By this time last year, there was a lot of information in the wild about NCAA Football 13. Maybe that was a bad thing, since the game ended up being such a colossal disappointment for it’s lack of innovation/updates. But the release date for it’s successor, NCAA Football 14 is less than two months away, and it appears just one trailer has made it’s way into the wild so far. That is not likely good news.
The lack of a gameplay trailer at this stage would indicate that the game isn’t finished, and because release dates for these types of games rarely move at the last minute, the possibility of possible game breaking issues is higher than usual. For those unfamiliar with software development, often last minute changes to fix or tweak something can have unintended consequences that can get missed in last minute testing. This is the kind of thing that would lead to scenarios like some play on offense being an automatic touchdown every time, or superhuman players at a particular position.
It’s not just the lack of trailers though. There is a major lack of features and improvements being discussed. EA Sports has finally added some more camera angles, creating much better options for surveying more of the field. I personally love the hide, wide angle that lets you see exactly where receivers are relative to zone coverage. The “infinity engine” that was added to the Madden series last year will be included this year. This promises to improve running and open field play. The fact that there is a much bigger emphasis on running option-focused offenses is good, since this has always been incredibly challenging.
The fact that no big “back of the box features” like Heisman legend mode, or Road to Glory have been announced means there is likely nothing groundbreaking there. For hardcore dynasty players, these kinds of things rarely matter, and added depth to the Dynasty mode, like improved recruiting, are always much more important.
I personally was planning to take a year off from this game, since I was so angry with last year’s version, and frankly am losing a bit of interest in video games in general. Then Denard Robinson had to go and get himself on the cover, and I am sucker for anything Michigan Wolverines. So barring the worst reviews in history, it seems almost certain that I will pick this one up at some point. With that in mind, here’s a quick list of give things I’d like to see:
- Much Improved Option Offense – sounds like this is coming, but the option is my favorite thing to watch in college football.
- Reasonable Defense – There have always been some problems with the defense. Either you have defensive backs who just can’t cover anyone, or linebackers who can drop back and knock down every pass. There has to be a happy medium.
- Make Special Teams Matter – Never a blocked field goal, punt of extra point. Rarely a missed one of the former two either. Long kick/punt returns happen more than they used to, but still not often enough.
- Penalties – Why is it so hard to see more penalties? I don’t really understand. A couple per game at best, and not nearly enough of certain kinds (has anyone ever seen a pass interference call where you didn’t just tackle the receiver?)
- Roster Size – Why are we still using the unrealistic 75 man limit? It makes it much harder to play as a non-elite school because you never have depth. The next generation of consoles should have enough power to have 500 man rosters.