competition is brought to the franchise. When the season starts I'm sure this will appeal to lots of people. Online Dynasty is also back for those who enjoyed this feature in the past. Overall this game's online appeal for many will be more than the game itself. New DLC is offered for dynasty features, like improving your schools ratings or having a scouting report. I haven't bought or used these features, but they are available for those willing to spend the money.
Online Appeal: 10/10
As far as achievements go, much of the same, with the exception of the added achievements for season showdown. They've removed the achievement where you have to take a non BSC team and get an invite into a BSC conference thank god.
Achievement Level: Moderate (Depends on how much time you're willing to sink your teeth into this game for 1000g)
Last year I would have given NCAA 09 a 8/10, this year's title, I feel is much improved over the last, I personally like it much better than Madden 09 and it's score is much deserved.
Overall: 8.5/10 (A game to buy if you're a football game fan.)