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Review: eFootball Pro Evolution Soccer 2020 (PS4)

Gear Reviews

Review: eFootball Pro Evolution Soccer 2020 (PS4)

The latest version of Konami’s popular Pro Evolution Soccer is now out and in the gaming console of a soccer lover near you. Now called eFootball Pro Evolution Soccer 2020, the game now boasts several exclusive licenses including Juventus FC, Boca Juniors, River Plate and Italy’s Serie B. We’ve been enjoying Legend Edition of the game (featuring Ronaldinho and a Lionel Messi loan) over the since PES 2020’s release. Here is our World Exclusive review of it! Gameplay video is included.

Review: eFootball Pro Evolution Soccer 2020

Licenses and Option Files

The repertoire of league, club and national federation licenses included in Pro Evolution Soccer has been growing with each new release of the title. Konami signed one of their biggest partnerships ever for eFootball Pro Evolution Soccer 2020 with their exclusive partnership with Italian Serie A giants Juventus FC. This means that the club’s name, kits and Juventus Stadium are only in PES 2020 and not EA Sports FIFA 2020. The same applies to South American powers Boca Juniors, River Plate, Corinthians, Flamengo and Sao Paulo FC. Club partnerships with FC Barcelona and FC Bayern Munich mean that their stadia are exclusive to Pro Evo 2020.

eFootball Pro Evolution Soccer 2020 has seventeen officially licensed domestic leagues with the best-known being Italy’s Serie A, France Ligue 1, Portugal’s Liga NOS, Holland’s Eredivisie, the Superliga Argentina and Brazil’s Campeonato Brasileiro Série A (exclusive to PES 2020). A host of other European and South American leagues are available in licensed and unlicensed forms with the Thai League 1 joining the mix this year via an exclusive license with Konami.

There are 100 national teams in Pro Evolution Soccer 2020 for gamers wanting to delve into international soccer. Of those 56 are licensed with real players, kits and federation emblems. These teams include Copa America champions Brazil, European champions Portugal and World Cup winners France along the likes of Argentina, England and Germany. 17 other national teams including the likes of the Republic of Ireland, Hungary, Colombia and Egypt use real players but Konami-created kits and badges. 27 national teams use PES original players, kits and badges. Most of the CONCACAF, CAF and AFC teams fall into this bucket and have to be updated either using option files or by swapping the fake players for real ones playing for the club sides in Pro Evolution Soccer 2020.

eFootball Pro Evolution Soccer 2020 be the exclusive soccer video game home of UEFA EURO 2020 later this year via a downloadable content add-on.

Konami’s support for community created option files continues with PES 2020 via an official website and options to import and export them built into the game. Although some file makers are now trying to sell theirs, we were able to obtain one for free two days after the game was released. We use it add update the previously unlicensed English Premier League, Spanish La Liga, UEFA Champions League, UEFA Europa League and more in Pro Evolution Soccer 2020. See the video below for a look at how we imported the file.

Music

eFootball Pro Evolution Soccer 2020 offers a twenty-six song soundtrack as a backdrop to your non-match navigation, team management and editing. The tracks are all fresh and from up and coming artists from around the world in most cases. While the playlist isn’t as extensive as the 113 songs in FIFA 20 it’s enough to keep us entertained in between games when enjoying Pro Evo 2020.

Commentary

Peter Drury and Jim Beglin are back once again to provide English language match commentary in PES 2020. The artificial intelligence-powered collection commentary abilities seem unchanged and unaugmented from its last noticeable update in PES 2018. We actually don’t think that Drury’s and Beglin’s range of comments, emotions and analysis is that bad despite what their online detractors may say. There is a fair amount of repetition in the mix but the same can be said for the match commentary in FIFA 20.
Spanish, French, Brazilian Portuguese and Japanese language commentators are also available in the North American version of eFootball Pro Evolution Soccer 2020. They’re nice to try out for variety from time to time as alternatives to Drury and Beglin.

Games Modes

eFootball Pro Evolution Soccer 2020 offers enough game modes to keep even the most avid fans of the game engages for a full year. Our video below shows all the options on tap.

Those who prefer offline gaming can one off matches at any time versus the clubs and national teams in the game or delve into PES 2020’s over 20 leagues. Standalone club and national team cups are also on offer including all the major continental championships such as the EUROs, Asian Cup and Copa America. We made them legit with our option file. myClub is back to let you build your own team of superstars and play other user created squads. Become A Legend is back to give you the ability to create a young player and rise through the ranks to football stardom.

Our favorite element of Pro Evolution Soccer, Master League, is back and revamped for the better!

It has a brilliantly updated menu that is completely modernized, easy to navigate and has everything that you need to know to run your team. A nice touch is a calendar view of upcoming matches at the bottom of the screen that is integral to squad rotation.

