Wednesday, July 19, 2006

It Begins: Day 1 Reflections

I have it, I have it, I have it, I have it. Don't believe me? Here's some proof:

Okay, so some thoughts from Day One. Whew. This is a little bit quick and dirty, since I've only logged a few hours of time in and haven't explored the vast intricacies of the game yet, but here we go.

Bought the game on my lunch break and tore it open when I rolled home. I spent a while on practice mode lobbing touchdowns over the Northwestern State defense, primarily because I need to get acquainted with the controls on XBox. As a lifelong Playstation user, I made the big switch this off-season to the XBox, so I spent some time getting used to the crazy controller and unlearning a lot of my muscle memory. Once the cobwebs were dusted off, I fired up a Notre Dame Dynasty. Some comments:

  • Kudos to Challenges: It's a pretty amazing thing how each successive game in the NCAA franchise is, by and large, similar in design and layout, and yet somehow they find a way to make you look like a complete idiot the first time you play it. A few months ago, I was romping up and down the field against USC in NCAA 2006, and today I'm staring in horror as Reggie Ball torches my secondary for his ninth passing touchdown. While the gameplay tweaks are subtle, they are major enough to make for an entertaining and challenging learning curve.

    Me, after my first game against the computer.

  • Major Kicking Overhaul: Kicking has completely changed in 07, which I think is a welcome update. The old power meter just seems a little bit too Tecmo Bowl or Lee Trevino's Fighting Golf. We've made some big advancements as a society in the last dozen years, it's about time we bury the old power meter. As a result of my inability to decipher how to kick, my opening drive against Georgia Tech was sabotaged when I racked up three consecutive delay of game penalties followed by a nine yard punt.

    Meters are so 1990.

    This segues into another excellent point...

  • I Blocked an Extra Point! Hallelujah Saints Be Praised!: The defense on extra points has changed around completley, making actually a realistic possibility that you can block a field goal. This was always one of my gripes with prior NCAA versions, which absolutely neveer featured any blocked kicks or punts. Considering that there are a meaningful amount of blocked PAT's every season, it makes the game much more realistic. Plus, extra points were always such a waste of time. I always thought that since PAT's were so accurate, it would be just as well if they gave them automatically, a la NFL Blitz, rather than waste a minute of time lining up and kicking it.

    This was made possible by a new feature called "Third Person Viewpoint", which shifts the camera behind the defensive line when defending kicks, allowing you to fight through the line and dive at the kicker. I like the feature, but I have a big complaint about the name. When the camera switches behind the line and focuses on the player you're controlling, it should be called a "First Person Camera". Plus, you know, all cameras are "Third Person", unless you have the Being john Malkovich-esque headcam.

  • The Game Seems to be Very Long-Bomb Oriented: Maybe it's just because I was playing as Notre Dame, but there doesn't seem to be a correction on the oversimplicity in hucking the ball deep. I spent most of the evening firing up 50 yard bombs to Samardzija and watching him effortlessly snag them on the Impact Player camera (another very cool feature). I did also notice that slants and short routes are much more realistic and simpler than in previous versions.

All in all, a very excellent game. I haven't got to dig too deeply into the playbooks, which apparently has expanded a hundredfold. That's probably a project for tomorrow night. Also, I'm happy to report I followed up my humiliating loss to Georgia Tech with a 63-6 drubbing of Penn State (including a blocked extra point). If this year's game is even half as enjoyable as that hour of my life, we're all in for a treat.

Any other readers have commentary on your first day with 07? Feel free to drop a comment.


At 4:59 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for the review --

From your previous post, thought you were gonna go get a 360 system. Was there a game-related reason for staying with the standard XBOX version?

At 7:34 AM, Blogger IrishOutsider said...

I'm guessing they were out of 360s...

I bought an extra copy of the PS2 game yesterday to avoid hassles of Amazon shipping delays. Ill be returning my "new copy" today for a full refund.

Who's ready for the weekend? this guy.

At 7:55 AM, Blogger Sean H. said...

Switched to 360 in April. I kept jumping offside with my D linemen while trying to call a coverage audible. Stupid muscle memory from PS2. This also lead to FIU scoring a very long passing TD on a 15 yard in route because "Spastic Boy" couldn't remember how to switch players and how to dive/tackle. I still won 42-14. Thank you Shark!

All in all love it. Though I am disappointed that you can't edit players features and equipment: "ND QB #10" looks like a Cro Magnon man. I tried to get on line to play with Quick Match but had one guy drop out before the start and kept getting a "Lost connection" message even though I was clearly online. Hopefully, EA's servers were just a bit overwhelmed by day one. I'll submit for my first butt beating by a human tonight to find out.

XBOX screen name: MiniAndretti

At 7:57 AM, Blogger Sean H. said...

Oh yeah, I blocked the first FG that was attempted against me. I thought "Alleluia!" It was too easy to do it around 2003 so they just made it impossible for the next 3 years.

First TD? Zibby 50 yard fumble recovery for TD.

