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Old 08-29-2007, 01:40 PM   #1
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NCAA vs APF vs Madden A look...

Having purchased all three next gen (I'm on 360) football games this year I reloaded up 2k5 on my PS2. I enjoyed it more than any next gen games of football I have played this year. I wound up still having Bill Abner's slider set still loaded in from who knows when and played 3 fantastic games.

I got rolled by the Bengals and Chargers (I'm the Jets) and beat the Dolphins in a 14-13 thriller. I'm no 2k fanboy - I thought 2k5 was a fantastic game, but I always preferred NCAA to it back when it came out.

Now, I may have to go out and get myself an action replay to update 2k5 rosters thanks to the (ignored by me till now) 2k5 mod community here at OS.

The game is just right. It feels like what next gen should be now or should have been the first step to next gen. I have played all three football games this year extensively - NCAA first, APF next and then most recently Madden and here's what I think based on what is important to me in a football game:

NCAA - is the best one since 2004 in terms of fun and progress. I feel like NCAA is moving in the right direction.

On the field: The game plays pretty well. The CPU INT problem is a bit of a drag and really really hurts the fun, but not so much a game killer for me so far. The passing system is a little hit or miss as there is no real pinpoint control on your passing and I haven't had problems with me fumbling or getting intercepted. On the other hand, the CPU kills its own drives too much with the fumbling and the stupid INTs.

Off the field: Revamped Dynasty mode is a blast. Some find the in season recruiting tedious and I could see why, but I'd rather have it than not. The recruiting system is a fun, immersive "mini-game" within the game.

ESPN integration is so-so. The new News style Dynasty menu is a good start. However, there's so much potential for presentation that I scratch my head at what's been taken out. Entrances? Gone. Gameday crew preview before game? Gone. Spotlight player pre-game? Gone. Kirk and Lee commentary? No new lines. Halftime? Non-existant. There just really is no excuse for not having these things when they were there last gen. EA should be building on the ESPN presentation not eliminating it. College football is gameplay first, pageantry and presentation second. When you have most of one and a third of the other it hurts a college game.

Online: The game played laggy for me online and is typical EA fare. No online dynasty or league features. Pretty much just rankings and lobbies and make your own league without any EA help.

Gameplay: B+... Some annoying bugs, but definitely plays solid college style football.
Presentation: C-... Too much missing that used to be there.
Buggy"ness": B-... CPU AI turnovers, depth chart bug, slow menus.
Offline: A-... Dynasty mode is still the standard for offline in a sports game
Online: B... Same ole, same ole. Online dynasties by 2010?

Overall Grade: B+... I play it for college football playbooks, fight songs and for building my school into the type of program I want in the well done dynasty mode.

__________________________________________________ _______

All Pro Football - is the best game between the sidelines of the 3 games. It just plays a fantastic game of football.

On the field: This game is just fun, smart, x's and o's football to play. People argue that APF is a thinking coach's game. I don't know about everyone else, but I agree. I think when I play NCAA, but I think harder when I play APF. With APF I feel like if I don't, the computer (or human) makes me pay.

The physics of the game are just spot on. Momentum in passing, running and defense are right there, as is the control. The playbooks and the counters for certain tactics are pretty balanced. The animations are pretty spectacular, diverse and well placed - most of the time.

EA only guys say the game is jerky or "slow" - I think it's just different. I thought the same things after so many years of NCAA and way-back-when Madden. To compare the two's speed - EA is water and 2k is motor oil, but both work for each game, because the gameplay physics they are trying to create are different. Both companies are trying to recreate football just by different means.

Off the Field: This game lacks big time. Legends are awesome to play with and the new ability system should be the standard and expanded for all 2k games made from here on out. The game just lacks in the features department. There are a lot of legends, yet after a while you feel like you're treading down the same path. Pick your 11, build your team uniforms and stadium, adjust your playbook and hit season mode - which to me was pretty "generic" and unsatisfying. The bells and whistles aren't there. Offline feels like a beta game - which is why this game needs to be played....

Online: Fantastic game online. I'd dare say one of the best ever. 2k knows how to do online football from lobbies (great with xbox live) to fully customizable leagues where they supply the pages and stats. The game has endless customization with all the legends, uniforms and possible slider tweaks. However, some buggi"ness" with roster and playbook changes corrupting leagues takes some luster off the polish.

