Next week, millions (billions) of people are looking forward to the July 15 midnight premiere of Harry Potter, the final movie. While I am seriously looking forward to that, there is something that I can’t wait for even before Thursday night. That’s NCAA Football 12.
This week I downloaded the demo and I noticed a couple things that I really, really liked about the game that will be released July 12 (I will go buy it at Walmart at midnight).
The feature that first and foremost impressed me is the zone defense. This is a feature I’ve never seen in any other college or professional football video game ever! The defenses are so much smarter in this game. In the past, football games have been a sort of “pitch and catch” game, where there are certain plays that are really unstoppable. My friend, Andy, commented about Madden once that when he plays online he, “has a few plays I run all the time where the pass is always completed.”
In that comment is the flaw. Although it has seemed like such a minor flaw, even going unnoticed in years past, the new feature exposes what this college football franchise lacked in past years and what the franchise has been equipped with this year.
Completing passes is tougher than I’ve ever seen in this game. Unlike past seasons, great wide receivers can’t just blow by or out-jump the defense anymore. The athleticism is much more equal this season. Defenders are aggressive, jumping up to deflect passes more often than ever before. No longer will you see footballs going through defenders, or defenders just standing there as the wide receiver makes the catch.
No, that wont be the case anymore. This improved zone defense contributes to an overall great addition to the franchise this season. Overall, the game is much more realistic all the way around.
Although the full version of the game, when released July 12, will see some glitches as games always do, but in the demo I haven’t seen anything to make me weary of glitches to expect. The flow of the game is much smoother and less glitchy. Tackling is much more realistic with momentum and impact playing crucial roles in that. No longer will you see a guy getting wrapped up for a tackle by the defender taking a terrible angle. No, now running backs are much more bouncy, in terms that they bounce off weak tackles. Often it will take 2 or more hits to take a running back down. Also with this, running back resistance is more realistic. In the past, after getting hit on first impact, a running back would just go down. Part of this was because the game liked to feature big hits, so with one hit and running back would crack back and fall down. They’ve gotten rid of that, making big hits occur less often and making tackles tougher.
Also, the offense is much more relied on the quarterback this year. As a QB you can’t just throw up bombs like my friends used to do with Troy Smith to Ted Ginn. Those days are gone. A lob pass, unless executed perfectly, will likely get batted down, or worse intercepted. Defensive backs, to go along with the zone defense feature, are so much smarter this season and so much more realistic and athletic.
As it appears, the quarterback will no longer be able to sit in the pocket and chuck up a Doug Flutie pass. Now, with you as the QB, you need to make the best timing decisions just as QBs do in real life. You need to pass the ball as the receiver is cutting. You need to utilize the pass fake, which actually freezes defenders every once in a while in this year’s game. Quarterbacks have to be much smarter and much more crafty.
Finally, I also enjoyed some minor things in the demo, such as the pregame traditions of Texas and Florida State, two of the four teams featured in the demo. Also, the pregame has returned to featuring a player. Last year, I was disappointed that the creators got away from that, but this year it is much better. The announcers will talk about your star player before each game.
The overall presentation during the game is great, from ESPN’s signature “Game Track” segments, to ESPN graphics, to players and plays of the game and highlights after every quarter, it’s great.
Also, things only I would notice that I loved. The games are no longer “sponsored by” just one company, like Old Spice. In the two games I played, I got games sponsored by two different companies, Sparq and Lowes. Also, I like that this year the endzone celebrations are better and you, the player, are not relied on to create the celebration. Now when your running back breaks into the endzone he will begin celebrating as soon as he gets passed the white line. In the past, your running back would get into the endone and freeze standing up for a moment, until you had to press a button to make them to a celebration. You don’t have to do anything now, and the celebrations are better than ever.
Finally, the lighting is so much better. Along with the zone defense, the lighting is probably one of the best additions I’ve seen in this demo. It’s more realistic. It looks real. The shadows change depending on where your player is and how you are viewing your player. The highlights are even lighter to show the sun has more of an affect. In the past, the difference between shadow and light used to be very, very little.
All of this has made me so excited to go buy the full game and pull an all nighter Monday/Tuesday morning.