Generally favorable reviews - based on 15 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 11 out of 15
  2. Negative: 0 out of 15
  1. The best overall college basketball game on the market. [Jan 2004, p.80]
  2. The best basketball game on the market today. The depth of the Legacy mode will keep you busy for months, and it provides the gameplay to match.
  3. The best college basketball game this year on any system.
  4. Computer AI is the big problem, it's sometimes frustratingly hard, and unrealistic. But that's it. Everything else about ESPN College Hoops is gravy.
  5. Hoops stronger in presentation, graphics, and management but "Madness" being better in gameplay.
  6. A near-total package, but when compared head-to-head with "March Madness 2004," it doesn't feel as exciting or addictive. [Dec 2003, p.94]
  7. 87
    Sure, the game has its flaws, but Legacy mode and Slam Session provide so many thrills and so many hours of good times demanding a wave of everyone in the room, that it's definitely worth the time and money invested.
  8. With solid gameplay feel, exceptional customizability, and a deep legacy mode, ESPN College Hoops is easily recommendable to any college basketball fan.
  9. From the opening sequence, I could tell this was special.
  10. 80
    There are some great innovations, like the lead pass from this year’s ESPN NBA game, that are sorely missed in the College version. This becomes a crucial factor considering rival March Madness bases its game engine on basically the same one as its newest NBA Live installment.
  11. It isn’t a perfect game by any stretch due to some glaring issues with the rebounding and control, but ESPN College Hoops is still the best NCAA game out there right now. It looks better than "March Madness" and the great Legacy mode is unrivaled.
  12. Although the title looks amazing, the gameplay feels a little stiff. In attempting to create the most realistic college experience, Sega took some of the fun out of the game. [Jan 2004, p.116]
  13. It's not the tightest coding ever seen in a videogame. [Dec/Jan 2004, p.85]
  14. 60
    The atmosphere helps make up for some of the deficiencies in the controls and overall stiffness of the game, but additional polish is needed if College Hoops hopes to be an all-American.
  15. 50
    Compared with the graphics in "March Madness," ESPN College Hoops' visuals look a few years old. [Jan 2004, p.63]
User Score

Mixed or average reviews- based on 4 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 2 out of 3
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 3
  3. Negative: 1 out of 3
  1. Sweety
    Feb 15, 2004
    sega makes long skinny human figures with weird proportions and hands look like fly swatters. since the dreamcast days they havent changed their style and it's time to hire a new designer. if you want decent graphics and a realistic representation of athletes in a game then look at what EA is doing. their college hoops game looks and sounds better. so i give an absolute zero because this game has been given a huge amount of love by the press and particularly IGN...i used to trust IGN but they reviewed this game like the coming of jesus, and infact it is a major crap in a box. don't believe me?...just watch a trailer of it and see for yourself. EA rules!!! Full Review »
  2. TremereV.
    Nov 16, 2003
    Let me explain why. The more I have played this game, the more I have begun to see how choppy the gameplay is. No matter what the camera angle is, the gameplay is too jerky and choppy. Sad. Yes, there are sliders to adjust the speed of the game (NORMAL is the default setting), but FAST really makes the players move around like an ant farm, and SLOW makes everything rtdiculously slow. I am sorry to say that this product is looking more and more like last year's product. In fact, that inbounds-steal glitch has popped up again. Once I caught onto the defense, I began to see that it does just about the same thing on every inbounds play. There is no slider setting that can fix this kind of crap. I'm sorry, guys. At first I thouht this game was great (no, I don't buy the "the game will grow on you" crap), but the more I have played it the more I have seen how limited the animations are, how so many frames are missing from the animations, how the players run around like they are on steroids and turn on dimes. Sega, why can't you make a decent college basketball game? Why did you spend so much time expanding the franchise aspect of the game, and so little time with the gameplay, cameras and AI? Guys, I'm returning this piece of garbage. I've played MANY basketball games over the years, and while I will say this game is in SOME ways better than Sega's NBA version this year, the product they put out CLEARLY feels rushed to incompletion, and the gameplay is really very shallow once you have played a couple of games. At first I thought the cutscenes were cool, but now I think they look very cartoonish. You'd think that with the XBox, the graphics (stadiums, players, atmosphere) would look pretty realistic, but that is not the case here. I mean, what the hell is this "let's make the mascots taunt the coaches" crap? How realistic is that? The animation with the coach getting upset on a foul is rediculous. Just one animation. Sad. The free throw mechanism is plum stupid. Also, I noticed a couple of times where the stats were not correct in games, like when one of my players had four points, and after making a three he STILL had four points. I'm not going to lie about this. I was really looking forward to getting this game, but sadly the previews that come out anymore at sites like IGN, GamePro, etc. are very vague (intentional), and don't provide nearly an accurate picture of what the games are really like. There is no doubt in my mind that screenshots are doctored, and only the best screenshots taken are the ones that are shown. I understand, it's a business. But, wow, this business seems to become less honest every year. Hell, I've even seen reviewers writing articles in such a fashion that they seem "just like one of us" with the language they use. Anyway, I hope the rest of you have fun with this game. This could have been a great game, but this not has been Sega's year, that is for sure. I don't really see the sense in simulating my games, because this really isn't a prodct intended for that kind of game. If you want simulation you buy OOTP5, or something along those lines. Oh well, perhaps the upcoming baseball game will be decent. At least I'll be able to get my money back Full Review »
  3. JerryN.
    Nov 15, 2003
    Basically the college version of ESPN NBA Basketball. The gameplay is great and Sega has integrated the college atmosphere into the game successfully. I know there are minor control issues but Legacy mode and the Slam Dunk contest put this over the top. Full Review »