On Monday I finally tracked down a local rental for College Hoops while I wait for Gamerang to get a copy out to me (probably Thursday). Right now I’m just sitting back and playing the game. No full season sims to check stats and slider tweaking. I’ve jumped right into a closed legacy (Brown), playing a couple of games per season and simming the rest. (I’m dead set on getting more mileage out of my legacy this year and am simming much more than I play until I build up my coach and land a more posh assignment.)
So far, after two seasons at Brown, I’ve moved on to North Texas. After going about .500 after two season, season number three resulted in 23 wins and a tourney birth; my first birth and North Texas’s first in 20 years. (I haven’t played out the tourney game yet.)
At this point, on all-conference (10 min halves) I’ve noticed the following:
– I have yet to win a game (played about eight). (Much of my problem has been inability to stop the AI’s 3-point game, as explained below.)
– There really are too many missed inside shots. I finally broke down and bumped the human layup and inside range sliders (five points each, I think) and the one game with those settings was a huge improvement (maybe too much).
– I don’t know what Bill is seeing (he’s hinted otherwise), but the AI has loved the 3-point shot in the games I’ve played. Again, on 10 min. halves, the AI is averaging putting up around 20 attempts per game (including 24 from Penn when I played them as Brown). And they’re hitting them. Not an ungodly number, but when even small schools are hitting 40-50% of 20 3-point attempts it’s too much. I finally took down the AI 3-point tendency slider and bumped the inside tendency slider (I think by 10 each, but I’d have to check). That seems to have helped a lot, but I’ve only played a couple games that way.
– Free throw shooting seems better this year. Last year I really struggled with that, but I’m having no problems right now and it’s so nice that there’s just one camera view for free throws (as opposed to NBA 2k7’s changing the view between each attempt).
– There are far too few fouls called (maybe it’s better on a higher difficulty). At default I’ve gone entire halves without getting a whistle called on my player. From reading the OS forums, I’m seeing a lot of custom slider sets that up fouls across the board to the 80-90 range and getting *much* better results.
– Because I’m lazy, I’ve paid almost zero attention to what the AI has been doing outside my conference so I really can’t comment on sim results, NCAA seedings, etc.
– Recruiting seems much improved this year. I haven’t looked too deep yet, but
the recruit pool seems much more balanced and I haven’t noticed the high talent level of recruits causing small schools to dramatically improve their overall talent levels over time (I need to look more closely at this to be sure, though). Recruiting to Brown was basically me hopeing to land a few two star recruits. Recruiting at North Texas (Sun Belt Conference), I’ve been able to consistently land either two or three star recruits, but have had almost zero luck drawing any interest from any four star recruits (and those who show interest have still gone elsewhere). The recruiting model appears to be pretty tight.
– I love that you can finally manage the order of your target list (if you could do this last year, I never figured out how). This finally makes leaving the fine details of recruiting to your assistants a plausible strategy. I basically set my targets at the start and do the heavy lifting for my top tier targets (those for whom I hope to offer scholarships) and let the AI handle the rest. When the initial signing period ends, I reasses and repeat. Same for the end of the season. Once I get hired at a school where I intend to stick for a while this should make for a much nicer balance of playing games vs. time spent in the UI.
– That said, the horrid NBA 2k7 UI has been ported here and it’s just as annoying in College Hoops. You can get used to it and make effective use of it, but it’s still frustrating as all get out to use.
So far it seems pretty clear this is the best edition of College Hoops to date. (Not one crash in legacy mode either!) That said, it’s not so different from previous versions that if you didn’t like those, that you’ll end up doing a 180 on this one. The core gameplay is the same and there are still details that can irritate, like getting stuck in animations, or games having a just slightly scripted feel to them. (I’ll never be able to prove that theory. It just seems like the ease of getting buckets or stops at certain points throughout a game is predictably easy/hard depending on the balance of the matchup. It really could be my imagination, though.) But if you really liked or were at least luke warm to past editions, this one should work out quite nicely for you.