The Backlog Volume # 13 – NCAA Football 13
Platform: PS3, Xbox 360
Publisher: EA Sports
Developer: EA Tiburon
Genre(s): Sports, American Football Simulation
Released: July 10, 2012
ESRB Rating: E – Everyone
Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, children of all ages, The Vortex Effect proudly brings to you, the most behind video game review in the world, The Backlog. Back once again, and for the second year in a row, we’ll take a look at the only college football game on the market, NCAA Football 13. Last year’s offering started off pretty good, but a dynasty schedule issue in year two kept me from starting my dynasty until it was patch, so that got very annoying. Add in that linebackers had the vertical leap of Olympic high jumpers, and you can understand some of the frustration with what was otherwise a pretty solid football game. How does this year’s game compare? Let’s take a peek at a few game modes and find out.
The new game mode that got a lot of publicity this year is the Heisman Challenge. A number of past Heisman winners have been included on the game, or are otherwise available(DLC or unlock from demo or promo code), and you can put them on any team in the game to attempt to recreate their Heisman winning season. For my test purposes, I took Herschel Walker and put him on Virginia Tech. Much like Road to Glory, you can only control your player, and when you aren’t on the field, you can either super sim or just watch the action.
After struggling in my opener to get going against Georgia Tech, I managed to finish with about 140 yards and a pair of scores, however I lost the game to the Yellow Jackets. Since then, I’ve rattled off eight straight wins and now await a date with Florida State on a Thursday night in a battle of top ten teams. Georgia Tech has lost a conference game, and if they can find a way to choke in one more, then I’ll hopefully find my way in the ACC Championship game with my Heisman front runner.
During the winning streak, I’ve dominated with Walker. I’ve run for 2,000 yards in that time frame, scored a boat load of touchdowns, and even returned a few kicks for scores. The only things I haven’t done are throw a pass, catch a touchdown(almost, had one in my hands but it was broken up), or blocked a kick(For some reason, Cyber Frank Beamer felt the need to put Walker on the field goal block unit. This also occurred with a friend of mine that is using Barry Sanders.).
With all the unstoppable dominating ability, one thing becomes abundantly clear: It’s not even fair. But I suppose that is part of the point in using some of these past winners. You got the sense when watching them that they could not be stopped from doing what they wanted to, such as with Walker, Sanders, Marcus Allen, etc… Some of the others you watched in shear amazement that, despite all odds, they just kept beating those odds to do the things they did. I’m not sure I’ll ever get that shear amazement experience, mainly because I don’t think I’ll ever get around to playing as Doug Flutie.
If I remember correctly, once you win the Heisman, the player becomes available for use in the Road To Glory mode where you can take them through their senior year of high school and then on the college of your choosing. Barry Sanders against high school kids…oh my that could get ugly.
As for Dynasty mode, the core of that remains the same. Win games, recruit talent, wash, rinse, repeat. Coaching Contracts are back, and the carousel still works the same. There was a slight issue with some freezing, but there has already been a patch put out to remedy that problem. Three of the four new FBS teams were included, so you’ll be able to beat up on Texas-San Antonio, Texas State, and the Minutemen of Massachusetts. South Alabama has to be to be wondering who they pissed off to get left out this year.
Main change this year in terms of the Dynasty is in the recruiting. We’re back to a point where you get to pick the topic to discuss instead of them all being selected at random. There is an option to allow your recruit to pick a topic, which will reward you with a few bonus recruiting points. Promises remain the same again, and you can still only schedule a visit after the recruit has gotten down to his top three schools, and you have to be in the top five to get a visit.
The only thing that is really new is the scouting option, where you have three hours each week to scout recruits and unlock the actual ratings for different attributes. You can spend anywhere between 10 minutes to one hour, so you can scout from three to 18 potential recruits in a given week.
The biggest knock this year, no exporting of draft classes. Apparently there is some change with the Madden franchise, and the people working on NCAA did not have time to re-program, and thus it was cut. That really sucks.
There’s not a lot more I can tell you about this year’s offering right now. EA has been at this so long that they have done almost everything they can possibly do, although there are some things I would like to see return. Having the exclusive license for as long as EA has had it rubs a lot of people the wrong way, but in my opinion, they have put out the best football games on the market for as long as I can recall. No doubt though, some competition would probably be a good thing.
Back on topic for this year, this is another pretty solid outing. Thankfully there are not any big bug issues like last year(at least not that I’ve seen), and as I already mentioned, a minor freezing issue has already been patched. The graphics have taken a small step forward, as a lot of things look a little sharper and crisper. The in game score updates are a nice touch, and hopefully they can build on that going forward by showing a highlight or two.
Final verdict, I’m giving this an 8.0, which is down slightly from the 8.5 score as I gave the game last year. I was more excited about last year’s game, but last year’s game also had more glaring items that needed to be fixed. This year I wasn’t quite as excited and blown away, but it was a better finished product out of the box in terms of things that needed to be patched. However the lack of being able to export a draft class to Madden really hurts for me, because I really enjoy carrying things over into my Madden franchise. It would be great if that can be patched, but I’m somehow doubting it.