I downloaded the new NCAA 2013 demo (PS3 version) this weekend and finally had a chance to play with it for a couple of hours on Sunday night. In the demo you are given the opportunity to play three different games (full games with three minute quarters) within a week of a dynasty. The three games are Baylor/Kansas St, Bama/LSU and Oregon/USC. The demo also introduces you to a "Heisman challenge mode". In demo you are given RG3 and allowed to pick from the six available teams and play a game with him where you just play as him as the QB (can't control the other players and the plays are given to you and you can't audible out of them), it's similar to "Road to Glory" but it has an updated feel to it.

On the demo here is what they hype in the "What's New" section:

Total Passing Control- throw the back-shoulder fade, over the top of coverage, or to open space. Push L in the direction you want to lead your receiver.

Quarterback Movement- New 1,3, 5 and 7 step QB drops that match the timing of the routes. Flick R away from a defender to avoid getting sacked. Try the new QB footwork in the pocket and throwing on the run.

Pump Fake- Hold L1 and press the button of the receiver to get a defender to bite. Time your fake with the receiver's cut. Quicker pump fakes are easier to use.

Timing matters- Pass icons will light up when a receiver is ready for a pass. Don't throw it until they are ready. Receivers will look quickly on blitzes.

Play-Action Passing- Quick QB play-action fakes allow more time to set up and throw. With blitz pressure, pull R2 to abort the fake and get rid of the ball.

Catches- New user-controlled catching makes it easier to take control of a receiver and catch the ball. Over 430 new catch animations. Receivers lay out for diving grabs, jump up to high point the ball and make all the acrobatic catches.

Running the Option- Press L1 to pitch the ball, Press R to fake the pitch, new animations let you pitch the ball right before being tackled.

Juke Move- Use R to juke left or right. Quicker moves based on juke rating. New fakeout animation logic.

Read and React Defense- new alignment to disguise coverage, new man coverage techniques, defenders react to what they see

Reaction Time (exclusive to Heisman Challenge and Road to Glory)- Play the big moments in slow motion with close-up camera angles, build up your awareness and make big plays to earn more reaction time

One interesting addition is that Reese Davis is now in studio as the game begins and then sends it to Brad Nessler and Kirk Herbstreit for the game call. They also cut to studio updates with "real time" results of games. The ticker on the bottom of the screen is also in "real time" with "priority score alerts" that update you to scores in games. I thought this was an interesting addition and it made it seem more like a college football Saturday. When I've played in the past I don't really remember ever looking at the ticker or trying to see scores of other games but I think this would make me pay attention to it a bit more.

The three games the demo gives you all start at different times so it gives you a good feel of a college football day playing out and you can see that on the score ticker during the game.

Here are some random notes from the three games I played and then from the Heisman mode. If you just want to see overall thoughts then skip to the bottom of the article:


Kansas State at Baylor

I chose this game first as I wanted to get a feel for Collin Klein. It also was the first starting time so I think this was a good choice as I played them in order and it made it more interesting watching the score ticker on the bottom. Klein is pretty good on this game. He has a good arm and is really quick and fleet of foot. I made a couple of nice plays with him- a QB sneak from shotgun on 4th and 4 from 48 for a big gain and a roll-out pass for a 16 yard TD. I was also able to sustain a hit on what looked like a sack and then complete a pass for a first-down (this is a new feature but I didn't do it on purpose). Complete stats aren't available in the demo but Klein threw for two TDs and ran for one as my Kansas State Wildcats upended Baylor 24-7.

In the KSU/Baylor game it continuously gave me TCU/WVU updates, then OU/Iowa State with Reese Davis cutting in to give updates. The ticker on the bottom gave "priority alerts" for games in my conference with scores changing during the "priority alert" as well as "final alerts" showing me when games became final.

