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PS3 Demo Impressions – NCAA Football 09

June 20, 2008 Written by Joseph Peterson

First and foremost I have been playing football games for as long as I can remember. Lately EA has been dropping the ball year after year, yet I continue to buy their game every year because I need my football fixes. Every single year I pick up NCAA Football and Madden no matter what. I’m hoping the minor annoyances that I am experiencing in the demo stay in the demo, and are not in the final retail version. Hopefully this is an early build, because if not we have another year where people complain that they dropped the ball. I am going to do my impression/review this way. I will tell you what I like, and then what I dislike. Then I will tell you whether or not it seems worthy of a purchase or not. Hit the jump for the rest of the article.

What I Liked:

  • -Slide blocking scheme—I love this. I can tell my O-Line how and in which direction I want them to block.
  • -Play selection—no longer will my friends know what I am choosing as EA once again implements the simple option of just pushing a button and your play is chosen. Rather than having to highlight the play then hit X.
  • -Hot routes on defense—now I can tell my secondary exactly what I want them to do and which type of coverage I want them to do as an entire group. Much easier than before.
  • -Running technique—now your ball carrier actually feels like he is running. His body movement is very fluid, and it moves and reacts as you move your analog stick.
  • -WR’s—I just like the way they are handled in the game, except for their speed at times.
  • -Extra yardage—The ball carriers actually fight for extra yardage now more than ever when getting tackled.
  • -Play bluffs—I love this feature. Fools defenses into thinking you are running a different play. All you have to do is flick the right analog right or left (depending on which bluff you want to run) while pressing R2.
  • -Stats—they are now displayed in a small window above what quarter it is, rather than an intrusive huge window that pops up like in previous years.
  • -Composure system—do you have a young inexperienced QB in the game? Well if you do and you are trying to look at what routes are being ran at a critical time you might be in trouble. The routes will be all wavy and in zig zags shaking all over the place.
  • -Tackling & Running animations—there are a lot of variations in tackling and running. You don’t have to look at the same things over and over again, which is definitely a plus.
  • Audible system—you can now use the right analog as choices as well when changing plays on both offense and defense.

What I Disliked:

  • -No chain crew—really EA again? You have got to be kidding me.
  • -No Refs—once again really?
  • -cheerleaders don’t have school logo on uniforms—yeah I know I’m picky, but oh well. If I’m playing as LSU and it shows a cutscene of my cheerleaders I want there to be a logo. Every uniform that I’ve scene while watching football my whole life has pretty much had some sort of insignia on it.
  • -Glitchy QB—there were many times where I would line up under my center and my whole body at the QB position would shift to either the right or left. That should definitely not happen.
  • -No ball spiral—at one point I made a beautiful 15 yard past with my receiver running an out route and he caught it to convert on first down. It showed the replay and the ball was rotating at the pace of a snail.
  • -Sideline players—can someone tell me as to why my teammates look like cutouts on the sideline? You think that EA would know how to implement what 2K Sports did so long ago. I don’t like breaking for a huge gain to the right and then my teammates on my right are just cutouts that are clapping. Give me a break. I wan’t the actual players on my team represented on the sideline showing actual emotion according to the play?
  • -SLOW RB’s—last time I checked a RB is supposed to be explosive and quick. The RB’s on here just seem sluggish and slow to get to a full head of steam once they are handed the ball. I was tackled in the backfield A LOT.
  • -WR Speed—they seemed at times like they were not trying to get through their routes with full effort. Sort of half assing it.
  • -O-Line—EA has had problems with the O-Line for as long as I can remember. It has improved some though, but not as much as I would like to see. For example the CPU O-Line will block you all day and it is very hard to get pressure at times when you are playing as a DE, but when you are on offense the CPU D-Line will be all over you.
  • -Crowd—give me a break. How many times can you use the same model in the crowd over and over?
  • -Commentary—need I say more. To me it sounds like the same lines they have been using over and over. There were even times where they stated the wrong down. Said 4th when it was 3rd.
  • -No huddle glitches—your O-Line should not be all bunched up on one side when you call a no huddle. The guard was basically on top of the tackle.

Undecided:

  • -Graphics—I’m still undecided on the graphics. The player models look ok, but the stadium at times just seems off. It looks good overall, but it can definitely improve.
  • -Minigame system—say your QB throws an interception. Afterwards you will have a window pop up with various pics of what occurred on defense throughout the play. You then must choose what defense was being run. Based on your response is whether or not you lose or regain your QB’s composure. At first glance it seems like a good idea, but I’m worried over time that it will become a tedious chore.

Purchase/Rent/Stay Away: If you love football then you will most likely like this game and pick it up regardless of what is said about it. Overall the game is solid and most of the problems seem to be cosmetic or just that there are minor improvements from last year, rather than big improvements. So if you are a football fan grab this on day 1. I highly doubt you will be disappointed even with some of the problems I listed. It was actually hard for me to look for the things that annoyed me because I was having fun. Don’t get me wrong, the ref and chain crew thing made me quite angry, but other than that nothing was that bad. The game is just plain fun.

Overall it is hard to tell how this game because it is just a demo. We don’t know if this is a early build or a final build. But EA has caught the excitement of what college football is. I played 4 total games, and on my 4th game it went through 4 overtimes. I won the game with my WR running a post route and beating the secondary. Even though there are flaws I will still be purchasing this day 1, because in the end it is still a lot better then 08.