As it stands, eFootball 2022 is not a good game. It’s not a bad game and the vocal members of the PES community who despise it was never going to enjoy the game regardless. The biggest problem with eFootball 2022 is that the marketing around the game was so poorly managed that there was no way to set the expectations at launch. This is a textbook example of how not to promote your game.
This is early access but not called early access
Yes, you can play eFootball 2022 but only one mode is actually available. The game has only one accessible mode that only has minimal customization options. Want to learn the game? you can play a match that lasts five minutes with access to nine clubs. Other than that, you can jump online and play against others with more clubs to choose from (including participants of the 2021 AFC Champions League).
But after that, you’ll have to wait a few months for the other modes to come in. My Club, the core mode of the past Pro Evolution Soccer games won’t be available until early November. There is a training mode, but it’s only a series of videos that don’t actually let you try the controls in a preview environment.
Year One with the Unreal Engine
I started playing eFootball 2022 on my Xbox One X and the game is rough, especially with the visuals. There is a lot of texture pop-in, which leads to blurry kits and faces that take about a second to fully load. During replays, you’ll notice ghosting occur (where a player’s outline makes it look like a ghost is behind them). On my Series X, the game looks better. Yes, there is still a bit of a load for textures to appear, it’s just not as noticeable.
On Reddit, the community is really going to town with the facial animations, especially with the more recognizable faces when they move their mouths. Yes, it’s rough but you have to go into replays or pause cut scenes at the right moment to really notice it. The funny thing with that is we naturally look funny when we are in any sort of action, very few of us are always photogenic.
Improvements on those kinds of visuals are fixable. This is eFootball’s first year with a new engine and we should expect some early problems getting things right. A the moment, I like the stadium designs (however, I do wish sports games focused on lighting as the sun should move during the course of a match). I think the focus should now be on improving facial expressions and other movement animations
Gameplay takes time to learn
I’ll admit, I’m still getting used to the controls and gameplay. Passing takes some time to learn, especially understanding the proper timing for effective through-balls. Unlike FIFA where I feel the computer rarely makes mistakes moving the ball, here they also give the ball away almost as much as I do. I could see them fine-tuning this, hopefully, they don’t go too much in the opposite direction and make it too easy to move the ball.
The lack of a proper tutorial/training mode hurts as I don’t expect too many people will be able to jump in an online match and have success early on. The exhibition mode doesn’t give you enough time to learn either. Without being able to extend the length of the match means you’ll have to just play multiple matches before even consider attempting to play against online opposition.
I do like the speed of play though. This isn’t super-fast. Yes, the possibilities of a quick counter are there, it requires a lot of patience and timing to pull it off. I think if you’re jumping from FIFA to this, it will take some time to get used to the change of pace. As for PES players, I think the hardcore will get frustrated by having to learn a new system.
Konami is a developer and publisher that has lost a lot of the good sentiment it used to have. Honestly, how they’ve handled their other franchises, the mistakes with eFootball 2022 shouldn’t come as any surprise. Again, I just don’t understand the reasoning for how they went about marketing this game.
The early expectations from their first trailer two years ago, the confusion around the online performance test from over the summer, the lack of concrete information around the game, and that they did a soft-launch release without calling it one are just a few of the mistakes Konami has made around the game. I will keep saying that eFootball 2022 is not a bad game. Regardless of the early sentiment from the community, it’s not as bad as people are claiming. But, it’s still far from being a good game.
In-game, there are already notifications saying that they are working on improvements. We know that My Club is coming in November, and we have to assume more content will follow that. This isn’t a game that they rushed to launch. But because the poor marketing over the summer is still ongoing, they’re not doing a good enough job fixing those misconceptions.
More to come
This blog post wasn’t a review of the game because I understand this is not a finished product. This was more of an early impression and rant on the right and wrong ways of marketing a game. I’ll be back with more thoughts on the game as time goes by, especially after My Club arrives.