Let's cut straight to it: It's a fun game to play. If you like football sims, and you liked Madden you'll love NCAA Football 2004. Yes it sorta looks like Madden, yes it kinda plays like Madden, so what keeps this game from being Madden Jr.? Extras, extras, extras.
The scope of the game is mind blowing. There are more teams than colleges I've ever heard of. To top it off, this year they've added 165 new teams, and over 100 new classic teams complete with throwback uniforms and those suicidal leather helmets. Can't find your alma matter (what kind of funky school did you go to?) then just create it.
Of course the biggest changes this year have to be online play and the EA sports bio. OK, it has to be said by someone, somewhere... EA what the stink are you doing!!! Yes, I appreciate being able to play online with my PS2, but come on, no Xbox Live support? Is this a joke? What does Sony have pictures of y'all in 'compromising situations' at a launch party or what? Get in the game folks, Xbox is a huge sports market and it's just plain silly not to offer Xbox Live Support. OK, I'll put away the soapbox now, and save it for when John Romero decides to release another game. Yes, like all new EA sports titles it does support the PS2 network adaptor, and you can now use that Socom USB headset to trash talk your opponents, the Lower Alabama Mudhawgs, while you play. Perhaps even more interesting is the addition of the EA Sports Bio.
New additions and gimmicks aside NCAA Football 2004 is a solid game. Good graphics (Xbox version does look best, especially if you have HDTV), good sound, great controls and gameplay, and heaps of extra goodies and unlockables. All in all a very worthy purchase, and quite a fun game. Heck, after pounding away at NCAA Football 2004 I may just have to check out a few more games this year.