Konami has quietly launched a demo for PES 2022.
The cleverly titled ‘New Football Game Online Performance Test’ is now available for download on PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X and S. There is no need for PlayStation Plus or Xbox Live Gold.
The demo began at midnight last night and will continue until midnight on July 8th. The video below contains gameplay from a full online match between Manchester United and Bayern Munich that I played this morning. Spoiler alert: there are a few objectives!
This demo was not announced by Konami, which is unusual. It’s also not mentioned on PES’ official social media channels.
Konami stated this morning in a note to Eurogamer that this demo is only a limited test version of the next PES, and its purpose is to test the quality of online matchmaking and connection to servers. Konami stressed that all aspects of the game, including gameplay mechanics, balancing, animations, and graphics, are in development and have already been improved and will continue to be improved before the official launch. Konami forewarned players that errors, such as crashes, were to be expected.
It’s worth noting that this demo was created using Unreal Engine. Konami announced last year that it would use Unreal Engine 4 for PES 2022 on next-gen consoles.
There are only a few teams available to play in the demo (Manchester United, Bayern Munich, Juventus, and Barcelona), each with a squad of 22 players. Cross-gen play is available between the PS4 and PS5, as well as between the Xbox One and the Xbox Series X and S. Don’t expect data to be carried over from the test version to the official launch version.
I can report a few headline changes. Dash is now on R2 instead of R1 – as it is in FIFA – and L2 when defending makes the selected player press. (Konami has uploaded the new controls to its website.)
The graphics didn’t wow me, the game moves slowly, and there’s no commentary. However, there is stadium PA dialogue. At the end of my match, the PA announced that a father had lost their son. Yikes!
It’s an unusual launch! It’s all pretty rough, and the game doesn’t even mention PES 2022. If Konami was hoping to avoid attention while conducting the necessary testing, that was never going to happen.