Gameplay: A...great representation of football physics and scheming.
Presentation: B...halftime shows and TV style is there, but bare bones season hurts bad.
Buggy"ness": B+...nothing huge that stands out though "generic" customization and behavior leaves something to be desired.
Offline: D+...there really is just nothing there to wow you or even draw you in.
Online: A...what next gen online should be - leagues, diversity of teams, customization

Overall: B+...I play it to relive the past between the sidelines and online. The physics are fantastic and Jerry Rice and Joe Montana play football like Jerry Rice and Joe Montana. This is game you play against another live coach, through xbox live, x'ing and o'ing for the one edge for a W.

__________________________________________________ ____________

Madden - is the Ferrari on the outside with the '89 Toyota Corolla engine underneath. It looks good, but all the little problems make you think twice about taking it out of the garage.

On the Field: Madden has a lot going right for it when you compare it to past Maddens. When you compare it to little brother NCAA and the competition in APF, its shortcomings make it fun, but lacking. The solid gameplay is there. And, even bigger, the NFL is there. Don't underestimate the drawing power of playing as LT or Urlacher.

The playmaker controls and complete pre-snap offense and defensive options make on the fly scheming possible and immersive. There's definitely been an improvement in physics, speed and animation, that makes the game play smooth. I'm undecided on weapons. I see them as the equivalent of the abilities of APF, but something about them gives me an NFL street type gimmicky feel.

However, for me the CPU INTs and excessive fumbles have dampened some of the fun. I've played a lot more NCAA than I have Madden, but the problem just isn't as bad in NCAA. In Madden, it's there and it's ugly. It really hurts the gameplay experience on the field. Lurking between the turnover problems the potential for fantastic football is there in glimpses.

Off the Field: The options are mind blowing. Franchise mode is deep with scouting, training, trading, contracts, mini-games and even that stupid ring thing for those who like that kiddie garbage. This is the fully loaded Ferrari with an MP3 player and Blue Ray in the dashboard. I see myself spending tons of time navigating the off the field options and the replay value, especially once the real NFL season starts is sky high.

Online: Is pretty even with NCAA. It's the same ole, same ole, except add in playing for ring stuff, levels and trophies - which to me is a shrug of the shoulders feature.

Gameplay: B-...the CPU turnover fest is a gamekiller, slider fix or patch raises this grade a ton.
Presentation: C...Marshall Faulk stinks and the Radio Announcer pulls you out instead of immersing you. The entrances are a nice touch (and injuries) but that's all you get.
Buggy"ness": Inc...I spoke of TO's, but I'm not an in depth editor of players and I hear there's lots of issues there.
Offline: A-...Franchise is there in all its in-depth NFL glory.
Online: B-...Same ole, same ole, plus rings and trophies. Online Franchise maybe in 2012? The minus is because 2k does it and NCAA has 117 teams.

Overall: B-...I play madden for the NFL license and franchise. Plain and simple. I love the NFL. I love in-depth franchise modes. Madden is the game I'll play when I want to be the architect of an NFL franchise, drafting Tim Tebow straight from 3 years in NCAA, restructuring deals, targeting free agents, cutting Vick for dogfighting, hiring the premiere special teams coach on the market.
__________________________________________________ _____

In the end, this was a great year for football in terms of quality in the quantity.

If you're a positive football gamer, you can see yourself getting everything you want in a football game at the video game football buffet laid out for you in 07. NCAA is college football and Dynasty mode. APF is gameplay, legends and online. Madden is NFL and Franchise mode.

If you're a negative football gamer you sit there waiting for your one course meal that has everything you want in a football game (gameplay, bells and whistles, franchise, dynasty, presentation, the NFL, online leagues) and wonder what happened to some of the ingredients on the menu.

This year is a case of what you make of it. The options are there for your craving. Just gotta figure out what you want when and where to get it from.
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Old 08-29-2007, 01:58 PM   #2
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Re: NCAA vs APF vs Madden A look...

Very nice write-up.
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Old 08-30-2007, 12:44 PM   #3
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Re: NCAA vs APF vs Madden A look...

Quote:
Originally Posted by umd
Having purchased all three next gen (I'm on 360) football games this year I reloaded up 2k5 on my PS2. I enjoyed it more than any next gen games of football I have played this year. I wound up still having Bill Abner's slider set still loaded in from who knows when and played 3 fantastic games.

I got rolled by the Bengals and Chargers (I'm the Jets) and beat the Dolphins in a 14-13 thriller. I'm no 2k fanboy - I thought 2k5 was a fantastic game, but I always preferred NCAA to it back when it came out.

Now, I may have to go out and get myself an action replay to update 2k5 rosters thanks to the (ignored by me till now) 2k5 mod community here at OS.

The game is just right. It feels like what next gen should be now or should have been the first step to next gen. I have played all three football games this year extensively - NCAA first, APF next and then most recently Madden and here's what I think based on what is important to me in a football game:

NCAA - is the best one since 2004 in terms of fun and progress. I feel like NCAA is moving in the right direction.

