• NCAA Football 14 Retail Release Quick Impressions and Videos


    Today is the day many of you have been waiting for... NCAA Football 14 Early Release is now available for download. While you wait for your download to complete or for those unable to download today, we've got a bevy of videos for your entertainment. In addition to the videos, we've got gschwendt's quick, bulleted impressions of the game to let you know what to expect with this year's edition.

    Continue after the break for the rest of the article.

    Hey guys, gschwendt back again to give you my impressions of this year's version of the game. Sorry for those that are looking for the full breakdown similar to what I last year but this year I wasn't able to put together that full article. That said, I definitely wanted to give you my quick impressions of the game to let you know what to expect of the changes to the game.

    To get started, I wanted to compare gameplay in the retail version of the game to that of the demo. For the most part, if you saw it in the demo, you can likely expect to see it in the retail version at launch.
    • The Infinity Engine addition is definitely noticeable in a good way. There are a lot of dynamic events that occur throughout a play based on physics. You'll probably miss a lot of them until you go back into the Instant Replay. However, two specific examples I saw was that 1) I was able to hurdle over a standing defensive player during practice. I wouldn't try it in the game, but it was still nice to see. 2) my FB was carrying the ball and I used the quick jab stiffarm and hit the defender square in the face; the defender quickly went down like he was shot.
    • Zones are better than NCAA 13 but still very vulnerable, especially if you don't user control the middle part of the field. Safety alignment is still an issue on the hashes but they seem to recover better than NCAA 13. Still needs significant work for the future though.
    • The Shotgun Read Option is still as deadly as you saw it in the demo, which most would consider it to be overpowered. Just about the only way to combat it defensively is to either use the Defensive Adjustments to focus on the QB (or HB) then user-track the other, or to use a lot of DB Blitzes which would obviously expose you to passes.
    • Defensives need more additions to them such as Gap Assignments, bluff press (new to Madden 25), and CB/WR Shadowing from Madden. As well, for any offensive user that's paying attention, it's not very hard to tell the difference between Cover 2 Man and Zone/Blitz... the user needs more control over this.
    • The Flexbone is still not to the same level as Shotgun Option. For one, the reads are A LOT faster than Shotgun but also there are some annoyances and issues with it. That said, it is better than years past, but bear in mind when running this offense, if you decide to cut it up field, you better forget about your pitch man because he'll be wrapped up by the defense. I caught myself pitching the ball back only to have it bounce off of a defender wrapped around my pitch man.
    • Running the ball is a lot of fun... between the ability to make quick cuts when running the ball as well as the significantly improved run blocking, it puts it on par with the passing game from NCAA 13 as far as entertainment value.
    • A lot of new plays in the game. The focus of course is on the new option plays that are in the game but as well, various formations received a handful of new plays added to them. Be sure to check out the "Every Offensive Play in Custom Playbooks (LONG!)" video below to see every play in the game (nearly 2 and a half hours worth). Defense also received some love with new formations (4-3 Over Odd & Nickel 3-3-5 Sam) along with some new plays (3-4 added Cover 3 Man Under, Cover 3 Sink, & Cover 3 Buzz to name a few), though not near the same attention that Offensive playbooks received.


    Moving on to the Dynasty additions, there is definitely a lot of changes to cover. Overall, with the changes this year combined with the changes from NCAA13, it continues to improve Dynasty to give it a new feeling.
    • The Power Recruiting is a nice change from the past. Now, you can just go in there and find the guys you want the most, give them as many points as you're able to, and then spread out the remaining to the rest of your recruits. Then, each week, you can either look at details of each recruit or if you want to just quickly skim to see who signed or didn't, you can do that. It really is a good balance of the hardcore recruiter while also making it a quick process for the guy just looking to play his games.
    • There is no longer a Recruiting Difficulty setting. That said, the CPU is much more competitive when it comes to recruits. I don't have significant testing results but I know if I wanted a recruit, I had to go all out on that player. You have to recognize how well you match up to that recruit and compare yourself to your opponents (mostly through the Bonus Points). If your opponent has a +350 in Bonus Points and you have +250, you're going to be unlikely to sign him.
    • That said, it's not impossible to sign recruits above your means. As Arkansas State, I decided to go after the best player in the state of Arkansas who happened to be the #1 HB in the country; University of Arkansas also wanted him. I added him in preseason and showered him with as much attention as the game would let me (it was first season so only 500 points per week). He took a visit with me in Week 12, Arkansas in Week 13. After visits, I was still behind about 1000 points or so but he still hadn't signed. Come offseason, I decided to sell out on the kid as much as possible and gave him my full 10,000 points. In the end, I signed him, but I'm sure I also missed out on some other recruits because of the offseason push.
    • The newly added Coach Skills are a welcome addition with none of them being terribly overpowered. The one that everyone feared the most was Coachstradamus but even that isn't as bad as some worried it would be (see the video below). In all though, while the Coach Skills are a nice touch, after a season or two, probably most user coaches will have a similar skillset as every other user coach. I imagine there will be some variance but I know I'll likely follow just about the same path each time I start up a dynasty.
    • Speaking of Coach Skills, I simmed through a handful of Season 1 Dynasties to get a feel for how high a user coach would level up. On Normal, as Ole Miss, my coach got to just short of being level 8 by the next Preseason; on Slow, as Michigan, my coach got to Level 6 by the next Preseason; on Slowest, as Arkansas State, my coach got to Level 4. Your mileage will assuredly vary because the progression is based on success on the field and in recruiting.
    • One change to Dynasty that has received only minimal coverage is the fact that players on your roster will change up their Impact Player status based on their production. For example, in one of my dynasties, my starting Impact HB went out for the season. I was simming games but noticed that eventually my backup HB became the Impact Player in his place. As well, it appears as though you can/will have two impact players on both offense & defense. Where I believe this will have it's biggest impact is during Online Dynasties. As seasons progress, you'll be able to tell that your opponent loves to feed the ball to his underrated slot receiver. It's a small touch but certainly a nice change.


