As promised, today I will review my initial experience playing EA Sports’ NCAA Football 14 on Xbox 360 (username Qualk43 in case anyone wants to lose).
–My first game is always Clemson-South Carolina. This year I played in Columbia because that’s what the schedule says I’m supposed to do. The game was nip-and-tuck the whole way, and my defense was horrific in the first half. But we settled down and rallied from a 21-10 halftime deficit, tying the game at 24 with two minutes remaining in regulation. After a defensive stop, with Sammy Watkins on the sidelines, Tajh Boyd found Germone Hopper on a hitch route that G-Hop took 35 yards into scoring position. After I took a snap to line up a field goal try, Chandler Catanzaro banged it in from 40 yards out and I celebrated a 27-24 victory.
–So far, I have played five games, both offline and online. I have used Clemson, Indiana, Iowa, and Arkansas—all teams who employ different offensive styles. Clemson’s playbook was the most fun to play with because it looks like what Chad Morris’ staff uses. There is lots of pre-snap motion and up to four different reads on a given play, which I absolutely love. Indiana was a traditional spread, while Arkansas and Iowa were largely two-back or pro-style sets. I hope to explore more styles of play in the coming days.
–The passing game seems much easier than last year, when defenders would cheat like crazy to make it impossible to complete downfield passes against safeties. The running game is more realistic, and the tackling and player interactions seem like things we would see on television on a given Saturday.
–One thing I did miss is the stadium entrances. They have been a staple of the game for the past couple of seasons, but it appears they have been eliminated in favor of more broadcast-style presentations. I think I’ll be fine with this with time, but it was noticeable.
–I have not played in any special modes yet. It is far too early for that.
–For people who love the game and love Clemson, this year’s version should be a ton of fun if you know how to utilize the far reaches of the playbook and aren’t allergic to orbit motion or multiple fakes.
–I promise to have a non-video game take tomorrow to appease all of you out there who think I play all day long. (Hint: I don’t. I consider winning games hard work.)