On the field: The game plays pretty well. The CPU INT problem is a bit of a drag and really really hurts the fun, but not so much a game killer for me so far. The passing system is a little hit or miss as there is no real pinpoint control on your passing and I haven't had problems with me fumbling or getting intercepted. On the other hand, the CPU kills its own drives too much with the fumbling and the stupid INTs.

Off the field: Revamped Dynasty mode is a blast. Some find the in season recruiting tedious and I could see why, but I'd rather have it than not. The recruiting system is a fun, immersive "mini-game" within the game.

ESPN integration is so-so. The new News style Dynasty menu is a good start. However, there's so much potential for presentation that I scratch my head at what's been taken out. Entrances? Gone. Gameday crew preview before game? Gone. Spotlight player pre-game? Gone. Kirk and Lee commentary? No new lines. Halftime? Non-existant. There just really is no excuse for not having these things when they were there last gen. EA should be building on the ESPN presentation not eliminating it. College football is gameplay first, pageantry and presentation second. When you have most of one and a third of the other it hurts a college game.

Online: The game played laggy for me online and is typical EA fare. No online dynasty or league features. Pretty much just rankings and lobbies and make your own league without any EA help.

Gameplay: B+... Some annoying bugs, but definitely plays solid college style football.
Presentation: C-... Too much missing that used to be there.
Buggy"ness": B-... CPU AI turnovers, depth chart bug, slow menus.
Offline: A-... Dynasty mode is still the standard for offline in a sports game
Online: B... Same ole, same ole. Online dynasties by 2010?

Overall Grade: B+... I play it for college football playbooks, fight songs and for building my school into the type of program I want in the well done dynasty mode.

__________________________________________________ _______

All Pro Football - is the best game between the sidelines of the 3 games. It just plays a fantastic game of football.

On the field: This game is just fun, smart, x's and o's football to play. People argue that APF is a thinking coach's game. I don't know about everyone else, but I agree. I think when I play NCAA, but I think harder when I play APF. With APF I feel like if I don't, the computer (or human) makes me pay.

The physics of the game are just spot on. Momentum in passing, running and defense are right there, as is the control. The playbooks and the counters for certain tactics are pretty balanced. The animations are pretty spectacular, diverse and well placed - most of the time.

EA only guys say the game is jerky or "slow" - I think it's just different. I thought the same things after so many years of NCAA and way-back-when Madden. To compare the two's speed - EA is water and 2k is motor oil, but both work for each game, because the gameplay physics they are trying to create are different. Both companies are trying to recreate football just by different means.

Off the Field: This game lacks big time. Legends are awesome to play with and the new ability system should be the standard and expanded for all 2k games made from here on out. The game just lacks in the features department. There are a lot of legends, yet after a while you feel like you're treading down the same path. Pick your 11, build your team uniforms and stadium, adjust your playbook and hit season mode - which to me was pretty "generic" and unsatisfying. The bells and whistles aren't there. Offline feels like a beta game - which is why this game needs to be played....

Online: Fantastic game online. I'd dare say one of the best ever. 2k knows how to do online football from lobbies (great with xbox live) to fully customizable leagues where they supply the pages and stats. The game has endless customization with all the legends, uniforms and possible slider tweaks. However, some buggi"ness" with roster and playbook changes corrupting leagues takes some luster off the polish.

Gameplay: A...great representation of football physics and scheming.
Presentation: B...halftime shows and TV style is there, but bare bones season hurts bad.
Buggy"ness": B+...nothing huge that stands out though "generic" customization and behavior leaves something to be desired.
Offline: D+...there really is just nothing there to wow you or even draw you in.
Online: A...what next gen online should be - leagues, diversity of teams, customization

Overall: B+...I play it to relive the past between the sidelines and online. The physics are fantastic and Jerry Rice and Joe Montana play football like Jerry Rice and Joe Montana. This is game you play against another live coach, through xbox live, x'ing and o'ing for the one edge for a W.

__________________________________________________ ____________

Madden - is the Ferrari on the outside with the '89 Toyota Corolla engine underneath. It looks good, but all the little problems make you think twice about taking it out of the garage.

On the Field: Madden has a lot going right for it when you compare it to past Maddens. When you compare it to little brother NCAA and the competition in APF, its shortcomings make it fun, but lacking. The solid gameplay is there. And, even bigger, the NFL is there. Don't underestimate the drawing power of playing as LT or Urlacher.

