eFootball PES 2020 | Feature

eFootball PES 2020 | Logo

Title: eFootball PES 2020
Publisher(s): KONAMI
Platform(s): PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC (Steam)
Release Date: September 10, 2019
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The Pro Evolution Soccer (“PES”) franchise and UEFA ended their partnership after PES 2018, meaning that this year’s entry will be without the Champion’s League and Europa League once again. While eFootball PES 2020 does still have teams like FC Barcelona and Arsenal, eFootball PES 2020 now has to truly stand on the strength of its gameplay more than ever in order to differentiate themselves from the FIFA franchise. During E3 2019, I went hands on with eFootball PES 2020 and played a pair of games: one as FC Barcelona against Flamingo in regular weather and one as the PES Legends team against Palmeiras in the rain.

The first thing you notice when you start up a match is how gorgeous the stadium, the players, and the field looks. KONAMI has really done a great job with the lighting and authenticity designs of the stadiums and ensuring that the pitch looks like a place that the teams really play on. While the player models (based on player scans) in eFootball PES 2020 are not exactly at same quality as the playing environments, they are definitely great representations of the players themselves. The rain effect on the gameplay also looked convincing, and I felt like it was clear that the pitch had became soaking wet from the realistic rain streaks.

The gameplay in eFootball PES 2020 is where the title really shines in a way that FIFA does not. When I started to play a match, I quickly noticed that the ball moves slower -a lot slower- than it does in FIFA. The ball, even though it is digital, has a ‘weight’ to it that makes the gameplay physics feel like I am genuinely playing a real football match. This is not a big surprise, as KONAMI has consulted with ex-FC Barcelona captain Andrés Iniesta to ensure that the gameplay is as real to the game as possible. Furthermore, the players all play fairly differently. There is a clear difference, for example, between how Lionel Messi (FC Barcelona) plays and handles versus how Ronaldinho Gaúcho (PES Legends Team) does, and you have to really get to know your players in order to utilize them to their fullest abilities. I quickly found that my teammates’ AI was actually pretty darn good, and that I could trust passing the ball to the AI without me having to do all the positioning legwork beforehand as I try to keep the opposing team off my back.

eFootball PES 2020 | Camp Nou
Various football stadiums, including Emirates Stadium and Camp Nou, are gorgeously rendered and lit in eFootball PES 2020. (Images courtesy of KONAMI).

eFootball PES 2020 | Emirates Stadium

There are new moves in eFootball PES 2020, and I was able to try out the Finesse Dribble (using the R joystick while dribbling), the Dummy Kick (Press Square or Circle, then press Triangle before making contact with the ball), and the Trick Trap (R2 and the L joystick). I found myself consistently using the Finesse Dribble in conjunction with the Left Joystick while moving across the pitch in order to outmaneuver my opponents and set up a pass. This is a more than welcome and easy-to-learn addition to the game and one that I would be surprised if it doesn’t become widely adopted. There is now a real intense finesse to dribbling in eFootball PES 2020 that FIFA frankly lacks in their gameplay. The Dummy Kick and the Trick Trap are obviously more situational to use in gameplay, but I was able to use them successfully too.

eFootball PES 2020 | Messi

eFootball PES 2020 | Messi
Lionel Messi, legendary FC Barcelona forward and captain, has returned to grace the cover of this year’s eFootball PES 2020. (Images courtesy of KONAMI).

While I was only able to try out single matches instead of the new story mode, the eSports aspect (which is where the title change comes from), or the new MatchDay Mode, I walked away impressed more than ever by eFootball PES 2020. The FIFA series is designed to appeal to the largest player base possible, and EA undoubtedly paid a princely sum in order to lock down as many people’s favorite teams as possible in order to do so. Where FIFA has the clear advantage in licensed teams and cups, eFootball PES 2020 more than makes it up with heart and the gameplay itself. It turns out that slower gameplay will really enhance the overall playing experience and let players plan and execute even more amazing plays than before. In other words, eFootball PES 2020 is how football should be played on console, and it is clear that KONAMI decided to put forward an amazing gaming alternative based upon gameplay mechanics and realism.

You can preorder eFootball PES 2020 now for Xbox One (Standard/Legend Editions), PlayStation 4 (Standard/Legendary Editions), and PC (Steam) (Standard/Legend Editions).

What team are you excited to hopefully see in eFootball PES 2020? What do you think of being able to experience the Story Mode?

Let us know in the comments below!

Quentin H.
I have been a journalist for oprainfall since 2015, and I have loved every moment of it.