Reviewed: August 8, 2009
Released: July 14, 2009
Screenshots (Click Image for Gallery)
No Screenshots Available
Yes, I still have my PSP 2001. Yes, I still love it. It's still the most underrated, underutilized, unnoticed and most powerful electronic media device on the market. I love taking this little powerhouse with me on long airplane flights and even longer camping trips. Music, movies, TV (via my Sony Location Free streaming device), and best of all... games! Unfortunately Sony really didn't educate the public about just how much you can do with this little device. Now, Sony once again is abandoning a great product for a sort of “ improvement” called the PSP Go. I guess they think they can breathe life into this lingering product by decreasing features and increasing the price.
But I still have mine and I still love it. I especially love football season with some great games on the big consoles. The PSP versions are always a different animal, but still a great escape for any gamer who also happens to like NCAA Football like me! Starting up the NCAA Football 10 UMD disc brings up the usual “favorite team” selection screen. Once you pick your team, you will be treated to your college band playing the schools song and menus with your school colors on generic chalkboard style graphics. No, this isn't quite as impressive as the XBOX 360 or PS3 versions. This is, after all, based on the PS2 version of NCAA Football.
The main menu has all the usual suspects. Most people will probably just go for a quick game or mascot game for you people who probably own Wii's too. There are whopping 78 mascots to choose from and it actually is a fun little diversion from the real game. The mascots actually look better than the faceless football players.
There are also the usual Dynasty Mode where you pick a team and play a few seasons to see if you can win the BCS National Championship. Rivalry Game puts your favorite team against their biggest rivals. I grew up in Big Ten school areas so I naturally get the classic Purdue vs. IU or Notre Dame game. You win trophies for your case by winning the big rivalries. The only new options in NCAA Football 10 are the “Road to Glory” mode, “Super Sim” and “Spring Drills”.
In “Road to Glory” mode, you take on the role of a graduating high school player. You don't get to play in high school games, but you get to pick from a number of NCAA Division 1 schools offering you a scholarship. The stature of the schools on the list is greatly affected by how you do in your drills prior to signing day. I skipped the workouts and got a full ride to Akron! From there you start out as a college freshman and you go to a dorm room interface where you can choose from several options.
The Calendar shows you what you have to do each week. Fan Mail lets you read what your fans are saying about you. Progress Report tracks your grades and achievements during the season. Newsletter lets you follow your team’s story. Trophy Crate lets you see all your career hardware. The Closet lets you edit your player info, appearance, and attributes.
The funny thing is you have to pick a major before ever playing a game. Everything from FBS Mascot Names to Psychology is offered. You move on to practice and earn as many bonus points as you can before the season starts. Sometimes one has to really wonder though... now a team like Akron (ranked #100) is playing #8 Penn State the first game of the season. Joe Pat is padding his stats and Akron must be rolling in money.
Super Sim is just a quick way of getting through the games (you can interrupt it if you are getting thumped and need to show your skills in a comeback). Spring drills help you hone your skills for offense, defense and special teams. There are over 200 teams and stadiums in NCAA Football 10 on the PSP. It's 2/3 the total of the big console versions, but the vast majority of the Division I schools are in this game in all their glory and so are many of their mascots.
The graphics are again a bit of a mixed bag. If you are used to the XBOX 360 or PS3 level of graphics, you will be sorely disappointed with the PSP. However the fact is the graphics on this system are pretty nice for a portable device - a big leap up from Nintendo DS and almost up to PS2 levels. Not much of a sacrifice for the portability. I still wonder why can't they seem to approach the level of graphics that Tekken or God of War reach on the PSP?
The focus for graphics is certainly on the field of play. The players from a distance look very good, however you might want to cover the kids' eyes during the coin flip. The players up close look like some type of faceless android/zombie (see Disney's “The Black Hole”). Very freaky. But the framerate is fine and I never experienced any type of graphical slowdown, so do I really need to see their faces?
Erin Andrews joins the broadcast crew in NCAA Football 10. She really only handles reports in the Road to Glory mode and not regular game commentary. That is instead left to the usual ESPN team of Brad Nessler, “the coach” Lee Corso, and Kurt Herbstreit. They do a good job adding some TV style commentary to NCAA Football 10. There are some silent gaps and occasional repeated phrases but nothing too annoying. The hit sounds and crowd noise seem pretty exaggerated and sometimes don't seem to relate to what is on the screen.
NCAA Football 10 really has a little bit for everyone; Mascot games for the kids, a quick rivalry game for gamers on the go, and the Dynasty or Road to Glory mode for hardcore college football fans. EA really does a pretty decent job fitting a lot into a small package. Of course it's not as pretty or robust as playing on the PS3 or 360, but for a mobile college football game, you can't get better than NCAA Football 10. However it would have been nice to see some kind of online mode. Many other EA games on the PSP do provide such functions. But I suppose that devoting a server to such a low selling game and platform isn't what EA wants to do now. Thus, we get no roster updates, no online play, and a little less fun.
I really expected EA to just phone in NCAA Football 10 on the PSP. Just update the rosters and watch the money trickle in. Thankfully, EA did an admirable job making NCAA Football 10 have a little bit for everyone. You get the usual Dynasty and mascot modes, but the addition of the Road to Glory mode and new training mini-games really puts a lot of value in a small package. NCAA Football 10 is a good game for any college football fan in need of some mobile PSP fun.