#9 of 2012: NCAA Football 13

Posted December 17th, 2012 at 11:15 am


As one of what now is only a handful of major licensed sports games every year NCAA Football should never find itself this low on a year-end recap. Though not as afflicted by serious issues as NCAA 12 this year’s effort comes in way down at #9 for it’s lowest placement yet.

The lack of passion and ambition was the overwhelming takeaway from NCAA Football 13 and if that doesn’t change then the series and college football gaming entirely could follow college basketball and disappear in the years to come. 

The ranking of games in the best of 2012 list is based on number of factors including the personal amount of enjoyment had with a particular title, whether advertised features were fully delivered, post-release support, community interaction and communication, overall gameplay experience, feature set, and online play performance. Again this is largely a personal take and one with the advantage of tracking the games beyond just the release frame and does not act as some sort of recap of those with the highest scores on Metacritic. The analysis is weighted heavily towards those high in fun factor while considering them as a whole and compared relatively to the field.

It has become evident that a number of factors are damaging either the ability to produce a worthwhile NCAA product or the motivation for EA Sports to devote the proper resources in order to achieve such a goal. NCAA used to be innovative and it has become anything but that in recent years. The investment isn’t there – maybe considering slumping returns – and the growth potential is minimal. It’s not a time where consumers have much to be encouraged about when considering the future of NCAA gaming.

The player likeness lawsuit making it’s way through the courts (the latest can be read here as it currently is slated to begin in June 2014) threatens the immediate legitimacy of any college gaming product. The lack of opportunity for digital revenue is another difficult bridge to be crossed. Sales numbers have been dropping as it was the only major EA Sports title in 2012 that saw declines.

Regardless of the circumstances surrounding development they have no bearing on how consumers should approach the product. There are levels of expectations to be met and EA has failed to reach them with NCAA 13. That game offered no apparent compelling additions or improvements and the post-release support that followed was uninspiring. Uniform updates were only provided for Reebok until the most recent release of a few Under Armour designs. Patches addressed some issues but did not drastically improve the game or provide additional features such as Madden NFL 13 received.

There were a number of authenticity problems in addition to missing out on the “Infinity Engine” physics that greatly enhanced Madden. Even the Roster Share feature was down for over a week before EA bothered to get it back up and running and loading times throughout remained entirely too long. Heisman Challenge mode was clearly designed with marketing in mind and did not attract the interest of many. Presentation in particular, and game atmosphere, remained inconsistent and overwhelmingly lacking.

While all of that was deflating NCAA 13 did bring with it some basic gameplay enhancements that proved beneficial while improving the online experience especially with the avoidance of roadblocks in Online Dynasty mode. The level of familiarity the product offered this year could be perceived as a positive by some even though the more dedicated crowd was let down by that.

The NCAA Football series has reached a point where EA Sports must decide whether they are dedicated to producing something worthy of its past stature or whether it has begun a transition to a second-tier of products. Actions the last few years have pointed towards the latter being the likely route the company takes. If the player likeness lawsuit ends unfavorably it would likely end the series anyway and they may just be trying to bide time until a decision is reached one way or the other. Unfortunately that leaves consumers in the now watching a once proud series wither away.

Year in Review
Much more to come throughout the month!
•#9 of 2012: NCAA Football 13
•#10 of 2012: NFL Blitz
•Vote for the 2012 Community Choice Awards
•Revisiting the Top Stories of 2012: Disingenuous Marketing and Unfulfilled Features
•Revisiting the Top Stories of 2012: The Disastrous Road Towards NBA Live 13

  • Keith.

    What a joke that this game is on any Top 10 list, even by Pasta’s EA-loving standards.

    Hey Pasta, how about a story on the good folks who have objected to the Madden Monopoly settlement?


    • A voice of reason

      Keith, i give you this challenge. In the next EA Game that Pasta posts, don’t post anything. Just one. If there is more then one on this list feel free to post in the others but the next one don’t post. Just want to see if you are a mature individual with an genuine axe to grind against EA or a 12 year old who merely spouts what he has read on Operation Sports.

      • He doesn’t have an axe to grind. Ask yourself this – when has Keith EVER given a suggestion as to what can make the game better? The only thing he suggests is what HE wants in the game; for example, in-game saves.

        I don’t even think he has a true knowledge of whats wrong with the game nowadays, other that it doesn’t say “2K” on it.

      • Keith.

        “If there is more then one on this list”
        Are you serious? This is Pasta’s list. The only question that remains is what order the EA games will be placed. Look for The Show to come in around 7th or 8th, with Pasta ripping it apart even though he’s never played it.

    • How about a story in which you don’t post the exact same BULLSHIT no one wants to hear?

      • Keith.

        Just because you’re not interested in hearing about the problems that EA is going to have in pushing through the $27 million Madden Monopoly settlement, Jwaan, doesn’t mean there aren’t other football gamers who care about the choice(s) they’ll have in years to come.

    • I like how you manage to complain about something even when the article you’re commenting on is largely negative towards a game/company you have a hatred towards!

      • 49ersfan1

        exactly what he said^^

      • Amen_Ra

        Actually, despite what Pasta says this game should have been higher.

      • Keith sucks

        Lol all Keith did was read the title and comment, GET EM PASTA!!!!

    • 49ersfan1

      dude who cares. go made ur own website about monopoly and madden. oh wait, whats the point if no ones gonna read it.

