As always, the game is beautiful, especially on a large HD monitor. It overtook Madden as my favorite football game last year and there is no reason to go back on that statement. There have been some tweaks that make the game-play even more realistic though. They added a total control passing more which allows you to lead the receivers more and throw to empty spaces as well as improved QB footwork and quicker play action fakes. The QB footwork mode affects the passing if you throw on the run a lot, so it’s an interesting twist.
You also have new controls for WR’s and a ton of new animations that allow for more spectacular catches. There are also WR icons that light up when the WR is ready for a pass. And for the defensive folks, the read and react D is much improved. There are still some bugs in the overall game-play, such as an OL can’t pick up a LB blitzing right at him, but all in all, the game-play is an improvement over the 2012 version. Like I said, I prefer the college game over Madden now, so it will be interesting to see how Madden steps it up.
Now let’s take a look at the Wildcats and how they are represented in this addition of the game. First off, there are no player names or freshmen included out of the box. There are ways to get a “real name roster” and if you need help, message me and I can assist. The overall Kentucky team has a ** prestige ranking which makes recruiting difficult, but the team skill level puts them even with Ole Miss in the SEC and ahead of Vanderbilt. They really are not that far behind Louisville either, so this version of the Wildcats are fairly competitive.
The QB battle is dead even as Max Smith has a 81 rating and Morgan Newton a 80. Bookie Cobbins is listed as a QB with a 76 ranking. If you can find the real name roster, Patrick Towles is a 74 so it may make sense to redshirt him for his freshman year. William Coshik is the top RB listed with an 83 rating and 90 speed and Raymond Sanders has a 78. Interestingly enough there is no Josh Clemons even on the real name roster, but Brandon Gainer is still listed, so he can be edited in.
EA shows no love to the WR corps except to LaRod King. LaRod King is the top rated player for UK with an 86 ranking and 92 speed. It is a bit of a drop off to EJ Fields (76 rating) and Gene McKaskill (71). No love at all is shown to DeMarco Robinson (62) or Darryl Collins (61). Once again, there are edit possibilities as Brian Adams is still listed. You can argue that RG Larry Warford is a bit underappreciated with an 82 rating. On the defensive side, Avery Williamson (84) and Martavious Williams (85) get the top rankings.
I am glad to note that the new uniforms are in the game and the black unis are an option also. I still wish there was a black helmet version, but if you go into teambuilder, you can create that online. Commonwealth is updated with the new scoreboard as well and even though I usually play with the sound down, the Commonwealth crowd is rocking a lot more than in real life.
Hope this helps you out if you are on the fence of getting this game. I know that some people buy every two years and may be holding out for the 2014 version, which is fine. 2012 is a very solid game, but I love having the new uniforms and rosters every year. I have seen some reviews panning the game and I don’t quite get that. The gameplay changes are good in my opinion and I am a fan of the Heisman Challenge. I know the games get pricey, but I play the hell out of this game for about 10 months and then trade it in in June and get a bit of value from it and am literally chomping at the bit when the new version comes out. For my money, this is the best sports game and has the most replay value over any sports game on the market.
My gamer tag on Xbox is OrlandoKat32746. Look me up.