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EA Sports NCAA Football 13 takes home the Heisman

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Updated: August 11, 2012 6:22AM

It’s all about the hardware.

Or in the case of NCAA Football 13, it’s about the Heisman. That was a key focus for EA Sports in the latest version of the successful franchise. For the first time, real athletes appear in the game.

Marcus Allen, Herschel Walker, Barry Sanders, Tim Tebow and Robert Griffin III are a few of the 16 former Heisman Trophy winners who’ll give you a chance to duplicate their accomplishments or rewrite history.

Ever wonder how Sanders would’ve fared running out of Texas Tech’s spread offense? Or how Michigan’s Desmond Howard would’ve looked in scarlet and gray? Sacrilegious? Maybe. But now a reality in NCAA 13.

In the Heisman Challenge, you’re given a list of goals that reflect what each athlete did in his Heisman season, and you try to duplicate it or come as close as possible.

The kicker is you can play the legends for their schools or move them to any modern teams you want.

That’s enough of an incentive to play 13, but the designers didn’t stop there.

When it came down to the actual game play, the changes are obvious, starting with a completely revamped passing game.

“Every game we look at is an opportunity to enhance the game in some shape or form,’’ designer Ben Haumiller said in a phone interview. “With that old passing game, there were situations where you would get frustrated.’’

That’s why Haumiller and his crew focused on a “Total Control Passing’’ concept that adds even more reality to the game.

It’s about leading receivers and being able to throw to a spot, rather than just throwing at a target.

And receivers now turn and look at the quarterback out of their routes, making the timing of the passing game an art form.

“Everything about the passing game is cleaned up,’’ Haumiller said.

As far as Dynasty Play, get ready for a recruiting experience like no other.

Scouting prospects, finding gems and busts and a new recruiting format continue to push NCAA 13 into a more realistic experience.

NCAA 13 is nowhere near surpassing the Madden franchise in hype, but in substance, this year’s version might have done just that.

Don’t believe it? Well, keep a spot on the mantel open just in case. Heismans need room to breathe.

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