eFootball 2023 is getting better, bit by bit | Review

The football season gets underway and, like every year, the usual pairing of titles that fans from all over the world like so much comes along with autumn. The "battle" between eFootball by FIFA in short, it is renewed, even if this year it does so with a slightly more particular and different flavor than usual. If on the one hand we find Konami with a product in continuous work in progress, the other side of the coin shows Electronic Arts intent on greeting the series after having had it in hand for almost three decades.

We are facing two major revolutions, on one side and on the other, which we will really only notice in the coming years: in short, the future is yet to be written, and as gamers we are certainly curious to read all the new pages of this story. In any case, there is also a lot to say about the present, and today we want to do it with a first review of eFootball 2023: Konami's football simulation has recently been updated, how is work progressing?

eFootball 2023: good, but not (yet) great

Before starting, a clarification should be made. The following is a preliminary review of eFootball 2023, dictated by the current state of the game and which will therefore take into account the current nature of the project. In short, since it is a constantly evolving title, we will not fail to update it in the coming months on the basis of how and how much the game will transform.

eFootball 2023 is the updated version of that title which, after a very problematic launch in the autumn of two years ago, is now evolving into an increasingly complete experience. The Free to Play nature of the product meant that it was released in a far from finished version, with too many aspects that needed a decisive improvement.

After a couple of years of updates, with Konami however showing its willingness to invest in the project, today we are faced with a version that undoubtedly appears more solid and refined compared to what was seen at the debut. Let's start from a good point in favor: the arrival of new licenses, which, although lower than the competition, still enrich the overall gaming experience. In fact, we find the addition of top-level teams such as Milan and Inter, to which are added other teams from the Spanish league including Naples, Rome, Monza and Pisa, the latter directly from Serie B.

Serie A, for its part, still remains without an official license, and in all respects there is a lack of choice that (still) eFootball is unable to offer. The 26 selectable teams, while representing a further step forward, in fact greatly limit the gaming experience: we will talk about the game modes later, another very sore point of the game.

A positive aspect is the care of the faces of the players, with an increasingly marked photorealism: the features of many top players are almost impressive, and the general level of detail is absolutely top-notch. On the technical side, there is also an obvious improvement in terms of gameplay, with the game phases appearing more fluid and pleasant both to the eye and from a point of view of pure and simple involvement.

In short, building a maneuver and putting tactics into practice is now possible in an easier way: forget what we saw in previous versions, the level has (finally) really risen. The defensive phase is also much better, which we will be able to control more carefully even net of an AI not yet excellent but still enhanced. In countering the offensive action of the adversaries we will therefore find ourselves with greater room for maneuver, being able to exploit the most basic containment schemes properly.

When the real eFootball?

As anticipated, let's now go deeper into the discourse related to the game modes, with the eFootball experience appearing as a whole perhaps too essential. Konami wanted to make the real heart of the game the mode Dream Team, which to be honest is fun and capable of giving a few hours of pure entertainment.

The dynamics are very simple: we start from a team of our choice, always choosing from the 26 available, being able to count on a shortlist of fictitious players at the start. It will be up to us to train them, to make them a real team little by little, supporting our team with the purchase of real world football champions. The management of the "budget" - represented here by credits, obtainable by overcoming various challenges within eFootball - will be fundamental: buying the right player in the right role will be able to change the fate of our team, and give us a big hand in carrying on our football adventure.

In Dream Team we will have the opportunity to overcome weekly and daily challenges, challenging players from all over the world or testing ourselves against the CPU, and even being able to buy players from the past: the latest update package, for example, allows us to enrich the own team by hiring Clarence Seedorf o Wesley Sneijder.

Then we find two other modes: Training, where you can get carried away with the simple but numerous commands, and the classic Exhibition. And the latter is the one where, unfortunately, the thousand limits of eFootball appear to be most evident. In fact, the game has just three difficulty levels, and the highest does not in fact constitute too demanding a challenge: too much general imbalance, for an aspect that undoubtedly deserves greater attention.

What is really missing in eFootball? A solid Career mode, well structured and capable of entertaining for an entire season. In two words: the Master League, which has so much amused the players of the past generations. This is what made PES such a famous and loved title all over the world, and the hope is that Konami will be able to remedy such a deficiency as soon as possible: it is true that it is a constantly evolving project, but it is it is also true that a clear change of direction is fundamental at this point. And, if we may say so, perhaps even urgent.

As mentioned at the beginning, only time will tell if and how eFootball 2023 will be able to transform itself into the complete experience that Konami aims to obtain. It is still a very long journey but the feeling is that, even in light of EA's farewell to the FIFA series, next year can give us some unexpected surprises. In the meantime, what we invite you to do is give this eFootball 2023 a chance: a title that is still a little immature but which, one step at a time, can really do justice to a historic brand like Pro Evolution Soccer. Or at least that's what we hope.

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