NCAA Football 12 Reviews

  • americanLADamericanLAD30,665
    14 Jul 2011 15 Jul 2011
    15 1 12
    First of all, let me start by saying I have been playing the NCAA Football franchise of games since NCAA 2004 (PS2). Until this past year, I always believed the series was lackluster and left something to be desired for the die-hard college football fans across the country. With the ESPN overhaul featured in the last game (and the LONG overdue removal of Lee Corso and his useless banter), NCAA 11 finally was a game worthy to represent the great sport. NCAA 12 had some big shoes to follow in.

    That being said, lets look at some of the different features NCAA 12 has to offer.

    GAMEPLAY: According to the designers from EA, the big gameplay change came in the form of a redesigned tackling engine and new defensive AI in zone coverages. The tackling does seem quite a bit smoother, but on the flip side it makes it a tad more difficult to make shoestring tackles when you are on defense. As for the new zone coverages, it seems to work pretty well for the opposing team and not for me (operator error, most likely). More teams now have their gameday rituals included in the game, trying to feature something Madden cannot.

    Another gameplay update EA claims in the new lighting system, which is supposed to give the lifelike shadows on players created by stadium lighting or the sun. It's not really noticeable while playing (at least on my screen), but when you start playing around with the instant replays and such you can definitely tell. The sound has also been tweaked, with my 40,000 Horned Frog brethren at TCU sounding rather quiet compared to the 90,000 Bama fans at Bryant-Denny Stadium. EA came through with all of the additions they promised, and overall it gives the game that extra edge of realism over NCAA 11.

    PLAYBOOKS: I haven't had the time to dive into individual teams playbooks, but I have looked at TCU's. Overall, nothing much has changed. Many of the running plays now feature Offensive Linemen shifting their blocks around and leading the runner (another realistic feature). I'm not sure if this was a feature in the last one, but you can now shift blocking directions at the line of scrimmage. There are quite a few new plays using the Flexbone formation (Triple Option), but I have yet to use/find a team that is well equipped to running the toughest (but most exciting) playbook.. New formations and such have been added, but nothing to write home about.

    DYNASTY: The biggest change to dynasty mode is the addition of the Offensive and Defensive coordinators. As you progress, you can be recruited to be just a coordinator, where you only control that side of the field. Other than that, Dynasty Mode hasn't changed much from the last game. Still a great part of the game. (Also, they took away that AWFUL Program Changer achievement-- that alone took me six seasons of dynasty in the last game)

    ROAD TO GLORY: Lots of changes have been made here, and most of them look pretty good. First of all, you can now play a full season of high school football, and pick which teams you want to start looking at you. As the season progresses, more schools will become interested. You can look at all the schools interested in you at any given time, and seem how far you are away from getting a scholarship offer. Also, you can start off playing both a defensive and offensive position, and be recruited from both (I seem to have issues with the camera angle defensively, and the only schools that wanted me for SS were Wazzu and SJSU). At the end of it all, if you decide you would rather start for a small team rather than be a benchwarmer for a big school you still can.

    Once you pick your school you now try to build your trust factor with the coach. When you have gained enough trust through practice reps and whatnot, the coach allows you to challenge the player in the spot ahead of you (i.e you are 2nd string and you challenge the starter) the next week in practice. After becoming a starter, you can continue to work your way up the chain (all the way to Team Legend), with each step adding a different freedom in the play-calling (i.e. allowing you to flip the play, call audibles, ect.). All of your plays in-game and during practice can build the coach's trust, as well as earn your player experience, which he can use for power-ups and game-bonuses.

    The practice system flows much better. In previous editions, one would have to have to load a new screen for each day of the week (and only 10 reps), to make sure their player did their nighttime activity (weightlifting, studying, ect). The nighttime activities have been scrapped, and you do an entire week's worth of practice (25 reps) in one sitting. Very good change in my opinion.

    Best of all, they took out the recycled tapes of Erin Andrews telling you how well you did at the end of each game.

    ACHIEVEMENTS: Like every NCAA game so far, the achievements focus on the single player game types rather than online play (making them a helluva lot easier to finish). Last year's edition had achievements that mainly focused on using the different types of offensive formations added in the game. This year's set focuses on a lot of the new changes added to the RTG and Dynasty modes. Like the past few years, most of the achievements should be pretty easy to handle if you can put some time into it (I 100'd NCAA 10 & 11 no problem, and I'm almost there with 09).

    However, there are some major changes to note. The producers at EA FINALLY decided to get rid of the "win all the bowl games" achievement (called Treasure Hunter in last years installment), which was easy but very long and tedious. As I mentioned above, they also took out the Program Changer achievement, which had you recruit a 5* player with a 2* school (thank goodness!). Just looking down the list, the hardest achievements will probably be Dual Threat Coach (Win the championship and have the #1 ranked recruiting class) and the locking interception ones (Lock and Load & In Your Crosshairs). Even with those, this game should be an easy 1000G if you put some time into it.


    In a nutshell, EA has taken a very good game in NCAA Football 11 and fine tuned it into a great one. Whether you are a die-hard college football fanatic or just a casual sports gamer, NCAA Football 12 offers something for everyone. Best of all, it gets me pumped for the upcoming season!

