NCAA Football 14: Realistic Gameplay Is Win for Fans

Jeremy Fuchs@@jaf78Correspondent IIIJuly 10, 2013

Image from NCAA Football 14 on Facebook
Image from NCAA Football 14 on Facebook

NCAA Football 14 released Tuesday to much fanfare, and for good reason. Not only is it the best version released since 2010, but the realistic gameplay is a real win for fans.

For too long, the game franchise focused too much on replicating the "collegiate" experience—the fans, the recruiting, the fight songs. That is, of course, a very important aspect of college football, and any collegiate video game should include it.

But it is, first and foremost, a football game. The gameplay needs to reflect current collegiate schematic trends.

This version excels at that. The option, and all its variants, is one of the most prevalent offensive concepts in college football. NCAA Football 14 does a great job of incorporating it.

Gamers will have over 30 option variants to choose from, and will, according to USA Today, "see an icon that shows whether the defender is gunning for the quarterback or running back. Even when a player makes the right choice, they must still nail down timing to gain the most benefit."

This is exactly what running the option is like. The quarterback has to read the defender, deciding whether to keep it or dish it to the running back. When dishing it to the running back, he has to do it before the defender slams into him. Mirroring this split-second decision-making will allow the user to better understand this offensive concept when watching it on Saturdays.

Watch in the video below to see how much better this version is at executing the option:

In addition to the improvements in the execution of the option, NCAA Football 14 also improved the general running game. Now, users can make lifelike hard cuts, hitting holes with authority. Also, users can make moves with the running back behind the line—a critical and realistic way of gaining extra yards and finding holes.

Oregon, under Chip Kelly, made the no-huddle offense legendary. The Ducks ran their offense at an incredible pace and made it nearly impossible for defenses to substitute fresh players.

In this version, gamers will experience the same breakneck speed from the defense's perspective. Computer-controlled offenses will run the no-huddle offense, and gamers will have to find the appropriate defensive schemes to counter it. 

A final example is the improvement in the computer-controlled defense. One of the big things separating pro quarterbacks from collegiate quarterbacks is accuracy. While Peyton Manning has no problem fitting the ball into tight windows, the same cannot be said for most collegiate quarterbacks. In NCAA Football 14, the computer-controlled defense will cause trouble for gamers who think they can fit the ball between multiple defenders. 

For so long, EA Sports' college-football franchise has played second fiddle to its Madden franchise. While it's fun to experience life on campus, the gameplay made it difficult to embrace the game over Madden.

This version has a renewed focus on gameplay, mirroring the real-life game more effectively. In addition to the pageantry of the game, the actual gameplay makes the game worth playing.

This is probably the best version of the franchise. Fans are going to love the realistic gameplay, and for perhaps the first time, more time will be spent on the gridiron than on the recruiting trail. 


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