Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Head Coach Quibbles

As I said in the earlier post, there are a few things about HC that could use some work so in the spirit of fairness, here's a quick list of Head Coach Bloopers.

  • When you are offered a player in a trade you can't click a button to see that player's contract. So you have no idea if he signed a huge deal with his former team. Program Lead Dan Bekins offers a workaround for this: "Unfortunately there is no way to do this. I agree this is tough to manage during a live trade negotiation.What I always do is put the sim speed on "slowest" and check out the Trade Player screen for that team before entering negotiations. All of the contract information and player grades are listed there.Then you can decide in advance who you'd be willing to trade for/away.If you really like the guy they're offering, you can also take the opportunity to put some more of your own players on the trade block before entering negotiations."
  • The game handles injuries in a strange way. For example, in Week 1 of the Preseason Winslow messed up his knee and was out for 5 weeks. By the time week 1 of the regular season rolled around, Winslow was listed at 95% ready but still could not be activated to play. I have guys on the roster ready to go who are worse off than Winslow but if you're guy suffers an injury that puts him "out" he has to be 100% healed before making a return.
  • On to some gameplay stuff. This might be fixed with the August 12th roster patch but out of the box the field goal kickers are woeful. Browns kicker Phil Dawson struggles to make 40 yard FGs -- and they're usually short. A boost to the FG slider helps, but it's still kinda wonky. Dawson's limit is about 52 yards in real life, and I know of no NFL kicker who can't kick it 40 yards.

  • There is way too much falling down by the D Line on pass plays. Madden fans will know just what I am talking about here. This is not to say that there are no sacks-- there are. I got to Romo three times in the opener. But there are also times when the entire Dline gets pancaked and the QB has, literally 5-6 seconds to throw. Five seconds is a long time. Imagine your QB has dropped back -- now count out "Five Mississippi." That's an eternity.

  • There are no defensive audibles. You can call for Hot Routes when on offense but if the CPU goes hurry up you are at the mercy of your previous play. You can make adjustments (drop back, press, line shifts, etc.) but if you're in an OLB Stack Blitz and want to get into a Cover 2 you need to call a timeout or hope for a stoppage.

  • I can't tell if players are suffering from fatigue during games. I'll check this more closely against Pittsburgh.

  • The game uses a modified version of the Madden 08 engine. I think it does anyway. And with that you will see things in the game that look odd at times. The the DB that stands in place and spins for no reason. The linebacker who doesn't read the play and lets a HB run right past him on a toss, that sort of thing. Physics that look -- creative. Things like this do not happen every play but you need to have some reasonable expectations with this stuff. On a TD today my CB was guarding Owens and he caught a pass in the end zone and my DB never turned to face him the entire time. His back was turned and he was content with that. You just have to deal with stuff like that every once in a while and move on.

  • It should never snow in Cleveland in early September.

  • Then there are the things that are still a mystery. Player retirement, aging, player progression, season simmed stats, that sort of thing. I simply have not played it far enough to see those things just yet.
So there's some early stuff that you should know going in. Week 2 against the Steelers is next!