I have to admit that this past Tuesday is always something of a Christmas morning for me, even as an adult. I admit, I still have a deep love for video games and even though real life trumps the video life now, I still manage to clear my schedule for a day or so when NCAA 13 comes out. Of all the video games I own, I play this one about 70% of the time and even though I don’t venture on line to play much, my skills are enough that I guided my beloved Kentucky Wildcats to four straight BCS Titles.
So that I can write this game off on my taxes and because I simply love this game, I am offering up my review of NCAA 13. Keep in mind that some specifics will detail Kentucky as I write for a UK site, but I am going to make this an overall review as well. Let’s start with the most hyped mode, the Heisman Challenge mode.
Imagine if Barry Sanders played for the Texas Longhorns. Or if Tim Tebow was a Florida State Seminole? Or even if Robert Griffin III commited to … Vanderbilt? It can happen with the Heisman Challenge mode. Of course you could have always created a player and put him on your team, but this is special. It is a lot like the High School “Road to Glory” feature, but covers that players Heisman season. You are challenged to see if you can break those players records and duplicate their Heisman winning season … even on another tean. .
I put Barry Sanders on the Kentucky Wildcats and through six games, the results are mind boggling. Sanders has 1796 yard rushing and 26 rushing TD’s (plus two return TD’s) and my Wildcats are 6-0 and ranked 12th in the country. OK, that’s insane and not “true football” but it is fun and the games are quick because you skip over defense and just play when Barry is on the field. There is a new feature introduced here (and in the Road to Glory) that is very cool. The “Reaction Time” mode slows the game down and allows you as Sanders to find the holes and hit them. It’s invaluable to use as a running back and makes smashing the record easy. Also, as a Heisman winner, you can overturn twenty coaches plays a game so you make sure you get the ball on the goal line. It doesn’t make you a great team mate to give yourself the ball 45 times a game, but you can’t argue with the numbers.
In the same vein, The Road to Glory is back and about the only change is the Reaction Time. I prefer the Heisman Challenge due to the fact that you can call your own plays more and on the 2012 version, the RTG playcalling was frustratingly bad. To be honest, I have not delved into the RTG mode that much, but I did notice that you can’t override coaches decisions initially.
This is by far my favorite mode and it is even better. They have upgraded the recruiting portion as to where you can actually scout the players as well. As I play with Kentucky, it is hard to grab **** and ***** star players initially, but with the scouting you can find that some three star player are actually better than their four star counterpart. For example, I scouted a two star player out of need and he jumped a full 10 points above his initial ranking and is now a “gem”. The sometimes tedious phone calls are back, but now the school rankings can improve in the course of the season, so a big win over a ranked team can raise your schools potential in the eyes of the recruits. If you like the recruiting mode, you will love these additions.
The rest of the dynasty mode is pretty much the same. They did add an feature that gives you game updates from around the nation so that will come in handy say you are ranked three or four in the BCS the last couple of weeks of the year.