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Customer Review

53 of 58 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars New Heisman Challenge Does Little to Change a Familiar, But Still Fun, Game, July 10, 2012
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: NCAA Football 13 - PS3 (Video Game)
The Madden and NCAA Football series have both been criticized for their lack of innovation upon release of the next iteration of the game for years now; NCAA Football 11 did some to change that perception, but NCAA Football 12 kept the same outward appearance, although it did change some gameplay features on the inside. In place of another major overhaul, however, NCAA 13 opted for some new features and animations, making the game more immersive than ever, but doing little to change the game's usual formula.

The new feature this year is Heisman challenge, a glorified Road to Glory mode that allows the player to step in to the shoes of a former Heisman Trophy winner such as Desmond Howard, Barry Sanders, or Charlie Ward, and compete in seasons on any team you wish. Inevitably this will lead to some disgusting combinations, such as Archie Griffin on Michigan or Carson Palmer on Notre Dame, but dwelling on that will only make matters worse. The Heisman Challenge's staple is reaction time, or bullet time, slowing down the game so the player can make cuts or throws with their head instead of quick reactions. In some cases, this is extremely helpful, but it also makes gameplay a little too easy at some levels. Heisman Challenge is definitely something to check out, but it won't keep you entertained for too long.

Dynasty has also seen some under the hood improvements. New recruiting options and features make each game in the season more important, as an underdog win over a top 25 opponent will net you some well-earned popularity with the recruits. This is a very welcome addition, and something which many have been wishing was part of the game for a while. More recruiting options are available for the player as well; Scouting is now an essential part of recruiting. You can see a player's ratings through the season, and target recruits based on your findings instead of being given a base grade. Calling recruits also leads to new gameplay options, and can help swing a recruit towards your school, if you're good enough. In game studio updates, provided by Rece Davis, improve the game's ESPN atmosphere, making it feel even more like you're watching the big game on television; the ESPN ticker gives you the scores from around the nation, and priority score alerts make it even easier to follow the big upsets of the heavy hitting game between top 5 teams.

Road to Glory saw some minor attention this year adding in new challenges as a college player. Despite the lack of a major overhaul it is still as fun as ever; leading your own high school player to the starting spot on a college team is extremely exciting. RTG may even be a little more difficult this year if you choose. It also touts the new reaction time used in the Heisman challenge, and contains better goals to pursue than past iterations, creating a more challenging game.

EA is touting the new animations that have been added to the game, with new receiving and throwing animations being brought into the game to improve realism, and motion blur being added as well. The new animations make the game more lifelike to be sure, and make the players look and feel more athletic, instead of moving about the field in a fashion similar to robots attempting to play American football. Motion blur never seems to be an integral part of the game, however, only popping up on replays and in between plays. Fans do have motion blur, but that seems less important than introducing motion blur in gameplay, and seeing a fan pump their fist with motion blur never made me gaze in wonder at the feat that EA achieved. Defenses are not the omnipotent beasts they once were, and neither are receivers, for that matter. You need to make sure a receiver is looking for the ball before you throw to them, made easier by the grayed out icons that indicate your receiver is entirely oblivious to the fact you are attempting to throw them the ball. However, defensive players that aren't looking can't block the pass either, a problem that reoccurred throughout NCAA 12.

The biggest lacking feature for this year's NCAA football was the Infinity engine offered by Madden 13. Now, Madden 13 has not come out yet, and thus there has been no clear reference for its engine, giving us no clue whether it is another useless "innovation" provided by Madden or if it's actually a fantastic addition for the game, but it certainly is disappointing that it was not included in this year's NCAA. This is especially disappointing given that, at least in recent years, NCAA had surpassed Madden in being the elite football title produced by EA in terms of gameplay and reception.

The previous iteration of NCAA Football didn't do too much to separate itself from the line of other NCAA's, at least not in a manner similar to NCAA 11, and NCAA 13 doesn't do too much either. For fans of college football and folks who have picked up each and every other game before it, it's a good buy, but for those simply looking for a recommendation to upgrade from NCAA 12, there's not much reason to spend the extra money for a the Heisman Challenge, new animations, and a roster update. As an individual who spent hundreds of hours on NCAA 12, I picked it up and loved it.

EDIT: I have recently had a lot of trouble loading my dynasty, as it constantly freezes during the game loading screen. I haven't been able to touch my dynasty mode after this, and it's extremely frustrating. Hopefully it will be patched soon, but as of now, with dynasty mode unable to be played correctly, I switch my position to don't buy. Wait until it's patched to buy or just save the money and continue to play '12.
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Comments

Tracked by 3 customers

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Showing 1-6 of 6 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jul 12, 2012 2:01:19 PM PDT
Bryant says:
Excellent summary. I completely concur!

If you haven't purchased an NCAA game before, this is the best one so far. If you already have 12 (or even 11), you're probably better off keeping your cash.

Posted on Jul 12, 2012 6:13:51 PM PDT
flashgordon says:
"The biggest lacking feature for this year's NCAA football was the Infinity engine offered by Madden 13. Now, Madden 13 has not come out yet, and thus there has been no clear reference for its engine, giving us no clue whether it is another useless "innovation" provided by Madden or if it's actually a fantastic addition for the game, but it certainly is disappointing that it was included in this year's NCAA. This is especially disappointing given that, at least in recent years, NCAA had surpassed Madden in being the elite football title produced by EA in terms of gameplay and reception."

I'm not sure I understand you here; does NCAA have the same engine as the new 2013 Madden or not?

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 12, 2012 7:22:16 PM PDT
Sorry! Forgot the "not" before included! The infinity engine was not included in this year's NCAA, due to it being a late addition to Madden, when NCAA was nearly done and unable to be refitted with a new engine.

Thanks for the correction!

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 13, 2012 11:02:33 AM PDT
flashgordon says:
dam, that means I might have to actually buy this years madden anyways!

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 23, 2012 7:38:53 AM PDT
Brian Blick says:
Yep, I'm buying Madden and I have returned NCAA.

Posted on Dec 22, 2012 4:07:02 PM PST
D. Goldhaber says:
Good review. I have '12 and I like it very much. With all of the conference shifts and, more importantly, the 4-team playoff coming, I thought they might hold off this year and wait to coincide with it.

I think I'll wait
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Location: Dexter, Michigan USA

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