After months of speculation and rumors, we’ve finally received a date for when eFootball 2022 will receive the highly anticipated eFootball 2022 v1.0 update. After what can only be described as one of the worst game releases in modern history, Konami has followed up their initial stumble with a full-on face plant with the hopes that this upcoming patch will revitalize a once strong following. Let’s get into what Konami has to say about this hopefully, game-fixing patch.
eFootball 2022 v1.0 Update
“It’s not you, it’s me.” The classic line made famous by one George Costanza is just the sort of vibes that Konami gives off in this update.
To offer soccer fans around the world an opportunity to enjoy a new soccer game with unparalleled realism like never before. With that resolve in mind, we entered what would eventually be a two-year period of development for eFootball 2022. However, we were too focused on getting the game out on time that we lost sight of the most important thing — quality. Naturally, we were met with critical reviews from rightfully disappointed fans.
The pressure to meet deadlines is an all too familiar reality in the video game market, but given the past precedent set by Konami just a few years ago when they made the 2021 version of PES a Season Update, the reasoning behind the state of eFootball 2022 doesn’t carry weight. Delays aren’t uncommon and as disappointing as another delay would have been, Konami would have been better off taking it on the chin while they adapted to new hardware (PS5, Xbox Series X) and engine (Unreal Engine).
Releasing a game where core mechanics are missing is a recipe for disaster, as was the lack of teams to play with offline that was only made more questionable considering the amount of teams available to use online. I’m sorry but Konami’s excuse for the current state of the game isn’t acceptable in this day and age, even for a free product.
Improvements And New Elements
Apologies aside, at this point it’s about getting eFootball 2022 to a playable state and Konami, on its site, has released a blueprint of improvements and have even introduced a few elements to boot.
One of the more controversial changes from previous PES‘ was the change in defensive mechanics. Following in FIFA‘s footsteps, the removal of second-man pressure (apart from offline Legacy defending) was a step towards making the gameplay more competitive and skill based. As was/is the case with FIFA, the success or failure of this approach all comes down to the intelligence of your AI players, and right now both games offer little in the way of help from your AI teammates.
After hearing from the community, Konami has reverted back to legacy defensive mechanics for the upcoming patch. I’m on the fence with this change. On one hand, I welcome the challenge of learning a new defensive style, but that requires intelligent teammates that are positionally sound with targeted aggression. On the other hand, I do like playing passing lanes while I can dictate my AI defenders closing down, but this requires balance since it relates to stamina and fatigue to avoid abuse.
Konami is introducing a new shoulder barge mechanic in 1.0, and I’m here for it. Physicality was starting to round into shape with eFootball PES 2021 Season Update but was lacking in this year’s title, mainly because of the dodgy physics system that sent players flying off the minimal contact.
One of the few positives about eFootball 2022 in its current state is the pace of play. The speed of players immediately comes to mind, but it’s the balance of passing speed sprinkled in with some ball physics and collision mechanics that also influence how a match flows. From the onset, I struggled to find a passing setting I liked. As someone who has transitioned over to full manual controls (FUMA) in PES 2021, there was no way I could play eFootball 2022 with no assists, but I also couldn’t find any settings that gave me the old feeling of Pass Assistance 1 (PA1). Inexplicable passing error, incorrect passing speed/weight, and other issues ultimately led to frustration once I started to settle into the game. The freedom I felt at first, something I praised in the official review, soon grew frustrating as I struggled to put attacks together or fend off pressure online from opponents who liked to press.
Credit to Konami as the developers not only state their intentions to fix the unexplained passing error but also look to achieve some balance by adjusting the way players receive the ball. Sports games are all about balance, and more often than not, fixing an issue like passing means looking at passing speed, body position, and a host of other variables that factor into passing. Additionally, the “swift kick” we all mocked has been rebranded to “stunning pass” — a little more palatable but ultimately we’ll have to wait to see how it plays out.
There is not as much focus on shooting when compared to the passing side of eFootball 2022 v1.0 but there are a few nuggets in here worth discussion. Shot speed has been hit or miss over the years with some iterations having insane ball speeds that the camera often struggles to keep up with while others have had shots that float aimlessly. Konami doesn’t detail which direction it is headed in as it relates to shot speed, but it’s most likely increasing it.
A similar vagueness was given to shot error, so here’s to hoping that shot error is tuned with things like body position, attributes, strong vs. weak foot preference, and so on. Last but not least, the marketing folks over in Japan are going to stun us to death, first with “stunning pass” and now a “stunning shot” mechanic. In reality, this is most likely going to be tied into some sort of button modifier, but I’m looking forward to trying out these new passing and shooting mechanics.
Dribbling was one area of eFootball 2022 that I thought was improved upon from previous iterations. The freedom of movement, realistic running animations, and how the players changed direction with respect to momentum and inertia felt and looked good. For this update, Konami mentions “better ball tracking accuracy and response to L-input,” but in my humble opinion that ties more into the awful awareness issues that plague the game that don’t impact dribbling as much as they affect passing and/or defending. A new “Sharp Touch” mechanic is mentioned, but it would have been better served by a short clip of how this would be used. Simpler feints are also mentioned, so here’s to wishing that these aren’t too easy to pull off as some commands should be more contextual by taking into account player stats/skills.
Improved Online Connectivity
When I last booted up eFootball 2022 a few weeks ago, mainly to help remind myself before the eventual 1.0 update, I was stunned by how poor my connection was online. Not only did I have to wait a few minutes to find a match — a sign that there aren’t many playing the game — when I was able to connect my game was plagued by awful lag despite a strong ping and wired connection on my end. If Konami’s effort to downscale areas like graphics were an attempt for cross-play, the end product was severely lackluster. In 2022, a poor online network infrastructure is a game killer. FIFA is often knocked back because of poor servers, but it’s still enough to make Konami look amateurish. Hopefully this new client-server system improves the online experience.
Sharp Kicks weren’t the only area of eFootball 2022 to get a rebrand as Konami’s former MyClub has now been reborn as Dream Team. There’s no mention of making it more difficult to obtain super teams quickly, something that plagued the MyClub mode for years, but it seems as if Konami is set on allowing you to obtain the players you want in a rapid fashion.
In all my years of playing and now covering PES, this has to be the most transparent Konami has been when it comes to what will be included in a patch. For years, we were only given the generic “other gameplay enhancements to increase the enjoyment of the game” as the insight into what areas of the game Konami touched. We still have a small semblance of that with Konami stating:
“This is just the tip of the iceberg, as we have implemented many other gameplay-related features and fixes. Please stay tuned, as we will be going through this “New Soccer Game” in detail when the coming update goes live!”
Although Konami seems to forget that the “New Soccer Game” isn’t the actual title of the game, it’s encouraging to see so many areas seemingly being improved upon, but the final say will be had on April 14. As always, I’m cautiously optimistic and downright eager for Konami to get back to its roots, but if prior experience with this game tells us anything, it’s to wait and see. It won’t take much to improve upon the initial release of eFootball 2022 but with six months in between updates, I’m expecting a much better product.
What are your expectations for the eFootball 2022 v1.0 update?