How to improve Superstar and Campus Legend for 09

Posted January 1st, 2008 at 2:27 pm

Campus Legend and Superstar modes have become very popular as an alternative to the standard offline Dynasty or Franchise modes. Allowing for someone to play the game from the perspective of a single player is appealing and unique all the while coming across as less intimidating to play through. After a couple years these new modes have gotten better but there are still many changes that could made to enhance the experience.

NCAA Football 08’s Campus Legend turned out better than Madden 08’s Superstar mode for a couple different reasons. The better camera angles and fewer annoyances off the field within the mode are just a few examples. Ultimately those factors among some others led to it being more fun. After having gone back on my notes during my Padre reports I’ve compiled a detailed list of things that need to be addressed to make the 09 versions of them more enjoyable.

Camera angles: The biggest topic of conversation in these modes is the position specific camera angles. Originally the modes started out with the normal camera view but that has moved in to displaying the field from more of a first person perspective. NCAA did a great job with them in 08 (screens and vids here) which led to much disappointment when Madden’s were not nearly as good (screens and vids here). A huge problem with 08 was the flipping cameras when the ball changed possessions on turnovers as well as punt/kick returns. It made things disorienting and very confusing.

Poor QB play: In both games the QB’s played so horribly on both sides that you felt completely out of control at times and at the mercy of the poor QB AI. As a defensive player you’re hoping to force turnovers and it is a bad sign when you become sick of getting them and don’t want any more. In many cases the majority of the scoring came off INTs returned for TDs or at least setting them up for scores. It wasn’t out of the ordinary to see five or more INTs per QB. It was also extremely rare to see a QB throw deep. QB play is something that needs to be worked on extensively.

Poor play calling: Going along with the QB issues is the questionable play calling. This is another thing out of the control of the person playing the mode. It is understandable that the idea behind it is that you play your position and deal with things like that just as an individual player would. However it would be nice to at least be given the option to choose the plays anyway.

Influence points: They were incredibly annoying in 07 and were slightly less annoying in 08. They still don’t make sense in many situations. Getting credit for something you had little to no part in or being docked because a teammate screwed up doesn’t seem fair. I also just don’t like the idea of using these earned points to artificially boost your players stats for a game. That should be done behind the scenes. Make good plays and your player gets more confidence. But you shouldn’t be using a scale before each drive and deciding what you want to be better on and where to spend them. It takes you out of the experience.

Inability to adjust depth charts: This is another thing that is not given as an option because of the idea that the individual doesn’t decide where their place is on the team. But if you expect people to be patient and wait out being a backup than you should at least have the ability to set yourself in as a returner and different creative situations where you can get on the field a few times and keep some interest.

The fluff can be annoying: I appreciate the attempts to add in real life elements to the mode such as the agents and campus life. However they need to be limited to things that have some value. Alright so you’ve signed an agent, maybe you get a new contract, but who cares cause money does you no good in the game. Either make money a factor somehow or just forget about it. Oh and while we’re at it, please just get rid of the whole email setup completely.

Practice and improving: Practice is great for getting your player’s stats improved. Well it is when you are in a prime position such as QB or RB. However the others are much tougher because they aren’t evaluated as easily. As a CB I went through many practices in CL where I gained no points and literally didn’t even have any opportunities to make a play. In both practice and the games it was beneficial to allow a WR to catch the pass so that I could get my player to record a tackle. There has to be ways to reward players for doing their jobs even when they don’t show up in the stats. This is especially the case with lineman and defensive backs. Look to FIFA 08 where in their Be a Pro mode you get rewarded or penalized based on whether you are playing your assignment.

Draft presentation: Nothing is more disappointing then going through the buildup to the draft and having it all over in five seconds and all you get is a screen that pops up that tells you what team you were drafted by. There needs to be a lot more to this crucial event, one that is supposed to be shaping the direction of the player’s career. Wouldn’t this be as big of if not a bigger deal than signing an agent? Then it should be presented as such. Pre-draft analysis, seeing what teams are showing interest, seeing picks go up to the podium, getting a call from the team’s head coach, all of that stuff would make it much more fun and not the letdown it currently is.

EA Sports World utilization: The response to the NCAA video and screenshot uploading was overwhelming and it is something that really needs to be in Madden this year as well. Being able to transfer them over and display them made for a lot of good reading from both these modes as well as Dynasties and Franchises.

Superstars online: With NHL, FIFA, and NBA Live all getting Online Team Play it would seem that Madden would receive it as well within the next two years. How cool would it be to not only be able to play with the real teams, but bring your CL/Superstar online to help form a team?

Coaches challenges: This needs to be added in as both modes did not have coaches challenging calls.

NCAA clock: The game clock did not run between plays which meant long sustained drives rarely lasted a significant amount of time. 13 play drives that took up only 1:30 were the norm.

More immediate reward: As a QB, RB, or WR it is easy to know when you’ve made a great play. However the other positions don’t get that same recognition. This somewhat ties in with the practice/attributes but it would be nice to get notifications on the screen signifying things such as crucial blocks (sprung the RB or protected the QB) or shutdown corner play (maybe something like prevented a pass being completed on you for a quarter or a certain amount of passing attempts). I always liked the “user” messages at the bottom of the screen but I think I could go for them being even more pronounced in some form.

What would you like to see done with Campus Legend and/or Superstar mode for 09 to make the experience better? Leave your thoughts in the comment section.