    The other main addition to the game this year is the Presentation Updates.

    • The new music intros are a nice change from the boring intros from years past. You'll still see highlights of your favorite moments (see the example below of Duke vs Florida State) but even those schools that don't have memorable traditions will have nice touches in their intro video. For example, in the Arkansas State video, you'll see a quick splash of "Howl Yes" come across your screen. I would have preferred to see the player clips not use the current opponent in them, but I understand the restrictions of making those segments dynamic.
    • The Halftime Show with David Pollack and Rees Davis is a nice addition. Instead of it being disjointed like some of the in-game commentary can be, these are full conversations that have very little deviation (perhaps none?) once a conversation is started. It's a nice addition but I can only imagine that these will be very repetitive for anyone that plays the game more than a month or two.
    • The new stats shown during the game is a very welcome addition. Showing a quick breakdown of comparing the two teams' production or showcasing how well a particular player did in the first half vs the second half, etc. are very nice. As well, there is a good variety of other miscellaneous pop-ups such as showing an impact QB as he walks on the field or also showing a head coach and talking about how this is his first game with this team. Those combined with the score bug pop-ups that quickly show how long the last run was or how many yards a player has, make it a very nice change to presentation overall.
    • The one big downfall to these changes in presentation is that none of them show in User vs User games. I can understand some of the hurdles involved (ie one wants to watch, other one doesn't, etc.) but it makes the user games lose some of their luster because of it. It's a noticeable loss for those games.


    Overall, NCAA Football 14 is definitely a fun game. There are still issues that continue to cause problems with the game but none of them completely ruin the game in my opinion. If you enjoyed NCAA 13 for what it was, you'll enjoy NCAA 14 a lot more. If you're an offensive-minded player, you'll love this years game; if you're a defensive-minded player, then you'll likely struggle with this game and hate that you don't have enough of an impact as you'd like.

    To make one last bold statement, I truly believe that this version of the game surpasses the long heralded nostalgic champion of NCAA Football 04. I'm sure a lot of people will be hard-pressed to agree to that statement but in the end, this game is a lot of fun, which is what most say about NCAA 04.





    Miscellaneous Videos
    Menu Navigation
    Spoiler: show

    Recruiting Tutorial
    Spoiler: show

    Coach Skills Tutorial
    Spoiler: show

    West Virginia Playbook Walkthrough
    Spoiler: show

    Arizona Endzones
    Spoiler: show

    Coachstradamus
    Spoiler: show

    Every Offensive Play in Custom Playbooks (LONG!)
    Spoiler: show


    Gameplay
    Georgia Tech vs Duke (CPU vs CPU)
    Spoiler: show

    Duke vs Florida State (intro & Duke Black Uniforms)
    Spoiler: show

    Full Game - Troy (CPU) at Arkansas State (gschwendt) - All American
    Spoiler: show

    Full Game - Oregon (CPU) at Texas Tech (gschwendt) - All American
    Spoiler: show

    Full Game - Georgia Tech (CPU) at Army (CPU)
    Spoiler: show

    Full Game - Florida (CPU) at Miami (CPU)
    Spoiler: show

    Full Game - Clemson (gschwendt) at Oklahoma (JBHuskers)
    Spoiler: show

    Full Game - Navy (G-Unit5281) vs Army (gschwendt)
    Spoiler: show

    Full Game - Texas A&M (JBHuskers) at Michigan State (gschwendt)
    Spoiler: show

