eFootball PES 2020 (Xbox One) Review

By Neil Flynn 02.10.2019

Review for eFootball PES 2020 on Xbox One

Sports games, notably football games, comprise of two popular annual releases; FIFA and Pro Evolution Soccer (PES). Both have been at each other's throats since the turn of the millennium and on the odd occasion the masses have rebelled against the mainstay of EA Sports' FIFA franchise and sided with PES. Unfortunately, the perception of PES hasn't changed much in recent years, despite critical reception to the past few iterations. Now with PES 2020 out in the market is there anything so ground-breakingly different?

This year's release is slightly different than normal, as Konami is not just sticking with the regular naming convention of PES 2020, but has rebranded the series to eFootball PES 2020, allegedly to curry favour with those in the eSports world. Unfortunately for Konami, it botched the launch with a number of persisting issues during launch week, which included outdated rosters and online servers being down. This is not the greatest first impression to make to a number of players, especially to many who already feel that PES is a secondary product. Naturally, this is because PES has, over time, missed out on having the big licenses enjoyed by FIFA, which has seen clubs, competitions, leagues, and kits all become exclusive to it.

Screenshot for eFootball PES 2020 on Xbox One

However, PES 2020 has started to make in-roads into taking back some licensing, most notably that belonging to Italian giant, Juventus, who are exclusively only available in PES. A number of league's also feature real team names and licenced kits, including those from Belgium, Denmark, France, Italy, The Netherlands, and Scotland to name a few. However, despite having this, the German Bundesliga is completely missing yet again and both the English and Spanish leagues are unlicensed. Konami continues to gain a few more licenses to teams and stadia every year, but starting in Spring 2020, PES will have exclusive rights to UEFA Euros 2020, including 50 national teams with licenced kits. These are all moves in the right direction, but this would all be for nothing if there was no improvement gameplay-wise.

Thankfully this holds up, with the maturing FOX Engine being put to good use. As with the previous few iterations of PES, the football itself is ever satisfying - one that plays at a slightly slower pace than its FIFA counterpart, and with that comes the added benefit of properly weighted passes that are measured and meaningful. Furthermore, the gratifying shooting mechanics allow for real sumptuous goals which feel rewarding after winning the ball and getting past eleven other players. This year, Japanese developer Konami enlisted the help of Barcelona legend, Andrés Iniesta, who now conveniently plays for Vissel Kobe in Japan. Taking on Iniesta's advice the PES team have been able to change the player movements to take advantage of open space on the field of play, and then trick, dummy, or skilfully play the ball through that space. Unfortunately, the execution of finesse dribbling is pretty difficult for an average player during the pace of the match, which normally results in very little payoff if the ball keeps getting lost.

Screenshot for eFootball PES 2020 on Xbox One

Losing the ball while trying to show off can be of considerable significance, because the defender's AI can be quite woeful at times, either by not tracking back, or just plainly not reacting to the opposition attack. During the review process, several goal-fests would ensue from the 80th minute onwards, despite the sleepy defence being incredibly frustrating there is some pay-off in that the opposition's defence has also got the same issue, meaning that grabbing that last-minute goal is all the more possible. One of the strongest advantages PES has over the competition, is the in-game presentation, with pitches looking as crisp as ever, stadiums gleaning with magnificence, and players shining with authenticity. Animations in the pre-game build up, during play or in replays, are a joy to behold, and perhaps are taken for granted when compared against everything else.

PES 2020 'looks' great, but it seems that very few lines of new commentary have been added for Peter Drury and Jim Beglin, which is a shame, as both football franchises are due a shake up to the commentary which might come with new hardware in the coming years but for now it seems that it is another year with similar commentary.

Screenshot for eFootball PES 2020 on Xbox One

Master league is the offline career mode that has been featured in all the PES iterations of the past, but PES 2020 has finally given Master League some much needed care and attention. This comes in the guise of a new interactive dialogue system in cut-scenes that shoulder big decisions across the season and allow for choice-based personalisation. Unfortunately, despite these cut-scenes looking graphically strong, there is not much impact made to the career mode itself making this feature feel like meaningless filler. Nonetheless, this is a step in the right direction and Konami must be applauded for adding features in - hopefully, the development team can use this as a foundation to continually improve Master League in future iterations of PES. myClub, on the other hand, is PES' create-a-dream-team simulator that is similar to FIFA's Ultimate Team. The major difference here is that PES is much more generous with awarding higher value players off the bat, and additionally plentiful with the amount of free in-game currency it gives out. Additional currency can be paid for, in the form of Gold Coins, however this didn't really feel necessary, as grinding out the free GP allowed for similar rewards.

Screenshot for eFootball PES 2020 on Xbox One

Cubed3 Rating

Rated 9 out of 10

Exceptional - Gold Award

Rated 9 out of 10

It comes as no-surprise that eFootball Pro Evolution Soccer 2020 fits into the category of an exceptional football simulator. Superb graphical realism, and tantalising gameplay, create an experience that fans of the beautiful game should absolutely play. Konami really needs to find a way to license the Premier League and La Liga to start tempting those away from FIFA, especially those who are really bothered about licenced content.

Also known as

Pro Evolution Soccer 2020









C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  9/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   


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