- Kinect Sensor Optional
- Publisher: EA Sports
- Developer: EA Tiburon
- ESRB Rating: “E" for Everyone
- Genre: Football
- Pros: Play on the field is better than ever; running the option is awesome; new physics system is great; customization options; effective training mode
- Cons: Ultimate Team is the only major new mode addition; commentary still bland; recruiting still boring
Features-wise, NCAA Football 14 is much like last year's entry. Dynasty, a season mode, Road to Glory, and the Heisman Challenge mode are all present and accounted for, but there are some quirks. The Heisman Challenge features the same players as last year, which is sort of odd and disappointing, but you can get more with DLC. Also, recruiting in Dynasty Mode consists of a simple pool of points that you spend on things to attract players, which is about as dry and boring as you can get. I've never really found recruiting all that interesting in the past, but this year it is just lame.
There is also a couple of new things like a training mode that teaches you how to play the game, which is actually surprisingly good and you'll definitely need it if you haven't played a football game in a couple of years. The Ultimate Team collectible card game also appears in NCAA 14 for the first time, where you collect cards of previous star college players and build a team.
The game also features a nice suite of customization options so you can set everything up just the way you want. You can create custom teams and players, adjust depth charts, and more. You can also realign conferences any way you want, change bowl affiliations (including the BCS), and mold the college football landscape however you like. I also really like the wealth of difficulty sliders and gameplay options that let you tweak the A.I. or set up "house rules" on how often (or if) penalties are called. You can make NCAA Football 14 as realistic or as fantastical as you like. The game gives you tools to have fun with and then gets out of the way, which is something I'm a huge fan of.
Another nice gameplay addition is that the option offense has been fully implemented and is remarkably fun to use. Running the option in past games, for me at least, was always too risky because it was usually just a "run this play to fumble"-type play. In NCAA 14 you can pitch and shovel pass and do all sorts of last-second shenanigans with a defender breathing down your neck without too much worry. Things just work. And boy is it fun when you run it well.
Graphics & Sound
The sound is mostly solid. The on-field sound effects are well done, and the school fight songs are mostly present and accounted for. The commentary is still pretty bland and lifeless, but we've come to expect that at this point.
I didn't have any big performance hitches this year like slowdown, glacially slow menus, or audio glitches like I have had in years past. I also didn't experience too many penalties, or too many fumbles, or too many dropped passes or the other janky things that have plagued EA's football titles off and on over the years. This is probably the smoothest NCAA game in quite a while.