NCAA Gamebreaker 2004
Continuing in their effort to put a serious dent in the football game genre, 989 Sports is making another attempt with NCAA Gamebreaker 2004. Fighting an uphill battle, not only are they dealing with high-quality well-designed games already on the market but also overcoming disappointing performances in previous releases. Although noticeably improved over last year's less then stellar release, it still trails significantly, both graphically and in gameplay from the other more established football games on the market.
The good news is the graphics have been redone and are significantly improved from past releases. Ground textures are highly detailed, players are improved with new animations, and widescreen and progressive scan modes are supported. In addition, the stadium shots look great and help to increase the collegiate atmosphere. Unfortunately, games like EA Sports' NCAA Football 2004 clearly outmatch NCAA Gamebreaker 2004 in almost every category graphically and highlight the distance 989 Sports still has to go.
The gameplay is a similar story as the improvements over last year are noticeable, but still behind the market leaders. Additions have been made to the playbook for instance but it still suffers from balance issues like making passing unnecessarily difficult and running the ball slightly too easy. Other issues with the AI also creep in, as a number of times the ball bounced off the head of defenders that made no attempt to catch it. Online play options are available as well, but this is becoming standard on the Playstation 2 with other games offering the same capability.
Although a significantly improved game from last year's release, there is still little reason to purchase it over other more established games. NCAA Gamebreaker 2004 does make a number of strides forward, but still fall yards short of the end zone.