Tuesday, July 14, 2009

NCAA 10 Early Thoughts

So a few games under my belt and here goes:

  • Presentation, play by play and overall atmosphere feels...tired.

  • Graphics are fair to middling.

  • Offensive AI Playcalling is as bad as ever -- late game playcalling AI still will throw a 5 yard hitch when it needs a 20 yard seam.

  • AI still is scared to death to try a 50 yd FG -- even on 4th and 12.

  • If a lineman gets his paws on you, it's over.

  • However, it's easier to speed rush this year.

  • Pursuit angles, for the most part, are better. Still a few defenders getting turned around not knowing where they are going, but the REALLY bad angles are no longer an issue.

  • They say that the Sliders are not working, but I sure thought I could tell a difference in QB Accuracy with it set to zero. Shrug.

  • In fact, I played against Illinois and Juice was 15/30 -- MANY throws simply missing their mark -- a first in the history of this series. I had Pryor miss many throws too -- not balls swatted away, or balls broken up or even balls dropped. Just BAD PASSES. I have been harping on this for years, and this is as good as NCAA has ever been in this area. This seems especially true if under pressure. They don't need top be HIT to throw off line. Just feel the heat. Very nice.

  • The AI will throw deep. (Just not on 4th and 20)

  • Lots of smallish injuries -- guy is out for 5 plays, that sorta thing. I like that.

  • Penalties are still silly and not realistic at all.

  • I have less than zero interest in the Price is Right Showcase Showdown or whatever the hell that's called, or Teambuilder. If you want impressions for those, well, not here.

  • Defensive Player Lock is really cool -- I play DE and I really like it.

  • Don't think I like the % thing on playcalling (you have set up this play 55% to fool the D!" or the "strategy" re: being aggressive, conservative or normal. Cheesy.

  • Player ratings. Holy lord does NCAA 10 need a Donny Moore. They need a team that does nothing but accurately rate players. I can see this once again turning Dynasty Mode into a bore. The players look and act the same and the ratings are WAY too close together. Michigan as a "B+" team is a friggin' joke. (Sorry Todd) But the players are all rated so close together, that finding/seeing any tangible difference between them is impossible. This is par for the course but after the ratings changes Madden went through...I REALLY want that done here.
So, first impression -- it's clearly, CLEARLY better than NCAA 09 -- which I thought was abysmal. But it's not reinventing the wheel -- just fixing up the loose ends that caused NCAA 09 to fall apart. Important loose ends, no doubt, but $60 worth of loose ends, well, that's the tough question that will be be answered after a lot more time with it.