Review – eFootball PES 2020

Here at WayTooManyGames, I have to constantly deal with my American colleagues telling me that the sport in which we kick a ball with our feet onto a goal is called “soccer” and not “football”, as I grew up saying it both in Brazil and England. Then comes Konami with its rebranding of the PES franchise, formerly known as Winning Eleven, calling it both names at the same time. This year’s version of PES 2020 is called eFootball Pro Evolution Soccer 2020. That’s certainly not gonna help in our discussions…

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This new camera angle makes things a bit easier when it comes to thinking on performing more complex passes or set pieces.

Jokes aside, eFootball PES 2020 is the natural evolution of Konami’s sports title, which has been improving in quality over the past years, way more than FIFA, may I add. Despite not featuring a lot of massive improvements in terms of visuals and gameplay, even though it features a brand new name and menu aesthetics, it adds just enough to justify being a natural successor to last year’s Pro Evolution Soccer 2019, and not simply a roster update.

The only main gameplay improvements I could notice were a slight diminishment in the game’s overall pace. This allows for a more strategic and thoughtful gameplay than before, and that comes from a guy like me who loves to play with ridiculously fast attacking midfielders who can outpace everyone in their path. There is also a brand new camera angle, similar to most live football coverage, which allows you to take a better look at the overall field and plan set pieces with ease. Then again, it’s still PES. If you’ve played one of those before, you’re all set once you boot the game up.

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You can play the Campinas derby between Guarani and Ponte Preta in this game, and if you’re Brazilian, you already know how cool that is.

The overall rebranding in favor of online multiplayer and e-sports feels a bit unnecessary. It’s not that the online is bad, far from it, but the single player content is still very enjoyable. In fact, it’s like nothing has changed in this aspect. The Master League mode is still the best mode in the game, providing a somewhat deep and entertaining manager simulation, complete with small cutscenes of new signings arriving to your team and such. The Become a Legend mode is fun, but the fact you don’t have a function to call for passes turns the whole experience into an exercise of patience. Then there’s MyTeam, or as I like to call it, “FIFA’s Ultimate Team that didn’t suck”, a fantasy football mode that you can actually play without having to spend four figures worth of your hard-earned cash in order to assemble a barely mediocre team.

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Daniele De Rossi playing for Boca Juniors is still so surreal.

Just like last year, the biggest improvement in eFootball PES 2020 lies on its licenses and overall amount of playable teams. My favorite addition is obviously the Brazilian second division, which sounds absolutely useless for anyone outside of my country. But hey, I have the right to be biased. Other cool inclusions are a fully licensed Italian Serie A and the entirety of the European national teams. This comes complete with official kits and rosters, from Gibraltar to Liechtenstein, as Konami is preparing a free DLC pack for next year, right on time for the 2020 Euro Cup. Manchester United is also fully licensed this time around, as EA Sports has secured exclusivity on their main rivals, Liverpool.

All in all, there are way more teams to play this time around. Even though eFootball PES 2020 is still far away from FIFA in terms of licenses, they’re catching up pretty quickly. Gone are the days when all a PES/Winning Eleven game had to offer was a licensed Eredivisie and La Liga. Their huge focus on South American leagues, totaling more than a hundred licensed teams and various licensed arenas, is another big plus in my books.

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The Become a Legend mode really needs a call for pass function. I hate having to rely on my team’s (lack of) AI.

eFootball PES 2020 is the best football game Konami has developed since International Superstar Soccer 98, and without a doubt the best game of its kind released this generation. It might not feature jaw-dropping improvements over its predecessors, but it does feature a slightly better gameplay, small tweaks to its game modes, and most importantly, a significant improvement when it comes to playable teams and licenses, making this game the most feature-filled football game released by Konami in recent memory. FIFA 20 beware, you have one heck of a major competitor this year.


Graphics: 9.0

eFootball PES 2020 still uses the FOX Engine so it’s pretty obvious that the visuals and framerate are as good as they have been in the past few years.

Gameplay: 9.5

Not a lot of noticeable improvements over last year’s already excellent gameplay. It’s the perfect case of “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”.

Sound: 7.5

A decent, but largely unremarkable soundtrack, certainly not as memorable as the ones featured back in the days PES was called Winning Eleven. At least the narration is still top-notch.

Fun Factor: 8.5

A few dozen new teams here, some online improvements there, an Ultimate Team-esque mode that doesn’t make me want to go insane. eFootball PES 2020 is probably the best the series has ever been.

Final Verdict: 9.0

eFootball PES 2020 is available now on PS4, Xbox One and PC.

Reviewed on Xbox One.

A copy of eFootball PES 2020 was provided by the publisher.