EA Sports' NCAA franchise has always been about realism. You know, "If it's in the game, it's in the game." But after a year in which the series' development seemed to stagnate a bit, the designers redoubled their efforts to bring an even more "real" experience to NCAA 14.
Now, we already know that WSU's team rating in NCAA 14 is awful -- 83 offense, 80 defense, 81 overall (11th in the Pac-12). But EA Sports has had that part of "real" down for years now, to which anyone who has tried to build a dynasty over the years can attest.
Where EA Sports has really tried to improve the gameplay -- and where I'm hoping "real" will translate into some real results for gamers who want to resurrect the WSU program -- is in the physics engine that drives the behavior of runners.
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You might be thinking to yourself, "Runners? WSU doesn't run the ball, so who cares." You'd be right, of course, and since the game is "real," I'll assume that running the ball will be quite difficult when controlling the Cougars.
However! You'll note the improved running action features things such as quicker cuts and faster acceleration. These aren't attributes that are unique to running backs in an Air Raid: These are things that are important for wide receivers, who ideally should be finding themselves receiving the ball in open spaces. That hasn't always been the case in past NCAA games, as receivers would often catch and fall. Perhaps the new "realistic" running action will make this more of a factor.
Additionally, emphasis has been placed on making wide receiver screens more realistic -- they've been awful in the past, with receivers whiffing on blocks and corners jumping the passes. Screens are a huge part of the Air Raid, and if the action on them is more real (as promised), then it really could be a game-changer for those of us playing with the Air Raid playbook.
And if we can execute better with the playbook, we can win more games. Win more games, build the dynasty. Build the dynasty, get away from that "real" low team rating.
What "real" aspect of NCAA 14 are you most looking forward to? Let us know in the comments. I'll be selecting one or more of you to join me on a followup post in about a week.