Tuesday, July 15, 2008

NCAA 09: One Game Impression

What good is a one game impression? None whatsoever, but here we go anyway...

I decided to jump right in with a Michigan dynasty (fictional player names) and played my first game. This is at the All American difficulty level with default sliders:

- The first game for Michigan this year is Utah, in Ann Arbor. Final score: Michigan 31 Utah 6. We're over .500. Woot!

- Either they've changed up the controls a touch or I have no sense memory from last year's edition. Probably a bit of both. Anyway, the only DT break block moves are on the shoulder buttons, so don't spend half the game using the triggers like I did and wonder why they didn't do squat.

- The Utah QB tossed picks on two consecutive first half drives. Fun! He only had one more the rest of the way, though and he finished 24 of 31 (no TDs) and had 177 passing yards. My Michigan QB went 7/15 for 147 yards with 1 INT and 1 TD. Most of the time I spent running around like a dope, flinging the ball every which way. This is common for me after spending the better part of a year away from the game. Hopefully I shake the rust off quickly.

- The AI averaged about 3 yards per rush. I was... uh, less. Note that I've taken Bill's advice about not switching up defenders to get the easy tackle. That making things... more challenging. Also note that I spent a lot of time screwing around with the option game since that's Michigan's thing now, something I've not done before, so I had a bunch of runs for losses. Not to mention a couple of QB sacks that I'm blaming on Kyle for running in front of the TV during plays.

- There were no fumbles.

- The AI faked a punt once on a 3rd quarter play. They were just past midfield so it was dicey, but not egregious. They also made a 56 yard field goal with a kick that has a power of, I believe, 86. Now, they barely made it, but somehow I don't think I get it if I'm kicking with that guy.

- I think they've tweaked the coverage AI a bit... in a real good way. This is a big one for me because in the past the AI has reacted to a ball being in the air with something bordering on claravoyance. I watched several replays of passing plays and, for the most part, the guys reacting to the ball in the air were guys that ought to be able to see it happen. Guys on the other side of the field didn't react, guys deep in coverage on underneath throws were slower to react. This, to me, is a huge step forward.

- On the other hand, you wideouts still appear to be incapable of fighting for the ball on deep bombs. This is annoying because if the ball is underthrown it really sets the AI up for an easy pick. I'm not saying an underthrown deep ball shouldn't give the defender the advantage, but it'd be nice if my #1 receiver would at least try to come back and make a play instead of (almost) always trying to just grab it in stride.

That's most of what has stuck out to me so far. If I get any more action in tonight (probably not) I'll post more later.