First up, a quick recap of how my first game went (Dynasty; Alabama vs. LSU).
I (Alabama) scored first in the second, and then kicked a field goal and then they kicked a field goal. They scored a touchdown with one second left in the second to tie it up.
I thought I was done in the fourth. They scored in the beginning of the fourth to go up 17-10. I tried to march down field, ended up throwing an interception. There was maybe 40 seconds left on the clock (and I’d used all of my timeouts as they were trying to run the clock out), when I managed to sack the quarterback in the process of throwing while another Bama player was right there to intercept the ball and score the 12 yard TD with no trouble. 17-17 in the fourth.
They ended up fumbling on about the 12-15 yard line or so. I figured I’d have an easy win then, so I just ran the clock down until there was 4 seconds left and tried to kick a 20-something-yard field goal. They iced me and I ended up missing it to the right. Overtime. They scored first with a field goal (I tried icing them but it didn’t have any affect), but I managed to answer right back with six run plays right up the middle to win 23-20.
I’m liking the commentary and the presentation. It all seems better. The gameplay itself feels smoother and more fluid, although it’s probably going to take a little getting used to the new passing style (total control, plus ready/not ready receivers). Last year, I dominated CPU teams by huge margins. So far, I’ve won and lost about an equal amount of games on the demo. I’ve been intercepted a ton. I don’t think that is a knock against the game, but rather that the passing is better (read harder) this year due to total control and the ability to lead receivers. The defense certainly isn’t poor, they have good coverage.
I like how the CPU will try to manage the ball better. That first game they were winning in the fourth, and they were running every play and draining the play clock. I even saw them burn a timeout when I came out in a formation that their offense didn’t like. I still haven’t seen any pass interference, but I haven’t been in a position to try to force a blatant one either.
As for the new mode Heisman Challenge, it’s not my thing but it’s okay. If you like Road to Glory and the idea of only controlling one player on the field and running plays only when that player is on the field, then you should like Heisman Challenge. It’s basically Road to Glory with bullet time (i.e. Reaction Time).
I liked last year’s a lot, this seems to be a better polished/playing version of that, so I’m pretty happy. If you haven’t downloaded the demo yet, do so. It’s out on XBLA and PSN right now.
NCAA Football ’13 drops on July 10th.