So the last week or so saw a rollercoaster of emotions here in reaction to eFootball'a leaks, starting from mostly disappointment with the footage leaked from the Hong Kong conference, then flipping to being very optimistic and hopeful when some of the more hardcore gameplay features started making an appearance in more detailed Japanese articles. Now graphics of course still matter but it's not fair to talk about the horribly disappointing leaked footage graphics. 

Mainly because the most important graphic in a football game --which is Grass and Turf, was not ready. The game was played on a PS5 and we already know that this version will have a 3D lawn from Mr. Kimura's interview, and we've actually seen what this 3D Lawn will look like in a few select shots in the Gamescom trailer. 

What doesn't make sense is why they're showing off the game a few weeks before it's officially released, using two players who clearly can't play the game, and they're doing it without having the single most important graphic ready to be released. Now before I get to the exciting new Gameplay features of eFootball, and speaking of graphics, many of you PES players switched to the PC version last year just because of how incredible it looked with over 700 stadiums modded into the game, with realistic grass and weather conditions, broadcast cameras and all these beautiful mods.

If you are a new PC Gamer

your first order of business should be switching over to Opera GX as your default browser. It's a gaming browser and what that means, is that, unlike other memory-hungry browsers, you can actually limit how much memory your browsers consume, and you get a neat breakdown of how much RAM your tabs are using, and can easily manage them collectively on the sidebar. 

The sidebar also has direct messaging app integration, so you can have your discord, your WhatsApp, and many other messaging apps always available on this incredibly useful sidebar. You can also limit network bandwidth on your tabs, so neither your game's performance nor network connection which will be quite important in football can be affected by your browsing. And like eFootball, Opera GX is also available on mobile. 

So go ahead, import your bookmarks and preferences from any browser to Opera GX now, 

It's free but I would ask you to use the link in the description of this video, so they know you heard about it from me! Now let's talk about football: Now yes, it's a little disappointing the way we're getting our information about football from various articles and leaks, as opposed to getting it from a single decent press release or an In-depth trailer of the game, the way any company with a half-decent PR marketing division would do, but at the end of the day, it's just marketing it doesn't really matter for us football simulation fans who will be playing this game anyway. 

What matters is the actual gameplay and this is the only reason we're playing this game and not FIFA. I'll actually start with number 1 because this is the whole reason I got so excited about football. "Manual" Dribbling! Now if you remember from my 96-minute analysis of PES 2021, I spoke about how awkward the transition between the speeds of dribbling was, and that it would be great if the degree of tilt of the left analog stick was used to determine how fast the player runs. I also suggested that the number of times the sprint button is tapped should determine how far the ball is pushed, the way it did in the old Winning Eleven and PES games. 

Well, the good news is that the game's developers went ahead and kind of implemented both features in a slightly different way. So in football, if you want to make gentle movements of the ball, you only gently tilt the left analog stick. There's no more finesse dribbling which required you to press L1 while moving the right analog stick which was far from intuitive because you move around with the left analog stick.

But having finesse dribbling now mapped to a gentle tilt of the left analog stick

which is the stick you're using anyway to move your player around, is a huge improvement towards making the controls more intuitive and realistic, because in real life, slowing down your run isn't that complicated a move, that it would require an extra button to be held while switching to a different analog stick. It's also important to be able to smoothly transition to a slower run which is what you can do now in football. 

Now it's not exactly the graded 1 to 100% and everything in between speed control I was suggesting, because you still only have two speeds that you switch between depending on how far you tilt the analog stick, but it's a good start and to be honest, it's impossible to motion capture 100 different dribbling speeds for every single dribbling style, in 360 directions, without using machine learning to automatically figure out the animations without having to motion capture them individually. And this is the kind of complicated animation thing that machine learning provides a solution to. 

But football's developers don't use machine learning yet so for now we still have only two running speeds but at least there's a much smoother and more realistic way of switching between them. Now in PES 2021, we had three other dribbling speeds which are the normal R1 sprint, then the double-tap R1 sprint which pushes the ball further away, and then the super complicated R3+double tap R1 sprint which pushes the ball way further out. 

Now, this is where the developers implemented a much more accessible, and more graded system to achieve even more flexibility and they did that by switching the sprint button to R2, and making the distance the ball gets pushed into while you're sprinting, proportional to how hard you press down the R2 button. And I absolutely love this. 

So if you're running and you have an empty space ahead of you that you want to better exploit, 

Instead of holding down R3, then double-tapping sprint, while pushing the left analog stick in that direction, which is what you had to do in PES 2021, now you can simply release sprint then press it down harder, and the ball will get pushed away depending on how hard you pressed the button. Again, this is more realistic because in real life, pushing the ball further away is not a complicated move and so the controls now reflect that, giving you more realistic dribbling options on the ball. 

