New Features in NCAA Football 12 Lack Necessary Follow-Through

Posted July 14th, 2011 at 12:00 pm

While I work up the ‘Hits and Misses’ review for NCAA Football 12 to be posted tomorrow one thing over the last week has become apparent: well-intentioned and heavily hyped features are absent the necessary foresight or simply haven’t been implemented completely.

Road to Glory and Dynasty mode are both affected by SuperSim which remains broken as it pertains to clock management. This has been a known issue for years but has yet to be addressed – even as the modes have new features which rely heavily on it.

The ability to be a coordinator in Dynasty mode is great in concept but with broken SuperSim it means long drives for the other side of the ball take off only a minute or two of game clock. That leaves the user-controlled side on the field much longer and running more plays which makes it easy to reach any statistical goals for a coach over the course of a season.

I’ve already detailed Road to Glory mode which still favors the positions that rack up stats and even then the system is too easy to progress in and the CPU play-calling is poor (and buggy at times like punting on non-4th downs). When playing both ways in high school especially but even in college the user-controlled player tends to be subbed out for several plays after making a reception, or tackle, or rush attempt. That leads things back into the flawed SuperSim.

The problem with Custom Playbooks are well publicized now and could very well negate the existence of the feature for many until things are fixed. This was represented as the big ‘community’ addition and to have it busted out of the gate is embarrassing.

Online Dynasty has been hampered by the advancement queue. Last night I sat 109th in line to move the dynasty forward. After 27 minutes it had finally completed and though that wait wasn’t as bad as what I had first anticipated – as some have had to wait over an hour – that is still completely unacceptable. Hopefully EA did not bring in advancement from the web (a pay-for-feature which has been delayed till August) and are planning to sell that with the incentive that there is no wait involved which would be an egregious move on their part.

I’ve also just learned that owners in Online Dynasty can adjust the ratings of players on their teams (though this has not yet been verified). If true this may not be an issue in some cases depending on who is involved in a particular dynasty, but there should be no ability to change ratings to begin with in that setting. In all of Dynasty mode way too many coaches progress way too quickly…something that should have been spotted in testing.

Graphically it has been well documented how fantastic the game looks in replays and screenshots. Unfortunately it looks flat during actual gameplay, the crowd looks poor (especially in Road to Glory), and the field art can even look pixelated. The release patch somehow damaged the graphics as well and the PS3 version is even farther behind in all respects.

There is a lot to like about NCAA Football 12. The gameplay advancements are recognized and Online Dynasty as a whole is great. It’s just a shame to see so many good ideas not completed or absent proper execution. So far EA Sports has yet to respond to the myriad of issues being pointed out by consumers. NCAA Football 12 hoped to reach the brink of greatness but faults such as these will prevent it from achieving that status.