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NCAA Football 2006
Score: 90%
ESRB: Everyone
Publisher: EA Sports
Developer: EA Tiburon
Media: DVD/1
Players: 1 - 2 (1 - 8 w/ MultiTap; 2 Online)
Genre: Sports (Football)/ Sports/ Simulation

Graphics & Sound:
College football has never looked better. Player models continue to have more detail year after year, and the presentation of the game now begins in the box with the three-man commentating crew of Brad Nessler, Lee Corso, and Kirk Herbstreit. On the field, player animations are amazingly fluid, as the crew at EA-Tiburon did an excellent job of bringing the game of football to life on the small screen.

In-game audio is also pretty good, as most of the action is called spot-on from the commentators. There are some obvious exceptions, as there are every year, where the announcing is broken and/or not correct, however. Everything from the on the field hits to the roar of the home crowd helps make NCAA Football 06 (2006) a great gaming experience all around.

Itís unfortunate that EA doesnít take more pride in updating the gaming experience of their football titles with more major updates to improve gameplay. But on the other hand, why get off a winning horse? And NCAA Football 06 is definitely a winning horse. That is why youíll probably get a feeling of dťjŠ vu when playing this title for the first time.

While the core gameplay has virtually remained the same on the field, there are a couple of new features worth mentioning. There are now a few small mini-games that one or two players can compete in, similar to that found in Madden. Youíll also now be able to recruit players the entire year in Dynasty Mode, as well as have a bit more control on the field. The game also delivers hard hits and close-ups of the action whenever an "Impact Player" gets involved in a huge play on either offense or defense.

However, the biggest addition to an already great game has got to be the "Race for the Heisman" mode. Here youíll be able to create a Freshman at one of multiple positions, and try to develop him into the core athlete of your football program, in an effort to get him to also stand out among the entire league. Your quest for the ultimate individual prize begins now.

Just like in real college football, there is a WIDE variety of player and team performance levels in NCAA Football 06. This means that on the field, youíll certainly face some teams that you may blow out by scoring a ridiculous amount of touchdowns, while other teams may be a struggle to score against or to stop from reaching the end zone. The core difficulty can always be changed to fit the gamer, but just like any other year, 06 can always be mastered to where playing against the computer may end up being a bit of a bore.

Game Mechanics:
The new Impact Stick allows users to break free on offense and make huge hits on defense, but the basic controls of NCAA Football 06 remain relatively unchanged from previous years in the franchise. The one difference (which Iím still not so sure that I like) is that the juke move is now performed by the right analog stick. I can see how other consoles (Xbox, GameCube) can benefit from this, but the PlayStation 2 has four shoulder buttons, and was previously set up perfectly for both jukes and stiff arms.

NCAA Football 06 is a welcome addition to the series, and a pretty good way to ride off into the sunset before the next generation of consoles hits the market. While I canít say this is a must-have game for casual fans, you should definitely pick it up if you havenít bought a college football game in a couple of years. But fans of the NCAA franchise will definitely love the same great gameplay that theyíve come to love.

-Woody, GameVortex Communications
AKA Shane Wodele

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