With all of the hype surrounding Madden NFL 13 and its new Infinity engine, most people are forgetting about the other football game: NCAA Football 13.
Though not as big of a drastic gameplay change as Madden, NCAA does plenty of things right that should keep you entertained.
First of all, the gameplay has seen a few tweaks and adjustments. You notice the new pass trajectories, which is good since it proves it’s not a gimmick. The play-action fake is brilliant; arguably one of the best “little things” I’ve seen in a sports game yet. It also changes the way options work. Gone – OK, not entirely gone – are the days when options were pointless. As an Oregon fan, this is a huge upgrade and game changer. The running game is more polished which can allow a bit more freedom in the lanes. The new animations are noticeable, and the trajectories really help out. But once it’s all said and done, NCAA still feels the same, which isn’t really a good or bad thing in my book. I’m sure, as we play the demo more and the retail version releases, we should all notice some more of the tiny things.
Now on to what will make people stick around with this game: Dynasty.
The biggest improvement is without a doubt recruiting. It has taken a pretty large leap in a very positive direction. Now you can not only call the recruit, but also you can also scout him. Scouting will give you specific ratings for the chosen athlete, which will ultimately decide for you if you want to offer up a scholarship. Also, three- and five-star athletes won’t necessarily become what they’re played out to be; some five-star kid might end up being the biggest bust you know. Then again, that three-star kid who isn’t getting any letters of intent from outside his home state may as well be the next RG3.
Also, when you call a recruit you no longer need to deal with the dreaded pitch carousel. Instead you have the option of pitching whatever the hell you want, or you can gamble and actually ask the recruit what he is interested in. Weird when games implement common sense, right? It’s about time.
Each pitch is based off of how well your team performs on and off the field. For example, if your quarterback is drafted No. 4 overall in the NFL Draft, the Ducks instantly have more pull when it comes to the pitch “Pro Potential” or when recruiting a new quarterback. Also, recruits know the kind of play style you run with. If for example you want the top rated FB, he will only sign on with you if your current FB is actually seeing some reps on Saturdays.
The further you get along with your recruiting, you’ll slowly see the player’s overall rating (yes, the actually overall rating).
One last thing that I saw that deserves mention is the presentation. From the commentary to the ESPN bottom line, EA did a pretty good job. During the game you’ll get dynamic updates which features scores and stats of other important football games. But one thing that isn’t there, that feels like it should, are video highlights. I’m not trying to bring up the old NFL 2K5 argument, just stating that these dynamic updates need those videos. I was told they didn’t want to create fake highlights to avoid repetition, which makes sense. But at least they have actually put the topic on the table and talked about it – something we’ve never really had confirmation of before.
Some of you may be turned off by this preview, especially since the gameplay didn’t get a major overhaul, but with all of the new recruiting tools I’m personally pumped.