• Seven Years of Next-Gen NCAA Football - NCAA Football 09

    This is the third part in a series looking at the NCAA Football franchise as we enter the seventh year of NCAA Football on the next-gen consoles.

    In July of 2008, the NCAA Football franchise would take a major leap, perhaps the biggest single year improvement in the history of the franchise to date.

    In a rare move for the video game industry, on April 1 – almost three and a half months before release – EA SPORTS shared every game feature with the community. The items were not explained in any detail, but that was the first time NCAA Football community members would learn of the addition of Online Dynasty, the feature that would help change the face of the franchise forever. Not only would it prove successful for the series, but it would become a feature highly requested in other sports franchises due to its success. It began a shift of moving the franchise from just a game to an experience. Being able to complete in a Dynasty with friends from around the country opened up new avenues of game discussion, bragging, and camaraderie.

    The game also featured significant changes and improvements to the on-field action, marketed as “Wide-Open Gameplay.” After two years of next-gen NCAA being deemed sluggish and lacking the big-play potential of the last-gen counterpart, NCAA 09 was quite the opposite. The new Breakaway Engine allowed users to string together moves like a stutter step into a spin or hurdle before making a cut. While there was also a new tackling system in place, the game undoubtedly favored the offense. So much so, that despite the numerous features and improvement across the board some preferred to play the more balanced NCAA Football 08.

    Each year, fans of the NCAA Football franchise wait patiently (well, some more than others) for a named roster file before digging into Dynasty Mode. NCAA 09 saw the introduction of online roster-file sharing with EA Locker, which allowed users to post created roster files and share them with the community.

    The game also sought to capture the intensity and atmosphere of college football by adding in Home-Field Advantage, Ice the Kicker, and Quarterback Quiz. In addition, the game also implemented the Custom Stadium Sounds feature, allowing users to customize the music and sounds of their school’s stadium in-game. This feature spawned significant community interaction and development as users uploaded and shared their own ‘sound packs’ at their community site of choice.

    NCAA Football 09 also featured a new tradition with each version of the game featuring a different cover athlete. The console version and cover athlete: X-Box 360: Arkansas RB Darren McFadden, PlayStation 3: Boston College QB Matt Ryan, PlayStation 2: Cal WR DeSean Jackson, PlayStation Portable: West Virginia FB Owen Schmitt, Wii: Michigan State mascot Sparty.

    “Back of the Box” Features:

    - Authentic College Football Gameplay: With huge cut-back lanes, exclusive tackle animations, over-pursuing defenders, and downfield pump fakes, the college game has never felt more wide-open.

    - All-New Online Dynasty Mode: Develop your program as you schedule your opponents and recruit head-to-head online with up to 11 other players for 60 seasons with the same ease and flexibility of managing a fantasy football league.

    - All-New Breakaway Engine: Break in and out of jukes, stiff arms, spins, and more in a swift, fluid motion, or use the left stick to steer a player in any direction mid-move.

    - All-New Mascot Play: Experience the pageantry of college football Saturdays by celebrating touchdowns with your mascots or head directly onto the field in Mascot Mash Up mode.

    - The New Home Field Advantage: Help your QB regain his composure by taking the Quarterback Quiz, call a timeout to Ice the Kicker, or pump up the home crowd to make your stadium one of the nation’s toughest venues.

    - The Ultimate College Football Experience: With all-new Formation Audibles, Smart Routes, online roster-file sharing, in-game custom music, and new mini-games like HORSE and Special Teams Challenge, this is the college game fans have been waiting for.

    Top Teams:
    99 OVR: Georgia, Ohio State
    96 OVR: Oklahoma
    94 OVR: Florida, Florida State, Missouri, USC
    91 OVR: LSU, Penn State

    Top Players:
    99 OVR: Florida QB #15, Ohio State MLB #33
    98 OVR: USC MLB #58
    97 OVR: Alabama LT #71, Florida State SS #3, Missouri QB #10, Ohio State HB #28, Oklahoma LG #72, Ole Miss LT #74, South Carolina MLB #52, West Virginia QB #5,

    The game would go on to sell approximately 720,000 copies for the X-Box 360 and 530,000 on the PlayStation 3 and have metacritic scores of 83 (360) and 81 (PS3).

    A Look Back at NCAA Football 07
    A Look Back at NCAA Football 08
    A Look Back at NCAA Football 09
    A Look Back at NCAA Football 10
    A Look Back at NCAA Football 11
    Comments 33 Comments
    1. Rudy's Avatar
      Rudy -
      The game was my favourite on next gen - more so than NCAA 10. The game played pretty poorly on the default settings and took a lot of tweaking. But when finally done I really enjoyed it. The cpu QBs rarely through deep and the cpu running game was weak (and couldn't be fixed properly due to poorly functioning sliders). On levels less than Heisman the cpu QBs threw too many INTs. Overall though it was fun for me, much better than NCAA 08. The invention of online dynasties for some along with the EA roster locker were great ideas. The stat pop-ups after every play indicating the length of run were nice and removed for some reason in NCAA 10.
    1. Flav's Avatar
      Flav -
      CDJ sick on the sticks at 7:30. nice play man!
    1. xRomo9's Avatar
      xRomo9 -
      Wow this was a great game ! Memories !
    1. JeffHCross's Avatar
      JeffHCross -
      "In a rare move for the video game industry, on April 1 – almost three and a half months before release – EA SPORTS shared every game feature with the community."

