50 Best Parts of EA Sports NCAA Football 13 Video Game
The NCAA Football 2013 video game for Xbox360 and Playstation 3 has finally arrived, and it certainly does not disappoint for college football fans and gamers.
The game brings many new features and changes in gameplay to the table, making what has been an enjoyable gaming experience over the years even better. The game is more realistic, faster and harder to master than ever.
Despite these changes, the game doesn’t abandon the features that have kept us all coming back over the last several years. All the past great moments are there, supplemented by many awesome new features.
50. Improved Defensive Strategy and CPU
The defenses on this new game are better than ever before.
We’ll get to more on that later, but here let’s talk about the strategy and CPU improvements.
This game has new defensive alignments and man coverage techniques that make defenses harder to read and much better. Unlike in the past, defenders no longer run where they are “supposed to go.” Rather, they react to what they see and adjust. That can be bad if you are predictable on offense or good if you know how to play it to your advantage.
49. Scouting High School Prospects
Courtesy of ESPN
One new aspect of the recruiting process in Dynasty mode is the scouting of high school players. Before, you were basically guaranteed that a high-star rating on a high school player meant that he would be a very good player.
Now, the uncertainty of those star ratings is thrown by allowing you to scout players and find out just how good they really are. You still have 10 hours of talking on the phone to use each week, and now you also have three hours per week of scouting. Each time you scout a player, you get a few of their actual ratings. However, you can only scout a player once.
48. Epic Opening Theme
Courtesy of landgrantholyland.com
This is not an important feature for many gamers, but I myself really appreciate the presentation that goes into these games. The first time I play the game, I always let the opening sequence play out.
In this game, the theme is the historical relevance of college football and the Heisman Trophy, and those ideas are clearly displayed here. Highlights of past Heisman greats play while Brad Nessler’s voice tells you something that sounds epic.
I can’t remember what he said, but it sure did pump me up.
47. In-Game Studio Updates
Courtesy of the unpaidgamers.com
Realism is an important part of these games, and finally the game’s developers have made the in-game experience more realistic by updating you on important scores in your dynasty.
It’s not all that great or anything, but it is cool if you’re as into dynasty mode as I am. It helps you pay attention to what’s going on around you in your dynasty world and forces you to lose yourself even more in the game.
46. Past Heisman Winners’ Signature Celebrations
Courtesy of GameZone.com
Another added aspect to the brand new Heisman Challenge mode are the touchdown celebrations for each past Heisman winner that you can play with.
While I haven’t had a chance to play with all the past Heisman greats, I have played with Barry Sanders. His touchdown celebration is exactly as it was when he played. He calmly and coolly walked over and handed the ball to the referee. It's not flashy, but it is classy and awesome.
45. Coaching and Not Playing
Andy Lyons/Getty Images
This particular feature is entering its second year as a part of this gaming franchise, as it was a new feature on NCAA 2012. It’s not a revolutionary feature by any means, but it does add another interesting aspect to the game.
I always wanted the opportunity to just coach a game without actually controlling players. It adds some realism and allows you to live out more of the true coaching experience.
However, I now know that I would make a terrible coach.
44. Exporting Players to Madden 2013
I know what you avid college football gamers are saying, “That’s been an option for like a decade.”
You’re right, but it’s still pretty cool.
I’m a guy who likes the storyline and allowing me to continue my “career” in the professional ranks is amazing. If mastering this game is not enough, now you have to become a legend in Madden 2013.
Granted, it’s probably more about trying to get people to buy both games, but it is still pretty cool. You can never have too much fun, right?
43. Opening Theme of Games
Courtesy of egmnow.com
The opening ceremonies for games haven’t changed much.
Brad Nessler, Kirk Herbstreit and Erin Andrews are still there while the camera pans over the crowd and the players warming up. Still, I have always enjoyed the spectacle of it.
Maybe I’m a sucker, but I get lost in the fantasy.
42. More Realistic Passing Games
As I have stated, realism is one of the most important aspects and the passing game was definitely something that needed to be improved upon in that area. It has been simply too easy to find open receivers and get them the ball.
