Pro Evolution Soccer, or this year’s eFootball PES 2020, has always been looked at as the pretender to FIFA‘s throne, but if gameplay is king, then PES remains the true king.
For a good number of years now, the core football mechanics in PES have been refined and improved, and it is as close as you can get to a thinking man’s choice of simulation of the Beautiful Game.
Of course, its lack of licenses has always been its main criticism, and eFootball PES 2020 doe not change that, even if Konami managed to tie down Serie A’s Juventus to an exclusive deal, and signed Manchester United as well. The hardcore will always go the extra mile with editing anyway, but it is good to see Konami trying.
On the pitch, it certainly feels like an evolution of all the good work the developers have done on the training ground. After our hands-on experience of a demo build (which will release on July 30) of eFootball PES 2020 at the Singapore leg of the 2019 International Champions Cup (ICC), consider us impressed.
With the likes of Juventus, Arsenal, Barcelona, Manchester United, Bayern Munich, and the PES Legends team to choose from, not going with Konami’s latest signing would have been an oversight.
Watching players like Ronaldo, Chiellini, Dybala, and Bentancur step onto the pitch of the Allianz Arena felt amazing, it comes close to the real deal. There is no doubt having the license to the team made Konami’s work easier, but to see the detail that went into recreating the players, jerseys, and the stadium, all credit to the developers.
With a new camera angle that is reminiscent of those we watch real-life football on, eFootball PES 2020 is a different experience from the off.
Passing is crisp and deliberate, requiring players to put thought into creating space and openings for the best passing angles. It is definitely not as swift as FIFA, but it feels natural to anyone who has watched a game. Threading the perfect through pass and whipping in an inch-perfect cross never felt more satisfying, after all, it is all your hard work.
The animation work is brilliant, from first touches to tackles, the physicality can be felt as players jostle for positions and fight for headers.
However, the defensive A.I in the demo build was not the best, and was overly aggressive to press and leaving plenty of space at the back. It may be tactical, but hopefully, it can be further balanced and tweaked by players eventually.
Shooting certainly feels better compared to PES 2019, with proper aim being rewarded with blistering shots and accurate finishing. It may be due to the new camera angle, but it is far less likely to see shanked shots from the world’s best in eFootball PES 2020 than before.
As the Old Lady celebrates their victory on the virtual pitch, the demo has presented plenty to be excited about for football fans. If you can overlook the lack of licensing, the continual improvements and added features of eFootball PES 2020 should make it your number one signing this September 12.
Jake is a full-time trophy hunter and achievement gatherer on consoles, and part-time Steam Sale victim. He has a thing for Batman and awesome statues, and running out of space for both. Send help.