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PES 2020: Review of Pro Evolution Soccer 2020 - Gameplay, features & videos

Published Sep 11, 2019
Sep 11, 2019 IST


Konami’s Pro Evolution Soccer series returns with its 2020 instalment, which is officially being referred to as eFootball PES 2020 this year. The build-up to the game was terrific with announcements of mega tie-ups with clubs like Manchester United and Juventus and promises of many new features and wholesale changes to the game that aims to be the ultimate football video game experience.

Has Pes 2020 delivered? I took a detailed dive into the game to find out.

#1 Upgraded PES Visual Interface

They say looks matter, and I tend to agree. Before playing a single game, PES offers ups some breathtaking visuals. Small things like the colours of the menus, the fonts and the music playing matter since a lot of your time is spent through these menus while playing the game.

PES has usually struggled in this area, but it’s safe to say this year improves in leaps and bounds with a delightful interface that keeps you wanting more. There’s been a huge revamp in the main menu and the interface of game modes like Master League compared to the previous instalments.

Browsing through menus searching for transfer targets or reading your star player’s attributes has never been more fun. The simple colour gradation of attributes for each player makes for a visual treat. This kind of thing matters a lot to some, and less to some but Konami has focussed on improving PES’s visual interface which has arguably been pretty stable for a few years.

#2 Ever-improving PES Game graphics

Once I’ve had my fill with the menus and selected my team tactics, the first thing that grabs me is the in-game graphical quality. The player faces and motions have never been better. PES has taken advantage of its licensed partners to map out each player inch perfectly.

Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi look and move just like their real-life counterparts. It’s not limited to just top players though as many players from mid-table clubs also looked their part. The next thing that took me by awe is the player motions. Gone are the clumsy player movements you could take screenshots of and share on social media and laugh about.

The motion is crisp, precise and as life-like as it gets. Replays look stunning as the camera zooms in on your favourite football stars. I found myself sitting through iconic celebrations like Ronaldo’s jump and Mbappe’s tucked hands simply for the visual experience. PES has strived to constantly improve its graphics and this year is no different.


#3 More realistic Gameplay

Many would say this is the category with maximum weight and I wouldn’t disagree. The gameplay is paramount. The good news is that PES 2020 improves upon the good work done by its predecessors here. The biggest additional feature is that players seem very aware now. Defenders make intuitive blocks and interceptions that they wouldn’t before.

A simple stretch of the leg, an awkward header or a last-ditch block are the kind of things defenders would never do in previous instalments. They would usually let a through ball or cross passes right beside them much to the frustration of the player, but not any more.

Defenders exhibit these last-minute decisions to intercept or block the player or ball in a very realistic manner. Dribblers also turn their bodies and move based on the pressure applied to them instead of running in a straight manner and losing the ball. These subtle motions make the game amazingly realistic and make the AI a lot more reliable than before.

The ball control and first touch feature has also been enhanced while finesse shot makes a return hugely with some glorious curlers possible again. Fans of defending will be in for a treat as in addition to more aware defending, defenders are a lot more effective in applying pressure and winning the ball and the option for some tactical fouling also seems to be present making for a very realistic experience where playing with and without the ball seems equally exciting.

Free kicks still seem too easy which was an issue in PES 19 as I was able to convert three of my first four free kicks comfortably. That’s unrealistic. Crosses from wide areas also don’t seem to have had any improvements with narrow passing and through balls seeming like much better options to attack. Overall, with huge improvements in defending and overall player awareness, the gameplay works for me.

#4 PES Master League scores highest among Game Modes

Master League has been a thorn in the side of PES fans for a few years now and PES has largely ignored it and focussed on myClub, graphics and licensing over the past few years. It will come as great news to Master League fans then that PES 2020 has reworked the game mode.

We have many new features like picking your manager model, talking to the board about targets, giving the media some replies and a lot more options when it comes to transfers. Even the difficulty level and transfer activity is up for modification based on what you prefer. Master League promises to be fun this time.

Become a Legend seems largely the same which isn’t a surprise given the lowe number of takers. myClub looks set to continue on its great path as well which continues to make it the most appealing game mode in PES. While not strictly a game mode, editing mode still has the same room that patch makers and editors love about PES as well.

PROS: Improved defending, Better player awareness, Licenses of top clubs, Revamped Master League

CONS: Lots of teams and leagues still lack licenses, Become a legend mode has stalled

Final Verdict:

PES 20 is the best in the series and has tried hard to solve most of the complaints launched at it in previous iterations, with great leaps in licenses, graphics, master league and defending.

The playing experience is definitely on the positive side as attacking & defending seem equally fun and browsing through edit menus and negotiating for players are a lot more enjoyable than before.

If the lack of a few licenses don't bother you (there are great community patches for that too) and Become a legend wasn’t your aim, then there’s a very good chance you will enjoy PES 20.

PES 2020 Final Rating: 8.5/10

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