eFootball 2023 Gameplay Changes After Update 2.4
And we’re back with another update for eFootball 2023. This time things seem different as Konami really put some hours into addressing some core gameplay issues that have plagued not on eFootball since its release but also going back to PES. No messing around! Let’s dive in!
There are some significant gameplay tweaks in this update. If I went into detail on every fix we’d be here all day. Instead, I’ll highlight some of the more noticeable and impactful changes made by Konami in this update.
No gameplay element has seen more changes in eFootball than dribbling and once again it’s at the forefront of the patch notes:
“Significantly improved dribbling response, especially in slow-moving situations such as immediately after controlling a pass or after a big turn.”
One of the complaints voiced by the community over the duration of eFootball‘s brief existence has been the nerfing of dribbling. Poor touches, responsiveness, and diminished close control have all been tuned in this most recent update. The importance of this cannot be understated as the lack of being able to control the ball in tight spaces forced players to resort to an over-reliance on one-touch passes, which in turn created end-t0-end action as you could not wiggle out of tight spaces prior to this most recent update.
From the patch notes:
“In scenarios where the opposition quickly comes for a press as you receive an oncoming pass, a one-touch pass would have been the only viable option. But with these adjustments, you are now afforded with more options, perhaps even try breaking through the opposition with some swift dribbling displays! The mind games between attack and defense have just become all the more interesting.”
While the improvements on display may be hard to pick up, when slowed down you can see the enhancements at work.
Furthermore, you can feel the difference as players like Neymar and Messi, who are specialists when it comes to close control, are now more dangerous with the ball at their feet, even without the use of tricks and skills. As things stand right now, I’m happy that dribbling is back to being responsive, especially since it cuts down on the one-touch passes in the middle of the park that plague so many competitive matches.
Passing & First Touch
Once again, responsiveness is the name of the game, particularly as it relates to input delay when passing. PES/eFootball has always been a game heavily based on quality animations but sometimes at the cost of watching them play out at inconvenient times. Konami understands the issue and tweaked a few things to fix it:
-Implemented adjustments so that mid-dribble kicking inputs are more responsively reflected.
-Implemented adjustments so that when a kick input is performed just before the ball is controlled, the subsequent kick will be more responsive.
When you combine these two passing tweaks with the aforementioned dribbling enhancements, eFootball 2023 is as close as you’re going to get to an old school PES feeling. Unfortunately the same can’t be said for through balls, which have been boosted and allow more people online to abuse them:
-Implemented adjustments so that through passes will now be played towards a more appropriate position, as previously they would sometimes be played too close towards the receiving player.
-Implemented adjustments so that through passes will now be played at a more appropriate speed, as previously through passes would sometimes be played at an excessively slow speed.
At this point, the people still playing eFootball 2023 online have good squads stacked with pinpoint passers and back-shoulder strikers. This makes it easier for them to spam through balls even if it does have its benefits offline versus the AI. The first touch has always been an area that divides the community. How much control should the user have? Should there be some sort of “control” button input? Even the best of professionals have poor touches, especially near the box where the space gets compact and bodies are close by.
One thing is for certain, first touch is a skill and should be impacted by player skill/ratings, the weight of the pass received, the speed at which you’re moving, and a few other variables. Prior to this update touches seemed random but Konami has tweaked the game to allow for better ball control.
Apart from the increase in responsiveness to allow players to shoot/clear the ball with more urgency, the bulk of the tweaks to shooting center around Acrobatic Finishing.
Implemented adjustments so that players with the Player Skill “Acrobatic Finishing” will now perform acrobatic shots more frequently in adequate scenarios. Enhancements were also implemented on the speed and accuracy of “Acrobatic Finishing” attempts.
I’ve always gone back and forth with shooting, specifically when to go for a header or when to attempt a kick. It’s led me to at times want a separate button input specifically tied to headers, but what Konami is attempting here is to make the decision for us. In the example they provided, the attacker first attempts a header that from this distance and considering the weight of the incoming cross is a poor one, and luckily it plays out that way as a slow looping header easily caught by the keeper.