    Full Game - UCLA (gschwendt) at Texas A&M (JBHuskers)
    Spoiler: show

    Full Game - Oklahoma (JBHuskers) at Georgia Tech (gschwendt)
    Spoiler: show
    Comments 199 Comments
    1. CLW's Avatar
      CLW -
      WOW that's allot of info to read at work starting Monday / go through during the download. Nice work!
    1. jaymo76's Avatar
      jaymo76 -
      Awesome work! This is a great read. It's too bad to hear that the defense continues to hold the series back but I look forward to playing with the sliders to see what improvements can be made.
    1. CLW's Avatar
      CLW -
      Quote Originally Posted by jaymo76 View Post
      Awesome work! This is a great read. It's too bad to hear that the defense continues to hold the series back but I look forward to playing with the sliders to see what improvements can be made.
      Yep its ALL about the sliders this year. Hoping to find a great set that will make playing v. the CPU enjoyable. The potential is definitely there though b/c the CPU can run the ball now.
    1. MrToo Brand New's Avatar
      MrToo Brand New -
      I hate work. I want to play NCAA 14 so bad, but have to sit at this desk for four more hours����������
    1. AustinWolv's Avatar
      AustinWolv -
      Quote Originally Posted by CLW View Post
      Yep its ALL about the sliders this year. Hoping to find a great set that will make playing v. the CPU enjoyable. The potential is definitely there though b/c the CPU can run the ball now.


      The playcalling is much better also. I think the CPU tried to pick on me in the demo yesterday......I was blitzing the CBs to nullify the option game.......the CPU came out and threw a WR screen, but I had gone straight man so it wasn't successful. Not sure if it was dumb luck or the CPU was trying to counter....
    1. Rudy's Avatar
      Rudy -
      Great read. Disappointing to hear they took out recruiting difficulty.
    1. jaymo76's Avatar
      jaymo76 -
      Quote Originally Posted by Rudy View Post
      Great read. Disappointing to hear they took out recruiting difficulty.
      Agreed!
    1. gschwendt's Avatar
      gschwendt -
      Quote Originally Posted by Rudy View Post
      Great read. Disappointing to hear they took out recruiting difficulty.
      I don't think it worked right last year anyway... I can't speak for certain but I think they wanted to get it tuned right this year and then maybe next year build further from that to bring back difficulty levels. We'll see I suppose.
    1. Aglemar's Avatar
      Aglemar -
      Wow! Good stuff
    1. Rudy's Avatar
      Rudy -
      Quote Originally Posted by gschwendt View Post
      I don't think it worked right last year anyway... I can't speak for certain but I think they wanted to get it tuned right this year and then maybe next year build further from that to bring back difficulty levels. We'll see I suppose.
      I guess so but I remember loving this feature back in NCAA11 and it worked great them. Heisman recruiting made it fun to use a good school since you couldn't dominate like in the past. Anyone tried recruiting with a powerhouse to see how easy it may be? We're talking about a feature that was in the game of the past 3 years.
    1. GatorfanStovy's Avatar
      GatorfanStovy -
      Thanks for showing but dang the CPU sucks with. Countless times he is tuck and running with QB and could of found an open wide out or different running. For example at the 10:14 minute mark Driskel should of tried passing to the TE on the PA there. Or if I was using I would of stopped and cut back and let the HB block that incoming tackler and sneak in for at least the first down mark instead of running to the left of the HB UGH CPU play calling might be annoying against it . I dunno hard to say.
    1. gschwendt's Avatar
      gschwendt -
      One major note that I just discovered this morning... once you've started your Dynasty, you can't change the Coach Level Progression Rate. So if you start on Slowest, you can't change it to Normal when you decide that's too slow.

      Be sure to test as much as you want before deciding on what Progression Rate to use.
    1. JBHuskers's Avatar
      JBHuskers -
      Couple good battles between G & I in the videos
    1. xMrHitStickx904's Avatar
      xMrHitStickx904 -
      installing the NCAA Retail disc to my hard drive right now, can't wait to give it a spin.

      Posted With Tapatalk
    1. SCClassof93's Avatar
      SCClassof93 -
      Quote Originally Posted by gschwendt View Post
      One major note that I just discovered this morning... once you've started your Dynasty, you can't change the Coach Level Progression Rate. So if you start on Slowest, you can't change it to Normal when you decide that's too slow.

      Be sure to test as much as you want before deciding on what Progression Rate to use.
      Did you notice many issues with the default schedules. Season one and I have 9 sec games with SC.
    1. gschwendt's Avatar
      gschwendt -
      Quote Originally Posted by SCClassof93 View Post
      Did you notice many issues with the default schedules. Season one and I have 9 sec games with SC.
      I really didn't pay much attention to schedules.
    1. dhook27's Avatar
      dhook27 -
      We only get to have the game for 3 days right?
    1. JBHuskers's Avatar
      JBHuskers -
      Quote Originally Posted by dhook27 View Post
      We only get to have the game for 3 days right?
      Yeah, it'll deactivate early on Tuesday morning.
    1. xMrHitStickx904's Avatar
      xMrHitStickx904 -
      CPU is very aggressive, already has gone for it on 4th down twice in the first half.

      Posted With Tapatalk
    1. xMrHitStickx904's Avatar
      xMrHitStickx904 -
      Halftime show is outstanding.

      Posted With Tapatalk