It’s a little late to be asking for Christmas gifts, but I still have some wishes… er, suggestions for the next cycle of sports video game titles.
Look, I spend a lot of quality hours with these games (way too much, actually) and I love how far they’ve come. But nobody’s perfect, right? So here’s what I’d like from EA Sports in the new year.
Thanks, and much appreciated.
NCAA Football 11 – More game day atmosphere.
When you think of college sports, what separates it from the pros? It’s gotta be passion, from both the players and fans, packed into stadiums with more than 100,000 people. Emotions run high, especially during rivalry games as students and alumni make up large sections of the crowd. And with big universities in small towns, much of the community becomes attached to the team, even drawing non-sports fans into the action. With that said, I want to feel like it really is Saturday: I want big stadiums and shaky cameras during critical moments on the road (like NCAA Basketball 10), and I want the hyped-up crowd (often louder than jet engines in real life) to drown out the quarterback. Have fans rush the field after huge wins and let me feel the stadium shake. There’s nothing like the college gameday experience and it’s something that’ll push NCAA Football 11 to new heights.
NBA Live 11 – Better perimeter defense.
I touched on this one the other day. Offensive AI is much improved in NBA Live 10 and it’s a lot of fun to run various plays and sets. The pick-and-roll is effective and it’s hugely satisfying to hit a back-door cutter in stride for a bucket. Overall, there are plenty of offensive possessions for the basketball junkie. But the defense still needs improving, especially around the three-point line. Sharpshooters like Mo Williams and Steve Nash get open a little too easily, knocking down treys like they’re lay-ups. Yes, there are plenty of set-plays available, but there needs to be a reason to use them. Please EA, make it tougher to drain 3-balls – It’ll force more offensive creativity and leave defenders less frustrated.
Fight Night Round 5 – More of a “story” in Legacy Mode
The hyped-up Legacy Mode brought plenty of cool features to Fight Night Round 4. Having multiple titles and the chance to unify belts adds to your career options, along with the ability to change weight classes. It’s also a tough challenge and you’re forced to face better fighters as your character moves through the ranks. But what would I like to see? How about more of a story. It’s not the WWE but boxing still has plenty of drama. How about weigh-ins and press conferences, and what about some pre-fight trash talk? Most of all, money should be back in the equation, along with the chance to negotiate the split and the pay-per-view revenues. Give extra hype to big rematches and use cut scenes to bring the story lines to life. Fight Night Round 4 is a fantastic boxing game with unbelievable game play and graphics, but a little spice would give it some sizzle.
NCAA Basketball 11 – Export draft classes to NBA Live
This feature is available with Madden and NCAA Football, and it’s one of the best ideas out there. I get attached to my players in NCAA Basketball and I want to follow their careers at the pro level. Therefore, I’d love to take my graduating players from NCAA Basketball and try to draft or trade for them in NBA Live. It’ll make scouting more realistic and it’ll enhance the value of each game. Instead of random rookies you’ll be more familiar with the new players, and since both games run on the same engine, the transition should be seamless. It seems like a natural progression to me and we’ll likely see it soon. At least I hope so! (psst, EA, you’ll sell more games!)