Why are we drawn to sports as humans? It might be the drama, the little tales that emerge gradually over the course of a season, as teams rise and fall and players debut, become famous, are traded, and leave a legacy. Maybe it’s the intensity—the nail-biting, heart-pounding run to the final buzzer, those tense moments when a game might swing in either team’s favor and the victor will be decided by a matter of seconds.
Each of these components contributes to our interest, but the fundamental draw of sports, in our opinion, is competition. Whether it’s a solitary sport, a one-on-one match-up, or a team sport, the competition between two opponents of comparable skill levels is intriguing to watch and, at its finest, nearly difficult to ignore. That’s why we can form such deep bonds with sports teams, even though we’ve never really played for them, even when players move out, and yes, even when they keep losing season after season.
With that in mind, what better way to celebrate the sports game genre than with a competition? Instead of merely presenting a couple of best favorite sports titles, this time we have come up with the two most popular soccer mobile games, which we would compare against one other. Which one deserves your time, effort, and money more? Continue reading to find out!
FIFA Soccer vs. eFootball 2022
Before we get into the comparisons, it’s important to note that both of these games commit a major faux pas: Please don’t make me play tutorials before I can play a “real” game. When it comes to sports games, we usually just want to hop in, start playing, and master the controls on the fly. In our opinion, half the enjoyment is letting the computer AI beat the snot out of us for a few bouts while we learn how to play the game itself. If the developers want to provide tutorial choices and drills as part of a wider narrative mode, or instructional videos that we can watch whenever we want…fine, but don’t make us jump through these hoops before we can do anything else.
The previous console versions never required you to play tutorials before you could enter into a battle, but modern mobile ones do since they are all related to accumulating tchotchkes that drive the mobile game economy. For us, the microtransaction/games-as-a-service bullshit takes a lot of the pleasure out of these games. That being said, for the sake of this comparison, we are going to focus mostly on how the games play, ignoring mobile bells and whistles unless they are actually relevant.
Playing FIFA Soccer is a good experience in our opinion. As a long-time (but not super-long) fan of the franchise, watching this type of good evolution is quite pleasant. There’s no denying that the build-up to a new edition of FIFA Soccer (or any FIFA game for that matter) is always thrilling, but this time the game truly lives up to the anticipation. The progress in visuals and realistic elements (particularly the in-game commentary) also allows this title to edge out its rival.
The touch controls are well-implemented, and the general feel is tighter than in eFootball, as you can pull off more sophisticated plays (one-time strikes, crossing headers, etc.) with relative ease, resulting in several highlight-worthy goals. Also, there appears to be a genuine attempt to maximize the flow of the game, so lacing up those virtual boots and hitting the pitch for a nice run simply to experience that rush up field is well worthwhile.
However, there are distinctions from prior iterations: the market is different, player training is different, visuals are different, and currencies are different. These aren’t necessarily bad; they’re just noteworthy since EA could just enhance the rosters, as they have in the past, and this game would still be gigantic. It’s encouraging to see so much work put into making FIFA Soccer an interesting experience.
So, upon its console debut late last year, eFootball 2022 actually struggled out of the gate. Did Konami resolve all of the difficulties with this mobile version? Yes, we would say so, but because this game is newer (launched on June 2, 2022 against FIFA’s January 18, 2022 debut), it still has some problems to work out (i.e., shoulder charge and pass-and-run crossover moves are still missing). Season Two of eFootball is set to launch on June 16, 2022, so perhaps these concerns will be resolved by then.
What eFootball does better than FIFA straight away is get you into genuine matches faster. There is still a forced tutorial here, although it is far shorter than FIFA’s. It also doesn’t seem to have as many ridiculous “timed” unlockables or treasure boxes. That’s fantastic.
The biggest disadvantage of eFootball is that it lacks the same feel and degree of control as FIFA Soccer, which is essential in a fast-paced sports title. Not that eFootball is bad by any means, but this deficiency surprised us given that I was a PES/Winning Eleven early-aughts fan, back when those incarnations outstripped the FIFA games by a mile in terms of gameplay “feel.” The FIFA games of that period were always too arcade-y and didn’t provide the real challenge of the PES titles, but they managed to outperform Konami’s series in terms of visuals, presentation, and licensed teams, and it still holds true with the current mobile versions.
Winner: FIFA Soccer
It basically boils down to personal opinion, since both eFootball 2022 and FIFA Soccer are excellent sports games. I’m just astonished that my preferences have shifted in this regard. It’s been stated (primarily in regard to one’s culinary palette) that tastes change with age – it appears that mine have as well.