My early impressions of the game are good. The menu screens are smooth, and the game loads faster than last year seemingly. The online lobby is smooth as well, with the option to voice chat, or type chat like always. A new feature to the online lobby this year is a scrolling scoreboard of live stats from baseball, sort of like on ESPN Tv at the bottom of the screen.
I have played 7 games so far, and only had 1 disconnect. I think that was just a fluke because the other guy lost his internet connection for a few minutes. The game plays super smooth, just as smooth as if playing against the cpu. I have noticed a few hiccup's but thats gonna happen with anything online sometimes.
The defensive AI is 100% better than even last years game. It is tough to pass over the middle, the defense reacts very quick. I have played all of my games but 1 with Clemson, and they are a B- team, so you could imagine with the top tier teams how good the defense is. I have noticed though with 1 on 1 coverage, the dreaded deep lob is still 90% or so effective still so thats the only negative about the AI so far. The option play has been toned down slightly with the QB not being able to toss the ball if hes already being tackled. Last year, the QB could almost be on the ground and still toss it, which resulted in it nearly being cheesey. That has been fixed it seems as the QB wont toss it if hes being wrapped up.
I have played 1 game with USC vs LSU, the game that shoulda been for all the marbles last year. Spyfy and I played with those 2 teams and the ratings for those teams are out of this world. Mike Williams for the Trojans is a 99 overall player, only has 90 speed, but nearly everything else is 95 or higher. They have a 97 speed running back who is awesome, and 2 more fast WR's, so that team is gonna be deadly in the right hands. The defense is all world on them as well, so be ready to play that team over and over when it comes to finding online games, sort of like playing Miami and OSU all last year.
To sum things up, so far, I will give the game a A rating, with A+ obviously being the best. I think its definatley even better than last years, as EA usually does get better each year. I wish the lob could be defended better, but i'm not sure what they could do to help the defense if a defender is hung 1 on 1, hes gonna get beat more than not in real life too I guess. The playbooks have some new formations and packages that I like but the base formations (4-3,3-4,nickel,dime) still pretty much have the same plays, which kind of limits the defense. I wish they had more plays like madden has, the under mans, the cover 2 zones where the CB sit in the zone, etc but it dont have that from what ive seen so far.
Theres a few new things added to the game this year, that are very cool. As we all know, players have ratings, and this year those ratings go up or down during the game, depending on how the player is performing. Say Mike Williams is 99 overall, but he is having a bad game, dropping passes, not getting open, missing blocks, etc, his rating will drop in the game. It will have 99 but have (-8) or whatever beside it, depending on how bad hes playing. That works the other way too. Say you have a bad punter, 70 overall, but you have nailed some good punts inside the 20 or something. His rating will show 70 (+6) or something to that effect because hes playing good. Thats the players being hot or cold, due to their performance.
A "Big Hits" feature has been added to this years game, which you press the L2 button at the same time you make a tackle, it increases the chance they will fumble or drop the pass, and even add wear and tear on the reciever.
Hot route Slants have been added to this years game as well. You can also flip your run plays without flipping the formation (aka playmaker in Madden).
There are new celebrations added in the game as well, not only do players celebrate when scoring tds, they have been added in other situations as well. Celebrate a sack, a big hit tackle, or any other big play. You hit the L2 button then hold the cirlce button to make the fans celebrate, or hold the triangle to make the mascot celebrate, and you can hold R2 to make it an even more aggressive celebration, but beware of the 15 yard unsportsmanlike penalty, lol.
This year theres Homefield advantage added, and you feel it in your controller vibrating as well as the screen shaking. The louder the croud gets, the more the effects will be. It can get so loud the receivers cant hear the QB audibling, and they will walk over telling him they cant hear. There is an onscreen meter showing the crowd noise. If you are the home team, you press the L2 button to raise the crowd noise. Players have composure ratings this year, so the higher the composure rating, the less the crowd noise will affect him, but if its low, beware, lol.
More to come, the more I play it....