    • LickMyNutz Pasta

      Agreed Pasta is the biggest EA fan bitch on earth. Did he mention in the description EA left out a ENTIRE TEAM OUT OF THE GAME. EA response to this oversight, “We just didn’t get it in this year. What if Madden, “Just didn’t get the Cowboys in the game this year”, maybe next year LOL

  • mcmax3000

    My first thought when I saw that this was #9 was “Really?”, because I really hated the demo I played, but I guess realistically, given that, with the exception of soccer (FIFA, and Pro Evo), pretty much every sport only gets one game a year now, it’s kind of hard to do a top 10 without including some of the lesser titles.

    • Keith.

      So why not include the “lesser” titles, like PES and Sports Champions 2?

      • mcmax3000

        PES should definitely be a candidate, and could still make the list, though I’ll be surprised to see it on there (haven’t played it myself, so I don’t know if it deserves to be, but it has to be better than that NCAA 13 demo I played).

        Sports Champions 2, I’ll admit I haven’t played, and I really enjoyed the first one, but from what I’ve seen, it won’t be a tragedy if it doesn’t make the list. It has the most generic list of sports possible, and I’ve never heard that it was adding anything to the sports that have already been done 100 times in motion sport compilations.

        If you’re going to champion for non-EA games on the list, PES is a good choice, but I think you’re likely going to be alone on Sports Champions 2.

        • Keith.

          I just wish Pasta would tell it like it is — that he hasn’t played PES, SC2 or even The Show for the matter.

          • The real story

            He wont do that because it doesnt suit his agenda. His main goal is to recreate the MaddenNation site. He only truly cares about Madden. He would still recommend that his site visitors go out and purchase ANY Madden game that comes out, no matter how badt is. That is his agenda, to keep his Madden football community thriving. Thats how he makes his money.

          • The real story

            He never even bothered with SC2. He doesnt support the Playstation. If he,had any credibility whatsoever, he would just come out and say it. This is not a sports gaming site. This is the new MaddenNation.

          • 49ersfan1

            madden nation? wow this is the only place i find reasonable articles for NBA 2K.

          • Makes sense. Considering how I was the only voice of dissent in the media about Madden 11 and the terrible state of the franchise at that point.

          • Keith.

            “Terrible state of the franchise at that point”

            Huh?? You had M11 ranked #6, ahead of The Show and NHL, on your year-end top 10 list. Boy, you really took EA to task that year!!! LoL


          • Amen_Ra

            The Show was ass the last 2 yers

          • You may have missed the review of MLB 12: The Show. Here’s a link: http://www.pastapadre.com/2012/03/15/mlb-12-the-show-hits-and-misses

          • Amen_Ra

            The Show was ass this year

          • Keith.

            After 8 years of garbage, you’re happy with Tiburon’s NCAA football but don’t like The Show. I’m pretty confident in saying you and I never will see eye to eye when it comes to sports videogames.

          • Amen_Ra

            WE see eye to eye just different extremes. As a 2nd tier product I don’t expect NCAA top be top notch. The Show and MAdden don’t have that excuse

          • I agree with the 2nd tier concept. The only problem is, NCAA Football was top-notch at least by EA standards at one time, last generation. From what I can see, that game was just as good if not better than Madden. I hated EA’s sports game last gen, but I acknowledge the reason why people loved them last generation as supposed to the broken half-done junk they’ve been putting out this generation.

      • Why just Madden

        Exactly. If this is supposed to be a sports videogame blog, why not cover the sports videogame titles that are released on BOTH consoles, whether they are console exclusive, or not? Why is most of the coverage devoted to EA’s Madden, and to a much lesser extent, NBA2K? Just sayin…

      • 49ersfan1

        i asked this question. pasta said he doesnt talk about PES because there arent many americans on this site that play PES. FIFA is better anyways.

        • Keith.

          And there are many Americans playing NBA Jam, NFL Tour and the other garbage EA games he covers?

          Do you always just blindly accept what people tell you?

          • 49ersfan1

            no one plays them but they are american games. trust me, if pasta never said that nba jam is on ios (2 yrs ago) i wud be lost. and everyone i know in this country play fifa not pes. pes has a european fan base.

  • allan

    Nice to see EA called out about NCAA. Keep up the good work.

  • In other words

    In other words, I play and write about the games that only “I” care about, and if you dont like Madden, you need to go elsewhere. Madden gets me the most site visits because its the only NFL game out there, and I’m gonna take advantage of that. I dont care if the game sucks. It makes me money.u

  • tish

    I’m confused, is this list the top 10 sports games of the year, or the 10 worst? Judging by the 2 games so far, it’s 10 worst.

    Oh wait, no I figured it out, it’s the top 10 EA Sports games of the year.

  • KennesawLandis

    I can’t believe this piece of shit game made it as high as No. 9. It’s a fucking abomination. And EA can go fuck itself for serving us this cock-sucking title.

    • LickMyNutz

      Agreed Pasta should be ashamed to put this piece of garbage in any top ten list unless that top 10 list is for the biggest pieces of Garbage EVER. Ask yourself one questions what if you bought Madden and popped it in your XBOX only to find out they left the Washington Redskins out of the game! Even if you dont like the Redskins just the fact they FORGOT to put a team in the game, well for those of you that didn’t know NCAA13 did just that this year. They left out a FUCKING TEAM! How does that happen!?!? Granted I am not a fan of that team the fact that quality control at EA is so pathetic make me laugh.

  • MoneyMayweather

    I enjoy this game don’t know what your smoking Pasta.

  • LickMyNutz

    Pasta wrote, “The NCAA Football series has reached a point where EA Sports must decide whether they are dedicated to producing something worthy of its past stature or whether it has begun a transition to a second-tier of products. They left a team out of the game idiot! Do you consider a game that leaves a team out of the game! Wow pasta has lost it guys, can you say EA fan Bitch Boy.