I thought I would include some scores of interest from my day of college football:

TCU 30 WVU 17

Oklahoma 36 Iowa St 7

Clemson 40 Duke 38

Virginia Tech 31 Miami (FL) 10

Kentucky 24 Vandy 21

Syracuse 35 Cincy 21


Oregon at USC

I chose USC in this one because I wanted to try out playing with Matt Barkley and his stud receiver corps and also see what the speed of the Oregon team looked like playing against them.

I used a methodical 78 yard drive that took the entire first quarter (remember: three minute quarters) to score a TD and go up 7-0 on a Barkley TD toss. Marqise Lee is a beast. I took a 7-0 lead into halftime after throwing an ill-advised INT inside the five yard line as time was running out in the half. Oregon kicked a 50 yard field goal with 30 seconds left in the game to take a lead after Bryan Bennett threw a beautiful 30+ yard TD pass earlier in the half. On the second play of my final drive Barkley threw a fantastic spiral to Robert Woods who beat his guy on the play and the safety couldn't get over quite fast enough. Woods caught the 58 yard TD pass on the two and walked in for the dramatic go-ahead score that would lead to a USC victory. I threw two INTs in this game and the second pick I threw was relying on the "pass icon lighting up when receiver is open". So don't just trust that he's open if the pass icon is lit. You still have to look for the defenders. It's not a get out of jail free card.

more scores of interest:

Texas 34 Texas Tech 32

NC State 48 Virginia 28

UConn 42 USF 35 OT

Georgia 45 Ole Miss 10

UCLA 24 Arizona 17

Maryland 20 Georgia Tech 17

Purdue 35 Penn State 31

Illinois 42 Ohio State 25

Nebraska 35 Michigan St 21

Miss State 42 Texas A&M 24


Alabama at LSU

I went with LSU in this one so I could check out Zach Mettenberger and how tough the Bama defense was compared to Baylor and Oregon that I had just played against (Oregon was a lot tougher than Baylor).

I got a quick TD on a drive where Bama loaded up the line on a second and two and I audibled and threw a pass to Spencer Ware. That was much easier than it should have been. 7 plays 73 yards in 2:02. The LSU defensive line is tremendously quick and filled with monsters. I wanted to try and get a look at TJ Yeldon or Dee Hart for Bama but they've got Jalston Fowler listed as the second stringer on the depth chart (he came in after Eddie Lacy ran the ball on four straight plays and took some good licks; one of the downfalls of the demo is that you can't subsitute). I roared out to an 17-0 lead as Mettenberger hit Russell Shepard on a 20 yard pass to set up an easy Spencer Ware TD run. LSU is beastly. Final Score: 17-0.

final scores of interest:

Florida 24 Missouri 10

Notre Dame 56 Pitt 28

Boise State 31 San Diego St 24

UAB 38 Southern Miss 22

UTSA (first year FBS team) 21 Louisiana Tech 17

Army 27 Air Force 10 

Washington 49 Cal 28 

Utah 51 Washington State 10

Oregon State 28 Arizona State 7


Heisman Challenge

You can pick the team you want to put RG3 on (in the demo it just gives you the option of the six playable teams so I put him on Oregon). It then lets you play the Oregon/USC game with RG3 at QB for Oregon. I lost 35-21 as my defense just couldn't get any stops. As RG3 I went 24/33 for 190 yds 2 TD and 1 INT. Overall this is basically like "Road to Glory" except you can play with a Heisman winner. I'm not a huge fan of "Road to Glory" so I probably won't play this too much other than to play a bit with some of the Heisman winners.


Overall Thoughts

I really enjoyed the demo. There is a lot more actual play time that you will get out of it than previous years and it gives a good sample of six different teams to play with. The actual game-play is not changed much from last year so if you liked that then you will like this years. I really enjoyed the new in-game cuts to Reese Davis and the updates to the score-ticker. It makes it feel a lot more like a college football Saturday. They made a lot of small tweaks this year that advanced players will probably like a lot but players like me (who pretty much just mess around and play a few dynasties) might not get a chance to use as much. Overall, this made me a lot more excited for the game that comes out on July 10th. I've bought the game the last few years and I see no reason why I won't again this year.

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