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eFootball 2022 Review | Screen Rant

The battle for video game soccer supremacy has been going back and forth for decades, with Konami and EA vying for the highly lucrative prize. Unless Konami makes drastic changes to eFootball 2022, this year's offering from the publisher, then it's hardly going to be a fight at all.

eFootball 2022 is Konami's radical rebrand of the long-standing Pro Evolution Soccer series. Taking on a free-to-play model, the launch version of eFootball 2022 comes with restricted gameplay options, and expectations that regular updates will add further content as part of a currently vague roadmap. It's certainly a gamble, turning away from the profitable if controversial template that had worked well financially for both FIFA and Pro Evo.

Related: FIFA 22 Review: Subtle Improvements, But A Lack Of Generational Quality

Based on the launch version of eFootball 2022, it's a risk that is unlikely to pay off. As it stands, eFootball 2022 is extremely limited, and although sports games aren't known for their generosity - one look at the billions made through predatory microtransactions in FIFA's Ultimate Team is proof of that - Konami's latest instance takes it to a new level. Between its lack of gameplay options and varied technical issues, eFootball 2022 is hard to recommend.

From a gameplay perspective, eFootball 2022 has very little to offer at launch. The core gameplay mode is Worldwide Clubs, a challenge-based system that isn't exactly expansive in what it can offer, feeling more akin to early sections of the mobile versions of Pro Evo and FIFA than the console editions. Aside from that, currently the player can take part in exhibition matches with a grand total of ten clubs to choose from.

A lot has been made of eFootball 2022's already notorious character models, particularly in those Steam reviews that have seen the game become Steam's worst-rated game ever. Each footballer feels like a rubber-faced marionette, as if Konami had spliced the stars of world soccer with stuffed-cheek hamsters. It's truly off-putting, and a far cry from what is expected from a major football game.

That's not the only problem to the found in eFootball 2022, though. Players can expect audio drops for crowd noise and a default camera that is awkward and lurching, as well as things like odd hit detection and AI pathfinding - or even players disappearing. The game's controls are also sluggish, more in keeping with something from a decade ago, meaning that unfortunately those fears over leaked gameplay footage have come true.

As such, eFootball 2022 struggles to manage to do the basics right, and this is also true of its online play. At the moment, online gameplay is limited solely to 1v1 Worldwide Clubs matches, and even within this simplistic setup there are problems to be found with slow matchmaking and regular drops in connectivity halfway through matches. Given that eFootball 2022 will be entirely reliant on online play, this is something that Konami will urgently need to address in its promised improvements.

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There are also worries about the long-term monetization structure of eFootball 2022. It's already been established that eFootball 2022 will use three kinds of in-game currency, and the currently available Premium Player Pack suggests that the game is going to lean into a microtransaction model that has been heavily criticized across both Pro Evo and other games. Everything currently available in eFootball 2022 points towards the upcoming Creative Teams game mode, and players can currently earn 'Chance Deals' for this in eFootball 2020's release version, shepherding players immediately into where it's likely users will spend the most money.

Ultimately, eFootball 2022 is a disaster at launch. It's a buggy, unenjoyable mess with limited gameplay options that strip back the core strengths of the PES series, and the fact that it was released in this state at all is shocking. Konami may bring in fixes as it implements further free-to-play updates, but even then, the question over eFootball 2022's worth will still need to be repeatedly asked.

More: 10 Awful Sports Games That Sold Well, But Got Terrible Reviews

eFootball 2022 is out now for PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series S/X.

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