Well I’ve basically been playing this game non stop since I picked it up at midnight when it was released. I absolutely love it. So before I even get down to the likes/dislikes I’m just going to say this is probably one of the most enjoyable football games I have played in quite some time. But don’t get me wrong, nothing is perfect; the game does have some flaws. Also when I wrote my impressions of the DEMO a while back I was saying that I hope this is an early build. Well I think it was to be honest. Everything seems a lot smoother. There are a lot of things that carried over from the demo concerning likes/dislikes though. So don’t be surprised if you see some of the same. In fact you will see all of it at first, because I still like all of that same stuff. Anyways now for the review of the game and enough of me ranting. You know the drill. I will tell you my impressions of the game, likes/dislikes. Then at the end I will tell you if I feel that is worthy of a purchase or not. Full review follows.
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. They seem a lot more realistic than in the past. Their speed also seemed improved in the game.
- -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.
- -Menus—the menus are built so much better. They are also a lot more responsive than in years past. If anyone has played some of the older games they know how slow it was on the depth chart at times. Well now all that is fixed. Also you shrine has it’s own section now rather than being the background of the main menu.
- -Interface—the interface has been given a facelift, whether it be big or small, everywhere. Most notably in the newspaper section of the Dynasty mode. It sounds like not that big of a deal, but it honestly looks really nice.
- -Custom Sounds—you can now apply custom sounds from MP3’s that you have stored on your harddrive of your PS3 to different situations of a game. If you want a certain song to play when you score a TD, done. There are a lot of options here as well, so many different situations that you can apply this to, or even team specific.
- -DB’s—while I do have my problems with them (see dislikes). They seem more realistic than ever. No more of that blind jumping up in the air and swatting, and magically knocking your pass down. They actually turn their head as the ball is coming to position themselves. Also they will actually fight for position when the ball is released from your QB’s hands. So now you better think before you throw, you will be picked off in a heartbeat.
- -Online Dynasty—Need I say more? Well I will. This is one of the main reason I picked up this title alone. To be able to have an entire dynasty with fellow friends online.
- -In Game Achievements—yes I know there aren’t any trophies for the PS3 version of the game, but there are little achievements that you can accomplish. Some range from mind numbingly simple to where you wonder how the hell you are going to accomplish it (I’m looking at you “Score a TD with your punter”). A lot of them are quite fun actually. Plus they all contribute to your EASportsWorld profile that you must have to even play online.
- -Online—seems a lot more smoother, atleast to me online this year. Last year I had a lot of problems even getting into a game. This year it is a lot simpler. Though there is some lag at times, nothing that really draws away from the game like I experienced last year.
- -EA Locker—this is another really cool addition that they added to the game. You can actually share your custom rosters online by uploading them to your online locker. Then people can enter your username and download your rosters that you made straight to their PS3’s.
- -Weather Channel Live Feed—If you are connected to the internet then this feature will check the weather of the location that you are playing at, and make that the same conditions within the game.
- -Loading—I’m not sure if it is just me, but loading seems a lot faster than in last year’s game.
- -Interactive celebrations—pretty cool feature if I could figure it out. There is a way to have interactive celebrations with the team, mascot, etc. The mascot one is rather easy, you just run up to him. But I can’t figure the team one out. It says press triangle, but when I do nothing occurs. Oh well, it is still pretty nice nonetheless.
- -Sideline players-while they still look nowhere near as good as 2K sports sidelines, it is definitely an improvement over last year and the demo. Last year they looked like PS1 models. The demo didn’t seem much better.
- -Graphics—The graphics are a lot better than the demo in my eyes. I really like the way they look. The game overall does a great job of representing the stadiums.
- -Crowd—as I stated in the impressions of the demo the crowd looked atrocious. They seemed to have tweaked this some as well. They look a lot better in the final product.
- -Atmosphere—The game did a good job of picking up the atmosphere of college in general. I found myself at times feeling like I was there with my surround sound on. EA really did an excellent job here.
- -Difference in Speeds—you can really tell a difference here. If you have a power back you are not going to break away like in the past years. The other defenders will catch you and tackle you. It is a lot more realistic in a good way.
What I Disliked:
- -No chain crews—EA should have learned by now that chain crews should be in a football game, give me a break.
- -No refs during play—once again they should be within the game, and not just when a penalty occurs.
- -Cheerleaders don’t have school logo on uniforms—yeah I know I’m picky, but oh well. If I’m playing as Texas 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.
- -Roster glitches—there have been a lot of problems with glitches of the rosters and it actually locking up systems. This is only with the custom rosters. There have been rumors that it might be the EA Locker system itself when you download the file. EA is well aware of this issue and they have already stated that it will be the first patch that is released for this years game. They are already working on other patches as well. But still this is a problem that should have never made it out of testing, but props to EA for fixing their screw up.
- -Corners coverage—many people have been complaining that while DB’s can cover some of the most advanced routes, they can’t cover the basic routes such as a curl. It seems there is an exploit here. I haven’t experienced or seen it personally myself online while playing, but a lot of people are claiming it. If the problem is there hopefully it is addressed in one of the patches they were discussing.
- -Pass Rush—maybe it’s just me here, but the pass rush seems damn near impossible to get at times when I’m on defense. There should be some sort of pressure on my opponent when I’m playing online. But I have had my opponents get pressure on me, so like I said this may just be me.
- -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.
- -INT’s—Seems to happen all too much online IMO. I got picked off 5 times at one point in a game. One of our readers Claass21 picked me of 3 times and then proceeded to completely obliterate me. But it could be me at times just throwing the ball up when a receiver is not open.
- -One play wonders—Yes we have all encountered them. Those guys that are online and only run 1-2 plays on both offense and defense. Well this year it seems hard to stop them at times. There always is a solution. Find that play that will shut it down. That’s what I had to do with one guy I played recently. He insisted on running blitz’s all day. So I just sent my slot on a fly and ended up beating him 51-20. But the problem is finding that play, and if you don’t you will most likely lose.
Purchase/Rent/Stay Away: Like I said in my opening statements, this is the most fun I’ve had in a while with a football game. It actually made me put down MGO, which I love. And it was all I was playing for a while. Now all I want to do is play NCAA. I haven’t been like this in quite some time with a football game. EA you did a great job. It is leaps and bounds better than 08 in my opinion. So guys, support EA this year. Buy the game. I absolutely love it, and I’m sure you will too. Thanks for reading this review, and hopefully it has informed you on this title.
P.S.: If you do pick up this title be sure to stop by the FORUMS and sign up for the PSLS Online Dynasty. We are currently accepting people and need people to sign up to participate.
PlayStation LifeStyle’s Final Score
The hardcore fans will not be disappointed.
The mechanics in the game have been reworked and are much more fluid.