NCAA '14 was released last week which means gamers have had plenty of time to modify rosters, knock off some rust, and take Mississippi State to multiple national titles. FWtCT blog manager, thecristilmethod, is the resident NCAA die-hard, so I asked him his thoughts on the newest addition to EA Sports' NCAA Football series.
robnoladog: How's the new game play in NCAA '14?
thecristilmethod:Overall, I have really enjoyed the new game play. It's a bit harder to thread the needle in between defenders, even against the FCS schools, and that was something I was glad to see. It had been almost too easy in some instances. As for rushing, I think they've made some advances with how the ball-carrier reacts to his environment that really take the game further than it's ever been. We've come a long way from the "player runs straight, sideways, and sometimes through" defenders age, and I think this year's edition of the game did a good job advancing that effort. There are still bugs, sure, and sometimes it takes a bit longer between plays than I care for. But when you make advances, there are always going to be trade-offs, so overall I think they came out with a net gain with the advances that they've made. I have also enjoyed the Ultimate Team feature, and I'm excited to see which MSU players I will be able to unlock as I advance. But as is typical with me, my first priority with the game is to try to take State to the national championship. Gotta stay true to the homer in me.
robnoladog: How's the atmosphere at Davis Wade Stadium in the game?
thecristilmethod: One of the things that I was most excited about when I cranked the game up for the first time last week was hearing the sound of cowbells. This year's edition of the game was the first to my knowledge to ever feature the sound synonymous with MSU, and frankly, it's pretty cool from an MSU fan's perspective. However, from my game play so far, it is evident that the CLANGA is limited to only the pregame coin toss, as it fades away into the ether when you are done selecting kick or receive and your endzone preference. I know it sounds nit-picky, but I would have loved to see them integrate cowbells into the game more, say for instance after State scores a big touchdown, or during a dead-ball timeout, to better emulate what you could expect to hear at Davis Wade. That being said, I can see somewhat the issue with portraying cowbell ringing during a game when it is deemed "illegal", i.e. when the opposing team is lining up for a big third down play. However, my hope is that even if we are just one of 100+ teams available on the game, that EA Sports will make cowbell integration a focus for the 2015 series. Man, that sounded very politician-like.
As for Davis Wade, it ultimately looks as it did in 2013's edition. They again left the Dawgzillatron sitting atop the M Club, which again is a minor point that only an MSU fan would be annoyed by. I had some small hopes for a little construction work showing in the north endzone, but again, that's very, very nit-picky. I can't wait to see what she looks like in 2015, though. Both in the game and in real life.
robnoladog:What MSU unit (QBs, RBs, LBs, etc.) in the game plays most like their real-life counterpart?
thecristilmethod: To me the most realistic unit in the game is the running back corps. I thought Tyler Russell was a bit underrated in the game, and the wide receiver situation is a mess. But LaDarius Perkins is the highest rated player for MSU in the game, and that to me makes sense. Perkins is ridiculously fast in the game, and it doesn't take much to break a big gain with him, like we've seen so many times from him over his career. Also, both in my simulations and in actual game play, Josh Robinson is surprisingly good, and in many of the sims he ended up with nearly 1,000 yards himself for the season. I don't know if that split between him and Perkins is necessarily true to what we might see this year, because obviously Nick Griffin and Derrick Milton will get a good many carries too, but I think as far as capabilities in the game matching what they do in real life, the running back unit is pretty spot on.
I'm glad to see our running game represented well in NCAA '14. State returns a stable of guys at that position and with four full-time starters and one part-time starter returning on the O-line, I expect the running game to be the strength of the offense this season. Perkins eclipsed 1,000 yards on the ground last year and even chipped in two touchdowns receiving, and I definitely see those numbers increasing in his senior season.
Any of our readers playing NCAA '14? What feats are you reaching with the Bulldogs?