There’s more to NCAA Football 14 than scoring touchdowns. You have the ability to shape your team as the season progresses, trading up for new players and making adjustments to your coach in order to improve his performance. This is due to the new Recruiting and Coach Skills added to Dynasty Mode, making it deeper than ever before.
Pro players should have no problem getting into this mode and seeing what it's all about, based on the overview we provided last month. That said, we have extra advice to help get you further.
With Coach Skills, you have a number of areas where you can level up. These include Game Management, Recruiting, Offensive Coordinator and Defensive Coordinator. You'll want to spread the XP points you earn through all of these areas, as there are various categories you can fill out that will boost your team's performance.
You can choose from Antifreeze, which makes your kicker unaffected by "icing" plays called by the opposing team; Road Warrior, which gives your quarterback confidence against the Home Field Advantage of other teams; Clean Laundry, where you play more disciplined and avoid penalties; and others. As you level up, these perks get stronger and your team improves greatly as a result.
To begin with, we suggest starting with Coachstradamus, which makes it easier to see what kind of plays opposing teams call, as well as Antifreeze and Road Warrior. Level these up first, then work on the others.
Like Game Management, you've got nine key areas in which you can make yourself better when it comes to landing prospects and players you think would fit well on the team. These include Locksmith, where you can get back into locked-out recruiting battles – crucial when it comes to taking on friends interested in the same player; the Closer, where you develop an edge over the competition during a late season recruiting run; and Pipelines, where you have a better relationship with high school coaches. Like Game Management skills, you start at level one and work your way up.
Recruiting takes a little more time to get into than other aspects of the Dynasty Mode, so don't get frustrated if a key prospect gets away. Work on it and try to land the next one. You'll get a championship team yet.
As far as where to go first, each of the nine areas are strong when it comes to getting better at Recruiting. If we had to choose select ones, however, we'd go with Pipelines, Scouting – where you have a great chance shopping around for strong players – and Royal Treatment – allowing your staff to go further in making prospects feel welcome.
With the offensive side taking center stage, there are nine great areas to upgrade how you pass and run. Examples include Up Tempo, where you stay healthy and work on staving off fatigue; Bulldozer, where your offensive line works better at opening gaps for runners to get through on the field; and Mathlete, where your awareness raises as your performance grows stronger.
When it comes to key upgrades, there are a few. Athlete is good, as it keeps your team in prime condition with extra agility, strength and acceleration for games. Great Wall is also a solid choice, since you'll stop more pass plays the more you level up. Finally, you can go a long way with a little Ball Security, keeping the pigskin from slipping loose.
Play around with your options and watch your offensive line shine.
Finally, say hello to the nine key areas where your defensive line will become your opponent's worst nightmare. There are various areas where you can really make them a threat, whether it's going with Road Closed, where you get off blocks to quickly put an end to an opposing team's run, or Ball Burglar, in which aggressive style results in more sacks and possible fumbles.
Like Offensive Coordinator, the Athlete option is here, allowing you to strengthen your players and make them a formidable threat. Shutdown also lets you hunt down wide receivers with more efficiency. Finally, Recharge works in a similar manner to the o-line's Up Tempo, slowing down your rate of injuries and keeping you full of energy. Try these options first, then see what the rest do for you.
NCAA Football 14 is available for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.