Overall, very pleased with it on the PS3. I took a 3-hour break from life yesterday when UPS finally delivered my copy that I ordered from Amazon just before dinner time. (Which also meant I had to take a break for dinner....)
It's been several years since I bought (or even played) an NCAA Football franchise game, so it was a pretty big jump for me in terms of how good the game is. I don't know how the past several games have been, but I really like it. I broke in the game with the Bucket Game for an exhibition with the default rosters, so I could get used to the controls and learn the new features. I blanked them 49-0 and deemed that a reasonable success, so I started a dynasty as a head coach.
Recruiting is completely different from anything I've seen in the past, and you have tons of control over it. I'm not sure how it will play out, because I've only done pre-season and week 1 so far, but it is pretty cool. Very tedious though and takes a lot of time.
Gameplay is great. There's a new (I think?) feature where you can evade tacklers as the QB with the right stick to avoid a sack. Very cool. Purdue's schedule this year is pretty ho-hum, so I replaced all of our non-conference schedule except Notre Dame with @Oregon (wanted revenge for that series a couple years ago), Boise State, and TCU since they were all ranked pre-season to give me an A+ strength of schedule, up from a B-something.
Playing at Oregon was as tough as I thought it would be - Autzen Stadium is formidable. In the end though, it came down to turnovers (sound familiar?). The net margin was even (2 for each team), but it was really all about capitalizing on the turnovers. Oregon's first and only score of the game came early on a 40+ yard passing play where Ricardo Allen couldn't quite catch the WR after the first guy missed a tackle (also sound familiar?). They threatened a couple other times, but the defense held strong, and I blitzed them about 40% of the time, which they had no answer for.
On my first possession, I threw a very bad interception in the end zone. They returned the favor by throwing me an interception at the 3 yard line on the following possession. My other interception was equally bad, but they didn't do anything with it. At one point I managed to read an option perfectly and "intercepted" the pitch in stride (ruled a fumble recovery though since it's not an actual pass) and ran unabated into the end zone to tie the game, which was the turning point of the game.
Their defense was pretty tired and couldn't stop the run outside the tackles... at all. They loaded the box a lot and it didn't do squat. Virtual Purdue can actually block!!! At one point I had a tight end run a go route just for the heck of it, and neither of the safeties followed him until the ball was in the air, so I hit him for a 60-yard TD to take the lead. Oregon had a 3-and-out the following possession, so I threw a wheel route TD to OJ Ross on the next play with their defense gassed.
Late in the game Oregon turned it over on downs and I barely got a first down to preserve the possession and run out the clock, but got some sportsmanship points for taking a knee at the end in the feature where you earn points for your school in a global contest against other users. I'm not all too familiar with it, but it seems pretty cool. Purdue was 11th in the Big Ten when I looked at the standings though, so our fans clearly need to pick up this game and earn us some points!
So that was my experience on Release Day. Crushed IU 49-0 and started a dynasty off right with a 21-7 victory at #4 Oregon, vaulting into the top 25 at #17 and dropping Oregon to #14. I'm curious how others have found the game - comments?
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