EA SPORTS NCAA Football 2012: Hands on with improved zone defense and new tackling engine
EA SPORTS NCAA Football 11 was a huge leap for the series and generally embraced by the community as the best version of the game since moving to the second generation gaming platforms. Even with such a strong showing last year, there were still some critical areas of the title that needed to be addressed for 2012. After 4 trips to Tiburon and 120+ hours with the game since January, here’s my initial thoughts on a few things.
Game play, game play, game play… that’s all you hear about from the diehard fans of the game and I think that’s exactly what you’ll be getting on July 12th. This year the team has focused on improving some core aspects on the defensive side of the ball. Improved zone coverage was a must and EA SPORTS has delivered on that front.
This year defenders will play in a much more dynamic fashion inside their zone assignment. Gone are the days of defenders being limited to defending their little circle of assignment and isolating themselves from the flow of the offensive play. This year, defenders will play more realistically inside their assignment. They aggressively pick up players who enter their zones, playing with leverage and using realistic angles to better defend against a pass to a WR inside their assigned area. Defenders will also communicate and point out WR’s to their teammates as they leave and enter different areas of the defense. The defense plays as a more cohesive unit instead of each player appearing to be on an island just defending their area.
This has greatly improved the ability of the defense to defend the middle of the field as well as protecting against the flats where some teams make a living throwing to their running backs. Overall the defenders are just more intelligent within their assignments and it’s much harder to move the football consistently against a good defense.
Another addition that should improve the defensive side of the ball from a physicality stand point is multiple collision tackles. Defenders that peruse will now be rewarded with opportunities to lay the wood to players who are fighting for extra yards or being held up by the initial tackle attempt. Some of the hits I’ve seen are devastating, both in their rendering and on the actual player taking the hit. Injuries seem a bit more pronounced with violent hits and definitely the opportunity to cause a turnover increases for defenses if they are gang tackling and good in pursuit.
Overall I think you’re going to see more balanced game play with the defensive improvements this year and hopefully we can get back to seeing some dominant defensive play in EA SPORTS NCAA Football 2012.
Look for more exclusive hands on information from TSO as we get closer to release day.