PES 2020 news and hands-on impressions: finesse dribbling, new Matchday mode and revamped Master League make for improved experience
Juventus are to be exclusively licensed in eFootball PES 2020 after Konami announced a new long-term partnership with the Serie A champions – and FourFourTwo was there to sample the event.
We spent some hands-on time with an early build of the game in Turin, and discussed all things eFootball PES 2020 with European brand manager Lennart Bobzien.
PES licensed teams
Unlike the recent additions of Arsenal, Manchester United and Bayern Munich to PES 2020’s roster, the Juventus deal is exclusive. This means that the team name, crest, kits and stadium are all exclusive to Konami’s upcoming game (and that, amusingly, Juve will be called ‘Piemonte Calcio’ in FIFA 20).
“Having them exclusive is crazy,” Bobzien enthuses to FFT. “In the end, it’s because our development team in Japan are doing such amazing work to convince clubs like Juventus about our product quality.
“With our player scanning technology, all the work around the stadium, we are showcasing Juventus in the best possible way. I think that’s one of the reasons why clubs like Juve want to work with us, and then even making the next step and working exclusively with us.”
There are some fun new features in PES 2020 that we noticed when playing as Juventus in particular. For example, The Fratellis’ Chelsea Dagger plays when you score at their Allianz Stadium, helping to create a realistic atmosphere.
You also get the benefit of a brand-new celebration sequence for Cristiano Ronaldo. The Portuguese legend’s PES celebration hasn’t looked particularly authentic in recent years, but has now been completely overhauled with something far more befitting of the Juve star.
The beautiful game
There’s a new look to eFootball PES 2020 in terms of the new default ‘Stadium’ camera angle. It’s an impressive, broadcast-like addition which provides a more immersive feel to gameplay, as well as highlighting arena visuals more prominently than in last year’s game.
Just occasionally, the camera takes a second or so to catch up at present. But otherwise it acts smartly, adapting on the fly to provide a TV-like view of the pitch. We also spotted a re-jigged ‘Broadcast’ camera in the menus, which adopts a slightly lower angle but with a similar approach.
“The game already looks amazing,” says Bobzien. “With the new camera angle, we just want to make this kind of next step to have the full TV broadcast experience.”
Konami are highlighting the Finesse Dribble system as a key new feature this year, proving a subtle yet effective way of performing certain skill moves with the right stick. You only need to tap it to perform basic moves such as a roll-over, but timing and context are critical.
“Even if you move the right stick a little bit to the right or left, the player will make a move,” states Bobzien. “So in this way we want to make it easily accessible for beginners, but then obviously to master it, you need to spend some time to pull off all the tricks.”
Improvements under the hood have made a notable difference to PES 2020 on the pitch. The AI, for example, appears less one-dimensional than it did in last year’s game, varying its attacks and providing a worthy challenge on SuperStar difficulty for skilled players.
Gameplay also benefits from an improved blocking system, in which defenders automatically throw themselves in front of the ball to stop incoming shots. Ultimately, this tends to result in more crucial blocks and deflections from game to game.
“We’ve included loads of new animations, not only for the attacking side, but also for the defending side,” explains Bobzien. “So now you can block shots in a completely different way – a more realistic way.”
Revamped Master League, Matchday
We didn’t get to sample anything other than Quick Match and Co-op play during our hands-on, but there are some key changes heading to the full release of PES 2020. Among them are a revamped Master League and a brand-new mode called Matchday.
“One of the biggest feedback points, not only last year but for the past few years, was introducing a new mode. I think that’s what we will do with Matchday,” says Bobzien. “We can’t really talk in detail about Matchday yet, but we will share more info very soon with our fans – most likely around August.”
PES 2020 demo
Surprisingly, Konami are releasing the eFootball PES 2020 demo significantly ahead of release (July 30). And while Bobzien suggests that this is partly for online feedback and Edit Mode reasons, it also relates to the game’s official tagline – ‘Playing is Believing’.
“I always use that tagline internally,” he says. “When I discuss with my colleagues, I’ve told them that we have such a great product, and we want to showcase the product to the wider audience. And we want to let the game do the talking.
“That’s why we’re releasing [the demo] early, because the game is great and we want to show it to everyone as soon as possible.”
While you're here, why not take advantage of our brilliant subscribers' offer? Get 5 issues of the world's greatest football magazine for £5 – the game's greatest stories and finest journalism direct to your door for less than a pint in London. Cheers!