    Showing most recent comments. View all comments.
    DJP519Thumbs up from me.
    Posted by DJP519 on 19 Jul 11 at 06:12
    Brendan71388I don't think the Dual Threat Coach is hard. I had the #1 recruiting class and won the National Championship several times. The problem is, I still wasn't awarded the achievement. So the difficult thing is figuring out how to get it when I did get it (which in looking at the guides for it, is apparently knowing you're not supposed to sign an extension if offered).
    Posted by Brendan71388 on 26 Sep 11 at 21:48
    Paul Wesley 91Custom conferences are easily one of my favorite new features in this game. Great review.
    Posted by Paul Wesley 91 on 11 Apr 13 at 04:16
  • Brendan71388Brendan7138819,473
    30 Sep 2011 30 Sep 2011
    1 0 0
    I should begin with the disclaimer that I only bought my Xbox 360 a couple of months ago, so this is my first experience playing NCAA Football (with the exception of a couple of quick games) on the current generation of consoles. All I can compare NCAA Football 12 to is NCAA Football 2009 (or previous versions) on Playstation 2. That being said, let's dive in.

    From the beginning, I was, of course, blown away by the graphics. As I said before, I had played a game or two, but this was the first time I knew I was going to be truly immersed in this new experience, and that just made the visuals seems that much prettier. Included in that are the menus and all of the things that make it seems like a true ESPN watching experience. That was all very new to me and very cool.

    After playing a couple of quick games to get used to the controls and such, I got started in Dynasty Mode. To me, half (if not more) of the fun of these games is everything in between the actual games. I love the recruiting, Heisman watching, ESPN headlines, etc. Now, while that stuff is cool, it also leaves a lot to be desired because once you've played through two weeks, the ESPN headlines start to repeat themselves. Where there is a huge improvement is in the recruiting. On PS2, I never really paid much attention to it, but in this game, I think I enjoyed it more than the games themselves. It's a lot of fun to create prospects and target them, and it's great to be able to actually recruit against others schools by pitching things like program tradition or campus lifestyle against the other schools at the top of the prospect's list. The recruiting is Dynasty's best feature and is what gives it longevity when you start to play season after season.

    The biggest thing I miss about Dynasty is off-season training. I always loved all the mini-games like Rushing Attack and Chase and Tackle, but these have been completely done away with. Instead you just get the results of all your returning players' training and see how much they improved. That was a huge letdown for me.

    As far as some of the other Dynasty features are concerned, I really like being able to choose between being a coordinator or a head coach when you start out. I've never loved playing defense, so it was cool to be able to just simulate through that. It also helps playing through games/seasons faster so you can go deeper into the dynasty. The coaching carousel is kind of cool but after watching a few rounds, I just ended up skipping to the end, because I knew I wasn't going to leave my current program.

    After playing several seasons in a dynasty, I finally gave Road to Glory a try. I went in excited and came out disappointed. The fact that you can play your entire senior season of high school football is a very cool concept, especially because you can play on both sides of the ball and get recruited at both positions you decide to play. My only wish for that part of the mode is for the recruitment to be a little more in-depth. You start out by choosing your top three schools, and then as you earn points based on your performance, other schools start to show interest in you and eventually offer you scholarships. All schools have point thresholds (based on their prestige) you need to get to in order to be offered a scholarship. That's all there is to it though. After getting into recruiting in Dynasty so much, I was hoping I'd get to have the experience of being on the other side, with all of these school pitching to me and trying to get me to go there. But all they did was show interest, offer a scholarship, and then on signing day you just select what school you want to go to. It tells you where you would start on the depth chart at each school, and you can either accept an offer and start with a certain number of skill points (based on playoff performance), or you can walk on to any school but start with zero points.

    Once you get on campus, the mode becomes extremely lackluster. I loved how deep the Campus Legend mode was in NCAA Football 09 for PS2. You could choose your major, study, and take quizzes and finals, and your results could give your ratings a boost. You could also choose your evening activities, which could be social, football-related, or academic. All of this affected your overall legend status over the course of your time at the school. This version of the game has none of that, and I was very disappointed. All there is to the mode at this point (unless I'm missing something big) is 25 reps at practice each week and your game. In practice and in a game you earn coach trust points based on performance, and that is how you move up in the depth chart and earn the right to flip plays or choose a different play than the coach gives.

    I am currently playing through RTG as a HB (on Heisman), and I have several issues, particularly with the play calling. I went to Florida where they run a pro-style offense, and yet we rarely run the ball. The most frustrating thing, though, is that we will pass on 1 & 10, get sacked, and then run on 2 & 17. Things like that happen all the time and it's very annoying. It's also very difficult to catch the ball when you're running a route. Because the camera follows you, there is no way of knowing if/when the ball is coming to you. Most of the time I'm trying to run my route, and the ball will fly by my head before I have the chance to try and turn around and catch it. The only way to know is on a play where you are the primary target, like on a screen pass. I also think fullbacks are stupid, and they always have in these games. They will run right by a defender who's coming straight at you and try to block somebody else upfield while you get tackled for a loss. This happens all the time and has been that way for years. The QB isn't very smart either. There have been several times when I've been wide open but he starts to run and immediately gets sacked. I like the concept of being locked on one player and playing through their entire career that way, but this mode makes it really difficult to enjoy that because the rest of the team does a lot of stupid things and there aren't enough things to make developing your own player fun. Another addition I'd like to see is more incentive to be involved in the passing game, like being awarded coach trust points for picking up a blitz when you stay in the backfield as a HB or throwing a good block on the edge if you're a WR.

    That's about all I have to say about this game. I've not tried anything else like online play or team builder to be able to comment on them. I do look forward to trying team builder, though, because creating a team was always one of my favorite things to do.

    This seems like an incredibly long review but hopefully somebody will read it and either find it helpful or have some advice or corrections to give me to help me enjoy the game more. Dynasty mode alone though is enough to get it 4 out of 5 stars.