A month after its release, NCAA Football 12 has received its fair share of scrutiny from the sports gaming community. While many users wait on a patch to address some fairly major issues in the dynasty mode, others have utilized their time exploring the newly revamped "Road to Glory" mode. Despite its improvements (high school season, more in-depth recruiting, purchasable attributes) the mode still could still build upon its success in 2013. Below are five ways that "Road to Glory" could make itself a go-to mode for sports gamers.
1. Fix SuperSim: While the principle of SuperSim is great, it still struggles in some areas, especially in time management. Long drives (10+ plays) generally only eat up a minute or two. It’s not the most pressing issue in RTG but it can take away from the rhythm and authenticity. Also, while play calling has generally been better in this year's installment, it still has some serious flaws like running three consecutive "all streak" plays starting at first and goal. Making the play calls more diverse and situatinally realistic would go a long way.
2. Player roles and Coach Trust: The idea of integrating player roles is fantastic and as a matter of fact I think it was one of the better features added during this development cycle. While I do have some small gripes with the way the roles work (might be a little too easy to progress) I would love to see the development team go one step further. As most college football fans know, it’s rare that a freshman is able to step in and dictate plays or truly take control of a program. I’d like to see the mode reflect that realism but I also understand the need to make the mode inviting, even for the novice player. One way to do that is to provide a wide range of performance and chronologic milestones that unlock different freedoms. For instance, maybe performance based experience points can be used to unlock unique equipment or celebrations, while chronological events would allow users to choose uniforms or maybe even select the team’s playbook. Wile the start of something very entertaining is there, it seems like there is still a lot of room for growth in this particular area of RTG.
3. Demphasize stats: This one has been a fairly common criticism for the last couple years with RTG. While stats are important, there are certain actions that don’t receive credit although they are important in the structure of a football game, especially on defense where this issue is most evident. Things such as appropriately covering a zone, pressuring the quarterback/knockdown or separating a receiver from the ball don’t show up on a stat sheet but are integral aspects of the game that are largely ignored in RTG. Integrating a more comprehensive system may make the overall experience more enjoyable and realistic, especially on the defensive side of the ball.
4. High School does last forever: Much like player roles, an improved high school season and realistic recruiting was a much welcomed addition to RTG. That being said, it’s not the most enjoyable aspect of the mode, especially since there is little to do outside of playing games. It may help to have a little more depth during this time period, maybe even interaction with coaches (which may be difficult) or even if you were able begin purchasing attributes or shape your playing style. Regardless of the improvements, the high school season could use a little boost of excitement,
5. Well this is awkward: Admittedly, I’m a pretty big fan of RTG. I think it’s a great way to break up online play and dynasty, especially when you’re just looking for a different perspective. As much as I enjoy the mode, there is always an awkward moment when my player has accomplished a ton and the ratings have been pretty much maxed out. Pretty quickly, the whole mode seems somewhat useless; it’s potential has been fairly maxed out. Online leader boards and additional accomplishments are great but there needs to be more, there needs to be something else, or at least some type of closure. Maybe players could be integrated into dynasty as coaches in the revamped dynasty mode or the mode should be a more difficult with player ratings being dynamic so that you never quite comfortable with your player’s rating. In some cases, by the time my player hits their sophomore year, the stats are maxed out and there doesn’t seem to be too much to play for anymore. Being able to provide just a little bit more on the latter end of the mode would go a long way in increasing the user experience and the mode’s overall replay value.
NCAA 12 is now available on all major consoles and can be found at Best Buy locations throughout the greater Boston area.