Well my NCAA 06 is now gone. I traded it in for Madden 06 last night. The great news was that I got a good return for the game, 30 bucks at GameStop for the used game because I was trading it for Madden. The bad news is that I was really dissappointed with so many things in the game this year; it was really sad. Here is my list of why this was not enjoyable for me. Maybe EA will listen for next year's game.
Don't bother reading the rest of the post if you don't want to read some bashing. Instead look for me on Madden =)
1. The total lack of run defense in this year's game was very very sad. Even if your LB does have an awareness of 65, he shouldn't let an option QB just run by him every play. I understand EA perhaps wanted to emphasize the run and the option, but making it too easy did nothing more than make me lose interest. My kid hadn't played NCAA for 2 years. He picked up the game and hung 117 on OK with Texas. he said the option is just sick this year. The option is sick this year because LB's and safeties practically wave as QB runs by them. The option was not improved, the defense instead was just worsened.. alot.
2. The HB direct's success is a direct result of number 1. Calling the right defense will stop it, along with line audibles. But the point should not be to stop that ONE play when someone lines up in a formation that has that play available. If its 3rd and 15, for example, I want to stop the deep pass, and make the sure tackle on short passes and draws/runs. As it is now, I would have to call a MLB blitz, with a corner blitzing and my line would have to crash in order to stop the play, otherwise my LB waves as the HB runs happily by and my corners/safeties get sucked in so hard by the blocks, the HB is gone. Its just dumb and not fun. Many people say, just manually cover the HB with the MLB or a safety. Sure you can do that. Unless there is a impact HB on the other team who can plow over you with ease of course. Or maybe your MLB has 75 for speed, in that case noit even taking the right angle will help you, because the HB will be gone before you can get there. Relative position of the defender to the ball carrier, the direction he is facing, and his angle of pursuit is supposed to have some impact on what happens on a run play. Nope. Its more like ACC and Speed vs your ACC and speed. ACC is where I believe the game was tweaked against the defender
3.The great thing about 04 and 05 was that you did not have to have mad stick skills to compete effectlively. You had to know your playbook on offense and on defense you had to call the right plays to stop the offense. You could get by with average stick skills on defense, because if you called the right play, at least your man would be in position to make a defensive play. This year, its all about stick skills, and nothing about brain power.
4. The arcade like feel of the game is too much for me. "In a struggle, press the X button repeatedly to break or make the tackle." You know, I haver never played NFL street before in my life, or NFL blitz, but I would guess there is something similar in the instruction manual. Torching the defense by simply pressing triangle when triple covered is just way lame. Who decided that scoring on every drive within 4 plays was FUN? Give me a running QB with 85 + speed and a back with 85+ speed, and I can hang 55 on any CPU defense (AA) in the game no matter how bad my team is.
This is an idea that was great, until you put it in the user's hands as to how it can effect a game. Being unable to stop a HB in the zone whose user is pounding on the X button is very lame. However, a special animation, every now and then when a player is in the zone, works out great. Letting an impact player get in "the zone" for no apparent reason, however, is weak. I could understand if the guy had just made a nice play.. Say a pass/catch over 20 yards, maybe a streak of 3 caught/complete passes or 3 runs over 5 yards or more, or 2 or more broken tackles in one run etc. And MAYBE that is the way a guy gets in the zone in the game now, but you would never know by reading the skimpy book EA has to offer as an instruction manual. My point is that getting in the zone for no apparent reason is stupid. And if there is rhyme or reason to it, it should have been hinted at in the manual. Also, allowing the user to abuse an impact player's abilities by mashing X was imbalancing and made the game have an arcade feel.
The race for the heisman is one of those ideas that sounds great on paper, but was hard to implement in the game. Because of that, it should have been left out. The problem begins with the fact that after you walk on to campus, you get the starting nod over who is already there, no matter who is there and how good they are.
From a developer's stand point, they are stuck between a rock and a hard place.. Because the idea sounds good, but in reality it sucks. In the instance above, you have 2 choices.
1. Make the user play out as many seasons as it takes to win the starting poisition. Favor him under the covers by not recruiting 5 star guys at the created player's position to help him out and make sure he will start eventually. This satisfies the football purest and those who like to earn what rewards they get in the game. This discourages the arcade, instant gratification players from this mode of play however because they may have to earn their Heisman.
2. Let the user walk on and start for any team, no matter who is on the depth chart. Make the player a bit more susceptible to injury and fumbling, and AWR will make his on the field performance suffer greatly if any games are simulated. This is what is done now. But seeing my HH meter full as a freshman in my 7th game ever makes me feel like there will be no satisfaction once I win it. It will be too easy if you play every gamne manually, and above average players will have to move on to the next part of the game unless they want to do the same dull thing next year.
In ether scenario 1 or 2, you screw someone. Maybe that means you have a bad idea?
The idea of better stuff in your room is supposed to hook you. "Lets keep playing to see what kind of stuff I can get" runs through your head. Problem is, you can achieve almost everything in one year that this mode has to offer. Not my replay value there is there?
Anyways, I saved a draft class on my memory card and waved good bye to NCAA this year. If you wonder where I have gone, I will be off honing my Madden skills or playing NCAA 2005 when I need a college fix.