eFootball (also known as eFootball 2023) is an association football game developed and published by Japanese entertainment company Konami. It was released on September 30, 2021, as the 21st entry in the annual eFootball (formerly Pro Evolution Soccer) franchise, as well as the first free-to-play entry in the series.
During the announcement of eFootball, Konami hyped up the game by stating that the game was developed for 2 years to create a "definitive experience" by using Unreal Engine 4. In the process, Konami cancelled Pro Evolution Soccer 2021 in favour of rebranding the franchise into eFootball and released the 2021 edition as an update for PES 2020, citing the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions and eFootball's development as the reason for cancellation.
Before the release of the game, however, Konami has made several announcements that concerned fans of the PES franchise such as admitting that the game will be unfinished at launch and will receive regular updates after releases, stated that the game will be a free-to-play game with microtransactions, as well as limited team rosters.
Why It's a Red Card
- The entire rebrand is pointless as not only is the series' new name generic, but its logo is also very ugly. The letter "e" brings to mind the euro currency sign (€), which ironically and perfectly shows that the developers wanted to make money as much as possible.
- Konami abandoned the Fox Engine because Hideo Kojima (who designed the engine) left the studio following disputes in 2015, which prompted several loyal employees of Kojima to leave as well. As a result, Konami switched to Unreal Engine 4, which, despite being very versatile, is not specifically designed for sport games. This, along with Konami's inexperience with the engine itself, caused several problems with the game.
- The first thing that gives bad impressions is certainly the menu, which is very clunky and difficult to navigate, and this is not the only problem in this respect. Most of the options can be configured via the launcher, instead of in-game menu, including the resolution (can only be changed in windowed mode), key configuration, command, audio, online, specs, and attendance. This problem mainly affects the PC version.
- Terrible colour choices in both UI and menu. The colours that connect the game are blue and yellow, which is a really disgusting combination.
- Atrocious graphics that make the game look like a PlayStation 2 or PlayStation 3 game, although it was released between eighth and ninth-generation consoles. Despite using Unreal Engine 4, the in-game players look nothing like their real-life counterparts. Because of this, some Steam players have noted that the players will not look out of place in Garry's Mod. It is also worth noting the visible pixels when looking at the grass, but the worst thing graphically is the viewers in the stands, who are reminiscent of games for the first PlayStation.
- Although the game runs at 60FPS during gameplay, the cutscenes are locked to 30FPS, including the in-game ones during the match, which is utterly unacceptable for 2021 standards (that also would be embarrassing even at the beginning of the eighth-generation consoles). Plus, the cutscenes look hideous as well as earlier mentioned in-game graphics.
- Its content is extremely bare-bones at launch, featuring only nine teams and one game mode available for free (with the second mode being included in the cancelled Premium Player Pack). Even the demos have more content than this game, showing that there's a lot of content that was cut before release.
- Loads of graphical and physic glitches at launch. Of note, the players will bend their limbs very unnaturally, the players will pull off loads of nightmarishly and hilariously ugly facial expressions and some players can suddenly disappear during a match. The gallery below has a collection of some of the glitches that PC players have captured.
- For example, the referee floats around the field face down.
- Some players can move in weird ways such as swimming on the ground.
- Horrible in-game physics and collision detection. For example:
- The ball feels very heavy and takes a considerable amount of effort to dribble and pass it around (even in version 1.0.0).
- Sometimes, the ball will just roll straight past the player's foot and said player will not interact with the ball.
- The players' overall movement is slow and sluggish.
- When tackling, players will often clip into each other, which will usually end up with one player either phasing through the other player with a ball or causing collision glitches.
- The AI (especially the defender AI) is rubber-banding cheap and sometimes outright brutal, as they can easily catch up with your player to retake the ball regardless of their stamina or agility stats. In fact this makes the game so rigged you'll often lose 0 to whatever the opposing team scores.
- The game has a really steep learning curve for newcomers to the eFootball franchise. Even its rival FIFA has a shallower learning curve in its newer titles and is easier to master too, which is disappointing since the PES series has always been known for being more beginner friendly than FIFA.
- Repetitive commentary that makes the game really boring to listen to after a while.
- Awful matchmaking system that doesn't work properly, causing players to automatically disconnect after a short waiting time.
- Version 1.1.0 reverted all of the good changes 1.0.0 made (players theorize that it is to accommodate the mobile version), causing players, even PES veterans to quit.
- Of course, as fans expected, Dream Team is essentially a cash cow mode that is incredibly pay-to-win, especially since the focus has mostly shifted away from GP and, as per usual, focusing specifically on eFootball Coins (the game's premium currency, which is very similar to FIFA Points) to be able to open certain Special Player Lists (formerly known as Box Draws) such as the Legendary boxes (which were originally openable with both GP and coins) to be able to sign Legendary players, which is not easy, because according to fans that calculated the odds, with each box that has all 150 players, your chance of signing a Legendary player is as low as 3%!
- To make matters worse, you can only sign ONE player each time (unlike the Box Draws which were 3 players at once), this means, to clear a list, you would have to buy 15,000 eFootball coins, which roughly calculates to $130 per box! And even then, sometimes the players in question will have some sort of quirk that will make them annoying to use.
