eFootball 2022 is now the worst rated game on Steam, less than a day after release. Konami's free-to-play 'football platform' was announced earlier this year as the successor to PES, with a barebones launch planned to be expanded in perpetuity with optional DLC. Yet even accepting its relatively thin amount of content, players are sharing screenshots of terrible faces, broken animations, and plenty of bugs.
After more than a decade of annual releases, Konami released no new PES game in 2020, instead only selling a database update 2019's eFootball PES 2020. As a consequence, fans of the series have been waiting twice as long as normal for a new game, and have increased expectations for the eventual game. eFootball does make some substantial changes to the series, including switching from Konami's own FOX Engine to Unreal Engine 4.
Overall however, eFootball offers a lot less than previous iterations of PES. It contains only nine teams, which can only be played in exhibition matches, and its only online mode is "challenge events", which the Steam page says "may not be available in the first few days." Konami outlined a roadmap for after release, including online leagues, a team-building mode, and an eSports tournament, but it's nothing that sounds transformative.
So this accounts for a lot of the negative reviews. eFootball is not PES, and not what PES fans want or expect. Then, on top of that, there's the faces. Here's Cristiano Ronaldo, as captured by Reddit user Livid_Peach4593:
At the time of writing, eFootball 2022 has an "Overwhelmingly Negative" rating on Steam, with 92% of its 7540 reviews rating it "Not Recommended." That puts it in a worse position than Paradox's Leviathan DLC for Europa Universalis IV, which hit 90% negative.
eFootball is fully in meme territory now, where people are downloading it purely to see if it's as terrible as others are saying, then rushing to join in the pile-on with their own negative review. (Of around 2000 English language reviews on Steam, 1300ish disappear if you filter out reviews with under an hour of playtime.)
It's a shame. Not because eFootball doesn't deserve criticism, but because I do want a football game that I don't need to re-buy at full price every year. I was ready for the 'football platform'.