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NCAA Football 14 Review 7 Years Later 
Posted on July 31, 2020 at 01:57 AM.
Buckle up! It's a long one!

Review Of NCAA Football 14 in 2020
Itís been 7 years since the last release in the NCAA Football series by EA sports. Thankfully we were left with such a timeless classic to enjoy in the many years where we will not see a real NCAA Football video game. And for a 7 year old game, it holds up well. Read below to find out why.

Note: This review will be broken up into these sections:
-Gameplay
-Number of Modes
-Dynasty Mode
-Road To Glory Mode
-2013 Season Mode
-Online Modes
-Heisman Challenge
-Play Now Modes
-Team Management Features
-Other Features
-Modding Accessibility
-Replay Ability Value
-Conclusion
-Final Rating

Gameplay
For a 7 year old game, the graphics look really good. Now letís cut out the fact that itís 7 years old. It still looks acceptable. Personally, I donít really care about graphics. As long as the core gameplay and the core features are there, I couldnít care less.

With that being said, I think that gameplay is a plus. I love the Infinity Engine 2.0. I think that every tackle feels organic and less animation based. There isnít a predetermined animation that is going to overrule everything in the play without respecting physics. This game respects physics and has a running game so fluid and realistic that I throw up playing Madden.

The passing game feels good, although this game is plagued a little bit by the ball trajectory issue that made Madden 19 so bad. Sliders actually seem to affect how games are played, and ratings matter a lot more than they do in Madden. You wonít see a 65 OVR WR mossing a 99 OVR CB. It just doesnít happen in NCAA Football 14.

I personally love gameplay in NCAA Football 14, and I think that it can be tailored to everyoneís liking via sliders. Itís a big plus for this game.

Number Of Modes
If you read the table of contents, you knew that this was going to be a big plus. This game has 8 different modes, and Iím not counting 4 other Play Now modes like Coach Mode. There is something for everyone in this game.

Whether youíre a franchise guy (Dynasty Mode), and career guy (RTG), a history geek (Heisman Challenge), a Madden guy (Ultimate Team), a person who loves dynasty but hates recruiting (season mode), someone who loves playing online (Online Play Now) someone who wants to learn how to play the game (Nike Skills Trainer), or someone who just wants to hit the field (Play Now), thereís something for everyone.

Keep in mind that Madden only has 5 modes. A 7 year old game doubles that easily.

Dynasty Mode
This mode is the bread and butter for NCAA Football 14. This is the main mode for NCAA 14 and the most played mode. So obviously it has to be good.

There is so much to do in Dynasty. You recruit players each week, adjusting points strategically and scheduling visits with the recruits. Thereís goals that the recruits set as they visit your school, and they can even visit during a bye week! They consider your school based on how important certain factors are to them, such as Proximity to Home, Athletic Facilities, Coaching, Program Success, etc. You can improve these things about your school by achieving certain things, or having success. Thereís also pipeline states and team needs, plus a lot more that Iím forgetting.

You manage your roster through depth charts, you set your coach philosophy that includes style of playbook, style of play, recruiting strategy, etc. You can create custom playbooks with trick plays such as a HB pass, the Statue of Liberty, a flea flicker, etc. You can practice with your team to find out team strengths, weaknesses, and areas to focus on in recruiting. You can shuffle through story lines in the ESPN page, you can view every other teamís strategy, Kirk Heirbstriet makes his pick every game, and thereís players of the week and other awards, plus a Heisman Watch.

You can also upgrade your coach through coach skill trees, upgrade your coordinators, be a coordinator, have a coach carousel, pursue your dream job, accept or decline player transfers, convince your players to stay at school with promises that you can view during the season, view your job security, view what your AD thinks about your performance after every game, and so much more.

Iím just scratching the surface with these features. If you have access to modding and the EA DB Editor, thereís so much more to do. You can implement the 4 team playoff, change rankings if you disagree with the game, add new conferences, make new teambuilders, manually transfer players, switch over recruits that you recruited at your old school because youíre going to a new school, edit recruits, edit the schedule, put real players in the historical records, update historical records, edit players, and so much more!

