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EA Sports NCAA Football

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Looks like the NCAA football series is back on track.  Check out the IGN review HERE.

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EA goes into their second major component of NCAA Football 10.  This one covers Strategy:

"It used to be that you could sit back, call the same play over and over again, and just “out athlete” your opponent. It used to be that you could hop around the playbook jumping from I Form, to Ace, to Shotgun without a care in the world for creating an offensive identity. And it used to be that you could know exactly what your opponent was going to know, know exactly how you would stop it, but didn’t have a way to tell your players that that without a doubt the next play is going to be a run to the right, go shut it down.

Thankfully those days are behind us. With NCAA Football 10 strategy takes on a huge role with three new gameplay features that put the emphasis on out thinking your opponent instead of just out maneuvering him on the sticks. By gameplanning, setting up plays, and keying in on what you think the offense will be running you can affect the outcome of the game just based on your coaching decisions.

And you are going to need to strategize your opponent like never before. With the inclusion of Adaptive AI CPU controlled defenses will learn what you are doing, and focus on shutting it down. Rush up the middle for a few big gains? Good Job. The next time you come to the line you will see that the defensive tackles have pinched in to take away the running lanes. Found that route you love to run if you need to pick up a first down? Be careful, you run that route too much the defense will be looking for it and blanket your receiver. Even if you try and get sneaky by calling the same route from a different formation, the CPU will be watching for that route, not the play, and shutting you down.

It’s not all about defensive upgrades for the CPU either. While on defense the CPU is going to test you deep to try and open things up. If you are the type of guy that likes to press all of the time, you’re now going to be the type of guy that also likes to chase a receiver down after they got past your DB and got hit wide open on a streak.

Gameplanning

The first feature we will talk about is Gameplanning. This feature is all about determining how aggressive, conservative, or balanced you want your team to play during certain situations.  There are six defensive situations and five offensive situations you can adjust at any point during the game, based on your preferred strategy for that moment."

The rest of the article along with images and video can be seen here:

http://insideblog.easports.com/archive/2009/05/28/ncaa-football-10-season-showdown-strategy.aspx

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The EA team has posted 3 components of their Season Showdown feature.  The first one covers showing off your skills:

"Last week we focused on the structure of Season Showdown and touched on a few of the ways you can earn Extra Credits. This week we will focus on one of the three main pillars of Extra Credits that center around gameplay, which is the Skills category.

Simply put, Skills credits are earned by showing off your skills on the sticks. Your ability to perform these skill moves will earn you and your school extra credits. You can’t rely on the CPU to perform these actions to get the credits, you must be the one that got the interception or forced the fumble if you want the extra credit. So if you are using the new Defensive Assist feature, which puts the player you have highlighted under CPU control as long as you are holding the A/X button down, you can let the CPU guide your player to where they need to be, but to earn the credit you will need to take back control of the player and make the play. As you will see in a moment, a majority of the Skills events are defensive based, so if defense isn’t your strong suit, Defensive Assist will be a great way to put you in a position to make plays and earn credits.

Defensive Assist isn’t the only new gameplay feature that will help you earn Skill credits. Player Lock is a new addition that allows you to lock your control to one player for a play. This is your chance to basically pick and choose when you want to have a Campus Legend like experience during a normal game. Since you don’t have the ability to switch the player you are controlling after the snap, your ability to make the play while locked on one player will earn you a Player Lock bonus.

Here is the complete list of events that will earn you Skill credits:

User Tackle for Loss – Getting into the backfield and disrupting the other team’s running game is a key way into forcing your opponent to run a one dimensional offense. Time your defensive move with the right analog stick to get past the offensive lineman and wrap the ball carrier up to earn some Skill credits. With the addition of branchable tackles the ball carrier will have the ability to break free from a tackle by performing a move even after the defender has wrapped him up. You can also stop a ball carrier’s momentum and have another defender help complete the tackle.

User Big Hit – it’s pretty difficult for a ball carrier to spin out of a tackle when you’ve planted them into the turf. By this point everyone knows what Big Hits are all about and how effective they can be. They can even lead to the next Skill category.

User Forced Fumble – Knock the defender silly and try to get him to give up the rock. One thing to remember with Skills credits is that you can get multiple events on the same play. So if you Big Hit a running back in the backfield for force a fumble you will get credits for all three events.

