The NCAA Football 12 demo was released yesterday on Xbox LIVE and the Playstation Network, and after playing about eight games I’m ready to give my Demo Impressions.
A big deal has been made by the developers about the presentation of the game and how it’s the most realistic experience to date. After playing it, I definitely have to agree with that; the presentation is absolutely spot on and looks terrific. In the demo, there are two match ups: Oregon at Texas and Alabama at Florida State. The authentic entrances for the home teams of Texas and FSU are really quite stunning. The grass, the crowd, the players, and the camera angles during these scenes are all top notch and really nails the ESPN presentation of college football.
Presentation is nice and all, but the most important thing is the gameplay itself, and luckily the gameplay in NCAA Football 12 is really good. The AI is good/great across the three difficulty levels I played on (Varsity, All-American, and Heisman). The high difficulty setting means you’re really going to have to read the defense and make smart decisions when attempting to pass, because they will intercept in a heartbeat. Running the ball was easier on Heisman than passing was, but eyes still need to be constantly watching the defense as they will close a hole up quickly. It’s not overly tough, you just need to be cautious, which is a good thing. I haven’t experienced anything where it feels like the CPU is almost cheating either, everything has been crisp, smooth, and fair.
On the defensive side, I think the zone defense actually works really good and I love that tackling is no longer a suction effect. The animations look great and natural, and working to get that big tackle feels very good. The offensive AI for the CPU is probably as smart as I’ve seen it; the QB waste little time throwing the ball away if he sees he’s about to get nailed, and I had one see that no one was open and so he took off up through a hole for a quick five yard gain. I’m quite impressed with it.
Finally, the commentary is roughly the same as it always is. I’ve never seen a game with an always smart and accurate commentary track, but you can always find some laughable stuff in these games. I went for it on 4th and inches from about 35 yards out from the endzone, and I made it. What do I hear? Something along the lines of “He gambled for it on 4th and LONG, and it payed off.” It was INCHES. I’m fine with that though, as I always expect it. For the most part, things like that are the exception and the commentary is generally good and accurate through out, and I really like how Erin Andrews gives some commentary after the half.
If you like football games and haven’t downloaded the demo yet, do so as soon as possible. I’ve had a great time playing the demo and will easily recommend a pre-order for the full game based on the demo. It feels better than last years already good one; feels better, looks better, and plays better. Day one purchase all the way.