The lights are on
EA Sports' Ultimate Team mode is finally coming to NCAA, and
thankfully your deck won't be filled with QB #6 and HB #23, but with real-life
In the Ultimate Team mode, you get a starter pack of player
cards with which you play real games with in order to earn coins to buy more
packs. By buying packs and competing in auctions to win specific player cards,
you build up your roster with better and better players to compete against
The NCAA franchise as a whole is unable to feature real
college players (hence the anonymous player numbers that are used), but NCAA
14's Ultimate Team mode has found a way around this and features real-life
football players. Using its existing NFLPA license, developer EA Tiburon is
creating Ultimate Team cards for all active NFL players on their college teams – that's over 1,400 players at the game's launch. It's like the worlds biggest college all-star alumni
game featuring everybody from current NFL players like Russell Wilson to former
college greats not currently in the pros such as Andre Ware. There is also a
multitude of guys in between – those whom you may recognize because they
were your school's campus heroes even though they haven't made it big in the
Following the mode's card-collecting philosophy, there will
be multiple versions of some players if they've transferred schools in their
college career, played multiple positions, or different cards for a player's
junior and senior seasons. Like the Ultimate Team mode in other games, NCAA 14
will also encourage collecting as many cards as you can with bonuses for
getting all the cards in a particular collection set, such as all the Heisman
Trophy winners, for example. EA says that it hopes to ultimately have over 2,500 player cards in the mode.
You can play games by either taking on solo, offline
challenges (perhaps based on events such as a top game in the current season, a
bowl game last year, etc.) as well as online via Head-to-Head Seasons. This
mode, started by the FIFA soccer franchise, creates 10-game seasons and eight
tiered divisions of play. You start out at the bottom division and work you way
up via promotion while trying to avoid getting knocked down a division through
relegation. NCAA 14 adds a four-round playoff structure that requires you to
win at least five games in order to qualify (eight victories gets you a first
Unlike some of the other Ultimate Team modes in EA Sports
titles, NCAA 14's version does not feature chemistry between players, coaches, mobile/browser
support, or consumable cards related to stat increases. There will, however, be
customary "contract" extensions that let you continue to use a card and unspecified player items (no mention of
whether these are earned or will cost money) that can be used to help out your
team. The coin cost for different levels of card packs and any info on EA
Tickets (which can be bought with real money and put towards card packs) has
not been revealed yet.
NCAA 14's version of Ultimate Team doesn't feature all the
bells and whistles the mode has enjoyed in other EA Sports titles, but college
football fans should find no problem getting excited about this addictive mode.
For more on NCAA 14, check out this preview on the game's gameplay and this one on its presentation.
Note: The original version of this preview mentioned 2,500+ players in the mode. EA Sports has since clarified that the mode will have over 1,400 players at launch, and that 2,500+ is the goal going forward. The text has been modified to reflect this distinction.
Email the author Matthew Kato, or follow on Twitter, and Game Informer.
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