NCAA Football 10 Demo Impressions

Posted June 19th, 2009 at 1:46 pm


Having played the full game at E3, which was probably built off a different and slightly more recent build, it makes it difficult to evaluate the demo. There are some things that seemed better at E3, yet there are also some things that seem better in the demo. So I’m not sure exactly how valid some of my impressions can be as they relate to the final build. Because of that I won’t go into much detail on those things.

Continue on to read some general thoughts on the game/demo and check out the videos of a full demo play-through.

I’ve continued to argue against two minute quarter demos because of the inability to get into any rhythm. The faults of this are more pronounced with NCAA 10 though because the improvements and additions to the game I see as being more subtle. So it is less likely you’ll see the effect of game planning, or have the chance to run a fully “set up” play, or see the AI adapting over the course of the game. So in general I think the game comes across as feeling very similar to 09 and for the most part it does even in extended play.

In the demo I’ve had a real difficult time running the ball on All-American. In most cases a rushing attempt results in getting taken down in the backfield. I didn’t have the same reaction when playing it at E3 and hopefully the final build provides better run blocking than what is seen in the demo. Otherwise I feel forced into passing the ball more than I want to even in short yardage situations.

In somewhat of a surprise I don’t see too much of a problem with the pass rush. In fact on some occasions I was frustrated having run play action and getting no time to throw before being hit. While on defense I found blitzing to be effective, especially by using Player Lock and user blitzing. Still the sliders being broken is inexcusable even with the promise of a fix to come via patch.

As to Player Lock I didn’t talk about it much out of E3 but I’m finding it natural to use during the course of a game. This is especially the case when looking to blitz where the new perspective can really be of benefit. It is a detriment in pass coverage though. I had the CPU QB throw deep over the middle when I was controlling the FS. It was overthrown and in normal view it would’ve been an easy user pick. However the view was disorienting and I couldn’t tell where the ball was going to land which led to misplaying it and cost me an easy INT. I haven’t tried to player lock on offense yet. I like it as a punt returner and wish they would allow you to lock onto kick returners. Why they decided to leave out that possibility I don’t know.

Something that really bothers me is how the game resets you in the play calling screen. At each timeout you get the option to change your gameplan which is efficient. However then you go back to the game and are at the start of the play calling menu instead of it sending you back to your previous formation or even formation selection. This means navigating back through with multiple button clicks just to get where you want. Frustrating and a waste of time. Also a problem that remains even after complaining about it the past few years is after a special teams play you’re sent back to the special teams formation. After punting the ball I’m fairly certain my next selection isn’t going to be a special teams play EA.

I think the biggest problem with the game is that there is just a lack of emotional attachment. Some of that has to do with how the game doesn’t present a lot of the real life touches that Madden is adding this year or that have been found in MLB The Show. But also there isn’t much emotion shown on the field or felt from the crowd and commentators. In the demo video I got what was a critical touchdown yet there was no celebration and the QB did something along the lines of a boring fist thrust. It just didn’t draw me into the moment.

It remains to be seen how the final of the version of the game will be received but the demo does deliver a good idea of what to expect. There is nothing revolutionary for gameplay or presentation this year. Feature wise having Online Dynasty and adding Teambuilder could be what preserves it as an entertaining game that has value past just being what holds people over until Madden releases.