eFootball 2022 launched this week, and to say that Konami’s successor to the beloved PES series is enduring a rocky release would be something of an understatement. In fact, the game’s bizarre graphics and strange animations have become the subject of a wide variety of mocking internet memes.
While FIFA 22 has stuck to the traditional annual release cycle, eFootball 2022 is instead being positioned as an ever-involving “football platform” that is free-to-play and regularly updated with new content and modes. It’s an approach that seemed innovative when announced, but now that eFootball 2022 is in the hands of players things haven’t quite gone to plan.
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There was already controversy brewing when the game’s thin amount of launch content was revealed. Currently, it only contains nine real-world teams, and players can only select a single exhibition match or an online mode called “challenge events.”
Such lack of substance was already looking like a potential killer blow compared to the feature-rich FIFA 22, but the current state of the game has earned it plenty of unwanted attention that has nothing to do with the lack of expected modes.
Put quite simply, there’s something very off about the game’s animations and graphics. While previous PES games were renowned for providing an accurate depiction of real-world footballing stars like Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi, in eFootball 2022 these players look a little… strange.
🚨⚽️ | NEW: Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo’s face scans in eFootball 2022 pic.twitter.com/hCVQvRBQ1aSeptember 30, 2021
In response, the internet has done what the internet does best: turned the whole situation into a massive meme. Social media sites are overflowing with images and clips showing off a wide assortment of glitches (opens in new tab), bugs (opens in new tab) and animation fails (opens in new tab) that range from the hilarious to the downright terrifying; a football crowd with distorted faces is the stuff of nightmares.
Name a bigger downgrade. #eFootball2022 pic.twitter.com/wexsIDJXATSeptember 30, 2021
Who did this😭🤣🤣#eFootball2022 #eFootball #Messi pic.twitter.com/iSSHy9HU2jSeptember 30, 2021
That statue at Funchal Airport looks more realistic now #eFootball2022 pic.twitter.com/JAGNGE0PyFSeptember 30, 2021
The player is happy because the referee is dead #eFootball2022 pic.twitter.com/ijtxkhrJ9kSeptember 30, 2021
To make matter worse for publisher Konami, eFootball 2022 currently holds the dubious honor of being the worst-rated game on Steam (opens in new tab). It currently has “overwhelmingly negative” reviews, with 92% of the nearly 11,000 ratings not recommending the game. There’s plenty of takes in there just jumping on the bandwagon, but there are also measured reviews from longtime fans genuinely disappointed to see the series fall from such a great height.
Perhaps the biggest disappointment in all this is that if eFootball 2022 cannot get its act together then FIFA will lack any form of genuine competition. In the long run, this could be bad for both FIFA and gamers, as competition tends to breed innovation. While we’ve enjoyed the memes, hopefully, eFootball 2022 is quickly patched into a more acceptable state, as we’d like to see its “football platform” idea reach its full potential.
If you fancy giving eFootball 2022 a spin yourself — it’s worth it just to experience the memes first hand — then it’s currently available on PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X, Xbox One, and PC. At least it's free-to-play!