I haven’t done a demo impressions piece since Dante’s Inferno and that was a while ago. The reason behind that is that none have really blown me away since, they have all been pretty much what I expected. In order for a demo to really warrant attention, it has to move you, it has to make you want to go out and kick out the $60 to buy it and I am happy to report that NCAA Football 11 does just that and a whole lot more.
If you ever read this site, you know that when it comes to EA, I love their games but have no problem pointing out my issues with their games when necessary and in recent years one of my major gripes has been the lack of major innovation in their yearly sports titles and at the very least not paying as much attention to detail as they should, but it seems that this year they got the message. First, you will notice that the demo is nowhere near as huge as it was last year from a file size standpoint, which means they wrote better code. In the demo, you can play four different matchups including: Miami at Ohio, Oklahoma at Texas, Florida at Florida State and Missouri at Clemson. The for matchups give you a wide array of views into just how the gameplay has changed and how different the teams really are this year.
The thing that jumps out immediately is the presentation. EA has partnered with EA and really focused in on the TV style presentation that makes you feel like you are really there. The player animations are all on point, whether its the QB throwing motion looking more authentic than ever to receivers making sideline catches and planting their feet inbounds its all their. The basic mechanics haven’t changed much, there have been little changes to how you do things and I didn’t necessarily like all them, like the new way advanced playcalling is constructed but you can get used to it quickly. I played through each game multiple times and I couldn’t stop thinking how fluid this all feels and how this is what a college football simulation should feel like. The thing that will jump out to you is how the catch and ball handling animations have been improved over last year. In NCAA Football 11 the the receivers actually reach out for passes and they “catch” the ball rather than it kind of sticking to their hands and running backs really tuck the ball and reposition it while they are running.
There wasn’t much I didn’t like about the demo besides the fact that even though the QB passing motion has been improved greatly, I didn’t see any real variation in it from QB to QB which is mildy disappointing. I mean Ryan Mallet of Arkansas doesn’t have the same throwing motion as Terrelle Pryor of Ohio State but from what I saw in the demo they will both probably look the same. In the end though, that’s only minor and I think that the demo does what it is supposed to do and that’s make you want to go out and get it right now. The thing I love about sports games demos is that its hard to not be able to get a good impression of how the full game will be from playing the demo, because the core gameplay mechanics won’t change. It’s not like in other types of games where they highlight certain sections but the overall game isn’t great. No, NCAA 11 looks like its going to deliver on what college football fans are looking for this year and get them all riled up for Saturday’s, heck I already am. NCAA Football 11 from EA Sports drops July 13th, but hopefully this year I won’t have to wait that long.