Tuesday, July 13, 2010
12:43 PM - July 13, 2010. Written by MMChrisS

I'm not sure what else can be said about NCAA Football 11 but I'm going to try.

First off, Christian wrote an anthology on why the game is much improved in the official OS review. So if you want meatier details, hit that review up.


Gameplay - The gameplay is the best ever for a football game, and I have little reservations about that. There are some issues that need to be sorted out, but the overall package is very impressive.

New Online Dynasty Features - I love the new features within Online Dynasty. I'm counting down the days until Online Dynasty = Dynasty mode -- because we all know it's happening.

Graphics - The graphics have taken a huge leap forward this year. They are among the best in Sports Gaming now, and that's always a good thing.

Pro-Tak/LocoMotion- I really am a believer in these systems now. The difference they make fundamentally on the gameplay is just absurd (in a good way).

Auto-Turbo- Kudos to Tiburon for modernizing their game and taking out the speed burst (if you choose to that is). This makes the game so much more enjoyable, it's a very subtle but fundamental change to how you approach each play.

Different Play Styles- For the first time this generation, Navy runs the ball 40 times a game, Oklahoma will do whatever they want to you, and Baylor is sure to get Robert Griffin a run play or seven per game. This is big league stuff.

Blocking- In my demo review, I noted there were some issues with the pulling blockers. Those issues are fixed and the blocking is easily the best I've ever seen in football games. I'm very impressed.

ESPN Integration- I like the ESPN integration on the surface but....


ESPN/Presentation - ...it's only surface deep. With the gameplay nearing a level where I'd say only minor tweaks are needed year to year, it's time to start focusing on how to make the game seem more authentic outside of the gameplay.

Commentary- Step #1 to the above should be commentary. Lots of out of place lines being spoken this year and it just seems boring/stale/bad.

Road to Glory- This mode is just plain stale, literally the exact same thing you've been playing now for quite awhile.

Innovation/Dynasty Mode/Please? - Speaking of a mode being the same, Tiburon has managed to once again change how recruiting is done, taken some control away from you, and still managed to make the mode feel stale and without direction. The online dynasty features help, but it's still fundamentally the same mode we've been playing since 1998. It's time for a change.

Bugs Galore- There are numerous little bugs which need to be fixed. I had a safety charged against me once because my QB faked a hand-off and then did a moon walk 60 yards backyards out of the back of the end zone -- and I had nothing to say to the contrary. Perhaps the digital athletes are revolting for our stupidity in our playcalls -- or perhaps the game just has some bugs that need to be fixed?

The Bottom Line: If you are a fan of the sport or of the game, this is a must buy. The gameplay is the best in a football game ever, and I say that with little reservation. I'd go far as to say that EA's focus next year should be on modernizing Dynasty, Road to Glory, etc. and just trying to not go overboard on tuning the gameplay. They're starting to get that close now. However, the game is far from perfect overall and lots of work still needs to be done for NCAA 12. Oh and we desperately need a second patch to fix the nagging issues.

Chris' NCAA Football 11 Rating:
My ratings explained.
Chris is the Executive Editor of Operation Sports and maintains this blog on the site. He is also a native Oklahoman and avid storm chaser. You can follow him on Twitter @ChrisSnr.
Blog: MMChrisS
Monday, July 12, 2010
06:14 PM - July 12, 2010. Written by jmik58

How do your MLB preseason predictions look?
Blog: jmik58
It's finally happening.

The Dark Ages of sports gaming are coming to an end.

NCAA Football has gone from a game stuck in a weird spot of not horrible quality but sideways movements from year to year to a game which took a monumental leap forward in a single year. Even more importantly, I think we might be on the cusp of a new renaissance in sports gaming.

Soccer gamers have a great title. Basketball gamers have two solid titles, both of which are set to take it to the next level this year. Hockey gamers have EA's NHL, which is the unquestionable king of Hockey games throughout history. Baseball gamers have The Show and a rapidly improving MLB 2K.

It almost feels like the early 2000s again, when sports games improved by leaps and bounds each year and there was something exciting to look forward to each year. It seems like football games were the last piece in the puzzle, since it seems like they lead the pack in terms of exposure -- both good and bad. The only real thing missing that was present in the 2000s is enough games in each sport to make a man go broke. While I wholeheartedly dismiss the notion that competition creates better games (there is no sales or critical evidence to support such a claim) -- it's always good for gamers to have options.