Now, receivers can only catch the ball when they are ready for it. That may cause some trepidation when you first hear it, but it is not as complicated as it seems. Basically, the button that you push for each receiver will only light up over his head if he is ready for a pass. In the old days, you could throw it to anyone at any point and they would automatically be ready for the ball. Not so any longer.
41. Updated in-Game Commentary
The in-game commentary is something that has changed very little over the past several years or so, which has lead me to mute my television and listen to something else as I play.
While the commentary is updated somewhat in this game, it is still mostly more of the same old stuff.
Brad Nessler and Kirk Herbstreit have been given a few new things to say, while Erin Andrews seems to be no different. One good thing they have added for Herbstreit is that he now analyzes offensive styles more, particularly when you begin the game with that team. He’ll give a (very) brief run-down of how that team’s offensive style affects the game. It is not much, but it is an improvement.
40. Fun Facts on Loading Screens
Another feature that has been present for awhile: the facts on the loading screens; they have always entertained me.
Not everyone is a junkie for college football and its history like I am, but there is some pretty interesting stuff here.
Most of the team facts haven’t changed much, but the loading screens during Heisman Challenge mode are really awesome. For whatever week of the season you are in, the loading screen tells you how the Heisman legend you are playing with did in that week of their Heisman Trophy-winning season.
39. Historical Perspective
The emphasis on both the history of college football and the Heisman Trophy are parts of the game that I particularly enjoyed. They are not a specific part of the game per se, but more of an overall facet of the game.
Continuing in the proud tradition of past greats is something that every young college football freshman dreams about and hopes for. Through this game, we die-hard college football fans get to experience a piece of that, albeit a small piece.
38. TeamBuilder Mode
Teambuilder has been around for a very long time, and it is still here.
Who does not like forming their own college football team and making it as good or as bad as they want? You even get to design the stadium it plays in. Only downside to this is that you must be logged in to EA in order to access this feature. That’s the only thing I’d change about it.
37. Create-a-Player Mode
Create-a-Player mode is also back, and it really is no different from the previous versions of the game.
You can create a player, make him look like whatever, make him as good as you want, add him to any team and off you go. Fans of this feature will be glad to see it unchanged, and I am really not sure how they could improve it. Not many more details could they add or improvements could they make.
36. Amount of Options in Heisman Challenge
I had heard a bit about the new Heisman Challenge mode in the game, and I knew that it afforded the option to play with some past Heisman greats.
What was a pleasant surprise was just how many Heisman greats you get to play with.
I expected to have four or five options at the most to pick from. Instead, I got (*) different past Heisman winners to choose from. Some of those are only available as downloadable content, but still, it’s impressive that the game developers were able to include so many.
35. Reaction Time in Heisman Challenge
An interesting new feature that has been added for the Heisman Challenge and Road to Glory modes is Reaction Time. By holding a button down, the game will slow down for your player, allowing you to have more time to make snap decisions.
How much time you get depends on the awareness of your player and the big plays you make. It also replenishes over time, so you can use it multiple times during a game. This particular feature does not do much for me. I’m a bit of a purist, and I don’t like any added advantages. However, others will probably enjoy it.
34. Mascot Mash Up
There are certain parts of the game that really did not need to be changed, and mascot mash up is one of them.
It’s not a mode that avid gamers will spend a whole lot of time on because all you can really do is play exhibition games with the mascots.
It’s corny, but it’s still pretty amusing. From time to time, I enjoy watching a team of giant Cowboys with huge heads tackling a team of giant Ducks with similarly large noggins. Not an everyday thing, but fun from time to time.
33. 1-Button Mode
Another feature of the game that is not really for avid gamers is 1-button mode, which is basically a heavily simplified version of the game.
It’s true to its name, as there is literally a single button that does just about everything for you.
Only extreme beginners who have never played a single minute of this game will benefit from this mode. It’s a good feature, though, because it gives novices a great way to work their way into the game slowly.
32. Online Dynasty
The Online Dynasty mode is something that seems really cool.
