Dream League Soccer 2024: 6 Months Later

Six months ago, I was brimming with excitement as I penned an article heralding the release of Dream League Soccer 2024. The game showcased captivating graphics and a slew of new features, leading me to believe this was the mobile soccer game we had all been waiting for. However, as I got on the virtual pitch over the past half-year, a stark reality began to set in. The initial allure faded, revealing a game that fell short of its lofty promises. Now, with countless hours of gameplay under my belt, it’s time to share my honest assessment of Dream League Soccer 2024, a game that has ultimately left me disappointed.

While the legacy controls of Dream League Soccer, with its three familiar buttons A (shoot/tackle), B (pass/pressure), and C (switch player/lofted pass), have indeed provided a sense of continuity and ease of learning over the years, they now feel archaic in comparison to the nuanced control schemes found in modern mobile soccer games like FC Mobile and even the much-maligned eFootball 2024.

The most glaring issue lies in the B button’s multifunctionality. While it serves both short passes and through balls, the AI decides which one to execute based on the situation. This lack of player control can be immensely frustrating, especially when a well-timed through ball could have led to a goal-scoring opportunity. Instead, the AI might opt for a short pass, halting the attack’s momentum. Furthermore, the C button’s switching mechanic is also unreliable, sometimes refusing to toggle between players when needed, leading to missed opportunities and unnecessary turnovers.

While gestures have been a part of DLS for a while and the new double-tap to shoot is a welcome addition, the sprinting tactic presents a major problem. Tapping the right side of the screen activates a burst of speed, often accompanied by a slight kick ahead of the ball, which can be advantageous in certain situations. However, this mechanic clashes with the recently introduced substitution assistance feature, a pop-up in the top-right corner that prompts player substitutions. Unfortunately, tapping this pop-up while sprinting also triggers the sprint tactic, leading to unintended consequences and disrupting the flow of play. While this could be a bug, its persistence raises questions about the thoroughness of testing and overall game design.

One of the most disheartening aspects of Dream League Soccer 2024 is the blatant pay-to-win mechanics that permeate the game’s progression system. While the initial live matches against players with similar team ratings provide a semblance of balance, the illusion quickly shatters when it comes to player upgrades.

The in-game currency, diamonds, is required for everything from player upgrades and stadium expansions to kit customizations. While you can earn a meager amount through challenges and cup victories, it’s far from sufficient to keep up with the game’s demands. This is where the predatory season pass and in-app purchases rear their ugly heads.

The season pass, starting at a hefty £6 for just a week, offers a temporary boost in rewards but ultimately forces players into a recurring subscription model. For those unwilling or unable to spend real money, progress becomes a grueling grind.

I speak from personal experience, having played since the release of DLS 23 and diligently building a 5-star squad with top-tier players like Haaland, Messi, and Van Dijk. However, even with all the in-game achievements and trophies under my belt, I find myself outmatched by players who have poured money into upgrading their teams to absurdly high ratings. It’s a demoralizing realization that skill and dedication alone are not enough to compete at the highest levels of DLS 24.

Adding to the frustration of the pay-to-win structure is the game’s blatant manipulation of career matches against its own AI. In the Global Challenge cup, I’ve encountered seemingly weak teams with low-rated players who miraculously outperform my own legendary squad. Defenders from 2-star teams inexplicably outrun my strikers like Sterling and Ronaldo. This artificial difficulty scaling undermines the sense of progression and makes matches feel arbitrary and unfair. It’s as if the game is actively working against the player to incentivize spending on upgrades.

Beyond the AI manipulation, the gameplay itself suffers from glaring issues. Players often exhibit erratic behavior, running around the ball aimlessly after receiving a pass. This lack of responsiveness and control is simply unacceptable for a 2024 release. Additionally, player speed seems to fluctuate randomly, even against weaker opponents. I’ve witnessed my 89-rated striker get outrun by a 65-rated defender, a ludicrous scenario that defies logic and ruins the immersion.

The lack of control extends to the goalkeeper as well. In crucial moments, when manual intervention is necessary, the AI often takes over, leading to disastrous clearances and unnecessary throw-ins. Furthermore, the overall passing accuracy and ball control are subpar, even with a team full of legendary players. This makes it difficult to string together fluid attacks and maintain possession, further diminishing the enjoyment of the game.

To add insult to injury, the commentary in Dream League Soccer 2024 is laughably mediocre. In an era where sports games boast dynamic and informative commentary teams, DLS seems stuck in the past. The commentators fail to even recognize the names of well-known teams, often resorting to generic phrases like “this team” even when referring to giants like Real Madrid. This lack of attention to detail is not only immersion-breaking but also indicative of the game’s overall lack of polish.

Furthermore, the commentary is riddled with inaccuracies. During an International Cup match, the commentators repeatedly referred to it as a Global Challenge Cup match, demonstrating a complete disconnect from the actual events on the virtual pitch. These errors, coupled with the repetitive and uninspired lines, make the commentary feel like an afterthought rather than an integral part of the game experience.

In conclusion, Dream League Soccer 2024 has been a profound disappointment. The game’s outdated controls, pay-to-win mechanics, AI manipulation, and lackluster gameplay make it a far cry from the “ultimate soccer game on mobile” I once envisioned. Despite my initial excitement and the nostalgic appeal of the DLS franchise, the numerous flaws and shortcomings overshadow any redeeming qualities the game may possess.

Ironically, even eFootball 2024, a game I previously criticized for its own mediocre experience, manages to surpass DLS 24 in terms of gameplay. While FC Mobile offers a more polished and refined experience overall, eFootball 2024 at least provides a more engaging and skill-based gameplay loop, free from the frustrating AI manipulation and paywall barriers that plague DLS 24.

It’s disheartening to see a once-promising franchise fall into such a state. I can only hope that the developers at First Touch Games take these criticisms to heart and work towards delivering a truly enjoyable and fair mobile soccer experience in the future. Until then, I cannot in good conscience recommend Dream League Soccer 2024 to anyone seeking a fulfilling soccer gaming experience on their mobile devices.

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