Nonetheless, we are trudging forward in a console generation with 3-4 more good years left in it and it really feels as if developers are finally starting to figure out how to produce quality titles which are noticeably better than their previous generation cohorts for this generation of consoles at 2K and EA.

So tonight, with NCAA Football 11 hitting store shelves to it's highest reviews in nearly half a decade, it feels like a moment of rebirth for our genre. I was extremely worried that NCAA was about to become one of the stalest titles on the market after last year's title showed little to no improvement. But this year? This year is different.

It almost feels like good times are rolling again.
Chris is the Executive Editor of Operation Sports and maintains this blog on the site. He is also a native Oklahoman and avid storm chaser. You can follow him on Twitter @ChrisSnr.
Blog: MMChrisS
Saturday, July 10, 2010
Friday, July 9, 2010
Thursday, July 8, 2010
Wednesday, July 7, 2010
07:20 PM - July 7, 2010. Written by SBartlett
Hey guys, my friend and I have been playing through the demo a bunch so far this month and here are some of the rankings he came up with. He wrote this up for OS and his blog won't post so I am posting it for him here. Thanks and enjoy.

NCAA Demo Team Ranks

By Rob Tufo

Every year in mid to late summer true football gamers begin preparing for the start of the gaming season. So for my first commentary for Operations Sports, I felt it essential to take an in depth look into the demo for NCAA Football 11. Although a demo is an elementary version of the soon to be released game, you can still get a good sense of what is to come.

NCAA Football 11 has 4 games in this demo. The demo games have 4 quarters with 2 minutes in each quarter. Truly the option which can be adjusted with regards to the initial game setup is the skill level (Freshman, Varsity, All-American, Heisman), the weather conditions and time of day are all determined by the game and will not change.

The 4 games in this demo are Miami at Ohio St (Sept. 11, 2010), Texas vs. Oklahoma (Oct. 2, 2010), Florida at Florida State (Nov. 27, 2010) and Clemson at Missouri (not scheduled this season). As research, I played each of these games at the very least 4 times (twice with each team). Playing with any team one time in an 8 minute game (even in a demo) is not enough to assess the overall playability of a squad. However, after the second game, I was able to explore the offensive playbook and understand the system much better than after the first.

Looking at offense, the game designers continued to do a great job of incorporating a number of team specific plays such as the ďGator HeavyĒ set of the Florida Gators and the ďMonsterĒ of Missouri. Even though not every team has these specific plays, the offensive systems which are in place at each schools mirrors the schools overall style of play exceptionally well. This can be seen in the Miami at Ohio St. game as both teams have a balanced attack; however they go about it in different ways. The looks provided with Ohio St. have minor subtitles (more single back plays) than a Miami. This separation of very similar offenses makes NCAA Football 11 more realistic outside of graphics.

But onto the serious business, with college players constantly changing, it is crucial to know which teams are the best (outside of the rankings). As many gamers have come to realize, just because your team has a strong national ranking, doesnít mean they will stack up when it comes to playing a lower ranked team in a game.

With this in mind I have crafted 4 ranking systems for the 8 teams included in the demo; special teams, defensive, offense and most playable.

When assessing the overall video game talent of a team, speed and plays are very important. To start, both Florida and Miami have exceptional speed and it shows all over the field especially on Special Teams. In each game I have played with these teams (I have played about 5 games with each team) I have returned at least 1 kick off or punt for a touchdown. This gives any player a huge advantage in the game. Florida got the top notch in this category as I had 3 return TDs in a game more than once.

Top Special Teams:
4.Ohio St.
5.Florida St.

Moving forward, the defense is really the same for every team, so I looked for tackling ability and interceptions. Ohio St. and Texas stood out from the pack in those categories. I did not feel like I was missing tackles or dropping easy interceptions which these teams. Actually, these teams made some surprisingly nice interceptions which were not seen in other games. Ohio St. got the top notch in this category because they had the same performance as Texas playing against the more impressive offense of Miami.

Top Defense: *Corrections made
1.Ohio St.
7.Florida St.

Looking at offense, my rankings are based on how I play specifically. Ohio St., Florida and Miami are the top talents on offense. Ohio St. has great speed, playmakers at specialty positions but most importantly they have the best QB for gaming. Terrelle Pryor (who is similar to Miamiís Jacory Harris) has great accuracy and arm strength but most importantly has speed. If he is your QB, you should NEVER get sacked as he can open things up substantially through speed. Miami could be and probably should be the #2 offensive but their play book does not flatter that offense as it is very hard to pass the ball. This could also be the effect of playing the best defense in the game.