I haven’t been able to try it out yet, and it was not something I had really explored on the older games either. However, it can’t be a bad thing to start an online dynasty where you compete with your friends for recruits and wins. I don’t think it has changed much from previous incarnations, but it does not seem like it really needed to.
31. Crawl at Bottom of Screen
Something else I have liked in past incarnations of this game and that I liked in this one is the crawl at the bottom of many screens that gives out information on your dynasty.
Scores, bowl results, award results and more can be found down here and I find it very helpful. It’s not a big thing to get super excited about, but it is a neat feature and a fun addition.
30. Instant Replay
Obviously, instant replay has been a part of the game forever, and it really has not changed much.
The reason is because it did not need to. The replay option on the pause menu is top-notch, allowing you to view any play from any depth and any angle. The in-game replays are pretty good as well, especially since now you can watch them in the background of the screen where you pick your plays.
29. Manual and What’s New Options
Two new options on certain menus and screens are the Manual and What’s New options.
The What’s New option is available on the paused game screen during exhibition games and highlights all of the new changes they have made to the game. It also tells you how to make good use of these changes.
The Manual option is basically just what it sounds like. It is a manual that gives a basic overview of the game and how to play it. It’s available on many of the screens in the game and is indicated by what button you should push at the bottom.
28. Custom Playbooks
Don’t like any of the pre-configured playbooks in the game?
You can make your own playbook with your own formations and plays, which is a good thing considering that no two players play this game the same way.
This feature is not new, but it is really important as far as allowing players to be individuals in the way they play the game. I like playing the game my way, and this feature allows me to do that free from playbook restrictions.
27. Set Your Own Audibles
This feature is similar to the Custom Playbooks in that it is not a new feature and allows you to individualize your game.
It does not require a custom playbook to use though, as you can set audibles for your profile that will be there for you no matter what team you are using. Being able to change plays on the fly to plays that you are more comfortable with is vital to dominating the game.
26. Trophy Case
If you have played these games as long as I have, you’ll probably forget all the great, amazing things you have done at some point.
Luckily for you, the game has a Trophy Case feature that keeps records of all your great accomplishments. It includes individual awards, bowl trophies and much more. It’s not a new feature, but it is a cool one to use to look back on all the things you have done in the game.
25. ESPN Instant Classics
Did you just play the single most exciting virtual college football game ever played? With this feature, you don’t have to worry about forgetting those great moments.
The game issues particularly exciting games a score based on their “exciting-ness” and ranks them throughout your time playing the game.
It does not record as much information as one would like on each game. However, it does tell you basically what happened in the game. Not a new feature, but a pretty cool one.
Sometimes, amazing things happen, even on a virtual football field. We all want to keep those moments, mainly so that we can show our friends just how awesome we are.
Being able to record your highlights is not a new feature, but it is a pretty great one. Not only can you keep and store them on your own console, but you can also share them online with friends.
23. Uniform Customization
Courtesy of SBNation.com
One thing that my friends and I have always enjoyed about this franchise of games is the ability to customize your team’s uniforms for a specific game.
Not all teams have as many options as others, but they all have alternatives to the normal stuff they wear.
Oklahoma State and Oregon are particularly fun to toy with on this game, given that each has a deal with Nike that gives them a ton of different uniform combinations. They don’t have as many on the game as they do in reality, but it’s still fun.
22. Weather Control on Exhibition Games
Another feature to help you customize your gameplay is the option to change the weather during exhibition games.
Sunny, cloudy, rainy—you can play in whatever environment you want. You can create your very own ice bowl. Just remember, the environment does affect gameplay.
21. Pre-Snap Adjustments
This is one part of the game that I absolutely love and have for a long time.
The pre-snap adjustments that you can make have never been as varied and complex. Audibles, hot routes and line shifts are all available as they have been before. On defense, you can also shift your linebackers and your coverage players. By mastering these tools, you can get the jump on your opponents with ease.
20. Rivalry Games
It seems like we all, as college football fans, have a particular rivalry game that is special to us.
