NCAA Gamebreaker 2001
Here's a good example of a title marking its time before the jump to the PS2. Aside from the prerequisite updates (rosters and play-by-play) it doesn't push the envelope too hard. Just the same there are changes. First off, there's a larger variety of tackles and broken tackle animations. Players don't go down after the first hit. Often after a shuffle or a glancing blow they're moving down field again. It's definitely entertaining to watch. In general it seems like the special moves are more effective too. The once-cumbersome "super-move" controls have been simplified to a double tap. Time your juke, spin, stiff-arm and jump and you're racking up big running yards in no time. The college atmosphere is helped along by 30 new fight songs, play-by-play from the king of college football--Keith Jackson and 60 more historic teams. Currently 989 is fixing a few bugs but they promise GB 2001 will make its August release date.
Download NCAA Gamebreaker 2001
One of the best parts of GameBreaker has always been the play-by-play of Keith Jackson. He may have retired from true-life broadcasting (most of it at least), but he remains the voice of college football in GameBreaker 2001. Some of the highlights in this year's game include 115 Division 1A teams plus 6t classic teams from the past. There are also 16 bowl games and the prestigious Heisman trophy as well. Improvements have been made to the animation, specifically the special moves. Hopefully the juke step won't look as jerky as it did last year. For the daring, a multitap allows up to eight players. Look for 989 Sport's NCAA GameBreaker 2001 this August.
Normally GameBreaker isn't as tight as GameDay, but I think the tables have turned. While not incredibly different from 2000, GB 2001 is an improvement. They've plugged many of the Al holes that soured the fun last year. For the most part computer coverage is adequate--not spectacular but not crazy either. Defenders aren't running away from the ball or making as many brainless decisions. That's the good news, but for several small reasons I still can't warm up to the game as a whole. For starters, the players move inconsistently. They "skitter" or jolt around in an unrealistic way (probably due to frame skipping). In contrast, the special moves (like diving and cutting) happen at a slower speed, almost in siow-motion. If everything were smooth and uniform it'd be easier to find holes in the line or track individual players. As is, when the camera pans out the line becomes a jumble of indistinct humanity. Running a player through is more a crap shoot and Less a calculated maneuver like it should be. I sure hope things will be different on the PS2 version. One other problem: "pan-caking" receivers downfield without drawing a flag is cheap. Why the computer lets this happen I don't know. On a positive note, Keith Jackson is great. He's got a tot to say and it's in sync with the action. Overall, GB fans should be happy with this edition but in my opinion it's still not in the same league as NCAA Football.
While developers turn their attention to the next generation of consoles, that doesn't mean quality should be forsaken on 32-Bit titles. GameBreaker does an admirable job of satisfying PlayStation-owning, hardcore college football fans. Thankfully, interfaces have become fairly homogeneous on football games and GB does not attempt to reinvent the wheel--learning the game is pretty intuitive. All the college teams are represented including classic teams, and the gameplay is smooth. The Keith Jackson commentary is great, and GB also delivers with a good running game, an efficient passing system, and some cool tackling effects.
As the years pass, it becomes more apparent that GameBreaker is never going to shake loose from being a sloppy football game, at least on the PS. There's a lot to like in the game, such as Keith Jackson's quips, the hard-hitting sounds and the arcade gameplay, but there's almost as many annoyances. The computer intelligence isn't very good, the interface is ugly, the players have no momentum (and can turn on a dime no matter what), and good lord, if they don't change how the pitching works, I'm going to have 10 fumbles a game. EA's NCAA Football 2001 has better gameplay and more features, I suggest sticking with that one.