I picked this up the afternoon it came out (this past Tuesday for the non obsessed). I have to admit that I wasn’t as excited for this year’s version as I had been in the past. I wasn’t even planning on buying it Monday afternoon, but then I hopped online to see what people’s impressions were.
To my surprise, a lot of people seemed to really like the changes. No one even had posted their extended descent into madness and meditated as to why they always drop $60 when nothing ever changes and everything is wrong in the world and what is the point of it all anyway? Well, considering I’ve been buying this game since 2002 came, it didn’t take too much to convince me to get it.
So I ran out, picked up and threw it in the XBox360 (Paul VBlue is my gamertag in case anyone cares). My friend came over and we did an exhibition on Heisman difficulty between a couple ACC teams (I can’t quite remember at this point).
I could have really done without the marching bands at the beginning of the game. I doubt any band is actually going to form the EA Sports logo. Once we got into the game play I started to notice the differences right away. The movements are all much smoother and more realistic feeling. While there are some animations that don’t always quite work, most of the gameplay looks and feels very good. A big change is your QB’s throws as he’s being hit. My offense in 2009 involved sitting in the pocket, stepping up and launching a perfect pass 40 yards downfield just before getting leveled. Try to do that in 2010 and it barely gets to the offensive line. More realistic, sure, but a little tough for me to get used to. Another thing is that the CPU defense actually takes rational pursuit angles that you can’t throw off with a wiggle of the control stick. I could shake almost any defender just by running slightly towards the post and then cutting hard to the sideline.
The defenses are pretty similar, but your defensive AI doesn’t seem quite as incompetent as last year and you can even get a bit of a pass rush at times (!). I freely admit that I generally SuperSim (best feature ever) the defense, so I may not be the best judge.
The game was going fairly well until midway through the third quarter. The game just up and froze. Alright, maybe this is a bad sign, but it happens right? It could just be a freak chance.
We restart the XBox and start the Michigan dynasty. I try to download rosters, but unfortunately, EA shipped beta rosters with the retail version of the game, so the standard people who get the game 2 weeks early weren’t able to put together rosters by the release day, and there likely won’t be a complete one for another few weeks or so. We decided to just with number, since HB #4 seems more like Minor than have him be called Darius Simmons or something.
First thing I saw when we got started was “Add a new pipeline state.” This is new so I click it, and apparently you can now buy “Dynasty Accelerators” which give you benefits in recruiting and whatnot. These cost points/money. Will people actually buy these? I hope none of you do. I mean, really. Just don’t do it.
Anyway, I like the new recruiting lay out (grid vs. list is generally a good UI choice if you have quite a few options). You can also numerically and graphically see how much your pitch is affecting a recruit which is nice. I always got frustrated when it would take 90 minutes to pitch a guy and you really don’t know if it’s doing anything. Besides that and the new lay out, recruiting seems fairly similar to last year.
The last big, new thing is the inclusion of Erin Andrews. I started a Road to Glory, but got bored pretty quickly, since it’s just a repackaged Campus Legend mode (which I knew, but was hopeful for something more). The injury reports, which happen with much more frequently*, are a nice break to the standard Nessler, Corso, Herbstreet booth, and aren’t even quite as generic as I would have thought.
Overall, I really enjoy most of the changes made to the game. The more aesthetic things (marching band, 3d “dorm room” in RtG, etc.) I could have lived without, but overall, they fixed a lot of things that were really annoying, and the game play is much, much better.
The bad parts:
- The menus are slow – I move really quickly in the play selection menu, but sometimes it doesn’t load a submenu by the time I try to select something.
- No full rosters – It seems really weird to me that a mistake that huge could make it through, but it is EA. You can get the updated rosters here.
- The game crashes all the damn time – This is the big one. I tried loading it to my HDD, I’ve wiped the disc, but no matter what I do, it will usually end up freezing before I decide I want to turn it off. This has caused some annoyances and lost data, and I have to assume there’ll be a patch for it, but for right now it just really makes me want to write EA strongly worded letter. They get so much right in the gameplay, but a lot of the time I can’t even get to it.
I’m sure the more I play, I’ll find things that are annoying, but it’s definitely one of the best versions I’ve played in a while. Hopefully, EA will add some patches to make this game as good as it can be. What do you guys think?
*4 games into the 2009 and my QB #5 has been knocked out of the game on 3 separate occasions.