Surprise! Seemingly out of the blue (although there were rumblings on Twitter), Konami dropped an online beta for PES 2022 under the guise of “New Football Game” a couple nights ago. While this beta is only 6 GBs in size, Konami released this with the sole intention of testing online matchmaking capability. While some fans are already jumping to conclusions, the vast majority of folks have been level-headed. Regardless, similar to PES 2018 where we had a beta before the demo, any chance we have to get our hands on the newest PES means that we’ll give our first PES 2022 beta impressions. Let’s get to ’em!
What I Like – PES 2022 Beta Impressions
Cutscenes Have Been Reduced
Another small little change Konami has implemented is the reduction of cutscenes when the ball goes out of play. Whether it’s on the touchlines or out for goal kicks, it’s a nice little touch to see ball boys (confirmed on the PS5 version) toss the balls back to the players for throw-ins and goal kicks. I particularly enjoy the goalkeepers tossing the ball up on goal kicks so that the ball position isn’t perfectly placed on the line.
Hopefully the days of black screens showing up when the ball goes out of play are done.
The New Intros
It goes to show that just because you don’t have the official league license, it doesn’t mean you can’t have good pre-match overlays or presentation. With a stripped down presentation package that often comes with demos, Konami still gave us a little preview of what the presentation package will look like in PES 2022. Seeing the players warm-up, the kits being draped in the locker room, the pitch being watered, and the team selection might get stale after a bit, but for now the feedback is almost all positive on this front.
Matchmaking Actually Works
For all the breakdowns of the new Unreal Engine, graphics, and more, Konami has already accomplished its goal by releasing this beta, which was creating a stable online environment. Throughout much of its existence, PES has always struggled online, both from a stability and performance point of view. So far, and it could be a result of a smaller number of players, connecting to my opponents has been painless and rather quick.
Once connected, the online performance has been smooth with little to no lag, even when faced up with connections worse off than mine. With an extremely stripped down beta, evidenced by the 6 GB size, PES 2022’s bare-bones beta has done what it set out to do.
July 21st Announcement
We’re still in the early stages when it comes to news about both FIFA and PES, but one tidbit that folks have picked up on has been the ad boards stating that news — perhaps in the form of a trailer — will be released on July 21. As society slowly creeps back towards normalcy and the Euros/Copa America keep us busy, July 21 should be here before we know it.
What I Don’t Like – PES 2022 Beta Impressions
Whoever came up with the idea to use the default camera for this beta needs a yellow card — at bare minimum. Perfectly fine at times, the camera will also pan in at times mainly when the ball is towards the bottom of the screen — only to zoom out seconds later. These quick pans happen all over the pitch and can be a bit disorienting. Why didn’t the developers just stick with last year’s new default camera? I have no idea, but overall it isn’t too much of a concern as we know there will always be options with the full release.
Besides the camera and visuals, the controls are the first thing that stick out to me. At least for this beta, Konami has moved away from “second-man pressure” by perhaps following in FIFA’s steps when those developers implemented “Tactical Defending” some years back and made it the default way to play defense online. As Konami further embraces esports, this seems like a conscious decision to appease those in the community who like little to no assistance when defending.
Another massive change is the move away from the R1/RB button being mapped to sprint. While some might say it’s another attempt to emulate FIFA, it’s probably just aimed at getting the most from the new PS5 DualSense controller haptics. Being pressure sensitive, the PS5 right trigger (RT) can be depressed at different pressure points to emulate walking, jogging, and sprinting — with the sensitivity customizable within the options.
Last but certainly not least, the fake shot has been reworked with long-time fans of the series noticing that the fake shot is no longer used by pressing a combination of the shoot and cross buttons, and instead involves usage of the RB/R1 button to pull off. There are some other changes, particularly with shooting, but much like the differences I’ve pointed out, it will take some time to get used to the new mechanics (which isn’t necessarily a bad thing).
New Shielding Animation
Shielding is a topic my friends and I often disagree on. While some prefer the contextual option where the game decides when and where, others like myself prefer the shielding to be tied to a button like it is in FIFA (LT/L2). I prefer the latter because it gives us the ultimate level of control, but if I’m being honest, I didn’t mind how shielding was implemented in the past few iterations of PES. For the purposes of the beta, shielding is mapped to L2/LT, and while it’s responsive, it’s downright laughable how it plays out:
You’ll notice that there aren’t any gameplay mentions in this article, and rightfully so. Judging gameplay when this beta is obviously a very early build would be a bit premature. While there are some gameplay nuggets we can take away from this, such as more separation of the ball and player and how that improves dribbling, it’s obvious that Konami has a lot of refining to do. What’s positive is that the game still feels like PES, so the change from the Fox Engine to Unreal looks to have been a smooth transition. As we march towards this July 21 announcement, let’s hope that Konami releases some information even before then.
The Online Beta runs until July 7, so be sure to get a few matches in before it’s too late.