So, I desperately want to punish EA for their half-assed product last year by not buying the game this year, or at least waiting a week or so in protest. However, I've come to the realization that I'm just a diehard college football nut and I need my fix! I'm already plotting out my plan to pre-order the game on Amazon to get the Pro Combat jerseys. UGH! Guess I have to depend on the non-diehard fans to do the protesting for me.
That all having been said, I have been scouring the web for info on NCAA 13 to whet my appetite for college football. This is what I have found so far:
Seems like we hear this every year. They are updating the crowd noise and other related ambient noise. Kind of ho-hum to me. The audio clips I've heard don't seem a whole lot different. Seems more like a marketing ploy.
Again, seems like we hear this every year. I, personally, don't really care about the player entrances and award presentations but I'm sure some people do. It may be kinda cool but I really want to know all of the bugs are fixed and gameplay is tight.
Yet another thing we hear about every year. However, this sounds promising. Last year they included a change in lighting at the end of every quarter. So, if you started a game at 3:00 PM, by the 4th quarter you were at dusk. This year they have improved it even more by allowing the lighting to update at the end of every play. So this year we should see the sky get gradually darker as the game progresses and shadows progressively shift. I'm not sure if this effects weather yet, but it seems like with this system they could add the ability for fronts to move in and rain and/or snow to increase, decrease, start and stop throughout the game. That would be pretty cool.
This part has me a little excited. Apparently, they have gone to a new audio system that let's them see what lines of dialogue get played the most in the game. Then they can go in each year and remove the most used ones and replace it with something else. That sounds promising.
Also, the have done away with scripting what Nessler and Herbie say and put them in front of a TV monitor and piped in crowd noise for effect and had them call different situations to get an organic play-by-play experience. That seems promising too.
They also mentioned a third person to the team and I'm guessing it is Chris Fowler. There was mention of improved pre-game, halftime and end of game commentary so I'm thinking we may actually see a Gameday type show. Or we may just get Reece Davis in the studio but either way it should be an upgrade to the presentation.
This is what we really all care about, right? So far, sounds pretty good. We just have to trust EA to implement it effectively. That is easier said than done.
Ball Trajectory - I said last year that this was the biggest reason for all of the knockdowns by LBs and many of the turnovers. You only had two trajectories, laser beam and rainbow ball. This year, apparently, there will be 20 different ball trajectories and you can control them with the left analog stick. Supposedly, it is tuned in a way that you can even throw to a shoulder of your receiver on streaks down the sideline. Again, sounds cool in practice as long as they can deliver on it.
Receiver Animations - This year they have added 400+ receiver animations. They have also changed receiving so that a receiver or defensive player has to be looking at the ball in order to make a play. This is supposed to get rid of the blind batted balls and QBs hitting TEs as soon as they break from the line. Combined with the ball trajectory, these two things are supposed to give the passing game a whole new, more realistic feel. We will see.
Improved Assignments - One of the most maddening things in this game for me was the broken assignment logic in some of the plays. I've had CBs in man coverage that didn't follow their receiver to the other side of the field on a heavy blitz. This left that receiver wide open 10 yards behind the defense. Supposedly, this has been fixed. EA says they got together with coaches and players from around the nation to figure out who covers who and how assignments should switch. All of this should allow a more realistic defense and get rid of those broken defensive plays.
Dynamic Coverages - This year EA added dynamically shifting coverages. Usually, it is pretty easy to decipher man or zone coverage by motioning a receiver or even watching how the D sets up. In NCAA 13 the coverages are going to dynamically shift to make it look like they are always in man coverage when in actuality they may be in zone. You will see CBs follow the WR to the other side of the field and then the zone assignments will shift to keep the same coverage, just with different defenders handling the different zones now. That definitely seems like a cool new feature.
All-in-all, the game has me excited again for July. I know we are hit with that every year and EA does something to disappoint us. However, I'm hoping last year was an aberration and they fix all of the bugs and hit a home run with all of the new "improvements". If not, hopefully all of the non-diehards send a message at the sales counter.