With the football season nearing its finale and the college Bowl and NFL playoff pictures coming into focus, I thought I'd take a minute to reflect on EA's NCAA Football 13 and Madden NFL 13 and offer up my suggestions for next year's football games.
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I was really impressed with the demo for Madden NFL 13. So impressed that I went ahead and bought the game new. I am now suffering from severe buyer's remorse. The demo looked and felt really good. The AI seemed surprisingly competitive (even at the default, Veteran, difficulty). Heck, even the commentary was good!
Then I bought the actual game and had access to Instant Replays and all the teams, and I realized that this year’s Madden was just the same game as last years', but with a few extra coats of paint and polish.
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It seems pretty apparent that EA doesn’t give a damn about releasing the best product possible. They just want to milk it for all the money it’s worth. If they really cared about making NCAA Football ‘13 the best game it could be, then they would have delayed it a few weeks in order to install the same, potentially revolutionary, physics engine that is being implemented in this year’s Madden. The game releases six weeks prior to the start of the college football season anyway, so it wouldn’t have hurt to delay it a month. It still would have made it onto store shelves before the kickoff of the season. Heck, most teams haven’t even finalized their depth charts yet, and some are still revealing new uniforms and stadiums!
It is now easy to "throw a receiver open."
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One of the biggest side effects of EA's insistence of releasing its NCAA Football games more than a month ahead of the start of the season is that its rosters tend to be out of date. First off, no real names can be used due to NCAA rules, but EA provides a handy roster-share feature that allows fans to upload named rosters to share with other players. I usually get my roster from Operation Sports. But the great guys at Operation Sports can only do so much. Updating the rosters for big-name schools like Alabama, Florida, and LSU is pretty easy. The little schools are a bit more of a problem. So I've taken it upon myself to make some corrections to Operation Sports' rosters for my alma mater, UNLV.
First and foremost, I went through each position and made sure that the players listed match what is on the most up-to-date versions of the team's depth chart and roster. This required moving a few players around, since they've changed positions. Other players were renamed and completely revised since those players have since left the team. I also took the liberty of making spelling corrections on some players' names (such as Maika Mataele and Ron Scoggins), updating redshirt statuses that were incorrect, updating the High School and Home State of most players (using the names of the closest town whenever I couldn't find a match), and also updating the faces and equipment of starters. [More]
The NCAA Football 13 demo hit the PSN a few weeks ago, and I managed to play a few games before my PS3 went belly-up with a yellow-light-of-death last night. I can't do a very detailed breakdown of the demo because I don't have my PS3 at the moment in order to continue playing it. Hopefully, I'll get a working PS3 back in a week or two, but I have no guarantee that it will work. So in lieu of a full breakdown, I'll offer some simple observations and impressions.
First and foremost, it has already been announced that NCAA will not be including the new "Infinity Engine" that is being introduced to Madden with the intent of providing real-time physics simulation for collisions. NCAA is due out only about a month before Madden, so it seems like if EA really cared about providing the best game possible, then they would have just delayed the game a few weeks and added this feature to NCAA as well. But no, even though they have no other football game to compete with, and even though the college football season doesn't start till late August, EA insists on releasing the game in mid July. They have essentially relegated this year's NCAA game to being a second-class football game - which is a real shame because the NCAA dev team just seemed to show slightly superior effort that the Madden devs over the previous two years or so.
Unfortunately, if the demo is any indication (but that is the whole point of a demo), the lack of any real-time physics simulation won't be the only thing holding NCAA Football 13 back from greatness this year. The demo itself is a much better demo than what we've been given in the previous year, but the game being demoed doesn't seem that good... [More]