With NCAA Football 12, and even 11 being solid experiences, EA Sports has the large undertaking of improving upon the formula for NCAA Football 13. Fortunately, the franchise continues to look good with this latest iteration.
Jumping straight into an exhibition match, I noticed almost immediately that the gameplay feels more fluid and in many ways, more realistic. When your QB drops back to pass, receivers will have to track down the ball and really put in the work to become open. Likewise, the QB can now throw the ball at various speeds, while being able to deal (or fight off) with pressure without much of a delay. I also found that trying to exploit defenses with deep passes just didn’t yield the same results. I really felt like I had to put in the work for those extra yards and touchdowns. Trust me, I like racking up points, but not to the extent where I can do it easily. Defenses were adjusting to my style quite well and forced me to try a greater variety of plays.
From a presentation standpoint, the game still looks pretty good, but the dialogue gets a bit too repetitive for my taste while I did come across a few graphical glitches from time to time. It may be time for the NCAA Football franchise to get an overhaul in the graphics engine.
New to the game is the Heisman Challenge, which is easily one of my favorite modes in the game. In this mode, players will be able to take on the role of one of 10 former Heisman Trophy winners such as Barry Sanders (a personal favorite), Herschel Walker, Doug Flutie and Marcus Allen, to name a few. After making your choice, you will take your player and try to win the Heisman Trophy once again. If you manage to surpass that player’s past performance, you can also unlock that legend for use in Road to Glory.
Dynasty Mode is also just as fun as before with new recruitment pitches and ways to scout, though I would like to see the process react to my team and coach’s accomplishments and TV exposure properly. Another interesting aspect to the game’s Road to Glory, is the inclusion of Reaction Time, which essentially works like bullet-time; allowing you to make key decisions on the field during key moments.
Ultimately, NCAA Football 13 comes off as another solid, not quite perfect, but good update to the winning formula. It’d be great to see next year’s edition get a complete overhaul in order to feel much fresher, but for now, this year’s entry is fun, more lifelike and a must for any NCAA Football fan.