Any of you guys been playing NCAA 2012 an interested in having an open-ended discussion thread?
My take after the jump.
First a bit about the game, then about USC in the game:
This is my first time buying the newest NCAA game since 2009. I'm of the mind that the game has suffered in recent years both from overcomplexity and ignoring the simpler pleasures. For context, some buddies and I still play NCAA 2004 and 2006 routinely, for their dynasty mode and option attack mode respectively. '04 perfected the Dynasty in my opinion. It was simple, rewarding, but never too easy. 2006 featured a handful of really enjoyable time-killing mini-games like the aforementioned option attack, pass skeleton, and a few others.
But by now, they've scrapped all the mini-games (1 button mode and mascot mash-up are about all they offer, and get old quick.) The dynasty mode is interesting, but I find the recruiting process to be tedious and needlessly complex. Seems I spend 75% of my time wading through recruits, making those roulette style phone calls, and dealing with snarky responses from the prospects (which is kind of funny, but still.) I miss the days of '04, when recruiting was a singular off-season task, one that required attention and a bit of strategy. But alas, now you've got to be willing to dedicate a lion's share of your time and brainpower to recruiting. Some folks may eat that sort of thing up; I just want to play some football.
Thankfully, there's Road to Glory mode. It was fun barreling through a high school season, and receiving offers and so forth. I went with Michigan (couldn't turn down the early playing time!) and ascended to starter before season's end. The AI playcalling is suspect sometimes (why are we running it up the gut down 6 on our own 20 with no time outs and :30 on the clock?) But I like the ability to upgrade via experience points.
I haven't dived into online playing yet--wanted to get acquainted with playcalling and the mechanics of the game first. I imagine this will be my next stop.
As for USC: we're pretty darned good. I think we've all read about us winning it all in CBS' simulated season, and it's not that hard to believe. Lattimore is a bruiser. Alshon is incredible. Garcia is very good under center, but in my experience he fumbles a lot. (The realism is uncanny.) Damiere Byrd, Clowney, Sheldon Royster, and a few other freshman are in the game. Justice Cunningham and DeAngelo Smith have stepped up in the receiving corps, most likely because of my proclivity to pass underneath. Connor Shaw is a great scrambler. No McEvoy to be found.
As I'm going through the 2011 season, it's interesting to see what the other teams are doing based on the computer simulations. Georgia started 0-2 (fingers crossed this happens...) Florida is a .500 team, and I was able to blow them out 49-7. Tennessee is sub .500, but our game was a close win. Clemson finished 6-6 after losing to us in a nailbiter. The SEC West is predictably good, including a top 10 ranked Auburn. By the way, in my Road to Glory where I'm on Michigan, we finished 2011 at #3 in the nation with a Sugar Bowl win. I'd take it...
One cool thing is the ability to customize stadium sounds (I know this has been an option in past years.) I found a pack of WB stadium sounds online and have more or less got it sounding like a real game. By the way, Brad Nessler calls it "William [sic] Brice Stadium, near Lake Murray!" Even if he said it right, this would lead the layperson to believe the stadium is sitting on the edge of Lake Murray. EA should do a bit more research if they're going to attempt these customized soundbites.
Oh, and I've found the Wild Gamecock formation to be, on the whole, pretty ineffective. Lattimore defaults to QB--I thought about switching Gilmore in, but his rating in that formation is pretty low. Cool that it's in there though.
So that's all I can think of right now. Curious to hear your thoughts.