Of all of the years for Konami to cock up Pro Evolution Soccer, now renamed eFootball, that is arguably the worst one. FIFA 22, for all the franchise’s overarching flaws, feels fantastic: the ball physics are enormously improved, the closely marketed HyperMotion Know-how makes for a way more fluid expertise, and even goalkeepers have been rewritten, stopping them from simply getting crushed at their close to publish.
For a lot of the PlayStation 4 technology, PES has responded to FIFA’s flash with substance: even the re-released eFootball PES 2021: Season Update performed nice in comparison with FIFA 21, with matches capturing the stream of actual soccer. However by switching to the Unreal Engine, and a free-to-play format, eFootball seems like a big step backwards – in reality, after a few hours play it reminds this bamboozled writer of PS2-era soccer simulations.
For as hyperbolic as that assertion could appear, it’s true: the ball feels prefer it’s shifting by way of treacle, whereas gamers are robotic and gradual to answer the sticks. The actions you’re inputting really feel frustratingly indifferent from what you’re seeing on display screen, and it makes for a gradual and turgid expertise. There’s nothing incorrect with firming down the tempo of the game, after all – actual soccer isn’t performed at 100mph for 90 minutes – however there’s a definite lack of responsiveness right here.
The digital camera, by default, is setup to zoom in on one-on-one battles, which is a pleasant thought however is disorientating – and, to be sincere, we’re unsure the take-on animations look wherever close to ok to deserve being emphasised so closely. Fortuitously, you may tinker with the digital camera to discover a setting that you simply discover extra interesting, which is a aid contemplating lots of the sport’s different choices – like climate situations – are presently greyed out.
Right here’s the catch: eFootball is out at the moment however it is a shareware demo at greatest. There are simply 9 groups and 6 stadiums out there (unlicensed groups like Manchester Blue will be chosen on-line), and – from what we are able to inform – you may’t even change the size of matches from the default five-minute length. To be honest, the render of companion membership Manchester United’s stadium Previous Trafford is beautiful – higher, arguably, than even FIFA – and there are some stylish touches, like the way you choose your strip from throughout the dressing room.
There are some good atmospheric cut-scenes, too, like Bruno Fernandes chatting to press after scoring a winner in opposition to Barcelona and David de Gea taking off his gloves within the dressing room. All the face scans are fairly good, however enjoying the native PS5 model doesn’t actually really feel like a step-forward from eFootball PES 2021: Season Replace in any respect. The commentary is fairly unhealthy, too, however Peter Drury and Jim Beglin are at the least a contact extra tolerable than FIFA 22’s dreadful duo.
Even fundamental options, like the power to avoid wasting match ways, are absent – that means you’ll must manually setup your squad the way you need it every time you play. In a 12 months the place EA Sports activities has expanded on the tactical flexibility you may tinker with previous to and through matches, there’s little or no to play with right here. You possibly can manually regulate the place of gamers, as you would in PES, however build-up play and defensive ways don’t provide you with a lot scope to experiment.
Bemusingly, this construct of eFootball relies on outdated code. From what we perceive, YouTubers were recently invited to play a much newer version of the game, which apparently performs so much higher. Assuming that is correct, we are able to’t even start to fathom why Konami would launch the title on this state: all it’s going to do is a depart a nasty impression. Because it stands, lots of the launch’s core gameplay options – like even pushed passes – might be added in November.
The really weird factor is that the sport even launched alongside a bonus pack for PS Plus members at the moment, however there’s presently no phrase on what that may even entail. The unhappy actuality is that whereas eFootball had the chance to be disruptive, it’s one of the best commercial for FIFA 22 that EA Sports activities may have requested for. Konami’s bought a mountain to climb to avoid wasting this collection’ season, and it’s going to take greater than Sam Allardyce to maintain its hopes alive.
How are you feeling about eFootball now that you simply’ve had a couple of hours to dig in? Is there potential right here, or has Konami dropped a clanger? Take-on the feedback part beneath.