NCAA Football 07 Review (PSP)
Lately, it's become a challenge to review PSP titles.
Not because Sony's little wonder isn't still an impressive piece of machinery, but because developers have taken to shoe-horning their PS2 titles into the PSP with little or no changes made to accommodate the portable system or it's users.
In essence, NCAA Football 07 does this, as well - but if it must be a port, at least it's a pretty good one.
Most of the game has been brought over, including the vast selection of teams and robust playbooks, stadiums, mascots and even chants. The game's atmosphere is solid considering the small and not-so-immersive nature of the PSP.
It's also important to note that the game's load times are improved from earlier EA Sports releases on the PSP, a necessary and very welcome change.
The game's legendary Dynasty mode has made the move seamlessly, but the Campus Legend modes and NCAA's entertaining mini-games weren't so fortunate. It's too bad, too - because mini-games are often a better fit on portable systems than they are on consoles, due to the often-limited use of such devices.
The game itself looks pleasing on the PSP's screen, although the player models are a bit blockier than the PS2 version, and the camera angle seems to take too long to swing from side to side. It's still quite playable, but some players may find it disorienting to momentarily lose their players on screen passes and the like, even on the PSP's wide display. New cameras have been added on punt and kickoff returns, increasing their drama, but admittedly making it a little harder to see the whole field and find the seams. This new camera also captures the chaos of the return game rather well, and depending on your point of view, the increased difficulty of the return game may be offset by the excitement of the experience. The game's frame rate, on the whole, is decent and on par with other EA Sports releases on the PSP.
Online, that changes, as laggy play and curiously sluggish control hampers Infrastructure play dramatically.
On the field, the game's enjoyability and natural control as experienced on the PS2 suffers, in large part to the lack of a right analog stick on the PSP. That stick, which on consoles allows the player to instinctively juke right and left, has been replaced by a set of trigger/face button combos which not only add to the difficulty of performing the moves, but can cause frustration as the delay in executing them can turn a potential big gain into a stop at the line.
Speaking of stops at the line, many copies of the game have an issue with ball-spotting. To put it plainly, it's off by two or three yards with regularity, and this gigantic glitch could make the game essentially unplayable for many gamers.
However, EA Sports has acted upon that, and taken steps to rectify the problem. If your game has this issue, the game's disc can be returned to EA for replacement, and the replacement disc does indeed seem to correct the problem.
There's no word on whether all the defective versions of the game have been removed from store shelves, but even if you end up with one, EA has promised to deliver replacement discs within 10 business days and send you a $15 credit towards a future purchase from their online store in "appreciation of your patience".
Essentially, NCAA Football 07 plays a good game on the go, but it's lacking in options - both on and off the field - compared to it's console counterparts. The lack of a right analog stick hampers the game significantly, but this can hardly be blamed on EA.
But if you crave some college gridiron action, and there's no console in reach, NCAA Football 07 will fit the bill. It doesn't really feel fresh or different, but it's quality video-game football served up with a little style on the side.
There's always room for that, isn't there?