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Collegiate Competence- NCAA Basketball 10 Reviewed

After the improbably upset of Indiana, University of Connecticut head coach Jim Calhoun famously stated that “athletic competition brings out things in players that are very, very special.”  Calhoun’s underdog victory was the result of creating an environment where a team thrived off friendly opposition. Two years ago, that was the case with college basketball videogames. The College Hoops franchise would square off rival NCAA Basketball, as each title tried to offer a more realistic and deeper diversion. In 2007, 2K Sports dropped out of the annual contest, leaving Electronic Arts’ series without a competitor and gamers wondering if NCAA Basketball would still be as ambitious in an unopposed environment.

While this year’s title may not offer the kind of innovation that would have crushed a contender, NCAA Basketball 10 presents enough excitement and atmosphere to please any college roundball aficionado. Most collegiate recreations borrow heavily from their professional counterparts, and NCAA’s inclusion of NBA Live’s mechanics is unmistakable. From the integration of the real-time team and player stat tracking, to a no-look pass mechanic, the title has assimilated its brethren’s feature set. Unfortunately, a number of misgivings has also made to the trip to college game- from the players tendency to go out of bounds to a curious lack of control in the low-post area.

While NCAA 10 allows you design a custom player, gamers can’t follow their athlete’s trajectory with the detail displayed in My NBA Live 10’s comprehensive campaign. Instead, the focus of NCAA 10’s Dynasty mode is the minutiae of recruiting promising high school players, maintaining a healthy roster of athletes, and dealing with the inevitability of star players leaving for a professional career. Participants may also host a local tournament for up to 64 players, but without any online matchmaking, a simulated March Madness will have to be confined to dorm and living rooms. At least players are a single thumb stick press away from an online game with a rival team.

With the game’s Dynamic Updates, gamers are due to receive a statistical update every Monday morning.  Although NCAA regulations prohibit the names and likenesses (and probably, a meticulous statistical breakdown) of student athletes from being recreated, team stats and top 25 rankings will be amended. Additionally, the game will update each team’s schedule to ensure seasonal authenticity.

Visually, NCAA 10 presents a college basketball experience that borders on broadcast quality. The familiar ESPN partnership returns, bringing the channel’s signature on-screen overlays, as well as commentary by Dick Vitale, Brad Nessler and Erin Andrews. Additionally, EA has secured the rights to the CBS Sports license, lending a feeling of authenticity around events like the NCAA Tournament. Players may choose between the two broadcast options for skirmishes, while the game’s Dynasty mode determines the proper channel for seasonal match-ups. A careful scrutiny of the game’s characters will reveal an improved model for calculating the sways and twists of player’s jerseys, as well as a greater variety of player models. Although the sporadic flutter in player animation can be observed, as well as the intermittent quiver in framerate, neither affects the game beyond an aseptic appeal.

Despite the lack of a direct competitor to drive the title to championship status, NCAA Basketball 10 will gratify any gamer seeking a solid college hoops experience. Although the game displays a number of similarities to its NBA brethren, and demonstrates an occasionally brain-dead AI, the title still reproduces the vitality of college basketball amazingly well. Like the prodigal junior player, NCAA 10 has the ability to improve in the off-season, and return next year as a seasoned champion.

About Robert Allen

With over 35 years of gaming experience, Robert 'DesertEagle' Allen is Tech-Gaming's resident worrier/warrior who spends his days teaching at three colleges and his nights devoted to JRPGs.

50 comments

  1. Is this selling for $49.99? I could have sworn LIVE 10 came out at that price.

  2. I heard it so close to LIVE 10, that’s its not even funny.

  3. So did EA pay the NCAA, so that 2K wouldn’t make a college game?

    Not that it matters, 2K Collge Hoops wasn’t all that.

  4. Great quote deagle! and very good review. I like that I didn’t have to click through 3 pages to get a good idea of the game’s qaulity.

  5. Does this game include everything, or will they get gamers for DLC in March?

  6. Book my ticket for the big dance!

  7. I need this game. C’mon BF sale!

  8. so close to Live? C’mon EA? We’re can help your bad business decisions.

  9. Did they upgrade models? I see some AF1s!

  10. Sucks theres on online tourneys.

  11. How many teams are in the game total?

  12. I might have to rent this.

  13. Lets hope for a price drop before March.

  14. Do you have to pay for updates in you buy the game used?

  15. Good review. I just noticed that you guys cover a shitload of games!

  16. I like college ball, but more wacthing than gaming.

  17. I’m sure If I was in a store and a demo was playing the fight sings, I’d buy it.

  18. Good review. So Sundevils, baby!

  19. EA must have gotten the memo I sent telling them to shut Dick Vitale the hell up.

  20. So the players still looking like candles?

  21. ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

    Yep, this.

  22. Anyone know any place that has this on sale, please post.

  23. I still got my 09 copy, no real need to upgrade as there’s no real players.

  24. A possible entry on the old Xmas list.

  25. IGN also said it was the same as LIVE. I’d rather play as people I know.

  26. Local tournaments are fine with me- I live is student housing with a bad net connection.

  27. Minister of Murder

    is there a demo on PSN?

  28. Great review, deagle.

  29. Think I need to take Penn State all the way.

  30. Nice looking players.

  31. man, I’m so over sports games. Except for golf, I could never play another again.

  32. $59.99

  33. I know there’s one on LIVE.

  34. I’ll probably get this with the gift cards I have sitting around.

  35. Good review. I need to play the demo!

  36. I should have bought this, as all my gaming loving family is coming over today.

  37. Awesome review guys. But what happened to the two man review?

  38. I tried the demo, and it feels alot like LIVE 10. I guess that a good thing.

  39. Sound better than a fishing game.

  40. I always like the college games more than the pros.

  41. Hopefully someone will get this for me this year.

  42. Thanks for the review.

  43. Better that I expected it would be.

  44. I don’t know, these games are just the same old same old game every year to me.

  45. i like nba 2k9 but not college basketball

  46. I liked NBA 2k10 more than this.

  47. I’ve sat these sports games out for awhile. Glad to see that they may finally have improved them enough to warrant a purchase. Haven’t bought a sports title since 2005 due to the same-old-same-old effect.

  48. Thanks for the review!

  49. I hope College Hoops makes a comeback.