Hi, wrote this in my Steam review, but hoping to get some answers and deeper understanding of how they work.
Loving the graphics and “realness” of most of the game - the devs have done an amazing job in recreating that “footy” feel when you enter a game.
The main core gameplay issues I’m still finding are:
Stuck in the mud. When you link up by hand (handballing accuracy has been improved in the latest patch which is great!), your receiving player will have a moment of non-responsiveness, where no button presses seem to be registered. This results in too many secondary tackles on your player, with probably a few too many HTBs.
Is this an animation or just a response time thing?
This is in pretty stark contrast to the AI, who have superman like speed, and don’t seem to have to “charge” up their kicks like users do, making them relatively much harder to tackle.
Large turning circles. Again, a user only issue, when you do have the ball, changing direction is pretty frustrating. Pendelbury’s type of directional change is not quite possible, and this can lead to what seems to be superhuman (and occasional teleporting) AI mowing you down as you gradually turn to your goal direction.
In a similar vein, without the ball it feels like a “drunk” filter is added to the controls, making pursuing the AI with the ball almost impossible.
Tackling. It feels like the AI will instant tackle you numerous times a game for about a 50% HTB outcome (can be reduced by not sprinting but then that leads to far more tackles).
And when you tackle them, the balance still feels off, as they almost always squeeze out a kick or handball that hits one of their team mates laces out. This is polar opposites of the user, who at best, dribbles the ball to no one.
Forcefields. There still appears to be forces at work here. If the AI are running the ball from the centre square inside 50, it feels almost impossible to lay a tackle on them, unlike elsewhere on the field?
The same goes for grubbed balls and those dribble disposals that you do when tackled. Whenever the ball hits the ground, despite use of the homing button, the AI always seem to be first to the ball.
As a common example, you will nail the perfect backline spoil, it goes to ground, the AI will be first to the ball (even if it’s the guy you contested with), they pick it up, and if inside their 50, almost always seem to get a shot away. This one is incredibly frustrating.
Positioning of AI players (both sides). Tactics have helped a bit and are VERY welcome, but IMO there is still a bit too much 1v1 man on man stuff which is quite unrealistic.
When you watch modern AFL, and you’ll hardly ever see a full ground 1v1, which seems to keep happening here regardless of tactics.
Another example: you’ll mark the ball on a turnover at half back flank, and then weigh up a switch or go down the line. 2 issues with this approach currently.
One, there’s numerous players from both sides sitting abeam you in the centre corridor and still inside your defensive 50. In modern footy, players usually are in front of you, except perhaps one or two team mates looking for the switch.
But right now you cant really go to them, as there’s too much congestion in the middle, all with an opposition man on them.
Two, when you look down the line, it feels like there may be more no-go zones, sometimes you can even have an entire wing with zero players in it.
You can see your forwards 2 kicks away heading towards the wing, then stop, then turn back.
finally, Camera. I find side on is not an ideal way to play as you don’t have your players “down the ground” perspective,
So when using end to end camera, you unfortunately cannot control the camera. Not the direction, or the rotation speed.
So when there is a turn over, the camera auto rotates 180 degrees at a very fast speed. This affects the controller position relative to the screen. Given the turnover has just handed the ball to the opposition and you’re usually very close, this means you cannot chase them. By the time the camera has swung 180, they are already away, as perusing them is very hard.
The end to end camera ideally needs a user controlled speed slider, or even a trigger to allow the user to decide when to flip it (ie they could do it if they do lose the contest and the AI kicks). The other issue is switching as mentioned above.
Hopefully that congestion can be moved up the field a kick away, but switching will still remain hard with end to end because you cannot see anything on the opposite flank/wing.
We really need the ability to manually control the camera direction. It would be cool if a modifier like the right stick could pan the camera, or let it rotate automatically after a mark/free kick, based on where the user is aiming/“looking”.
The camera now pans with kick outs which is amazingly helpful, and so hopefully this can be replicated elsewhere after marks/free kicks.
In summary, this game has so much potential to be epic, I just hope a few (or even better, all) of these gameplay limitations can be improved upon.
Apologies for the long post, but these are the things I constantly notice in each game I play which would take this game from enjoyable to all time!