6323653With a name like Magnificent Earl, he can always be a magician if this football thing falls through.None
The other major mode in NCAA 12 is Road to Glory. In this mode, you create a high school player and try to land a major role in a collegiate program. The first sign that something's wrong crops up in the creation process. The menus lag horribly. Every time you change a visual option, the game stalls for a second or two, which makes cycling through your choices grueling. Thankfully, once you get on the field, things run a lot more smoothly. You can choose to play both sides of the ball now. If you're a quarterback who likes to get dirty, you can also roam the field as a linebacker. Depending on your performance, schools offer you scholarships, and since two-way players in college are rare, each position is recruited separately. Unfortunately, this process isn't as realistic as it first appears. In one season, our quarterback was lousy and subsequently didn't receive any scholarship offers. Still, we were able to walk on as a freshman at the University of Texas and start the first game of the season. This isn't possible in all programs. Sometimes you land a role as a backup and have to work for a starting job. But it's still ridiculous that one of the most prestigious universities in the nation would allow an unwanted player to start immediately.
There are other quirks that clash with reality as well. In Road to Glory, you take part in practices to build your overall skill level. These are 11-on-11 scrimmages in which you're graded on how many yards you gain per play. But what's most striking is that the quarterback can be lit up. In real college practices, QBs wear different-colored jerseys so they aren't touched, but that level of realism doesn't carry over to the video game. After so many years and iterations, these imperfections become more and more grating. There are also features from previous games that have been removed from the package. In earlier editions of NCAA Football, you could create your own school right in the game. But now you have to go to a separate website. The process is easy, and naming all the players after your friends or favorite players is a lot of fun, but it's strange having such a core component relocated to an outside source. There are still some neat options to let you tinker with NCAA 12, though. You can now build a custom playbook, removing those lame plays that just took up space. And you can customize conferences and decide who gets automatic bids to bowl games. These features are certainly nice, but they're bandages on the many problems in the rest of the experience.
This dancing mascot is the stuff of nightbears.
If you focus on the on-field action, NCAA Football 12 is a great experience. Whether you play against the computer or challenge friends, it's incredibly fun to pull off a successful Hail Mary or sack the quarterback on a critical third down. Sadly, the other modes and features are riddled with problems, and the dusty visuals lag behind the other current football games on the market. Although NCAA 12 is far from a complete experience, it's worth putting up with the off-field problems to get to the exciting action. NCAA Football 12 is a disappointing entry in this venerable franchise, but it's still a fine game if you're itching for some amateur action.
Editor's Note: This review previously contained incorrect information about receivers' routes appearing as squiggly lines. What we believed to be a glitch is, in fact, a feature to show how nervous a quarterback is. GameSpot regrets the error.