If you have Xbox Live you can update rosters, or even if you donít itís still possible but it takes longer. There are amazing roster creators who keep the game alive by updating rosters 365 days a year. There are dedicated modders who have already discovered how to mod up to 30 teamsí uniforms! There are so many ways to enjoy dynasty mode, and Iím barely scratching the surface with all of the features. You feel a connection to your dynasty, and unlike Madden thereís attention to detail.

This truly one of the deepest dynasty modes ever in a sports game. It deserves all of the praise it gets for dynasty mode. It captures college football.




Road To Glory Mode
To be honest, this mode has been the same since NCAA 12. However, thatís not necessarily a bad thing. You start as a high school recruit at any position except for Special Teams or Offensive Line. You can choose your top schools, and depending on how you perform, teams offer scholarships. Besides that, your coach calls your plays.

Once your reach college, you arenít the number one starter. You have to fight for that privilege as you work in practice to move up to the second string and then eventually the starter. You then move up ranks to a hometown hero, a star, and eventually you can win the Heisman. With these ranks come special privileges like the ability to audible, call hot routes, or choose your own play call.

Now, while this mode isnít as deep as NCAA 06ís RTG mode, you still have all of the core features there. You fight for your job as you practice and play games. Recent tactics have allowed modding to be possible for RTG. This modding includes a method to transfer in-game.

This mode is a very fun mode, and it also included the ability to resume your career in Madden 25 connected careers mode. Overall while I wouldnít spend much time with it, I still have fun with it.

2013 Season Mode
This mode makes so much sense, because it is essentially Play Now with a schedule and results. I donít have much experience with this mode as I am a dynasty guy, so weíll just assume that itís a good mode for the Play Now simpleton.

Online Modes/Ultimate Team
Thereís a lot to do online in this game. So Iíll break it up into a few different parts:
-Online Head to Head
-Ultimate Team
-Online Dynasty

Online Head to Head
To be honest, I havenít really played this. I have played online in Ultimate Team, so I can tell you that while the gameplay is slow, itís mainly unchanged. The servers are STILL up 7 years later, so enjoy this mode while you can, folks.

Ultimate Team
A new addition in NCAA 14, Ultimate Team was taken down a long time ago. The offline aspect of it was still up until June 1, 2020. It now freezes when you try to play an offline game. And while NFUT14 is gone forever, Iím going to review it for what is was.

You started with a Starter Pack of players designed for your team that you pick. You then get to name your team, and from there the world opens up. You could buy packs, bid on auctions, play online, manage your squad, extend your playersí time with your team, spend real life money on packs, play solo challenges for coins and packs, complete collections, have player reserves, acquire playbooks, stadiums, and uniforms, quicksell your players for coins, and probably some more things that Iím forgetting.

Overall this game mode was fun, and while it wasnít really a mode that I would spend time in, it was still a fun little mode.

Online Dynasty
This is one of the core features of NCAA Football 14. Being able to play your favorite mode online? Thatís a HUGE plus for this game. And you can still start an Online Dynasty, you just canít use the Online Dynasty website because it was ďsunsetĒ in 2018.

It has the same features as offline dynasty mode, as well as the ability to edit story lines and the ability to play with your friends.

Overall, itís a HUGE plus for the game.

Heisman Challenge
Hidden deep in the RTG screen, not many people know about Heisman Challenge. The big new feature in NCAA Football 13 allowed you to play RTG with a former Heisman winner or runner-up, taking them from their Freshman year and trying to win the Heisman.

This is a good mode to learn about college footballís past Heisman winners. Although it didnít change, itís still pretty fun.

Play Now Modes
NCAA Football 14 has a surprisingly huge number of Play Now modes. Hereís a list:
-Exhibition
-Nike Skills Trainer
-Mascot Mash Up
-Coach Mode
-One Button Mode
-Practice Mode

Exhibition
This is just classic Play Now. Select two teams and hit the field with the ability for customization in weather, stadium, difficulty, quarter length, and more. You can also play against a friend if you have 2 different controllers.