This is not lost on the developers of this game, who have placed a special value on rivalry games in most incarnations of the game. Each rivalry game has special graphics and commentary that goes with it. Each team also has its rivals listed in its team description.
19. Bowl Games
Like rivalry games, bowl games are also given the special treatment they deserve.
Each game is in its actual stadium and has its actual trophy that goes in your trophy case when you win it. They are in the correct cities and at the correct times of the year. You can also customize which conferences have bowl tie-ins to which BCS bowls, which is a pretty cool feature for those who really like to play God with the game.
18. New Quarterback Footwork
Quarterbacks finally are not just statues back in the pocket waiting to throw or get sacked.
New quarterback movements and footwork have been added, and now just a flick of a control stick can evade a defender. New, longer dropbacks are also used and match the routes on certain plays and throwing on the run is not as difficult as it once was.
Remember when you had to flick a control stick in order to pump-fake? It was hard to control where you wanted to pump fake, and it often took up too much time and resulted in a sack.
Now, all you have to do is hold the left bumper on the Xbox 360 (or its counterpart on PS3) and then push the button that corresponds to the receiver that you wish to fake toward. Then, you release the button and throw to whoever you want to. It’s quicker, once you master it, and it can prevent taking up too much time in the pocket and missing your man or getting sacked.
16. More Options on Play-Action
There were times when I used to play these types of games that I’d never use play-action plays.
The reason was because it took far too long and defenses would catch up and realize what the play was or storm in and get the sack.
Now, the quarterback fakes on play-action passes are much quicker and the quarterback has the option to abort the fake and give up the ball. Avoiding or beating the blitz was never this easy.
15. Catching the Ball
Using wide receivers has become much easier.
Before, it seemed that the ball was going to a spot and it was your job to find that spot, even if it was not in your trajectory. The quarterback threw the ball to spots, not to receivers.
Now, that is not the case. The ball is now thrown to you on the trajectory that you are running. The spot on the field where you have to get to is still there, but the spot is changed to where you are running. There are also over 400 new animations for when receivers catch the ball, which is a nice change.
14. Updated Option Game
The option game on this new game has changed a bit.
The game developers have added new animations to this particular play, which allow you to pitch a ball a split second before being tackled. You can also fake the pitch and pitch regularly as you have in the past. The option seemed to be unstoppable in some past versions and not usable in other past ones. In this one, it is a perfect balance.
13. Robert Griffin III
I really enjoyed playing the Heisman Challenge with Robert Griffin III.
On this game, his passing abilities are unparalleled. Players looking for a quarterback that destroys by running the football will be disappointed because Griffin is, first and foremost, a passer on this game. If that works for you, then RG3 will certainly not disappoint. That’s not to say he is a bad runner, but he is not Michael Vick running-wise.
12. Custom Conferences
Courtesy of ESPN
One thing that I always disliked about past games was that, as I advanced in my dynasty, the conference alignment remained the same as the conferences in the real world underwent constant change.
That’s not a problem anymore.
After each season in a dynasty, you have the option of playing with the conferences as you see fit. You can keep your dynasty current with the real world or let things happen as they may. Either way, you have options.
11. Watching Interviews of Past Heisman Legends
One good thing about this Heisman Challenge mode is that there are videos of each interview in which players speak about their Heisman winning season, what they think of college football currently and so much more. It’s really incredible to hear.
An example: Barry Sanders spoke about how, before his Heisman-winning 1988 season, he, like everyone else associated with Oklahoma State, were wondering how the team would fare without NFL-bound running back Thurman Thomas. Needless to say, Sanders eased everyone’s concerns quickly.
10. Improved Juke Move
This was an area in which the game really did need to improve.
As with the option game, jukes have been wildly effective and ineffective, depending on the version of the game you are playing. In this way, a player’s success with jukes is directly based on that player's juke rating. Players like Barry Sanders have jukes that are ridiculously fast, while lesser players won’t be able to juke anyone. There are also new animations for the players who get juked, which is always fun.
9. The Cover
There may be a lot of people who don’t care about the cover, but I think it’s pretty awesome.
