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Five Reasons an NCAA Gamer is Looking Forward to Madden This Year 
Posted on July 22, 2009 at 01:14 AM.
If youíre like any normal football junkie that visits Operation Sports this time of year looking for tidbits on the upcoming NCAA and Madden titles then this year has not let you down in terms of news. And if you know me by now in the least then you have probably come across the fact that I am a huge college football gamer and fan. I often can be found counting down the days with my brethren to a mid July release.

This year is different in that regard from years past, however. Something is missing from the NCAA buzz, not for lack of news, but for lack of excitement over that news. And that is why today we take a look at the top 5 reasons an NCAA Fan is looking more forward to Madden this year.

5). Now letís start right off with potentially one of the biggest features to be in a football game ever. I am speaking of none other than the addition of a technology that has been dubbed ďPro TakĒ. Incase you have been living under a rock the past few months and havenít heard about this allow me to fill you in.

Pro Tak is short for procedural tackling. This could change the dynamic of how every game plays that EA makes from this day forward. Basically it allows more interaction between players and looks less and less like a pre determined motion captured scene. This will allow up to a 9 player interaction on plays such as tackles. So yes, a 9 player gang tackle could happen this year!

But it is so much more! In Madden í10 be on the look out for pile ups, forward momentum being stopped and plays being blown dead as perhaps 4 defenders gang up to stop a ball carrier and then 2 offensive players join the scrum to push forward. You will see actual pockets form around a Quarterback and branching animations that are breakable at nearly any time for lineman interactions.

Is NCAA í10 sharing this technology? Well yes and no. The little brother of Madden will reap the benefits of having the line play like big bro, but lack the tremendous gang tackles and fighting for every yard that the pro game will feature. Perhaps we will see this across the board next year, but still a let down for college fans in the mean time.

4.) Producer interaction. Now perhaps this isnít totally fair, but I am going to go here anyway.

This year Madden producers have done something rarely ever seen in producing a sports video game; they have kept the community in the know nearly each step of the way. What I mean is this: You had a complaint or noticed something buggy in Madden í09? Well if you were vocal about it online then it most likely went noticed. Now that is not all though.

The producers often took the time out to acknowledge the post or problem and sometimes even went the extra mile and posted what they were doing to fix it and results there after. Simply astounding if you have ever followed what goes in to making a video game!

There have been countless blogs, You Tube videos, post updates and screen captures of the progress and tweaks of the game along the way by the people actually making the game. These can be anywhere from simple additions (single digit helmet numbers on the stripe for Steeler helmets) to the very in-depth (putting on the motion capture suit and re-doing some running animations or tuning how the defensive ends get up field on their blockers).

Madden has simply gone the extra mile in letting you know exactly what is going on and why things work the way they do. Not to say that NCAA producers have been totally silent, but it has just been so much more prevalent from the Madden team and that has this gamer stoked. Itís almost like I had a true hand in making this years game.

3.) Innovation in general on the field. If you have played the NCAA demo you might agree that the game is alright, but not knock your socks off good. It seems as though EA thinks they have the foundation for NCAA down and that they can leave the game play alone for the most part. To a point that is correct, but it doesnít translate to that fresh and awesome feeling that makes you look forward to a game so much that you can lose sleep over.

Madden looks like it is going to replicate its real life counterpart in what is going on Sundays on the field in the NFL. You have quarterbacks that have their correct stances and throwing motions. You get the wider based ratings system with Madden so the superstars should feel like they are at the next level when you use them in comparison to the scrubs. And you get a game that gets you fired up to turn it on each time from because you think you may see something totally new. Perhaps a hit or a stripped ball or just a batted pass that is picked, itís often the little things keep you coming back.

Now granted, I really havenít played either game, but after watching several hours of videos I can start to pick up on these things like I am sure most of you can. Madden just looks better.

2.)
Online franchise, finally. And again this isnít totally fair, but if Madden boasts an online franchise that is anywhere near as good as NCAAís online dynasty was then people everywhere will be happy.

This is more of a newness factor here; because NCAA is no slouch in this department and actually may have more features when it is all said and done (Madden doesnít appear to have the ability to sign players to contracts). The main reason this gets mentioned is that Madden has never had it and NCAA has, so based on that alone I think it has people looking forward to seeing what Tiburon has done with the pro version of a user controlled online franchise.

1.) Atmosphere! This has to be the biggest reason I am not counting the days down to NCAA, even with Team builder, procedural lighting and everything else in this yearís game. I just cannot get over the lack of atmosphere in the NCAA series since moving to the latest generation of consoles.

That is one thing Madden í10 seems to have worked on so hard. They want to get that feeling of what Sundays are all about. From stadium flyovers to Super Bowl patches this game is going to rock!

NCAA put back in the end zone art in bowl games and neutral site games and animated flags and windsocks and everything else seems about the same as before, boo. Where as in Madden you get that killer Ray Lewis (no pun intended) intro and split screen stat comparisons in warm ups. Big games are going to feel different and have playoffs written on the field like you see in January and just that overall important vibe.

The producers for Madden looked at what other games like MLB the Show did in terms of cut scenes and atmosphere and tried to mimic them. They went back and saw what made NFL2kís series so great in presentation and took ideas from that. So that now you will see a kicker is warming up on the sidelines, or a QB talking on the phone to the coaches in the booth and cut away shots of fans in the stands or stadium landmarks. You get the cart coming out for injuries and those little nuances that keep you playing well after the real season has ended. NCAA í10 just cannot offer that.

So while it is a bit bittersweet in the fact that this gamer is not as pumped up for the college season because NCAA í10 is probably not going to be what it could be, I take pleasure in knowing that soon enough Madden í10 will be here. And that should provide that football experience we have been looking for now for quite some time. Here is to hoping it lives up to the hype and maybe that NCAA exceeds expectations a little, soon we will know.

7/8/09
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