The post-patch tweaks here to shooting change that input from a header to an overhead kick, which I am 100% behind. What I don’t like is the increase to accuracy from these acrobatic finishes. The timing, technique, and physical skill required to convert a bicycle kick or other acrobatic finish makes for a high probability of failure in real life. This needs to be replicated in eFootball 2023 but it appears as if Konami wants those highlight moments to be more common.
If there’s one area that I’m sure you all tired of hearing me talk about, it’s gameplay balance. For all of the changes to the attacking side of things, there needs to be a counter when defending so that we don’t get a game that favors going forward. Right off the bat, Konami states:
-Implemented adjustments to the player movement speed in defense to ensure a proper game balance in response to other attacking-related adjustments.
So how exactly did Konami address the defensive side of the game for this update? Well, for starters they made it so that your defenders have more awareness:
-Implemented adjustments so that it is now easier to block an oncoming ball, as previously, players sometimes would not be able to block oncoming crosses despite being in an adequate position to do so.
-Implemented adjustments to the triggering conditions of Blocks, as previously, players would sometimes perform Blocks in unnatural body positions.
-Fixed the issue where possession cannot be retrieved adequately despite the player having their body in line between the ball and the opponent.
eFootball 2023 frustratingly was too prone to your players being in position to either intercept/block only to see them not even react:
Instances like this were just too common, and although they aren’t completely removed from the game, it is an area of the game that is much improved and leads to a more enjoyable experience. Post-update eFootball 2023 looks a little bit like this:
It’s not always fun talking about fouls but they’re an important part of the game. They help to balance out the risk/reward from defenders who are overeager with the tackle button due to not being punished by the refs. It was so frustrating to see players just get bumped off the ball or sometimes worse and seeing no punishment from the official:
Post update 2.4 the referee strictness has been improved upon and the amount of fouls from both the AI and human players are far more realistic:
Responsiveness is to Gameplay as Positioning is to AI Enhancements:
-Implemented adjustments to the positioning of players in defensive situations so that when increasing the Attack/Defense Level, players will start applying pressure to the opponent higher up the field.
-Implemented adjustments so that players who look to jump out behind the defensive line will run into spaces that are more effective to the circumstances.
-Implemented adjustments so that lone strikers who look to run behind the defense will search for open spaces in a wider area before making the run.
-Implemented adjustments so that players making runs behind the defenders in potential goal-scoring scenarios will smoothly run towards the intended spaces without decelerating unnaturally.
-Implemented adjustments so that players who make a run behind the defenders will move into spaces where opponents are less likely to be able to intercept passes towards them.
-Implemented adjustments so that in scenarios where multiple players are on the attack, the suitable players will make a run behind the defenders.
-Implemented adjustments so that fullbacks (with the exception of Defensive Fullbacks) will make overlapping runs in appropriate scenarios.
-Implemented adjustments to the positioning of players in defensive situations so that man-marking will be performed in a more adequate manner. Adjustments were also implemented to the triggering conditions, distance, and the speed of defensive line dropping, as previously, the defensive line would sometimes drop too far back or become uneven.
Wheeeew! That’s a huge list of changes to AI, and they do in deed make the game better as players are smarter and make more intelligent movements when not controlled by a human. One could argue that these changes should have been implemented from the start, but I have to applaud Konami here for continuing their commitment to being transparent, something they haven’t done in the past with gameplay or in the present when it comes to modes.
Final Thoughts On Gameplay
It’s a shame that the modes within eFootball 2023 are so poor because the gameplay is more than good enough to want to play offline vs the AI. At this point, it almost feels wasted by recycled content such as Match Events. We’ll dive into what else Konami did with this update, but I appreciate the more detailed patch notes and seeing improvements. It’s just up to their team and what vision they have as this will be the final determining factor as to how good eFootball 2023 can be.