EA Sports Keeps it Real in NCAA 14 with Maryland I

EA Sports

So a couple weeks ago I bemoaned that EA Sports got it very wrong when it came to the overall ratings of the Golden Gophers in comparison to every other program in a BCS conference. (I mean really, the 2nd worst BCS team in the country after making a bowl game and returning a ton of starters? C'MON).

The good news is that EA has gone out and TOTALLY REDEEMED THEMSELVES by including the Maryland I formation in the Gopher playbook. That and more as we get a quick little review of the game from our very own commenter, JFormo. The SBN head honchos wanted me to continue this "Keeping it Real" series by including one of the TDG community for this 2nd round. We'll get to the game in a bit, but first a little background of Formo.

This Minnesota born Gopher fan has spent time living in the Twin Cities, the Iron Range and then sharpened his Minnesota fandome while living in Wisconsin for some of his formative years.

From the Iron Range, we moved to Superior, Wisconsin. It's only just across the bay from Duluth, but all I knew it was Wisconsin. And knowing the rivalry between the Vikings/Packers, I knew that I was about to catch flak. Just didn't know how much. Well, I certainly did. And the more flak I got the more it galvanized my love for football and the Vikings.

His love of Gopher athletics, primarily football, came a bit later.

In HS (of course still playing football), our varsity coach would take the entire team to a Gopher game after our season was over. We went both of my varsity years. And I think that got me started with the Gophers. I think was cemented my fandom was the kick that won us the Axe 10 years ago. My uncle, cousins and myself were in a sports bar in Wisconsin (after HS I still lived in Wisconsin.. I was chasing who now became my wife) watching that game.. We were the only ones that walked out smiling, I assure you. Shortly after that, my uncle dropped his season tickets for the Vikings and got season tickets for the Gophers.

The rest is history. He is now a season ticket holder, living back in the Twin Cities and has become TDG's unofficial video game reviewer. I asked him if had purchased the game and would like to give us a review. Formo was kind enough to oblige.

On the enhanced realistic game play.

I've actually had the experience with the new Infinity Engine with Madden 13. And I truly liked it. Now, I'm not sure if the controls from Madden13 were ported over to NCAA14, I'm leaning towards they weren't, as I seemed like my first few games with NCAA I was relearning how to use the speed burst instead of holding it down infinitely (like I have in past NCAA games). Also the 'hit stick' use is going to be an adjustment as well. Hell, the entire TACKLING mechanics (right-stick and the tackle/dive button) have changed, so I've been getting used to that as well. But the actual LOOK of how the game's played is beautiful. No more canned tackles, animations, etc. When a tackle is in motion now, if they 'bump' into another defender, it will change the direction/motion/action of the tackle accordingly. You don't see players 'clip' through each other anymore (for the non-technical, clipping is when the pixels on screen run THROUGH each other instead of around).

I personally haven't played any of the recent Madden's but I get NCAA ever year. This sounds a little too realistic for me and my method of palm-mashing to make tackles probably won't cut it anymore. I'm in real trouble. But this does sound awfully realistic.

An opposing RB was running the ball, met the LB and as the LB was riding the back of the truckin' RB, my safety dove (I hit the tackle button instead of holding it, so I dove instead of wrapping up) at their feet. In past games, the animation would have continued for another 4 or 5 yards before the RB actually hit the ground. But this year's game it was different. The RB's legs hit my safety's shoulderpads and he tripped over me for minimal gain instead of 5 yards.

Realistic indeed. What about the Gopher roster?

Not surprisingly, RaShede is the top rated guy (underrated IMO at 88), but then Aaron Hill and Donnell Kirkwood are the next two highest ranked guys at 87 (I believe). Obviously, in real life the gap between those 3 players' level of talent is much bigger. So there's that. I didn't dive TOO much into the Gophers individual ratings just because there are quite a few question marks. OL (injuries all last year) and WR are two big positions that we really don't TRULY know where they stand. The TTech bowl game last year gave us a look into the potential of our OL, but would that line hold off B1G DLs? Anyway, I didn't really bother diving too deep into the Gophs roster. They probably have it closer to being spot on then being completely off anyway.

What did he like?

I was overjoyed when I saw the MARYLAND-I formation in their playbook!!!

And that is where EA nailed it.

As their media hype is stating, this game is more realistic than ever. Sounds like the gameplay is vastly improved and should make for a steeper learning curve if you aren't well versed with Madden.

Thanks, Formo for sharing your life story and giving us a breakdown of the game.

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