These two changes pretty much fix Dribbling which was in my opinion the weakest part of the offensive game in PES. I don't mind that sprint has moved to R2 because I do that anyway every year, it just feels more natural to sprint that way. But yeah, I'm extremely excited about dribbling in football. At number two: If you had to ask me about ONE gameplay feature in FIFA that I wanted to see in PES, my answer would be their Defending system which they've had for a few years now. Well, eFootball developers went ahead and did just that, but they might have actually improved on it a little. So in the past, you simply held down the 'Pass' button and your defender would just run to apply pressure on the player with the ball and steal it. 

But in football, what this button does is use machine-learned algorithms to predict where and how your opponent on the ball will move to match your defender's movement to his movement so that you can hit L2 and lunge in to make your tackle. I actually love this because the animations defenders use when tracking a player are different than the normal off-ball running animations, and they allow defenders to properly intervene when the player sees an opening. 

The reason why I strongly recommend people to move over to football as soon as possible is to get enough time to learn this system because it's more rewarding but like everything rewarding, it also seems to come with a steeper learning curve. Now before I move onto the third gameplay feature, while we're at defending, if you already have the ball, the L2 button will actually now shield the ball away. Now I'm a little undecided about this one, and I'll have to play the game to know whether I like it or not. Now you all know how big I am on full manual controls, and how important I feel that players should be in control of several aspects of the gameplay for a less frustrating and more rewarding time playing the game. 

Manual controls enhance the skill gap between gamers, so that better gamer will actually play better when the game engine isn't guiding their passes and shots the whole time. But similar to how better, more expensive players will apply subtle corrections to your manual passes and long balls to lead to an even better outcome, I also think that there should be a degree of automation that makes higher quality defenders more aware of their surroundings when it comes to shielding the ball. 

Otherwise, what's the difference between controlling Van Dijk when I could have a similarly built player but with less awareness if I'll have to manually shield the ball with both players anyway. So I'll have to wait and see how reliant shielding is on my input with better defenders. Speaking of manual controls, at number three, yes I hated this circular cursor when I first saw it, and everyone else rightfully so hated it. It makes football look like a mobile game, and yes the first thing I'll personally do is disable it, which you can do in the options. 

But I'm more interested in the significance of this new cursor. It seems to be pointing to the direction the left stick is being aimed at, just to give the player an idea of where a manual pass or shot would be aimed. This seems like a great step towards normalizing manual controls and making them more accessible. I'm just really glad to see the developers take steps towards making full manual controls hopefully one day become the norm when it comes to playing football. 

At number four, this would have been ranked higher if it was ready for launch, but for some reason, it isn't. Triggering a dipping shot -which is now called a 'sharp shot' in football, used to be a little too random in PES 2021, although I felt it was significantly more consistent after I switched to full manual controls. But anyway, when the shot arrives in a future update to eFootball, you'll actually need to press down R2 when shooting in order to trigger the shot. 

You might be wondering, so, why don't we always hold down R2 to get a special shot triggered? Well, it seems that R2 will slow down the filling of your power bar, so you need to have enough room and space to trigger this special shot. This is actually quite realistic since these special shots in real life require more calculation and more room to comfortably take the shot in a way that makes the ball dip down. This is why you get penalized in real life when you give this kind of space to a player who can pull off a dipping shot. 

Now the Japanese article doesn't dive into more details, 

But I won't be surprised if better shooters who have the dipping shot trait, will be able to fill up the power bar a whole lot faster than normal players who will need more space and time to pull it off, although this hasn't been mentioned or confirmed it would be a very smart way for gamers to feel the difference when shooting with different players. At number five, in my 96-minute analysis of PES 2021, I spoke about how there weren't enough animations for players to deal with manual passes that can land behind a player. 

Instead of slowing down to better receive the ball, they would awkwardly stick out their legs, and it was extremely irritating when it happened because it really shouldn't be with professional players. Fortunately in football,  even in the disappointing leak, you can clearly see players slowing down before receiving a pass that would have landed behind them if they didn't slow down. And that should hopefully fix this issue with manual passing in PES 2021. 

So yeah these are my top most important new gameplay changes. There are other changes like the shot cancel button moving to the R1 button, which is a little weird because the finesse shot is still an R1 Shot, so it means that you need to press R1 before a finesse, otherwise your shot will be canceled. And while these gameplay changes are all something I'm very much looking forward to, there is no denying that this game is launching in just two weeks, in a very miserable and incomplete status. Tactics for instance will initially be limited to choosing one of 5 plans that govern both attacking and defending as well as advanced instructions. 

Now that said, they did mention that individual player instruction editing will come in a later -but not immediate- update. Now it wasn't clear if they meant that advanced instructions editing will be available, or if actual individual player instructions which we used to have in the legacy Winning Eleven and PES titles will be available but we'll have to wait for that. 

As for the graphics, there's no way in hell 3D grass won't be available on launch, so I'll wait for that to come out before talking about graphics. But hopefully, by early next year, they don't wait too long to push the UE5 update which I predict will be quite a significant one. So yeah, I am actually looking forward to the new gameplay changes, I hope this video changed some of your perceptions of football despite the horrible job Konami did marketing this game so far. That's all for now, thanks for watching, and I'll see you in the next one!

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