Since the Xbox 360 came out, EA Sports has adopted a curious policy of less for more: The 360 versions of popular stand-bys such as Madden, Tiger Woods PGA Tour, and NBA Live are basically pricier stripped-down skeletons of their last-gen console equivalents. At launch time, that extra $10 seemed like a steep price to pay for pretty. More than a year later, EA hasn't changed its ways with NCAA 07 Football, which is almost an entirely different (and again deeper) game on PS2 and Xbox than it is on the 360. But as Rockstar's exemplary Table Tennis proved earlier this year, more doesn't always equal more; sometimes, it's better to have just a few well-refined features than a bunch of half-executed ones.

Capturing that fevered college atmosphere has always been a key point of departure between NCAA Football and Madden; new this year on all versions is a "momentum meter" that shifts around based on key plays and affects a team's performance on future downs. (Or it's supposed to, anyway.) Beyond that negligible improvement, the PS2/Xbox modifies and expands the previous edition's "Race For The Heisman" mode (renamed "Campus Legend") by presenting your homemade athlete with a more complete college experience; in order to succeed on the field, you also need to balance practice and studying with a healthy social life. In other words, you have to do a lot of tedious crap before game-time. The 360 will only take you through a season, but when the graphics are that gorgeous and the controls that flawless, what else do you need?

Beyond the game: "Campus Legend" cheekily acknowledges the joke of "student athletes" by offering majors in Sports Geography and Team Nicknames. Future editions will presumably allow you to accept gifts from alumni and hire a lawyer for your sexual-assault trial.


Worth playing for: The "Tug Of War" mini-game on the 360—in which two teams start at the 50-yard-line and alternate possessions—is a good quick-and-dirty alternative to a full game. The PS2/Xbox version introduces a new ground-level third-person camera on kicking plays that would be a great option for defense, too.

Frustration sets in when: One day, a football game will come out where the user isn't a huge liability in pass coverage. This is not that game.

Final judgment: Pay more for less, because less is more.