- To rub salt in the wound, Legendary players often have very few Levels to train (anywhere between 9-12 Levels) with Featured players (such as Great Finishers and Magic Moment Stars) being even worse, as most of them only have 5 Levels, which means, if the player has low familiarity with the tactics, you will need to waste Progression Points to get them familiar with the tactics, as players no longer get used to the tactics the more they are used in the Starting 11. Along with this, if you upgrade a stat (or familiarity) 4 times, you will need to use 2 Progression Points to upgrade, and the number continuously grows higher and higher. So if you run out of Progression Points by trying to upgrade stats to try to correct a quirk (such as a strange first touch or poor finishing) then the player will still play poorly in the team due to having poor familiarity.
- And to make matters even worse, sometimes when you sign a player from the Standard Player List (the list where you can exchange GP for a player) you will sign a "Foil" version of the player, which has one of the tactics maxed out, but also changes the playstyle of the player signed. Oftentimes, the playstyle will completely ruin a player, a good example being: if you sign a Foil Aubameyang, and he has a Box-To-Box playstyle instead of a Goal Poacher/Adv. Striker playstyle, he will literally become useless at CF, his prime position. What does this do? Force you to buy another one, which means less GP, and because of this, it tempts people to buy eFootball Coins for the sake of opening the Legendary boxes willy-nilly to try to regain the lost GP.
- Konami ironically (and hypocritically) said that the training system would become less limited and that the "lottery element" would be removed, but because of the limited Levels on certain players (such as Legendary players, again) along with needing to use the progression points to increase tactic familiarity, they debatably made the training system more limited and made the lottery element worse, as stated above, Legendary players can only be signed with eFootball Coins, and the chance of getting one is extremely low.
- At least the game is free, allowing you to easily experience the game to guess that it is not worth playing it anymore.
- This is the first sports game to implement the new release strategy, where instead of making a new game every year, they plan to update this one every year instead to update the character rosters, and possibly add other features. The best thing about this is the fact that unlike EA Sports' Ultimate Team, where you need to restart your team from scratch every year, Dream Teams will never reset, so you don't have to pour money into the game year after year just to build your masterpiece.
- Konami has apologized for the issues and delayed patch, and temporarily went back to PES 21, giving special campaigns to apologize for the delay of the update. These campaigns have since concluded, along with a server shutdown date being given for the console versions of PES 21.
- The first patch, 0.9.1, fixed the weird faces, bending limbs, and the referee floating face down. However, many of the issues, such as the visible pixels on the grass, were not fixed until 1.0.0.
- The elusive 1.0.0 update fixed some of the issues, such as the the slow movement, visible grass pixels, among other things, along with adding Dream Team. (formerly Creative Teams)
- eFootball League (Dream Team's online Divisions mode) feels a bit more fair and balanced than FIFA's Division Rivals, because of the fact that Near Post OP does not exist (unlike FIFA, where if you get close enough to the goal, no matter how good, your keeper will not reach it) so it's easier to win.
- You are now able to buy players directly with GP, rather than being forced to wait for a box with the players you want to be released, and being able to empty the Legendary player lists is actually a very cool idea, because it means that rather than spending $1,000 and still getting nothing, you spend $130 and are guaranteed to get the 3 Legendary players you wanted (doesn't make it any less pay-to-win though).
- The new Objectives system is a good way to earn things like 5* Nominating Contracts, GP, & eFootball Points without paying. Along with this, the new Premium Objectives, where you can pay eFootball Coins to get a special set of Objectives is also admittedly a great system, both because of the crazy rewards, and if you earned coins from a campaign and you save them up, you can purchase Premium Objectives without paying. Along with this, the Premium Objectives also include player packs. One example is the Messi pack. If you purchase it, you get a Legendary Messi and 10 other players (in other words, a full Starting XI) that have 80 in one of their tactics (meaning only one progression point is required to avoid it lowering your Team Playstyle Level)
eFootball was met with overwhelmingly negative reception from critics and players.
Metro GameCentral gave the game a 2/10, criticizing everything about the game while praising its free-to-play status.
Giving a rating of 0.5/5, Screen Rant called the game "a calamitous own goal", criticizing the game's numerous bugs and glitches, bizarre character models and limited gameplay.
Upon its release, the game received an "overwhelmingly negative" rating on Steam, with only 14% of all user reviews being positive. It was the lowest-rated game on Steam at the time. The game has since dropped to the tenth worst game on Steam, with mostly negative reviews.
Ooh, what's this? (from Restoe3D)
Didn't know that breaking and stretching your arm is a viable strategy (from Cornpop)
YOOOOOOO!!!! (from Gokart)
"Face down in the dirt, he said, this doesn't hurt..." - The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus (from James (Franco))
Aahh, my dick! You bit my dick off!! (from RENGO)
Player uses Chokehold Welcome! It's super effective! (from LampLight)
Player uses Fart! It's super effective! (from Edu)
- It was the first entry in the franchise to be released for the PlayStation 5 while the eFootball PES 2021 Season Update was the first entry in the franchise to be released for the Xbox Series X/S.
- This is the last entry to ever be released in the eFootball/Pro Evolution Soccer series, as they plan to update this game every year with new roster changes and other features.