Nike Skills Trainer
This mode teaches you how to play NCAA Football 14, sort of like a tutorial for the game except you could win Ultimate Team rewards. Since the focus of NCAA 14 was gameplay, there were a lot of new additions like the juke stick and the shovel option. You learn how to use them, and more, in Nike Skills Trainer.

Mascot Mashup
This is Exhibition mode except youíre playing with mascots!

Coach Mode
This is just one game where you get to be the coach and pick plays for your team (I think?). I havenít played this mode before.
One Button Mode
Gameplay. Simplified. Only one button. One button Mode. Explained.

Practice Mode
Practice what youíve learned in the Nike Skills Trainer and set up a play or practice from anywhere on the field.

Team Management Features
Team Management is where the customization of NCAA Football 14 really comes into play. You can download rosters, make rosters, upload rosters, set depth charts, create a player, edit coaches, create custom playbooks, and more.

Itís still online so you can still download rosters online. While you canít create TeamBuilder teams anymore, you can still download already made TeamBuilder teams. Thereís one feature that the general NCAA 14 community wishes was still online, and thatís the Uniform Pack store. For $8, you could get 9 uniform packs and unlock all of the uniform options.

Unfortunately it was taken down by Xbox Live way back, and by PS3 a year ago. You can still update uniforms for up to 30 teams in your offline dynasty, although it takes a lot of work and itís really not the same.

Other Features/Extras
Apart from the modes and team management, NCAA Football 14 still had some other features. These were features like sliders, volume control, custom stadium sounds, and achievements. And while I wonít go in depth about them, just know that theyíre there.

All Things Modding
Ever since December 3, 2013 (5 months after the game released), the Operation Sports community has been hard at work modding the Save Data files of the game. That includes the ability to (get ready):
-4 Team Playoff
-Change Team Names
-Change Team Stadiums
-Edit Players
-Edit Recruits
-Edit Schedules
-Edit Stadium Name
-Edit Stadium City
-Edit Coach Names
-Edit Coach Abilities
-Edit Coordinators
-Edit Skill Trees
-Edit Uniforms
-Edit Depth Charts
-Edit Conferences
-Edit Team Captains
-Edit Bowl Game Names
-Edit Bowl Game Stadiums
-Edit Bowl Games
-Edit Stats
-Edit Results
-Edit Awards
-Edit Records
-Edit Media Coverage
AND SO MUCH MORE

Now is this very accessible and is it complicated? At first, it may seem very overwhelming. Thereís a huge learning curve for modding, and you may get a ton of error messages. But once you get over the hump it is generally very easy to do and wonít take a lot of time. Some people can complete a 4 team playoff in 15 minutes!

For some people itís a ďno wayĒ, but for others itís a ďHELL YEAH!!!Ē.

Replay Ability Value
One of the reasons that a game hits ďlegendaryĒ status is its replay ability value. This basically means ďdoes this game have stuff that makes me want to play it again?Ē and for NCAA 14, thatís a yes. With the ability to update this game through modding, this gameís depth will never grow old.

There is just so much to do in Dynasty Mode as you can make it as deep and detailed as you want it to be, this game has another core mode in Road To Glory, and itís still online with the ability to download up to date rosters in a few clicks.

Overall, I would say that NCAA Football 14 knocks this out of the park!

Conclusion
I love this game and everything that it stood for. I miss the NCAA Football series quite a lot, but I do feel like NCAA 14 gained some undeserving praise for being the last of itís kind. Presentation is horrible, they cut WAY down on recruiting, and loading times are horrendous.

With that being said, I still think that this game is an amazing game. I love every bit of it, and would be willing to play it for the next 10-15 years before Maximum Football overtakes Madden with their College Football dynasty mode.

Maybe we can get another Indy game like Maximum Football, although this series likely wonít come back in the foreseeable future. If this is all we have, I am glad that it was 14 and not 13. I love the gameplay and the movement just feels smooth. It feels as if youíre actually playing on Saturdays. You get connected to your team. You cry when your star graduates. And thereís just no better feeling in the world than when your coach lifts up that crystal ball.

Thatís why I am going to give this aÖ

Final Rating
9.7/10 Only point reductions due to presentation and lack of updates to Road to Glory. Itís up there as one of the greatest Football Video Games of all time.
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