At 10:22 AM, Anonymous Rusty said...

As a college kid with no gaming systems in the house due to parental edict and budget shortcomings,


At 11:47 AM, Anonymous Kelley Cook said...

Word, what an unrealistic gameā€¦ your Zibby fumble return wasn't ruled incomplete by the cheatenous refs.

At 2:28 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

you guys can get rosters for the game that give all the correct names! goto and check it out! I already got it.

At 12:07 AM, Blogger Oda Saburo Nobunaga said...

A few comments:

Has anyone played with a team besides ND? Samarzdjia and McKnight both make continual vs. Purdue-style nasty 1-handed catches with the slo-mo cam, and I was wondering if that's because Samarj and Sto did that last year, or if it's just a thing they incorporated into the game and it's not player specific. It's like every 4th catch is a one-handed dive. Passing seems so much easier, but with the best QB and 2nd Best WR in the game, I can't tell if that's the reason or not.

Running seems more realistic--not as easy to bounce outside for 15 yards each time.

Beat GT 14-0, PSU 21-3, and Michigan 42-3.

At 2:06 PM, Blogger Mr. A said...

I am not as impressed as I thought I would be. Still, the designers made Navy much better then where they had them in 2005 and 2006. Running the triple option on this baby is quite entertaining.

At 6:52 AM, Anonymous Nemo said...

Ive been playing as UM the last 2 days.. I havent yet seen any 1 handed diving catches, but that may be a result of my passing style..

Having a complete lack of confidence in every aspect of Breaston's game other than his speed, I only look to him on cross and deep routes, and only if he has a step.. in which case he catches the ball in stride...

With out TE's this year, I take advantage of blitzes with quick hits to the TE..

I have seen Mike Hart make some RIDICULOUS moves between the tackles, break out of a pile to run for 50 yards, spin moves that I clearly did not initiate, etc..

However, I am sorely disappointed with 2007 for 360. The momentum feature is relatively worthless.. and in an effort to have more 'added features' next year they removed all of the spring training drills and 'race to heisman' parts of the game.

The one thing I do love about 2007 is the realistic fatigue. No more Troy Smith getting sacked by a 300 lb DE and then on the next play displaying 3.9 second 40 yd dash speed..

At 12:37 PM, Blogger Ian said...

Yeah, I have a similar onset of three days where I throw the controller all the time. It's getting better, but here's my beefs...

1. Running is definitely a lot more difficult. Almost too hard. WAYYYYY too many fumbles.

2. WAYYYYY too many sacks.

3. Kicking is still too easy, although I appreciate the new development

4. Simming can be very unrealistic because teams are too closely ranked

Otherwise, pretty good.

At 1:32 PM, Blogger John said...

My wife is a big Irish fan, but I should let you know I am a HUGE Michigan fan and alum. The game is pretty good. Not great, but pretty good. I did not notice many one-handed catches either (I have only played as Michigan). I have not played enough to know if the momentum meter makes a difference or not.
I do know that realism is somewhat lacking. With a divided household, I love beating ND more then anyone you can imagine, but in 2 games against the Irish, Brady Quinn has thrown 6 and 5 picks each. Leon Hall is the best DB in the nation, but not 4 picks on Brady Quinn good...
In response to Nemo, yeah as a receiver, Breaston was largely ineffective, but no confidence in every aspect of his game minus his speed? That is quite a bit over the top considering he was considered to be near the top of the short list of top returners in the nation, plus he is a MONSTER in bowl games. If only he played like that every game...

At 8:55 PM, Blogger Kevin said...

I think the momentum meter is legit. I was playing as ND, gave up a score to USC then fumbled the ensuing kickoff with Hord. I have also been on the good side of that meter getting sacks at key moments or forcing the QB to fumble when the crowd gets jacked up. On a side note, I hate the "jump the snap" function!!

At 9:27 AM, Blogger Sean H. said...

"Jump the Snap": Is it just me or does the computer seem to do this everytime I go back to pass? Also, please tell me that BQ's hands are better than the 4 fumbles while being sacked. Plus, Zibby fumbled 2 punts in one game.

I probably should have bought the PS2 version instead of the 360.

At 3:53 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I got it this weekend and sarted off like I figure the Irish will this season. Dominating Tech, Penn State, Michigan, Michgan State and Purdue. Then the game turned against me.I was playing Stanford and had 6 fumbles!!!!!!!!!!! and Quin got sacked like 25 times and had 0 passing yards the first half becasue not one reciever could hold on to the ball. I ened up losing 54-28. Then the next game started out with 2 fumbles in my first 3 possesions and I got mad and turned the game off.

All in all it is a great game but if it keeps up with the fumbles I may have to light it on fire.

At 7:43 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just bought the game...and while I normally play as ND I have used NDs offense with other teams.

Beat Oklahoma in a close game as Oregon. Running the option out of the shotgun can open up the run .

All this in dynasty mode. Am 2-1 so far as ND beating GT and Michigan and losing a close one to PSU{fumbleitis}


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