This past college basketball season brought a championship to Kansas, but also left a reigning champion in the dust. The College Hoops series is no more, and that loss leaves gamers with a lone college basketball game: March Madness. The struggling series now has the responsibility of catering to the college basketball crowd and hopefully providing for those people.
Even dating back to the last generation of systems the March Madness series has definitely not been up to the level of the competition that has been presented. So hoping for a stellar outing next season may be asking for a lot, but why not hope for the best?
I will be presenting five ideas in the form of an improvement/wishlist that I would like to see in this series.
*I have played this game after the patch and with the downloadable bracket
*These are in no specific order
This is one of my biggest issues with the game. The game looks fine at a standstill, but the second the players start moving the awkward motions cause the action to fall apart. Simply put, the way the players move take away from any realism that is trying to be achieved whether -- whether it is the crossover animations that don't look smooth, or the way the players rebound where they jump straight up in the air hoping for the ball to warp to their hands. Overall, the animations are just sluggish in general no matter what is going on, and this fault needs to be fixed completely so March Madness can hopefully become a college basketball game that the sport deserves.
When I first bought the game and turned it on for my yearly march madness fix during the actual tournament, I found myself fiddling with the gameplay sliders right away. Out of the box, the game seemed to move so slow no matter whom I was controlling. It did not matter whether I was Texas or CS Fullerton, they both moved and played the same.
Also, fast breaks seemed nonexistent as the opponent would easily catch up because there was no “fast” in the fast break. Basketball is a fast game and this needs to be improved in order to warrant a look next year.
With College Hoops now being a series of the past we only have one place to turn for the authentic college basketball experience, but sadly March Madness did not have very much authenticity last year. The biggest issues are the lack of authentic stadiums and schedules in the dynasty mode. Both of these need to be addressed to add to the overall feel of college basketball and these should be non-issues seeing as how we are in the "next-generation" of systems.
What frustrates me about the lack of stadiums is the fact that in the '08 version of March Madness, the producers had a vote for which stadium they would include in the downloadable NCAA bracket pack. A vote? Are you kidding me? Why can't the producers just add all of those stadiums in the pack? Is that what this series has come to? Maybe next year people will vote for the stadium I want (OK so maybe that complaint is a little on the sour grapes side)...
Yes, I am aware of the EA Locker and it is decent. The main problem is having to be friends with the person before you can look in their locker. It just adds an unnecessary step and may create a hassle for some people as the friends list can only hold so many people. The producers should take a page from the College Hoops series and have a Roster Share-like option for people. This was such a great innovation by 2K which enabled rosters to be posted online in-game, and anyone could pull a roster up and download it to his or her hard drive. Genius.
One last issue I want to touch upon has to deal with instances of the A.I. Sometimes in the game, the A.I. will show flashes of brilliance making a great give-and-go or a great post play to their big man. But in other cases, the A.I. can be just dumb and pointless. There are instances on fast breaks for example, where the A.I. opponent will catch up and force a 2-on-1, but once he gets there he does nothing.
Other instances include the opponent stealing passes that they had no business stealing, and the ridiculous amount of times the A.I. tries to draw charging fouls.
Were there things that were done right with this game? Absolutely, the post-game was brilliant and the dynasty mode was great in spite of the schedules. This game shows promise, but promise is not what we need, we need results.