I rarely post, but had to post this, especially given the feedback so far:
This is the best FM version I have ever played.
Now barring the mental attribute bug (which is now fixed and btw I was not affected as I started in beta), I have the impression I have a different game to everyone else here (I have theories about that, see below).
Before I talk about the ME, I need to give big thumbs up for the new features(club vision, training changes, development center, graphical/animation improvements etc), Game also runs very smoothly and faster than FM19 (I am running a game on a 2012 I7 16GB laptop with a 980M), and I have all leagues and players loaded up(300K+)! Meant to be a test beta save but it runs so well that I decided to stick with it.
The ME was and is the most important thing for me and I was kind of disappointed from the first beta version. The second beta(opt in) version was much better and got rid of the long diagonal passes, toned down long shots, improved one on ones (by a fraction) but general lack of intelligent central play(especially final third) was still there. The release version? Oh my! Let me elaborate:
- Most realistic representation of football i have ever seen (watch a match on full once).
- Intelligent players doing intelligent things, daft players doing daft things(love the mistakes).
- Difference in skill (physical, mental, technical) is evident on the pitch among players: A quick striker will outpace a slow defender even with the ball. A strong defender will manhandle a wimpy striker given the chance. A good long shot player is to be feared, a rubbish one is to be exploited(let him shoot!). Determined hard working players will fight to the end etc etc. PPMs also really set players apart, are very visible/pronounced on the pitch and do give players a unique personality.
-Fantastic representation of team cohesion and tactical familiarity. The football played differs night and day once the players have 25-30 competitive games together (not counting friendlies). About 3/4 of the first season I started seeing some beautiful football even in Greek 2nd division. (no player cooperation lines at all for me though, although I suspect this may be a UI bug carried on from beta).
-Great graphical improvements vs 19 and 18 versions, although I am still on the fence about the display of dynamic pitch degradation. Games runs very smoothly on max settings. I do get the audio hic-ups though.
About issues other users are reporting;
Penalties: oddly no problem for me. Had only one friendly with 5 penalties once, which I dismissed as an oddity.
One on ones: I definitely like the release version vs the opt in beta. I'd like a higher conversion rate but I feel this is more a wishful thinking on my part vs realism. I mean I can honestly tell If a one on one has a higher chance of going in or not in this ME. The angle, the players mental attributes, the importance of the game and the time on the clock, as well as the skill of the keeper really matter. And yes finishing and technique, as well as balance and agility (and tiredness!). i wouldn't mind if it stays as it is. I have even seen a couple of lobs, I wouldn't mind to see better representation or occurrence of rounding the keeper.
Long shots: Not an issue for me really(was an issue in beta). I score a few and I concede a few. A lot are taken when the players have no other avenue/options or are frustrated.
Crosses: Much better on release vs beta, look nice, great variety and also mistakes, miss kicks and blocks.
Shots from weird angles(tight or almost parallel to the goal): These exist. Less so in the release version and much less so for me since I switched from 532 to 4141. Again like one on ones I can kind of understand why these are happening. On 532 my WBs were the biggest offenders, specially the one with "runs often' PPM(who was also the player who won 4 penalties on that freak friendly). Same player playing as FBs, has only done it once in 4141, and BTW never my AML/AMR playing as Ws/IWs. Not sure if this has to do with wing backs on attacking mentality or a WB on their own in a wing. I almost no longer see them in a 4141. If they do happen they are by my striker because he has no other option(or he is selfish)? I have even had few players deliberately winning a corner in similar situation by kicking the ball to the defender's feet!
Through balls: I have seen some beautiful vertical on the ground passes in the box on the release version. Only one or two in the opt in the opt in beta. Anecdotally these happen more often when I am playing cautious vs balanced, so it has definitely has to do with space available. Also when I activate "pass into space"(when i am ahead or the opponent gives me the space), frequency also increases. Long over the top passes do happen but my defense or my SK deals with them while I only see them from my side against overly aggressive sides or by some inept CBs I have.
Super keepers: I don't see this, I feel the representation of skill is fair. I see mistakes, sub par performances and also the odd "shut down shop" game. (Love the new animations)
Disclaimer/Theory: I believe my positive experience has to do with the nature of my beta save and how i play. I picked a team in the second division in Greece and I have played one and and a half seasons(one season on opt in beta and half on release version). I play on comprehensive highlights and switch on extensive depending how the match is going(key on friendlies, only care about fitness/team gelling there). First season I played a 5122(DM WB) and switched to a 4141(DM wide) second season. Cautious or balanced mentality with few TIs; lower LOE and DL, mark tighter, counter and take short kicks. In 4141 I added wide in possession. Maybe some of the issues reported are because of overly aggressive tactics or top teams playing against lesser park the bus teams? Or due to low tactic familiarity/team cohesion?