The season of sports releases in video games is, for many people, the most anticipated time of the year. As much as we know that the differences between each new version of football, basketball and similar games are tiny, sometimes imperceptible to the fans, everyone wants to know when they will be released and what theoretically they will bring new.
The questions that pervade social networks in the days that follow after launch are basically two: the first, obviously, is what has changed and whether this justifies paying again for a new game in the franchise. The second is which of the two competitors – FOOT or FIFA – it’s better. This last question can only be answered later, when both are solid in the market. But the first one can already be evaluated.
So let’s get down to business: besides the name, what’s the new Pro Evolution Soccer, or FOOT for the most intimate, brought it back in the 2020 edition? Of course, the decision as to whether it is worth it or not is subjective and, therefore, up to everyone. However, there is something important to stand out right away. The game is, in its specifics, different from previous editions. Let’s see.
As you have already read in our preview of eFootball PES 2020, a Konami had a very hard work outside the four digital lines: seeking partnerships and improving the arsenal of official licenses, something that has always been one of its weaknesses, since the player, today, is not content with “Allejos”, “MD Whites” or “Copas Brasileiras”, generic versions of what we know in the real world. The closer to the officer, the better.
In this sense, the game has advanced a lot, with leagues, important teams and selections with full licenses. There are some recurrent absences, such as the Real Madrid or the Liverpool, but this year, this lack will be felt on the other side too, since Barcelona and youth are the most relevant partners of PES 2020.
Positive point, for us Brazilians, with the official licenses for the A and B series of Brasileirão. With almost 100% of the 40 Brazilian teams (either player does not authorize the image) we have space to play the main modes with the colors of our favorite club. The updates – or lack of them – are another story, and they’re already causing some buzz here and there, and we’ll have to closely monitor how that attention will be over the next few months.
As a whole, this bureaucratic part has been gaining more notoriety each year, and in this aspect, eFootball PES 2020 managed to advance a few more steps. Also added are the legendary athletes and coaches, such as maradona, Zico, Romario and Ronaldinho Gaucho, and there is a lot that will definitely please those most ardent fans of the sport.
an audiovisual show
If there’s one thing undeniable, it’s that the game is more beautiful than ever. Players and stadiums have gained new textures, colors are more vibrant and the level of fidelity is incredible. Especially with the big stars of the sport in partnership, the physiognomy and movement are absurdly the same as the real version. Fans and other secondary elements have also come to life, and the result is a visual dazzle.
The sound part is also highlighted. If the musical selection doesn’t seem to be so remarkable compared to other years, it doesn’t do ugly and brings unexpected songs, with a lot of diversity. The ambience and sound effects play it safe, not much different from what’s been done before. The national narration ends up not shining so much. Although Milton Leite and Mauro Beting maintain their level up there, the work is already showing wear, with phrases, comments, and sequences rehashed more than once. Even the mix feels weird when there’s one or two additions.
However, it is nothing serious and has little influence on the final result. The game manages to reach a level of excellence and, probably, must have reached its apex in this generation, since next year it is very likely that attention will be focused on a new graphics engine already thinking about what Microsoft and Sony are up to for a new takes of systems. Of course there are hits that still can and should be fixed, especially in some more robotic animations, but overall, the job is great.
roll the ball
When the fascination with everything that surrounds the game gives way to what is worth the ticket, the 90 minutes itself, is that the game presents some points that will surely divide fans at some point. The gameplay has changed more than we are used to, and the experience is different. As we’ve already said, the game is more paced and players seem heavier. The game’s physics changed, and brought new features to movement.
There is more subtlety to actions and reactions on the field, a little more variety in play and less predictability for similar actions. This means, therefore, that not always, for more sophisticated variables, equal actions will always generate the same results. It’s not really a randomness factor, but maybe it comes close to a controlled chaos effect that seems fairer compared to the real version of the sport.
However, there are adjustments needed. The players’ behavior doesn’t always make sense, and the collision work, which is one of the most difficult in this type of game, often has unexpected consequences. As a result, there are many strange fouls being called, not because of the player’s incapacity, but because of physical problems, as is evident in the replays. The short and long pass systems have also undergone some modifications that can hinder the fluidity of plays, or favor those players who have more ease with less automatic functions.
Another issue that deserves special attention (and adaptation by players) is the game’s artificial intelligence. In many cases, your teammates, when on their own, make the worst choices, whether when they have the ball – especially in mode Rise to stardom – either when they are positioning themselves in attack or defense plays. And there are even stranger moments where players just don’t mind the ball approaching, behaving as if it doesn’t exist.
