Bishop Tart: From everything I've seen of NCAA Football 13, it looks like EA is actually trying this year. A majority of the things implemented this year -- shovel pass, five- and seven-step dropbacks, throw-on-run animations, etc. -- should have been put into past iterations. But hey, at least we're getting them now, right?
The big new feature in NCAA 13, for me at least, is the fact that super LB's and super DB's are basically no more. With new pass trajectories and the fact that DB's will now read and react to plays instead of just jumping routes, expect games to be played a lot differently online.
Being able to lead your receiver on slants and fades, and throw it high for jump balls is another big feature. All of that will be done with the left stick and I think that -- along with the lack of super LB's -- will make passing a little easier this year.
Last year you would see the same catch animation a dozen times a game. Thankfully, with the introduction of 430-plus catch animations, that won't happen in NCAA 13. Also, with 16 more dropback animations than in NCAA 12, the offensive side of the ball is going to feel much different than years past. Making it to where you can't throw a ball to a receiver until "he reaches a point in the route where he expects the ball or is looking at the QB" is a great addition to the game as well.
Players staying in their lanes during punts and kickoffs, THANK YOU EA & TIBURON! That's always been a nuisance for me; trying to return a punt but then six or seven defenders all swarm you immediately after fielding the punt.
Honestly, I could go on all day giving my thoughts on the improvements in NCAA Football 13, but I wanted to focus on the things that intrigued me the most. Usually this time every year I get excited for the game, and I'm usually disappointed come late July after the game has been out for a few weeks. I see that changing this year, though. With the vast improvements being applied this year, I think I can safely say NCAA 13 looks like a solid winner in my book.
Jayson Young: Modern football has transformed into a game dictated by quarterbacks, their pass protectors and the other team's pass rushers.
While NCAA Football 13 features some great upgrades for quarterbacks, the early gameplay footage shows no noticeable improvements for blockers and blitzers. Regardless of how much NCAA Football's quarterback play improves, those two key parts of its passing game continue to look unrealistic and outdated.
Double team pass blocking remains absent, as offensive linemen who are not engaged still stand in place, twitching and turning around looking confused. This is inexcusable for a football franchise entering its seventh season on the Xbox 360/Playstation 3.
Interior defensive linemen still appear content to play "patty cake" and slap hands with blockers instead of driving their man back into the quarterback's face.
Defensive ends are still getting stuck in hand-fighting animations at the line of scrimmage instead of sprinting upfield at the snap. The NCAA Football team said during the live stream that they wanted to prevent users from holding down the joystick and dropping back 20 yards as soon as the ball is snapped. Letting the defensive ends get up the field would solve that issue instantly.
Finally, "suction blocking" was marketed last year as having been "fixed" in EA's football games, but I'm still seeing instances where pass rushers break free with a clear path to the quarterback, only to get "suctioned" into a blocker and turned away from the play.
Matthew Coe: With the gameplay reveal on April 17, I saw a lot of things I like. I also didn't see a lot of things that needed to be improved, changed, or just plain fixed. We've seen nothing about OL/DL interaction which is where the game of football is often won or lost. The lineman play has been a real low point for both NCAA and Madden this generation. WR/DB interactions were similarly not shown. The jostling at the line of scrimmage, the hands on the receiver five yards down the field, etc. I guess I still have a lot of questions about things I had hoped that EA would address.
Sure, the changes to the QB position seem like winning improvements. But the other areas that seem to have been neglected again, are really bothering me.
On the bright side, the improvements to passing are long overdue. I welcome the new pass trajectories and the promise of "super-linebackers" being toned down. I'm suspect of the new read and react defense, I hope it's not just animations on top of the same old psychic defense. The promise of 430 new catch animations and the ability to hot route running backs into more appropriate routes make me very happy. The new play action tweaks might just make them something other than useless clutter in the playbook this year.
The early sound and gameplay reveals have me cautiously optimistic about NCAA Football 13. While we've seen and heard some pretty cool improvements in the audio & gameplay department, I'm still in wait and see mode.
Dustin Toms: I love how they added in a huge load of receiving animations, but in order to get the ball to your wideout you need to protect your quarterback. That's where the line interactions come in. I want to see if lead blocking is actually working or if blitzers can walk through my linemen. The game of football, like Matt just mentioned, is won in the trenches. We never hear anyone complain about receiving animations, so put a little focus on the lines and go from there.
The drop backs and fake play action plays are nice, but after watching the footage, it all still looked a little too systematic. Hopefully I'm just being picky, or wrong in general. And that pump fake...I am not a fan of it.
As for the Sights and Sounds released a couple weeks back, I loved all of it. Improved sounds and commentary is a huge issue in the football games. Madden 12's commentary is what ultimately led me to shelving the game. But by taking another page out of 2K's book, EA had the three anouncers come in and just go with the flow. That's exactly what needed to happen.
All in all, I'm expecting a solid game this year in NCAA 13. I doubt it will be life altering, but I'll get my fair share of hours in.
Chris Sanner: Any excitement I do have is going to be tempered by what we know is the two steps forward, two steps back mentality of EA Football this generation. For everything that goes right, it seems like a few other things tend to go wrong.
With that said, I really like the additions to the gameplay. Those who have read my thoughts on the NCAA series for years know that a better passing game with WR/DB interactions needing vast improvement plus better passed ball trajectories has been one of my sticking points. So the fact this is at least being revamped this year is a big step up.
However, the questions people are asking are valid. WIll the offense be overpowered? Will the animations actually work? Will receivers actually look towards the QB when they are supposed to? A million things could still go wrong, but if executed correctly this year's NCAA Football promises to easily be the best playing one yet this generation (as it should be).