Review: eFootball Pro Evolution Soccer 2020

Pro Evo 2020’s Master League incarnation lets you select from a host of managers when you start you first season. They include soccer legends such as Diego Maradona, Romario and Johan Cruyff. They play a part throughout any given season via a series of animated scenes ranging from conferences to player negotiation discussions with club leadership to training ground chats. The conversations are still text-based however with a dialogue system that lets you select responses from three options.

Given the inclusion of the word “eFootball” in the title of Pro Evolution Soccer 2020, there are a host of online gaming alternatives in the simulation. These include one-off friendlies and matches against squads assembled by other players to full online divisional battles with promotion and relegation at stake. Online tournaments and the new derby-inspired Matchday mode round out PES 2020’s online selections. PS4 players will require a PlayStation Plus subscription to play with others from around the world.

Menu

eFootball Pro Evolution Soccer 2020 introduces a brand-new menu system. Gone is the tile-based user interface of the past few years. Now there’s a relatively simple and intuitive navigation system that lets you quickly get into the various playing modes of the game. See us using it in the video below.

All the game modes are now on one screen in the form of icon. Select the icon to view the options available for it and hit the X button on your selection to delve into it further. Once you get into the sub-menus things will start looking familiar as they’re more or less the same as they have been in PES games over the last 5 years.

The pre-match screens remain the same with the one in which your set up your team lineups, game plan and tactics very familiar to veteran PES players. Newer players will be able to figure out the intricacies of setting up their side for matches after about two or three games.

Graphics

One of our favorite things about the Pro Evolution Soccer series is Konami’s constant effort to improve the game’s graphics engines. As the era of the current generation gaming consoles comes to an end the company continues to take advantage of everything that the PlayStation 4’s graphics engine has to offer to create the titles most realistic player, fan and stadia renderings yet.

Player likenesses are spot on in eFootball Pro Evolution Soccer 2020 and indeed better than those in EA Sports FIFA 20. Konami is spot on with their faces, body types and even new tattoos. The body motion, goal celebrations and even mannerisms of some of the football world’s biggest stars are brilliantly replicated in the title. Player faces are really well done in this time around with those from PES 2020 partner clubs such as Arsenal and Manchester United unmistakable.

Pro Evolution Soccer 2020’s in stadium experience has also been enhanced with tweaks such as visible player pain when being struck in the face and parts of the body and a wider range of substitution animations. You’ll now notice increased urgency as players sprint off the pitch and substitutes enter when their teams are losing.

The fans in all of Pro Evo 2020’s stadia are completely animated with little duplication and appear in sharper detail than in PES 2019. They now hold up curated signs and react to what’s going on in the game quite feverishly and participate in goal celebrations when players run towards them in a new set of animations.

Review: eFootball Pro Evolution Soccer 2020

Pro Evolution Soccer 2020 partner club stadiums are created in stunning detail as usual with the likes of Juventus Stadium, Nou Camp and Old Trafford meticulously recreated from the player tunnels to the stands to the pitch. Each carries its own unique in-game atmosphere along with grittier smaller European and less elaborate South American and Asian stadia.

A final bit of graphical augmentation added in eFootball Pro Evolution 2020 are animated cut scenes in Master League. They include management team chats during Transfer Deadline Day, meetings between the manager and club staff and press conferences ahead of big matches. The dialog is still text-based only but manager responses are thrown in from a series of selectable options.

Levels

The levels in Pro Evolution Soccer 2020 are one again the good old Beginner, Amateur, Regular (the default), Professional, Top Player and Superstar.

Beginner is only suited to new players while Amateur will see casual PES gamers achieve success as long as they play with highly rated clubs.
The Pro Evo OGs will want to play in Regular or Professional to experience a challenge and not win every match by a score of at least 5-0. Top Player and Superstar remain suited for only the best players with even 1-0 wins against decent teams (think mid-table Serie A) requiring quite a bit of effort, tactics and sometimes pure counter attacking soccer. They’re not impossible but you will have to work to crack very smart defenses that anticipate your passes.

The difficulty settings for each level in eFootball Pro Evolution Soccer 2020 do seem slightly increased over last year. This is quite welcome and more indicative of what opposing teams offer especially in Regular level. Every match offers unique challenges and don’t be surprise to be upset or held to draws by even teams at the foot of the table or rated much lower than yours across all competitions. This is particularly so in domestic leagues. For example, we were held to draws by the likes of Torino, Bologna and SPAL while playing a Serie A season as mighty Juventus.

Gameplay

Pro Evolution Soccer’s stellar gameplay has been a fixture of the series since 1995 and throughout periods with few official club and league licenses. It has never been bad or anything to complain about and keeps improving year after year. Every year we spend hours on end playing Pro Evo to prepare our annual review the title and continue to be amazed by the tweaks in gameplay that results in PES being a brilliant simulation of soccer. eFootball Pro Evolution Soccer 2020 continues the franchise’s fine tradition with what we think is its finest gameplay yet via a series of clever updates of the PES 2019 game engine.


