NCAA Football ’14 Invites You To Keep It Real

Jonathan Daniel

The release of NCAA '14 invites Purdue fans to keep it real!

Many of you are fans of the EA Sports franchise for NCAA Football. I have had many different editions over the years, with the most recent being the 2012 edition. In the next few weeks the 2014 edition will be released with an all-new presentation engine that revamps the entire game's process:

In-game vignettes had also become stale - every time you took a timeout in NCAA Football 13, you saw the same exact cutscene - so Tiburon is freshening up that video bank with hundreds of new clips, and shortening sequences that remain so there aren't "long six-, seven-second mascot dancing animations anymore," said Haumiller. The studio also put together a new halftime show featuring Davis and fellow ESPN broadcaster David Pollack; Haumiller touted their "chemistry and camaraderie."

In addition to the presentation aspects, the running game has received a ton of improvements. This is something that will be noticed when you play as Purdue, as the new offense under Darrell Hazell will likely be skewed more to the running game than Purdue's basketball-on-grass approach we have become used to.

A I have written many times, the offense under Hazell had a thunder and lightning approach with Dri Archer and Trayion Durham each running for over 1,000 yards. It is something that Brandon Cottom and Akeem Hunt can replicate, and now you'll be able to do the same in NCAA Football '14:

We're also aware that sometimes you need that extra burst of speed, so we've introduced an acceleration burst mechanic that allows you to hold the right trigger and reach top speed more quickly to get around the corner or evade a pursuing defender. There's a tradeoff though, as running harder - as well as making moves like spins, jukes and cuts - drains your stamina faster, so you may lose your steam on long runs. We've included an on-screen stamina meter this year, so you'll know exactly how much energy you've got left on any given play before you run out of gas.

This is something that would be very useful, as we saw many times last season that Hunt had an "extra gear" he could use on big plays. This allowed him to average eight yards per carry in rushing and 15.7 yards per catch when receiving. His extra burst often led to big plays, and now you'll be able to do the same in NCAA '14.

In terms of Purdue's in-game ratings I already talked about the top 10 players (one of which will be hard to keep real since he is no longer on the team", but the unit rankings are rather accurate for what we expect from Purdue. Purdue has a rating over 84 overall, 84 on offense, and 85 on defense. This is pretty accurate. It rates Rob Henry fairly high as a senior quarterback with starting experience, so the virtual offense won't suffer too much. Previous versions have Henry have been respectable, as he is in my '12 game and is easily coached up.

The defense is going to have to be the strength of the real Purdue, but the virtual defense might be a little overrated given our inability to slow a good team's offense at times. Much of the respect given seems to come from Purdue playing in the Big Ten. The Boilers were 6-7 last year, but they rate better than Cincinnati and Northern Illinois, who had far better records and are on Purdue's non-conference schedule. Northwestern, who won 10 games last season, is only a few spots ahead of Purdue.

So it looks as if the EA Sports folks have high expectations. For that to happen in real life Henry or Danny Etling needs to have no trouble leading the offense, Cottom and Hunt needs to be studs, and defensively the new coaching staff has to take returning players who underperformed and get them to make big leaps with proven players like Bruce Gaston, Ryan Russell, and Ricardo Allen.

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