The sum of all these features, purposely or not, creates the need for a more manual style of play, where you need to worry even more about your team’s secondary controls, always looking to position your pieces in a more appropriate way. Whether this is a quality or a negative point, the assessment is made by the player. But it is a fact that there are significant differences in comparison with previous editions and the transition from one version to another is not as natural as it was in years past and before.
The result of the whole work is a slower game, whose fluidity of passing is not that simple pressing of buttons until reaching the goal face. There is body play, there are conflicts, there is body balance before seeking a more precise kick, you have to understand the behavior of your players and those of your opponent. And there should be attention to goalkeepers, increasingly dichotomous: sometimes they perform miracles of half a meter; on the other hand, they take goals that deserve control thrown out of the window. It’s part of the experience. See a complete friendly match, playing on normal difficulty:
What about game modes?
Here, an important highlight: the expected significant changes did not come. For those who know the franchise in depth, there is one detail or another to stand out, but nothing that really brings innovative experiences. There are the common local friendly modes with or without a history of confrontation, there are the classic skill training systems and that wouldn’t change anyway. But the others might dare, and it seemed, from the trailers, that they would. Only no.
O myClub it’s exactly the same. The interface hasn’t changed a single font size, the hiring systems are the same as in the 2019 version of the game, and the team management has one or two more detailed stats. But it’s all so similar that it would have no problem for the game to allow the import of saves from previous versions – which would obviously be awesome for gamers and terrible for the monetization system that the Konami proposes. After all, if you’ve already built a team with more than 3000 points, you don’t have that much motivation to keep spending time (and sometimes money) to improve.
O Rise to stardom idem. It is necessary to be able to bring a player created in other versions, since it is very difficult to play for more than two or three seasons and, therefore, it is almost impossible to bring your avatar to the peak of your career at 25, 26 years old. If you could import what you already have, it would be awesome. Also because it’s the same as the myClub: If the interface has changed a little more, the progression and gameplay systems themselves are little or nothing different from what has already been seen. Except for the AI, as I’ve said, which always seems to be messing with you.
Finally, the big promise was the reformulation of the classic Master League (or Master League). And, well… she did, but a lot more shy than she looked. Now you choose (instead of customizing) the trainer you want to be, and there are legendary figures at your disposal right away. There are very simple cutscenes from the backstage of the board, the coaching staff and the arrival of new players, and even a dialogue choice system. But it’s all very cosmetic. The most significant change in this mode is the transaction system, with less assistance than before. For the rest, change in menu layout and… that’s it.
The good news is a significant improvement in online modes. Whether playing friendly matches or in ranked events, I didn’t feel any lag or any kind of choke. The game manages to remain safe and solid, which is fundamental for the competitive pretensions it has never hidden. What I can say is that you will curse a lot even the coffee intern for various reasons, but it seems that it will not be because of the latency that you take a goal. At least not honestly…
The fact is that game modes, whether online or offline, are far from innovation. Again, whether or not it is beneficial is up to the player. After all, if there is no news, it also doesn’t need to be adapted. Just turn on the game, start a new campaign in any of the modes and start doing what you already know how to do, even knowing what the tricks and traps are. But, in my case, I confess that I was a little frustrated, as I expected to see something different to play alone. Maybe next time.
There is no doubt that eFootball Pro Evolution Soccer 2020 it’s a great football game. With more elaborate and rhythmic control systems and departure dynamics, a look superior to anything that has been seen before and a heavy investment behind the scenes, with partnerships and sponsorships that generate official and sometimes exclusive licenses, the Konami he knew where to invest to bring something more to his fans, and maybe even attract those on the other side of the story.
There are still adjustments to be made, especially in the AI and the collision system. There are also issues of updates and maintenance of teams, especially the Latin Americans, especially the Brazilians, but this is beyond development itself and, it seems, is a much more bureaucratic problem than a technical one. The other changes, which have generated buzz on the networks, show development choices that either pleased the installed fanbase or not. But the changes that weren’t made, especially in game modes, are equally controversial.
On average, I admit that I liked the changes and I see this version as the best FOOT of this generation. The focus on specific events reinforces an investment in the eSports niche that the brand has been trying to reinforce since its announcement and the cadence brings more diversification to the game. If it’s not the ultimate football game yet, it’s as close as the Konami enough of that.
eFootball Pro Evolution Soccer 2020 is available for Playstation 4, Xbox one and SQUARE fully localized for our dear Brazilian Portuguese.