NCAA March Madness 2002
Review of NCAA March Madness 2002
EA Sports has taken the game engine from their wildly popular NBA Live 2002 game and ported it over to their NCAA March Madness Game. Like the NBA title, the graphics are outstanding and have even been improved. The player movements are even more natural and fluid than in the NBA version. The officials are not visible in this title, which differs from the NBA version. You hear the whistle and then the foul shot or inbounds is rewarded. The players are rendered very well and the polygons are smooth and without seams. The playing surface and nets are outstanding.
Overall, the background renderings are on par with the NBA title, but there are some shortcomings from having this on a CD rather than a DVD. One thing that is noticeable right away is not all Division I teams are listed. Certain “lesser” conferences whose champion is the only representative are only listed as the conference champion. None of the teams in that conference are listed. The Ivy League usually qualifies as a “lesser” conference if you apply the rules, but they made the cut so Harvard can play Duke if you want. The arenas are pretty generic. They have all of the markings for the school, but there is no attempt to ‘look’ like the arena they play in. One final thing I noticed was there seems to be the same head coach for every team.
Playability is nearly identical to NBA Live. The main improvement is on the graphics, so the player dunks are more animated. Before you know it, you’ll be winning games, then moving up in the skill level to keep it challenging. The camera angles are a bit different and the game defaults to the on the court angle from behind the player facing the offensive basket. That angle can be annoying, depending on your preferences, so there are several other options to choose from. I didn’t like the other available camera angles though, there were better ones in the previous versions. It probably is because of the improved graphics on the players has pushed the camera work back. It certainly is not terrible, but not great either. This is not any difference from NBA Live here.
The game play modes are pretty basic. There is the standard quick play to get going right away. There is tournament mode that simulates the field of 64 to run your favorite team(s) as far as you can take it—hopefully all the way to the NCAA Championship. If your team didn’t make the cut, then create-a-school will let you build your team and set the players to the specs of your school. Or, for the hell of it make up your own school of mutants to beat up on the NCAA.
The sound effects and sounds are excellent. That’s a little bit odd. The play-by-play announcer and color announcer are both excellent and not too much overlap in the repeated phrases. There seem to be enough canned phrases to keep the action sounding real.
OUR PLEDGE: We promise that we have fully played 'NCAA March Madness 2002' before writing this review. The scores given above are our honest opinion and were not influenced in any way by the manufacturer or distributor of the game.
This review was written by Tom Downey © Absolute PlayStation
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