Got the game yesterday. Here are a few snap judgements.
Yeah, Tebow's on the cover... but get over it. He was a badass kid for UF, just look at it as a reminder that he's gone. He can't hurt us anymore.
Graphics are substantially improved, uniforms look much better. No pro-combat option for FSU, but I'm sure that doesn't bother many. Cleat options are really neat.
Game is now focused around College GameDay which includes the music we have all come to love... it's like audio crack when the game starts. The announcing is toned down, which leaves something to be desired, but then again, those recycled phrases get old... "that deserves a really big... YO!"
Looks like EA teamed up with ESPN and Nike for this game, Team entrances are accurate... FSU's is not that cool, but that's not the fault of EA. They probably should have used Audioslave's "Cochise" over the fight song though.
When you first plug the game in, you can update the FSU roster to include players names, etc. This is a smart thing to do because once you name the players, those names carry over to Dynasty Mode and online game-play. It was neat yesterday when I was playing a Notre Dame fan who was using GTech and running the option and all the FSU players had names and his did not. (W 27-24)
I played three games yesterday, xbox live handle Neion Deion for those who want to link up, and I was amazed at the game play. I played 08,09, and 10 a bunch.. 2011 is clearly the biggest diversion from past trends. The game play is much different, developers were clearly focused on putting the gamer on the field. Gone is the arcade feeling that came with the previous games. The game play on offense is very similar to the game play on defense using player-lock from previous games. Very connected, very difficult. It certainly takes some getting used to. Big plays are abundant in the new game, but not in the glitchy tricky way from previous games... this game just feels natural.
With respect to FSU's roster, I think EA did a fair job. Most players are in the game and the ones that aren't, Cam Wade, Avis Commack, Justin Bright, some freshman, aren't going to upset your chances of winning. Easterling is a CB in the game, which is certainly not something I was expecting.
As far as roster ratings are concerned, I think FSU was jobbed a bit. Christian Ponder is a 93, and is not ranked in the top 5 QB's. Lamarcus Joyner, Christian Green, Jeff Luc were all given ratings under 77... not that we can argue Freshman Value, but it is a little annoying to see their ratings in mid to upper 70's and see that UF's top freshman were up in the 81 - 83 range. I will say though, FSU has so much uncertainty at so many positions, upper 70's scores for most players were probably deserved.
I had Lamarcus Joyner return a kick in the first game I played, and he broke 5 tackles in a row. That was unexpected and leads me to believe that they wanted this game to be more offensively focused. This also seems to be backed up by the fact that they have developed a new offensive categorization scheme, Multiple (FSU), Option (GTech), Air Raid (TTech), and a few more.
If you care to play online ranked matches, this game is a huge improvement for FSU fans. In '10, the d-lines could get around OT's by just jetting wide and running a freaky-deak move to kill the QB in an eighth of a second. That was a huge problem and would have a been a huge problem for us again, (see the UF d-line ratings, all above 90). That has been cleaned up. This game allows for you to drop back and pass in a more realistic setting. I am a very good player and I can tell you that 9/10 times, UF teams would beat me because of a vastly superior roster and game-play advantages. I think this year's game gives us a fighting chance.
All in all, I have to play it more to feel out the other kinks- but I'm impressed by what i've seen so far.