Top Offense:
1.Ohio St.
6.Florida St.

Ohio St., Florida and Miami are my top ranked teams to play with. As you heard me exclaim from above Ohio St. is really the best team to be for many reasons. Florida is another great team; although they do not have a running QB, the offense has some plays which I havenít seen stopped even when I was playing on the Heisman Level even when the speed is on the sidelines. Defensively they are very difficult to pass against.

Top Overall Team:
1.Ohio St.
6.Florida St.

Miami is my sleeper team for this game. They have a lot of speed and talent which when used properly can stop the best team in the demo in its tracks. Jacory Harris has speed which can be used to evade pass rushers and pick up great yardage. Unfortunately, by playing Ohio St. one mistake and the game was all but in Ohio Stís control. If you can get past Ohio St., this could be the team to beat in all online dynasty games.
Blog: SBartlett
06:24 AM - July 7, 2010. Written by Steve_OS
If any of these links interest you, talk about them.QOTD: Which games are currently in your rotation?

Happy Birthday to the following OS'ers!

Richzilla (42), uncguy (28), steeluk (21)
Blog: Steve_OS
Tuesday, July 6, 2010
05:54 AM - July 6, 2010. Written by Steve_OS
If any of these links interest you, talk about them.QOTD: Do you feel sports games need to be released every other year, with only roster updates in between?

Happy Birthday to the following OS'er!

RustedWalleye (39)
Blog: Steve_OS
Monday, July 5, 2010
10:37 AM - July 5, 2010. Written by Steve_OS
If any of these links interest you, talk about them.QOTD: How was your 4th of July weekend, get many games in?

Happy Birthday to the following OS'ers!

Mos1ted (27), bigal093, jmood88 (22), MizzyMike05 (19)
Blog: Steve_OS
Friday, July 2, 2010
07:05 AM - July 2, 2010. Written by Steve_OS
If any of these links interest you, talk about them.QOTD: It's Friday! What are you up to this weekend, which games will you be playing?

Happy Birthday to the following OS'ers!

Spin (40), spin1993 (40), rudyjuly2 (38), rsump112 (37), dbeth (33), Spear (22), Kyle1778
Blog: Steve_OS
Thursday, July 1, 2010
I've always been a numbers guy, which is probably why I love sports so much. Numbers are meaningful because they rarely lie. You can cut through rhetoric and emotion and get at the root of the issue in a hurry with numbers.

When it comes to a company defining success with a game, the characteristics with this generation have been to 1)Sell Well and 2)Produce games which are received well critically. Most companies use Metacritic for #2 and have their own access to sales numbers for #1. So what I did is use Metacritic and the next-best thing to my own financial board for sales numbers, VGChartz. With the exception of The Show, I kept this simple and simply opted for the 360 versions of each game for head to head comparisons and for total numbers, as I feel that console represents the best possible case study on a budget (in time).

There are some obvious conclusions which I was able to come to within this study. First, game quality (as judged by critics across the internet) has been on the increase in our genre this entire generation. On anecdotal evidence alone, I'd agree with that assessment. Sales rose for four years before dropping off somewhat in the genre last year, although the final tally isn't in.

When you look at the sales numbers from the two major companies in our genre, EA Sports and 2K Sports, you see a couple of important tidbits. First off in EA's graph, you see the company's total sales have been on the increase this entire generation. Also, fans of NCAA basketball should take note as to just how small the sales were for that game, and just how little it being gone will affect the bottom line of the company.

As for 2K, sales peaked with the '09 titles and have fallen somewhat this year. You can also see that the two games which didn't produce much in the way of sales for the company -- NHL and College Hoops) were axed. Also, note that MLB 2K suffered a large drop in sales in with MLB 2K10, the final numbers aren't in yet for the game, but sales will definitely be down. That's not a good sign for the 2K Sports brand considering they needed sales to increase dramatically to pay for the exclusive MLB license.

Tomorrow, I'm going to look at the relationship between review scores and sales as well as revisit the competition nugget from the perspective of the numbers that matter. Look for a rather controversial blog tomorrow! In the meantime, what do you make of the graphs shown today, are games getting better over time? Was EA justified in dropping NCAA Basketball? Sound off!
Chris is the Executive Editor of Operation Sports and maintains this blog on the site. He is also a native Oklahoman and avid storm chaser. You can follow him on Twitter @ChrisSnr.
Blog: MMChrisS