NCAA Football 12 has now been out for a few weeks, and we have been playing it nonstop here at VG Sports. We’ve been playing with each team so many times we have lost count. This year’s demo shows how similar styled teams play completely different based on the personnel. There’s a true difference between the brutes of Alabama and the insanely quick Ducks of Oregon. The team entrance scenes for Texas and Florida State make you feel like you are in the stadium yourself. But enough about the stadiums, let’s dive into some of the key differences we have noticed in this year’s game already.
One of the big reasons that every gamer loves playing the NCAA Football franchise is the Option offense. There is something about rolling out with an athletic Quarterback, and making a Linebacker have to decide who he’s going to tackle that we all love. In NCAA the run game has always been about attacking the edges of the field and using a players speed to turn it up field. This year one of the biggest surprises has been how a big strong offensive lines can create huge holes to run through in the A and B gaps. Alabama’s O-line can pancake defensive ends, and turn three yard runs into sixty yard touchdowns. Defenses are going to have to commit more players to stop the run in NCAA 12 against a team like ‘Bama.
Running is always fun in NCAA, but with 5 wide sets and speedy receivers, the focus of most gamers offenses is the passing game. We have noticed that the passing game in NCAA 12 is realistic in how you can slide in the pocket to move defenders in order to help open passing lanes. Rolling away from the short side of the field helps to give your receivers more room to operate. This year the timing of your throws is crucial. If you throw the ball too early, a lot of the time receivers will not be ready to catch the ball and thus will drop it.
On the other hand if you wait too long to throw the ball, the defense is going to use that to their advantage and jump your passing routes. Many new catch animations have been added to this year’s game, to make the game feel even more realistic. This year it looks and feels like EA has put coverage sacks in the game. A coverage sack is when the defensive secondary locks down the receivers for an extended period of time to allow a basic rush to get to the QB. It’s not a sack resulting from a blitz scheme. The credit goes to the secondary.
We see many times that the offense will get the majority of their receivers covered with only one receiver getting open. What this says to us is they will reward you for a good read but punish you if you don’t throw the ball when you see the read. That is real on the field football.
On the defensive side of the ball, we have noticed that more balls are batted down instead of being pick off this year. We know that many tweaks will be made to the game before it comes out on July 12th but we feel that interceptions are not going to be as common by linebackers and D-line players dropping back in zones.
Tackling will require more precision as well. Just getting in the vicinity of the ball carrier and pressing the dive button won’t get it done any more. You are looking at giving up some big plays if you don’t work on your tackling technique.
Many people have complained about the lack of “A” gap heat. We have found that you can get plenty of “A” gap heat in the game, when you set the defensive line to aggressive. Now this might lead to a false start if the opposing team goes hurry up or no huddle offense, but it is worth it. We have also used a lot of Goal line D and been able to contain spread sets against the CPU. It sounds strange, but when you stack the line in the Goal Line, the CPU audibles to call for more pass blocking. We would however, avoid using the Goal Line to stop the spread against a human opponent. That’s asking for trouble.
Well that pretty much covers some of our early thoughts about the NCAA 12 Demo. We love the feel of the game and how fast it plays, stick skill is going to be big in this year’s game. We expect that there are going to be many changes from the Demo to when we get our hands on the retail copy next week, but we already know that this is going to be a fun game.