Every year since the time of "Bill Walsh's College Football" 18 years ago, I have gotten the new edition of the college football game by EA Sports. I have played it on the Sega Genesis, the Playstation, the Playstation 2, and now the Playstation 3. The anticipation of this game for me is like the Friday before the OU-Texas game or the day before a BCS National Title game in which OU is participating of course. My personal highs and lows often times have centered around this game. That is only a slight exaggeration. When my Sega Genesis was stolen along with my first copy of Bill Walsh's college football, I was devastated. When my first Playstation 3 crapped out on me and I had to go back to the Playstation 2 last year, I still purchased a copy of NCAA Football 11 for the PS2, I am that dedicated. I participated in tournaments for the game during my time at OU, and I also held tournaments and seasons with multiple players in college. I have been reading this site for almost a year now and I know many of you also love this game. I received my email from Walmart.com that said my copy is on its way, and my anticipation is very high. I want to talk about changes in this game, and maybe hear from some of you who also enjoy this game. I know that the reporters for the Daily Oklahoman annually stop reporting on the real sports and do simulations on release week so this game has gotten huge. Someone already posted about the player ratings for OU, so I will not touch on that one. So here goes. First off the Changes.
1) Road to Glory- This is one of those features where they have a story surrounding your create a player. You must play the game from the perspective of a player. I like this mode but it certainly is not my favorite. I usually play as a QB, RB, DE, or a LB. This year they are billing it as being able to play both sides of the ball starting with your full senior year of high school. (Shout out to the Duncan Demons). You are then recruited by schools based on your ability. (If you are not at least a 4 star, forget about going to OU). You do tasks and compete in practice to raise your players stats and earn a starting position. New this year, you have to keep practicing to keep your position unlike in the past which will make this feature less interesting for myself. When you finish your career, you either go to the NFL in Madden 12 (funny thing, you play for four-five years at OU, and you still end up joining the NFL in the 2011 season) or you become a coach. In the past it was a head coach, but that may change with another new feature available.
2) Dynasty- This is my favorite mode. This is the coaching mode. You call the plays, recruit the players, make the depth charts, suspend players for academic or behavioral reasons (This was an option on NCAA Football 11 on the PS2), hold practices, scrimmages, spring game (also on the PS2) and summer training (PS2 version of last year's game). New this year, you can start out as an Offensive or Defensive Coordinator, and accept jobs as they come open. I am certain that you can also jump in as a Head Coach as well. Every offseason you have the opportunity to change jobs. Also, they have customizable conferences where you make rules on the conference, its members, championship game status and location, and BCS rules. All this reflects last season's mad dash.
3) Gameday Traditions- This is the feature I am most looking forward to. Finally, the running of the Sooner Schooner is going to take place as well as other pre game traditions of many schools. I am sure that they will have the Running of Ralphie, and even the running of Double T and the Spirit Rider, but they said traditions were made primarily for the most popular teams, so not everyone will have their traditions.
4) Gameplay improvements- This year they are boasting new improvements to zone defense, the tackling engine, and the grass will look more real. Zone defense is a good improvement that will help defenses, but may make passing more difficult. The tackling engine will favor the running game for offenses, but will make the game look much more realistic. Gone are the days where you can make 120 tackles with Travis Lewis, he is going to need some help. The grass will make the game look more real. It already has fooled some of my family members into thinking it is a real game on past versions, this will make it even more so.
5) Customizable playbooks- This is a new feature to the PS3 and XBox versions of the game where you can choose your formations and plays in your playbook. Unfortunately, you still have to play Madden if you want to actually write plays. But lets say you want OU to run the Wishbone once again... you can. If you want to turn the Spread into more of a Run and Shoot or a pro set, you can. If you are like me and you like to run an offense with the best of all those formations, you can. Imagine being able to switch from a wishbone to a run and shoot offense from drive to drive, you can do that. For those of you that like to play against human opponents, this is called mental games, and you have the personnel at OU to be able to do this.
Questions I have- Will Boomer and Sooner be on the game this year? Previous editions have ignored their presence. Will OU's hand gesture, popularized by Demarco Murray, make the game this year? I certainly hope so. Will you hear the Ruf Neks guns after scores? Would be nice. Will the Sooner Schooner run after scores? This might just be asking too much. Will the stadium be up to date? This may depend on if any new construction took place that I would be unaware of.
Features I miss from previous editions- Playoffs were nice. Back in the 1990s you could turn off the bowl system and play in the playoffs. Since the BCS liscenses this game, that is not an option. I hope that features I enjoyed on the PS2 version of NCAA 11 will be on the PS3 version, such as spring game, summer training, discipline issues and home field advantage. I do not look for that to be the case, since they have different teams designing games for each console, and they like to keep features different because people who own multiple consoles will actually buy multiple versions of this game. Cha Ching. It also looks like it is going to de emphasize Lee Corso on commentary. Unfortunately, this is still going to be E(SPN)A Sports game, so you know the Longhorns are going to be loaded.
I hope to come back in a week or two and write a review on what I have experienced.