The playmaker controls and complete pre-snap offense and defensive options make on the fly scheming possible and immersive. There's definitely been an improvement in physics, speed and animation, that makes the game play smooth. I'm undecided on weapons. I see them as the equivalent of the abilities of APF, but something about them gives me an NFL street type gimmicky feel.

However, for me the CPU INTs and excessive fumbles have dampened some of the fun. I've played a lot more NCAA than I have Madden, but the problem just isn't as bad in NCAA. In Madden, it's there and it's ugly. It really hurts the gameplay experience on the field. Lurking between the turnover problems the potential for fantastic football is there in glimpses.

Off the Field: The options are mind blowing. Franchise mode is deep with scouting, training, trading, contracts, mini-games and even that stupid ring thing for those who like that kiddie garbage. This is the fully loaded Ferrari with an MP3 player and Blue Ray in the dashboard. I see myself spending tons of time navigating the off the field options and the replay value, especially once the real NFL season starts is sky high.

Online: Is pretty even with NCAA. It's the same ole, same ole, except add in playing for ring stuff, levels and trophies - which to me is a shrug of the shoulders feature.

Gameplay: B-...the CPU turnover fest is a gamekiller, slider fix or patch raises this grade a ton.
Presentation: C...Marshall Faulk stinks and the Radio Announcer pulls you out instead of immersing you. The entrances are a nice touch (and injuries) but that's all you get.
Buggy"ness": Inc...I spoke of TO's, but I'm not an in depth editor of players and I hear there's lots of issues there.
Offline: A-...Franchise is there in all its in-depth NFL glory.
Online: B-...Same ole, same ole, plus rings and trophies. Online Franchise maybe in 2012? The minus is because 2k does it and NCAA has 117 teams.

Overall: B-...I play madden for the NFL license and franchise. Plain and simple. I love the NFL. I love in-depth franchise modes. Madden is the game I'll play when I want to be the architect of an NFL franchise, drafting Tim Tebow straight from 3 years in NCAA, restructuring deals, targeting free agents, cutting Vick for dogfighting, hiring the premiere special teams coach on the market.
__________________________________________________ _____

In the end, this was a great year for football in terms of quality in the quantity.

If you're a positive football gamer, you can see yourself getting everything you want in a football game at the video game football buffet laid out for you in 07. NCAA is college football and Dynasty mode. APF is gameplay, legends and online. Madden is NFL and Franchise mode.

If you're a negative football gamer you sit there waiting for your one course meal that has everything you want in a football game (gameplay, bells and whistles, franchise, dynasty, presentation, the NFL, online leagues) and wonder what happened to some of the ingredients on the menu.

This year is a case of what you make of it. The options are there for your craving. Just gotta figure out what you want when and where to get it from.
Excellent reviews.
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Old 08-31-2007, 08:23 PM   #4
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Re: NCAA vs APF vs Madden A look...

Very well done..I have APF and Madden and im a big 2k fan so I played the crap out of allpro when it first came out and didnt give NCAA anymind..then the lure of Madden Mania brought me in..and at first i hated it i was disgusted that i would even have bought it..but recently ive taken it for what it is and i havent put it down for about a week..superstar mode is really fun i havent played it in previous years but im loving it this year..ill put in APF for my other football fix though and recently ive found myself wanting NCAA to start a superstar from scratch...good year for football and i wish i still had my xbox so i could still play 2k5
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Old 09-01-2007, 11:42 AM   #5
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Re: NCAA vs APF vs Madden A look...

Cool write up and in some ways spot on. howver.

Ratings are tricky . i have to say that NCAA is at least a 9.5 for me... and APF is only as 7.5 and you don't wanna know how good i think madden 08 finally is...
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Old 09-11-2007, 03:42 AM   #6
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Re: NCAA vs APF vs Madden A look...

Nice write-up umd, thanks for taking the time to post this.
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Old 04-23-2008, 01:29 PM   #7
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Re: NCAA vs APF vs Madden A look...

Quote:
Originally Posted by inkcil
Nice write-up umd, thanks for taking the time to post this.
I just took a look back to see my initial impressions of all 3 games. Man I need to do some changing after 3-6 months.

When I wrote this I didn't realize multi-year franchise for Madden was so broken. Or that many APF online leagues would get corrupted...
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Old 04-23-2008, 03:25 PM   #8
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Re: NCAA vs APF vs Madden A look...

Pretty fair assesment. I love franchise as much as the next person, but if the game does not excel on the field, why put the work into a franchise? I wish we could have no exclusive licenses in sports. That would make all three games great because of the constant competition. I have a feeling that NFL 2k8 would be up there with The Show 08 as one of the best sports games ever.
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