User Sack –Since we have added the ability for QB’s to release the ball after a sack animation has started this one is going to be a little tougher than in years past. Previously the QB would always tuck the ball once a sack started, but before you cry foul and think that you are going to see a QB fire a laser while getting blindsided by a linebacker, you will see the ball is definitely affected by the impact of the defender, which could lead to a big turnover by the defense if you launch a duck. Disrupting the offense like this could lead to the next Skills event:

 User Pick – Ah User Pick, the one that started it all. Longtime fans of the series will remember User Pick as the first “User” event to get called out in an NCAA game, helping to end the age old replay debate to determine if you actually made the play, or let the CPU make the pick. Some new updates to the WR/DB interactions will go a long way into determining the positioning the defensive back will have when they go to make a play. The updates to press/release at the line will allow a defender to jam the receiver and throw him off of his route. If the WR gets the upper hand, watch out, unless you have closing speed or safety help the WR will be in the clear. But it’s not just the play at the line, animations have been added while the routes are being run so you will see WR’s and DB’s jostling for position throughout the play. If your DB is able to take advantage of an opening and get positioning they will be in great shape to either go for a swat or pick the ball off.

User Swat – While it may not have the same chance to break the back of your opponent as an interception, a well timed swat can be another nail in your opponent’s coffin. There have been some additions to swats this year, in addition to the sellout animations where it’s all or nothing defenders will now attempt to wrap a receiver up and knock the ball out of the opponent’s hands before he is able to secure the catch. There are also new “knockout” animations where the defender will drill the receiver and knock the ball out of his hands before he is able to come down with it. Finally, the defensive linemen are getting into the action as well. QB’s will need to pay attention to their passing lanes if they don’t want to find their pass getting swatted down by the big paw of a defensive tackle. The defenders won’t always just knock the pass down; if they only get a piece of it they will wind up tipping the pass which could lead to a big turnover. Performing any of these actions will help your defenses cause and earn you some Skills credits.

User Catch – I’ve already talked about the new WR/DB interactions, but one other addition that will be a great addition for the passing game is catch steering. If you catch the ball near the sidelines the catch animations will try to turn you up field instead of forcing you out of bounds. You will also see some great new catch animations including new over the shoulder catches, so when you get past the pressing DB, and there’s no safety support as you are streaking down the sideline you won’t have to break stride to haul in the pass. Weather will affect your route running; wet conditions may cause your receiver to slip while making cuts, which could hurt your changes to make a user catch until you recover.

User Passing TD – In the User Sack section I talked about what happens when you attempt to pass the ball while getting hit, and in the User Swat section I talked about defensive linemen getting their hands up and forcing you to recognize your passing lanes, but another key improvement that will affect the passing game is the addition of offensive linemen steering defenders. This allows the tackles to fan the defensive ends out and create a true pocket. If you are a guy that scrambles as soon as the ball is snapped, you are going to find yourself scrambling right into a defensive end that has been pushed out wide. With all of these additions, before the ball has even left your hand you have to read the defense, keep an eye on the pass rush and step up in the pocket, identify your receiver, find your passing lane, and get the ball off before a defender gets a hand on you. If you are able to do all of that and convert for a touchdown, you deserve some Skill credits.

As I mentioned earlier, most of the skills are defense based. This was done intentionally as a lot of the offensive actions are based on the ratings of the players on the field instead of the skill of the person holding the controller. We wanted the skill credits to reflect your game skills, which are on display the most when on defense.

Just like every other credit category, we will track the number of Skill credits each person has earned, and display the player’s ability in each category through a leveling system. When you are looking to play a random opponent online you will be able to view their Season Showdown ID card, here you will be able to see who they represent, their total credits earned, and their levels for Skills, Strategy, and Sportsmanship. This gives you a snapshot of what type of player your opponent is, so if you see a high Skill level, you will know your opponent is well versed at the art of the “user” actions."

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Gamespot has just published their NCAA 10 hands-on.  Lots of new info here, particularly about the new "Player Lock" feature, "linking plays", "guess play" and the new "game plan" feature.

Check it out HERE from Gamespot.

NCAAFB10

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