More Than Just A Game
It’s 9 a.m., and you wake up early to the sound of roommates shouting in the living room. You search your bedroom for as many pieces of university clothing as you can find, because you need everyone to know that you aren’t just some ordinary fan. Your hands race quickly throwing as much beer and beef as you can into the cooler by the grill as you dash out of the door. It’s early, but the town is already flowing with people all wearing the same colors and shouting the same chants as you are. As you pass, people you’ve never met smile and give you high-fives. Normally the weekend is your time to relax, but not today. No, today is special. Today is game day.
As a senior in college, I know how important football is to the morale and lifestyle of a campus. It isn’t just a bunch of guys trying to get the ball into the End Zone, it’s a religion that millions of people around the country swear by. It is this sense of pride and tradition that elevates college football to the upper echelon of American sports, yet it’s something that EA’s NCAA Football franchise has never quite been able to harness. However, with a much stronger emphasis being put on tradition and presentation, this years iteration of the pigskin classic is able to capture some of the most unique aspects of college football and, most importantly, the people that follow it with relentless passion.
These types of improvements are visible in a few different areas. Many of the screens are copied faithfully from real-life broadcast screens. The same goes for many of the various on-screen animations that pop up during games. The bigger addition to tradition is, however, teams’ field entrances. Most schools don’t just run from the locker room out onto the field without doing anything. Most school have some little action or happening that they do because, well, that’s how it’s always been done. These pre-game traditions, such as the LSU Tiger in its cage, or the Georgia Bulldog sitting methodically add identity to each school, and help a little to bring the gamer off of the couch and into the crowded stadium. This isn’t a feature that I ever felt particularly ripped-off for not having in years past, but now that I have them in combination with authentic broadcast camera angles and genuine screen graphics I don’t think I could go back without a sizable feeling of discontent.
The Small Things In Life
Beyond the presentation revamp, NCAA 12 doesn’t really add any one or two huge things to the table. At it’s core, the game still feels very similar to last years title. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, however, since NCAA 11 was an extremely solid entry into the series. Instead of trying to pack on some huge new game mode or gameplay mechanic, NCAA 12 instead tries to take care of the little things to tweak and perfect their already robust formula. They weren’t successful in every aspect, but on the whole I felt that there was enough added to justify my $60. I’ll admit up front, however, that if you aren’t an at least semi-devoted football fan that knows some of the more nuanced aspects of the game, you may not notice some of these tweaks and how they effect the overall flow of the game.
Bigger, better, more accurate presentation. Greatly improved animations overall. Enough depth to keep you busy for months or more. Online Team Builder is still amazing.
No big additions to the core of the game. Players occasionally react to situations unrealistically. A lot of re-hashed dialogue.