      This isn't that rare outside of certain genres. But I think it's something that really needs to happen more often. It's under three weeks to release, and I can't honestly tell you that we've heard every feature, simply because there hasn't been any such announcement. I'm pretty sure we've heard everything, but there's no way to know for sure.

      As well, having an early announcement with every feature would reduce the amount of "Oh, I really hope they added X" and the disappointment that follows when no announcement comes. It wouldn't completely eliminate it (because, realistically, the "I hope they add X next year" posts come as soon as the current version is released, but it would help.
    1. JeffHCross's Avatar
      JeffHCross -
      The one thing I remember about NCAA 09 (besides the great Online Dynasty) was when I shut out the CPU three games in a row, there'd never been anything as satisfying. Defense was so tough on that game. And it was with Air Force in the MWC, so it was extremely satisfying.
    1. Solidice's Avatar
      Solidice -
      Custom Stadium Sounds, Online Dynasty, and "Home Field Advantage" were good additions for '09.

      I don't miss the horrible pursuit angles and the "greased pig" animation.
    1. Rudy's Avatar
      Rudy -
      The greased pig animation was pretty crappy.
    1. jaymo76's Avatar
      jaymo76 -
      09... I was UTEP and in year FIVE I recruited the BEST QB I have ever had in the NCAA series. He won the Heisman and one national championship.... 99 OVR and a 99 speed. He ran for 1,000 yards and passed for 3,000. 30+ TD's... he left after two seasons but man was he good... don't remember his first name but #16 Sanders... absolute BEAST! If that game had more features and presentation I would still be playing it.
    1. Rudy's Avatar
      Rudy -
      I have never won the Heisman in this game. In NCAA 06 I finished second with my RB and was robbed! I led the country in rushing and TDs and yet another RB got the award. I don't think I've ever finished in the Top 5 again.
    1. CLW's Avatar
      CLW -
      The addition of Online Dynasty was great. However, I preferred the flawed gameplay of 08 over the extremely flawed gameplay of 09. Just about anyone could put up Tecmo Bowl numbers with ease.
    1. jaymo76's Avatar
      jaymo76 -
      Quote Originally Posted by Rudy View Post
      I have never won the Heisman in this game. In NCAA 06 I finished second with my RB and was robbed! I led the country in rushing and TDs and yet another RB got the award. I don't think I've ever finished in the Top 5 again.
      Yeah it's tough... I won in 06 with my star wideout in te first season BUT that was the year of the long ball and I swear he must have made 50+ bomb receptions and since there was no cpu D he had many a touchdown. What I loved about 06 though was the Heisman ceremony. With 09 when I won I got a screen that popped up and said I won... it's the little things that make 06 still the best ever college game, IMO.

      Based on my play in the demo, I don't expect to get any heisman votes for 11:eek:
    1. Rudy's Avatar
      Rudy -
      Yeah, NCAA 06 invited you to the Heisman ceremony and then unveiled the winner. That was pretty cool. I totally loved NCAA 06 but at the same time I doubt I could play that game again. Forcing balls in to coverage and the ease of the deep ball really hurt the game. It was easier to throw a bomb than complete a 5 yard curl. I eventually played on Heisman and got some good sliders to work for me although it was still pretty hard since my skills are more suited to AA. The main thing about Heisman that bugged me was how much better cpu zone coverage was than man that year. I did go undefeated with Georgia to win the NC on Heisman. I must have had two or three comeback victories to do it. I got a ton of lucky breaks.
    1. HawkFan's Avatar
      HawkFan -
      This version was pretty good but it still had some things that were frustrating.
    1. DariusLock's Avatar
      DariusLock -
      09 was fun. The rebels were underrated but still deadly lol.
    1. ram29jackson's Avatar
      ram29jackson -
      its time once again for : bring back an old thread for the heck of it !

      and to add to it- Here is an NCAA 09 vid by Gschwendt !........with no sound ???????

    1. cdj's Avatar
      cdj -
      Share your thoughts on 09!
    1. Rudy's Avatar
      Rudy -
      This game took a lot of slider adjustments but I had a lot of fun with it. It was offensive oriented but slider adjustments helped. The cpu QBs were still brain dead and threw too many picks on any level under AA so this was one of those years where I ended up playing on Heisman and tweaked the sliders in my favour. The cpu QB never went deep either. Even on Heisman the cpu running game wasn't that good because the blocking sliders were generally crap - much like what happened after NCAA 11's second patch before it was fixed in the third patch.

      Overall I had quite a bit of fun with this game despite the flaws and kept playing it after passing on the disappointing NCAA 10. NCAA 11 clearly surpassed this title and is the best NCAA on the PS3 so far (by a wide margin imo).
    1. NatureBoy's Avatar
      NatureBoy -
      After not playing NCAA Football 08 that much because of the high turnover rate, I got back on track with 09. It was far from perfect but I had a lot of fun with it.
    1. jaymo76's Avatar
      jaymo76 -
      Quote Originally Posted by NatureBoy View Post
      After not playing NCAA Football 08 that much because of the high turnover rate, I got back on track with 09. It was far from perfect but I had a lot of fun with it.
      Me too! I played two seasons of 08 but played about 6-7 of 09. I was mighty UTEP. Offense was beastly but the defensive pursuit angles killed this game. If you had speed it was ugly.
    1. C00KH4X's Avatar
      C00KH4X -
      One of the glitchiest games ever...