Robert Griffin III looks awesome on it, and Barry Sanders is not a bad secondary figure to have with him. Each is a bit metallic, and they really pop off the cover.
EA used a fan vote to determine who the secondary figure would be, which was a good move to generate even more fan interest in the game. I was pleasantly surprised that Sanders won, as he’s one of the lesser talked about stars of college football’s past.
8. Barry Sanders
Speaking of Barry Sanders, he’s one of the best, if not the best, past Heisman winner to play with.
A game-changer in any offense, Sanders bounces off defenders with ease and jukes people out of their socks. He’s also incredibly fast and is a superstar in special teams as well.
I went through the Heisman Challenge mode with him and even used the current Oklahoma State team, which has a pass-heavy playbook. Even in offense, Sanders was dominant. The other past stars in this game are really good too, but Sanders was the best.
7. Road to Glory Recruiting Style
One feature that I did not like in the past incarnations of this game was the recruiting in Road to Glory mode.
Basically, you’d play your whole high school season (or just the playoffs in earlier versions), and then, at the end, you’d be given a list of schools with what string you’d be at your position at each one.
Now, since you get recruited throughout your high school season as new schools move into the equation, the better you get. You also have to earn a scholarship from each school, and the higher caliber the school the more you must do to get an offer. It’s much, much better.
6. Coach Contracts and Coaching Carousel
Another new-ish feature is the ability to get a contract with each new job you get.
Each contract comes with different goals and expectations for you to meet, fall short of or exceed. There were always contract goals in the past, but now there are far more and they are more specific. It’s no longer good enough just to win your conference, beat certain teams or get to a specific bowl game. Now stats, number of wins and more come into play.
You can also be wooed and signed by other teams. Not every team will be interested, depending upon their level, your level and the job type. But the Coaching Carousel runs every offseason, bringing with it tons of opportunities.
5. Precision Passing
Is your receiver in a one-on-one battle with a corner and does he need you to throw precisely to his left shoulder? This was possible in the old games, but it’s been improved for this one and does not disappoint.
The control for it has not changed, but it is much more reliable now. Before, you could find yourself throwing the wrong way or too far in one direction very easily. Now, the passing game is truly precise, as your little field general throws each ball exactly how you want him to.
4. Defenses Are Fast
If you are an offense junkie, this slide may disappoint you.
For me though, the defenses on these games have always been disappointing. I get it, offense puts butts in seats and games in consoles, but I always wished the defenses could be just as fast as the offenses.
They are now. In fact, they might even be a bit faster. Never before have the defenses on one of these games ball-hawked and swarmed ball carriers faster than they do now. Playing defense is fun again.
3. Trying to Match Past Heisman Greats
The Heisman Challenge mode is obviously one of the biggest new parts of the game.
The best part of it is that it’s a whole concept centered around using a past Heisman great in today’s college football and trying to match or break all of the milestones and records the great set in his Heisman-winning season.
Matching the rushing totals of Barry Sanders or Herschel Walker, the passing touchdowns of Robert Griffin III, or the passing yards of Carson Palmer is no easy task, especially considering the major changes the game has undergone since they played. It’s fun though.
2. Continuity of Controls
One very good thing about this game is that none of the controls are drastically different from the last few versions of it.
That continuity of control configuration allowed me to pick up a controller and play the game pretty well immediately. It will allow that same courtesy to all experienced players of this gaming franchise, which is important because it encourages people to come back and buy the newer versions without having to worry about learning new controls.
1. Ability to Earn Your Way Through Dynasty
This is not a specific feature, but more about how the dynasty mode is configured.
While this is not a new thing, the recent addition of contracts, the coaching carousel and the ability to be an offensive or defensive coordinator has made it even better.
I live for dynasty mode on these games and this is why: I love to start small and work my way up to prominence and domination. It never fails. I always start out with a really bad team and slowly work by way up to a top-notch job. Or, I make that bad team a top-notch job.
I love the way this game gives you something to build. The ability to build a dynasty over seasons and seasons is why these games never get old. You create your own story, and that will always be the best part of any of these games.