A few of you all know that I’m a huge NCAA Football fan. I’ve used the game to make grandiose predictions about the Cal football team.
Those who have my xbox live id can still see me “occasionally” clocking in an hour or two of NCAA 08 each week. I didn’t get NCAA 09 because I knew the Bears weren’t going to be ranked in the game. Yes, I’m that fickle.
But with Jahvid Best certain to be a beast in the game (no more James Montgomery as your starter), and the Bears as a likely solid team, I might give this year’s version a go.
Most avid fans of the NCAA series were aware of many of last year’s changes. Namely, online dynasties, roster sharing, user-customizable stadium music and sounds, more vibrant sides (the inclusion of cheerleaders), fields that degrade throughout the game, and the break animation engine which highlighted the studio’s emphasis on refining the running game.
This year however, EA seems to trying to tone down the cheap factor, namely in the passing game with its new “proxy target” camera system.
If you’ve played NCAA Football or Madden, you’ve either been the victim of, or perpetrated these plays at some point. The scenario is all too familiar. The QB hikes the ball, and instead of a 3 step, or 5 step drop, the QB goes into a Jake Plummer-esque 20 yard drop back, allowing his receivers to get down the field before heaving a hail mary for a 70 yard gain. Well no more, according to producer Greg Heddlesten.
"This year, what we did was a side feature where if you run back 20 yards, we actually turn off all of your passing icons," says Heddlesten. "We're trying to stop some of the cheesing going on, so if you're dropping back that far, you better remember which receiver you're throwing to because if you hit the wrong button, you might be throwing into triple coverage instead of throwing to the guy who is wide open.
"Sit there in the pocket, that's why there is a pocket," Heddlesten laughs. "Hopefully we'll be a deterrent to some of this cheese that goes on, and this will also help people become a little more instinctual as they'll have to learn more about when they guys are making their cuts and what buttons are assigned to each receiver instead of just relying on the icons."
In other words, the camera will be much more dynamic this time around, with the new “proxy targets” creating dynamic spots on the field that will be center the action between your QB and his intended receivers. So for example, let’s say Kevin Riley is bootlegging it to his right, but Tad Smith along with the other receivers are rolling left. In versions past, they would disappear off the screen if Riley was racing far past the right has line. However, in NCAA 10, the camera will for the most part, stick with Riley, while shifting at an angle to keeping his receivers in view.
Other small additions:
- Improved Super Sim System. The chances of SuperSim-ing a game because you’re short on time, only to find out you’ve lost Syd’Quan for the season to injury will be cut down. Thank Syd’God.
- New field goal nets and wind socks to help gauge the wind. A small addition, but it does help with the realism. I guess it never crossed my mind, that Cal would run out of footballs if the balls were continually landing in the stands with me averaging 77+ points a game.
- Camera Flashes. The bigger the game, the more camera flashes during the game. I’m assuming we’d see very few of these in the new Stanford stadium.
- Team Specific Bowl Endzones. The EA Blog seems to be selling this up as a big deal—but it kind of isn’t.
- QB Auto Pass. Yes, what it is what it sounds like. This is more of a coaching simulator, where you call the play, and let the CPU control what your team does. It’s more for the playcalling purists, aka. dorks.
- Improved Player Pursuit Angles. Before, if you got your speedster to the edge, it usually meant an automatic TD. The defenders have now been programmed to take better angles. Players like Jahvid will still probably get a huge chuck of yardage, but will likely need a shifty move down the field to take it all the way.
- Improved Pocket Protection. Hallelujah! The tackles will now play defensive ends wide behind the quarterback instead of playing them standing up. This will likely be critical now that QBs can’t just run back thirty yards before launching the rock.
Anyway, we’ll see who pops up on the cover in the next few weeks. I’m personally pulling for Pat White, but I’m getting the feeling Sanchez or Stafford will make their ways into NCAA Cover Glory. Or Hell? Check out my NCAA Football Cover Curse Feature if you don’t get it.
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