For too long, the NCAA Football series has been completely stale on the presentation front, with cutscenes that have been around for years now mixed with presentation elements that seem to be thrown together with no real rhyme or reason. That plus the incredibly drawn out game intros mixed with very little game awareness logic from the commentators of how games were unfolding just made for a relatively stale and souless experience.
This year, EA hopes to change all of that with new and targeted presentation additions and changes.
EA wants you to get into the game's quicker this year.
EA Sports is introducing a new element into the NCAA Football presentation which they are calling “Blur tempo.”
According to EA, one of the common complaints from consumers the past few years has been the fact pregame festivities can take two to three minutes before you get into the game. This year, EA has eliminated much of the 'fluff' and most of the meat and potatoes of school traditions, etc. are packed within about 30 seconds or so.
For example, it used to take around two minutes for a game in Austin, Texas to actually get to the coin toss (without hitting the A button to dismiss things of course). This year, the NCAA team kept a lot of the moments everyone is used to seeing, like traditions, but now all of those elements are going to be in a quick 30 to 45 second video, showcasing those most memorable moments before starting the game.
One has to wonder if this was a space saving decision, or something else. It looks like EA wants to get you on the field faster, but most of the people who want that already are mashing the A button to skip through anyways.
500 new 'vignettes' will be spaced in between plays this year.
New Cut-Scenes and Camera Angles
The old ‘legacy’ vignettes within NCAA Football for years have been replaced by 500 new vignettes, none of them longer than 3 seconds long which are designed to trigger at the right times. Replay angles look much better this year with various camera angles that are much better than prior years.
Speaking of camera angles, you can now select from a normal, zoomed in, wide and broadcast view. But the broadcast view isn't like Madden, it's actually quite interesting how the NCAA team did it. You can see more of the field in the same up and down view (not horizontal like Madden) but after the snap, it sort of pans out, where you can see a lot more of the field, I wish I was allowed to capture a video showcasing it.
Personally, after I switched to the new broadcast camera angle, I couldn't go back. I’m hoping Madden NFL 25 has that view as well, or has improved their broadcast horizontal view so you can see more of the field. Regardless, I think many players will enjoy the new broadcast view.
A new UI on the front end is similar to the way Madden NFL 13 looked like, it will be dynamic, so when you are running through your dynasty, it will show things like season stats, injured list, who's visiting, etc. Coming out of the game, it shows statistical information like team and game stats instead of having to pause the game to get to the menu to look at them.
The NCAA team is hoping the new storylines feature enhances the in-game experience.
New In-Game Storylines
Drive stories and key player stories have been added in the commentary department to help bolster the in-game experience which has admittedly, been pretty stale for a couple of seasons.
For key player stories, the announcers will talk about how a key players performance is affecting the game. With drive stories, it shows a banner of the last five drives (for example, TD, TD, PUNT, INT, Fumble) and the commentators will talk about how the team started out hot, but is cooling off down the stretch.
Both features seemed cool, but we will have to wait to see them utilized over more games to get a better idea of how they perform.
New equipment and base layers have been added into the game.
Equipment, Other Odds and Ends
On the equipment side of things, the team has added gloves and base layers this year. The NCAA team has also added many of the uniforms missing from last year and more for this year. Also, uniforms are getting more support for post-launch eqipment additions.
For example Cal just announced new uniforms at their Spring game, but they won't be available on disc. However, Cal's new uniforms likely will be added post launch, but there was no mention if there will be a cost.
NCAA 14 has many of the gloves that feature the logos in the palms, including players that will make the "O" for Oregon, Miami holding up the "U".With base layers, you will see teams like Tennessee with the checkerboard on the outside of the sleeve and Rocky Top on the inside. Florida St. has the camo and FSU base layer.
The new FBS programs of South Alabama, Old Dominion and Georgia St. are in.
For those curious about neutral site games in dynasty, all 3 Kickoff Classic Games are in (Chick-fil-A (Georgia Dome), Cowboy (Cowboys Stadium), Texas (Reliant). EA has also brought over Soldier Field, MetLife and M&T Bank from Madden. So you can have those games setup in dynasty with the correct location and you can edit your schedule for neutral field stadiums as well.
A new halftime show will be a part of NCAA 14's presentation.
Reese Davis and David Pollack are showcased in the new halftime show in NCAA 14. In the build I saw, you never saw them in studio, but you did see key replays from the game and the guys talking over them. The NCAA Football 14 halftime show is presented by Nissan.
In the game I played, neither team got to the quarterback and recorded a sack. So during the halftime show, Reese mentioned that the pass rush has been totally negated. Reece then asks David what the defensive coordinator is telling his players at halftime to make adjustments in the 2nd half to get after the QB. David then talks about not only being able to sack the QB, but also getting pressure, rattle him a little bit, he made a joke about how defensive players were a little fat and the offense gets off the ball quicker.
It seems like the half time crew will lead off with Reese stating an obvious statistical observation and Pollack providing an answer as to how the teams will adjust. Hard to say, it could be more, and it could be even more when the Bowl games are played, but it was good to see highlights from the game, as they were talking and these were key plays in the game, not just an average play from a camera angle that didn't even make sense or was focused on the wrong player, etc.
The presentation looks to be much improved over last year, with several additions really showing off progress in an area that the NCAA series has needed it. We hope to get more hands on time with the game, but things look positive on the presentation front thus far for sure.