eFootball – Konami’s new image in the long-running Pro Evolution Soccer series – could have marked a brilliant new start for football matches. Switching to the more modern Unreal Engine 4 and ditching full-priced annual games for a free-to-play model with promises of significant content additions and a “pay for what you want” structure seemed like a step in the right direction. moving away from the frustrations that accompany annualized sports games. Instead, it’s hard to think of a more difficult start to life than he might have had. Launched primarily as a demo with very limited modes, choppy gameplay, laughable crowd models, and more than a few bugs and glitches, it’s very hard to recommend eFootball in its current form. So I won’t. All we can do is hope Konami cleans up its mess with the big updates it promises.
Things start off promisingly when you start eFootball for the first time. Gone are the dated menu screens Konami clung to, like the ’70s wallpaper your grandmother refused to replace for all these years. There is a pop of color and a little more modern feel to the proceedings. Unfortunately, what’s inside these menus is a lot less exciting.
eFootball launched with two main modes, one offline and one online. The first is your standard exhibition match, allowing you to play with nine different teams from Europe and South America. It’s a good place to get acquainted with the gameplay of eFootball but loses its appeal very quickly due to the limited number of clubs on offer and the low stakes attached to each game. Additionally, surprisingly, only Normal and Superstars AI Difficulties are currently available with the other four options grayed out and unselectable. Have they not yet been programmed? It’s weird to say the least, but it gets really frustrating once you find yourself comfortably able to beat the regular, only for your only other option now being to get your ass fucked on the hardest difficulty setting in eFootball.
Naturally, I found myself spending more time with the online mode as a result. Since no way to play against friends is currently offered, the only way to make matches is through the Challenge Event mode – which sounds a lot more exciting than it actually is. In this 10-day celebration of all that is mundane, you have to win every third match to move on to step two; the second step is to win two out of three games in order to win a prize of 10,000 GP. It is currently unclear what this in-game currency will be used for, with no way to spend it at this time.
A major difference between online and offline modes is that over 200 teams are available online, which makes it even more puzzling why the selection is so limited in offline friendlies. There is a catch though: while there are a large number of options available online, you won’t have the chance to experience them as your first team is locked down for the entire 10 day event one. once you have chosen them. It’s yet another baffling decision which, no matter how much my love for unlicensed ‘Tottenham WB’ racing, made me yearn for some semblance of variety. Online servers have also been an issue, with an in-game notification informing me that known issues currently include both matchmaking unable to find opponents and matches “not ending correctly”. So even if you could start, you might not be able to finish? It sounds a bit like a metaphor for eFootball as a whole right now.
Part of that could be forgiven if the action on the pitch was consistently engaging and basically fun to play. It’s not. While he doesn’t feel millions of miles away from the PES of yesteryear, he’s also far from the peak of his powers. Matches often turn into wars of attrition in which unresponsive players fail to pick up the ball if it is outside of their six inch radius. What should be short, quick passing moves, in reality, turn into long, drawn-out affairs. Everything is so slow; everything from fast wingers running around like they’re wearing ten-ton boots to whipped cross attempts floating through the air towards grateful goalkeepers.
EFootball Screenshots – September 2021
Once in a blue moon, a moment of magic will emerge to remind you of the joys of past Konami football matches, whether it’s a precise ball around the corner to free an attacker, or a player. letting the ball roll satisfactorily between their legs so as not to break the stride when receiving a pass. These are too rare, however, and look more like anomalies than an intentional magnitude.
It is not only the players who do not stand out in this regard, but also the referees. What is and is not considered a foul is extremely inconsistent from tackle to tackle. I committed total assault with my elbows against poor attackers and received no punishment for it, while being penalized for the equivalent of slapping them on the shoulder to make them look away. In one memorable track, I counted at least four fouls the referee should have blown up as the center circle turned into a lawless bumper car circuit. It really doesn’t make a whole lot of sense and needs to be sorted out pretty quickly before it can suck up all the remaining fun that can be derived from eFootball.
Then there are the things that look like them should to be faults – mainly because people’s arms seem to stick out of their sockets – but are in fact problems. It is surprisingly common to see two players running side by side, jostling for possession, only for one of their arms to bend in a way that Houdini would question the viability of. Another particularly funny example is the face that some players pull out during celebrations, which really pushes the boundaries of the width of the human mouth. Truth be told, these visual issues show up more than you might expect, but never really affect the gameplay to its detriment, which means they don’t bother me too much. They’ve made some hilarious memes before, however.
From ugly to beautiful (don’t worry, we’ll get back to ugly soon enough), we can give eFootball credit for the stadiums in which the action takes place. These are all beautifully rendered, and never before have the Allianz Arena in Munich, the Allianz Stadium in Turin or any ground not related to Allianz looked so good.
However, no architectural beauty will prepare you for the beasts that reside in their stands. You’ve probably seen the haunting images of eFootball crowds before and it’s frankly mind-boggling that this kind of lack of attention to detail exists in games like this in 2021. Looking at the terraces, you’d think 50,000 Edvard Munch sketches have been made. to life and was told to jump up and down in unison to the beat of a lone drum. Hit pause, hit the instant replay button, and stare them in the eye at your own risk.
Then there are the player models. To be fair, some do look pretty good – whether it’s Leon Goretzka in all his sculpted splendor or a fresh-faced Pedri. There are a few exceptions however; namely an unflattering portrayal of Manchester United captain Harry Maguire who looks more than a stark resemblance to a bloated Waluigi. It says a lot that a so-called AAA football game can even put some of its most famous players wrong – in fully sponsored teams, nothing less.
EFootball is therefore off to a very slow and unimpressive start. Only time will tell how different it will be in a month – or six months – but the omens are already there when it comes to microtransactions. Currently available in the store, a pre-order for a Premium Player Pack costs the sizable sum of £ 32.99 / $ 39.99. This one contains premium in-game currency as well as six Luck Offerings (actually loot boxes) for the Creative Team mode which … doesn’t even have a release date yet. Any hope that free-to-play may have been a positive move towards consumer friendliness may well turn out to be wishful thinking, then. But before we even dissect all of that, eFootball still has a lot of work to do on the pitch to make people want to play it in the first place.