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Coach K College Basketball

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Reviewed by Inkhands This is one of the most realistic basketball games I have ever played and it ranks as probably the best I ever played. It's gameplay and it's graphics are high quality and put other basketball games to shame. The amount of depth this game has gives it nearly unlimited appeal and the fact that it is incredibly fun to play puts this right at the top of any of the great sports game, not just basketball. This game was made by EA Sports so it does look very much like NBA Live. It has the same 3/4 view of the court. It also has a lot of the options those games have. Whereas those games focused on pro basketball, this gives you college basketball action. The Coach K of the title is Duke's coach, just in case you didn't know that. There are three modes in this game and they all appear to be rather standard - exhibition, season, and tournament. Of course they are standard in theory, but playing them gives you so much more than the average basketball game. You can choose to play as one of 40 teams. Thirty two of them are considered current teams. They are all ranked from number 1 on down to 32. I won't list them all, but a lot of high profile college basketball teams are included such as UCLA, U Mass, Kentucky, Duke, Indiana, Wake Forest, and Syracuse. The other teams consist of eight classic teams such as the 67 and 72 UCLA teams, 74's Nc State, 76's Indiana, 79's Michigan St, 86's Louisville, 90's UNLV, and of course 92's Duke Blue Devils. Which is to say that these teams were the NCAA champions of that year. The only problem I ever had with this game is the fact that despite the 40 teams included, none of the players on the teams have names. They don't even have made up names. I question the point of the eight classic teams, if their rosters are going to be as blank as those of the 32 current teams. However, that's only a minor complaint, but still it tends to standout. Some of the other options in the game include setting up the rules of the game. You can turn off the fouls and other violations such as traveling, backcourt, and out of bounds. If you want to play a game without any rules then select the Arcade option of play. However, if you want a more realistic basketball experience, then choose Simulation, because that enforces all of the rules of basketball. If you want a mix of the two, then choose custom. You can choose what rules to leave on or off. Another option is how long to make each half between either 2, 5, 10, 15, or 20 minutes long. You can play on one of three difficulty settings - freshman, varsity, and all american, which is of course basically easy, normal, and hard respectively. You also have minor options such as whether or not to have the sounds on or off and auto or manual shot control. During the game you have a certain amount of coaching options. You can set the defensive matchups, in other words who you want to guard who, and whether or not you want any of those players to be double teamed. You can also set up whether or not to have auto or manual substitutions. There are about eleven types of offensive plays and about five types of each. Such offensive plays as isolation, high point, motion, box, and inside plays. The defensive plays have full court, half trap, man to man, 3-2 zone, or 2-3 and a few others. Each of those defensive plays have about five setups, just as the offensive does. Other minor things to note - you can run instant replays and you can check your team stats. At the beginning of each game you get a matchup breakdown. Each team is rated five categories - scoring, rebounding, ball control, defense, and an overall score. This allows you to see how your team stacks up against your opponent. At half time and at the end up the game you get a game breakdown which tells you such things as how many shots were made and missed in the paint, inside, at the 3 point line and you get a look at the leading scorers. A nice thing to bring up is the fact if you are playing a season you aren't trapped into whatever options you selected. You can always change the difficulty setting, the amount of time in each half, and the rules of the game. In season mode you play each of the other 31 teams one time. Then you move into the tournament. If there is any of these games you don't want to play you can just simply choose the simulate option. The game keeps track up the rankings of the teams and it also gives you the Top 25 poll, which tells you how your team was voted each week. The game has three save slots, so up to three seasons or tournaments can be saved at once. There are amazingly good graphics found in this game. The players only have slight differences in appearance, but their movements are very realistic. The way they move their feet when they walk and they way they move their arms around while guarding. When they fall after a foul they will stand up and shake their head around a little trying to shake off their obvious confusion from being knocked down. The dunks look great and the movements are very realistic. The rim moves when a shot or a dunk is missed, the net moves around when it is made, and sometimes the glass in the backboard breaks out after a dunk. Other minor realistic things to note is just how varied the crowd looks. It doesn't just look like a big blob of color like a lot of games have. There are men, women, and children out there. They have different colored clothes and hair and are very easy to identify. There are even steps between the the rows of seats. You won't spend a lot of time actually looking at the crowd, but when it does catch your eye occasionally, you may appreciate the detail put into it. Another minor thing to notice is that the goal has a reflection on the court. In the paint you can see the shadow of the rim and the backboard. Speaking of the court, it is very detailed. Lines can be seen and it gives it a look of bricks on the court. The paint and out of bounds areas change color depending on the stadium or arena you are supposed to be playing at, but the other areas of the court never changes appearance. Still a nice effort put into the court. On the options screens you get a lot of pictures of Coach K, the cheerleaders, the band, the crowd, and teams in play on the court. These all look nice, but they tend to slow down the game's pace. If you want to simply check a couple of stats real fast or change a couple of options, it takes longer than it should, because it is bogged down with these pictures from actual games. Overall though, a lot of effort was put into the graphics and they came out very realistic, colorful, and extremely detailed. As for the sound. There is little music during the actual game. There is a very nice pounding tune that plays over the title and during the options screen. It has a nice beat and it sounds good, but there needed to be more music in the game. The sound effects are all very realistic sounding. From the boos the crowd will give after a foul to them chanting the word defense. The ball is very quiet during dribbling, shooting, and passing which is good when you think about it. I don't really recall the ball ever being loud against the court at actually basketball events, especially not over the noisy crowds. Overall this game sounds like an actual basketball game. It probably needed some more music, but the music and sounds that are heard in this game are very good. Great control in this game, but had a couple of problems with it. Mostly the view of the court is at fault though, because sometimes I had a habit of shooting the ball from behind the goal, which is not a good thing. You can switch defenders easily and pass the ball around without any trouble at all. Shooting requires you hit to the button twice. Dunks aren't a given, sometimes you do miss a dunk or two. Partly because of the timing on the buttons. The only real problem I have with the control is sometimes my player that is in possession of the basketball isn't even in my control. I'll try to switch him over, but this will usually just make him pass the ball. This is a problem sometimes during tight defense, because I'll be trying to gain control of my player while I'm having the ball stolen away from me. For the most part though the controls all work fine in this game. The challenge all depends on which setting you choose, how good you are at basketball, and how the team you are playing ranks. In this game the scores in the categories actually make a difference in how that team plays. Overall though this game can get a little challenging, but for the most part it's not too difficult. The realism this game gives in all categories makes this a highly enjoyable basketball game. It's fast paced and I actually want to set the game to be longer, because it's just so much fun to play. It looks great, it has great options, good control, and it is highly addictive. With all of it's appeal it has very good replay value. It has almost all the qualities a great basketball game should have and for all of these reasons I highly recommend this game. Overall it seldom disappoints and it's simply amazingly fun to play. If you like basketball at all then you should certainly consider playing this game. Graphics - 9/10 Sound - 8/10 Control - 8/10 Gameplay - 10/10 Challenge - 7/10 Fun Factor - 10/10 Replay Value - 9/10 Overall - 9/10

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