AceGamez: "You get up early on a Saturday morning and put on your lucky jersey. After driving four hours you arrive at the buzzing stadium and take your seat. The anticipation builds, as the rivalry game is about to begin. A horde of student athletes run out onto the field to the school's fight song and you proudly clap and sing along. Cheerleaders jump, bands play, and players get almost as fired up as though they were about to go to war. Sounds a lot like college football, right? Well you'd swear that the guys at EA Sports had never been to a college football game because everything that embodies college football seems to be left out in this newest version of the NCAA Football series.
Your game day experience starts out with ESPN's own Brad Nessler announcing the two teams who will be participating. He energetically exclaims that the sold out crowd is very excited about this match up. You are given an overhead view of the stadium and you can hear a cheering crowd. It all sounds pretty convincing - at least until you actually see what's going on down at the stadium. Everyone in the crowd is sitting down and nobody seems to be cheering. On top of that, the crowd models seem to be straight from the 1999 version of the game. They aren't 3D and every fan performs the same generic movement over and over. The game absolutely skips the teams running out to the field, so I guess we have to assume that the crowd is going crazy for the upcoming coin toss. Yes, cheerleaders are jumping, but once again, every cheerleader is carrying out the same movement over and over, almost like a broken toy. There is no band present yet there the fight songs are still playing. Only the standard name WR6 on the back of my player's jersey reminded me that this was a college football game.
And it is a college football game, so I was expecting an exciting a college atmosphere - but let's be honest here, the real importance of a football game lies in the gameplay itself and it's fair to assume that the developers spent all their time fixing up the gameplay, because it really is exceptional. NCAA Football 09 just does everything right. It feels extremely realistic and I can't remember one time when I actually felt ripped off by the game. The AI is smarter then ever and they actually adapt to your style of play. If you score a touchdown on a certain formation then the next time this formation is used, the computer recognizes it and tries to prevent another score. It works on the other side of the ball as well, so if you use the same defense over and over, the AI will find a way around it. This seemingly new smart AI also prevents you from spamming those few plays that always work. A play may work once or twice, but once the computer adapts, just like a team in a real life game would, it's unlikely to ever work again in that particular game."