NCAA Football 14 is finally available, providing millions of dedicated and casual college football fans a number of exciting features and online options. One huge addition to this year's game is Ultimate Team, a staple in other EA Sports titles, including FIFA 13 and Madden NFL 13. This allows you to create your own custom squad from scratch, using superstars that are in their collegiate prime.
Due to NCAA licensing, you aren't able to use current college football players in your Ultimate Team deck. To get around this, EA Sports struck a deal with the National Football League Players Association to utilize 1,400 pros with their college football alma maters. For instance, Peyton Manning doesn’t represent the Denver Broncos, but rather his old University of Tennessee squad.
A number of pros are available with their college records intact. Bo Jackson returns to video games for the first time in years, donning his old Auburn Tigers colors, Randy Moss shows his Marshall University pride and Alex Smith backs the Univeristy of Utah. With so many players available, you'll have no problem finding alumni.
When you first get started with Ultimate Team, you'll have to pick a school. You can start just about anywhere, whether it's your home team or a more popular squad, like the highly skilled Alabama Crimson Tide. From there, you'll access a number of playbooks for that team, as well as the most currently used home and away uniforms.
Upon introduction to your card deck, you'll receive enough players to fill your roster in a number of positions, including quarterback, wide receivers and tight ends. More can be added using virtual currency, which you earn by completing certain goals in games or challenging other players. The more you earn, the better cards you can afford and the more your deck will expand.
With Ultimate Team, you can play in either Solo Challenges or Head-To-Head Seasons mode. Solo Challenges is a great place to start, as you can adjust the CPU difficulty and learn what your squad is capable of. You can change members of your squad depending on player availability and earn new additions. Some require certain goals to unlock – like completing a certain number of yards in a game – but they're worth it.
Once you think you're good enough, you can take challenges online through the Head-To-Head Seasons mode. Here you can pit squads against one another in 10-game seasons, with eight tiers of opponents available. As you win games, you'll not only unlock additional Ultimate Team rewards, but also earn a higher seed in the playoffs, giving you a better chance to win even more goods. Winning it all grants you greater rewards, so don't be afraid to chase after the championship.
Ultimate Team will add Collections throughout the year, so you can continue to expand your stack a number of ways. You can earn bigger coin payouts – which in turn let you buy more valuable cards as well as exclusive player packs. Rivalry games will also present the opportunity to pick up special edition packs, which aren't normally on the market. Pay close attention to your schedule to see when these contests are – and prepare to bring everything you've got to the field.
When it comes to choosing a line-up, you can easily browse through your pack and see what players are right for the job. If you're in a hurry, you can also have the CPU make choices for you, slotting ideal players into position.
Best of all, Ultimate Team comes with a trading system. If you're stuck with cards featuring players you don’t need, you can set them up in a market with a minimal bidding price and see who's interested. Not every card is guaranteed to be as much of a best seller as, for example, Bo Jackson, but it beats having useless players in your deck.
The market can also work to your advantage if you can't find a player you really want. A search option lets you find just what you're looking for. We did a search for the Patriots' Tim Tebow under his old stomping grounds at University of Florida and found numerous ways to get his card. This is an ideal option for those who want a superstar squad, provided he or she can afford it
As you can see, Ultimate Team has a lot to offer in NCAA Football 14. With the currency system and the ability to unlock special content, you'll spend hours creating the perfect team.
NCAA Football 14 is available now for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.