Game Speed

Konami has maintained the near ideal, realistic default game speed of Pro Evolution Soccer 2019 in eFootball PES 2020. The pace of play is similar to that of EA Sports FIFA 20 with Pro Evo’s gameplay engine’s intricacies thrown in. League specific match speed is also in the mix with faster paced games in top notch competitions such as Italy’s Serie A and the Premier League. As in the real world, things move a bit slower in Serie B or the Eredivisie. Lastly and to no surprise, the higher rated teams in PES 2020 are capable of faster attacking and defensive moves because of their better collective and individual abilities.

Offense

eFootball Pro Evolution Soccer 2020 is an offensive play masterpiece and probably the closest you can get to lacing up your boots and hitting a real-world pitch. The title has taken the creativity offered by the title up a notch with full 360-degree, ultra-responsive player control via the R3 stick. This allows for absolutely sublime fluidity in player movement that, in turn, creates great off the ball runs, sublime passes, fantastic shots and more finesse in dribbling moves. Konami consulted with FC Barcelona and Spain legend Andres Iniesta to tweak its offense and dribbling technique in PES 2020. The result is quite evident in the game! We constantly find ourselves looking at the replays of our goals in the game because they all seem to come from intricate passing and brilliant finishing (often one touch).

Support from fullbacks, midfielders and wingers is fantastic as well in Pro Evolution Soccer 2020. All three seem smarter this time out with central and attacking midfielders providing dynamic runs into the box in support of forwards and always positioning themselves in good scoring positions. They often collect passes from forwards that can turn into shots and goals/

Review: eFootball Pro Evolution Soccer 2020

A notable change in the offensive play in PES 2020 is tied to the game’s more physical defenders. There is now quite a bit of jostling and even shirt pulling from defenders. R3 thus has become essential to get your attacking players’ bodies in between those of defenders and the ball. The wider array of dribbling moves also come into play to assist in protecting the ball and eluding the now more aggressive defenders.

Pro Evolution Soccer 2020 has always been stellar at having match play reflect field conditions. This aspect of the title is improved this year with the ball physics on wet fields very much indicative of movement, bounce and speed in real world rainy conditions. For the first time ever, we found ourselves dreading rainy matches because of the slight disadvantage that sodden pitches result in against scrappy opposition.

Defense

As mentioned when discussing eFootball Pro Evolution Soccer 2020’s offensive play, physicality is now the order of the day for one on one defending. Expect tight marking of star players and those who start scoring and assisting in goals in a given match. Defenders will use their bodies better than ever within the laws of the game starting with getting between attackers and the ball and cleverly timed tackles to win the ball from dribbles.


There is also a wide array of new defensive plays in the box with players throwing heads and body parts in the way shots destined for the back of the net at the last second. We’ve notched up many a game in PES 2020 and are still surprised at time by the desperate yet effect defenders on show.
The improved team defenses of PES 2019 are back in Pro Evo 2020 with players working together to apply defensive pressure that results in pass anticipation and ball interceptions from midfielders and defenders.

Man on man defending and tackling has sadly taken a step back in Pro Evolution Soccer 2020. While we lauded it last year because of its effectiveness this year tackling via the X button is hit or miss. We’ve had our share of missed tackles in situations where we would’ve won the ball in Pro Evo 2019. Quite a bit more practice in the training options of the title is now needed to avoid skilled forwards Waltzing pass you on the outskirts of the penalty box.

Goalkeeping

We saw goalkeepers become more dynamic in PES 2019. Pro Evolution Soccer 2020 has evolved them even more into the best set of netminders in the game’s history. Even those from lower rated teams are now quite agile and can pull off brilliant saves in the harder levels of the title.

The true brilliance in Pro Evo 2020 goalies is seen in stars such as Manuel Neuer, Gianluigi Buffon, Jan Oblak and Kepa.

These giants of world soccer can be found repeatedly showing excellent agility and reactions during matches as they execute brilliant, sinew stretching stops of shots seemingly destined for the back of the net. At times, they will make multiple saves in a row as desperate opposition lay goals under siege. Full body stretch saves and ones made with legs and feet are often used. We’ve found ourselves replaying many a save in PES 2020.

Replay Value

There is enough in eFootball Pro Evolution Soccer 2020 to keep even a daily player of the game occupied for its full year release cycle. With a load of leagues, domestic cups, international tournaments, online gameplay, Master League and myClub, PES 2020 can readily become a two-year gaming experience. Throw in the soon to be released and exclusive UEFA EURO 2020 data pack into Pro Evo and it becomes deeper than ever.

Final Thoughts

eFootball Pro Evolution Soccer 2020 is the best iteration of the iconic series to date. Throw in an option file for completeness and become engrossed in its excellence in simulating soccer with an astounding level of realism. Be warned however! PES 2020 is utterly addicting and is the type of game that will make you lose track of time while playing it.

Gameplay: 9.9 /10
Graphics: 9.7 /10
User Interface: 9.5 / 10
Realism: 9.8 / 10
Longevity: 10 / 10

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