The oddly tited eFootball Pro Evolution Soccer 2020 is Konami’s latest addition to their ISS/Pro Evo catalogue. Persistently standing side by side duelling with the FIFA series, Pro Evo took the first shot by being released a few weeks earlier. Their announcements of having the license rights to Juventus including the Team name, kits and the stadium came at a surprise to most. Obviously with Cristiano Ronaldo being arguably the most famous current footballer it makes sense to target Juventus. But my feeling is the effort and money they spent on that investment could have been utilised elsewhere in this game.
So, to get to the important parts. The gameplay as with its predecessors focuses still on its realism. Not every pass and shot will be perfect and the ball can randomly hit players and ping off in different directions as can happen in real football. Most of the controls are very slick and responsive as always, but you can see the changes they have made to the first touch as well as body positioning. By this I mean if you are trying to pass to someone who is behind you and you are not facing that way then the pass may not be as strong or accurate as you need it to be.
The passing and tackling are where I have the most gripes with the gameplay. The passing sometimes seems to suffer from AI overruling. You may want to slide a through ball to the striker but instead it chooses to drop a short through ball to someone else entirely. Not every time but enough that it becomes frustrating. The tackling is probably something that needs adjusting the most. Holding the pressure button is probably 80% of how you will get the ball back and with the AI being good at holding up the ball you will spend a lot of time dry humping their leg unless they are facing you. 15% of how you will get the ball back is by intercepting stray passes which happens at a realistic rate. Leaving just 5% by slide tackle and that is being generous. It took me 13 attempts at slide tackling before I got the ball without committing a foul. I wasn’t just coming in from the side or behind, some of my attempts came from straight on. It just seems like any slight touch from a slide tackle is a foul. Not only that, but it frequently came with a yellow card making the referees strictness so high it makes Pierluigi Collina look like a pussycat in comparison.
Graphically the game looks stunning. The likeness of the players is getting closer to the real thing. With realistic movements and emotions, it really makes the experience that more enjoyable. They have added cut scenes in some of the modes where you can see ex-pro’s like Roberto Carlos as a manager. As always, the music in the menus is your standard modern mix of tracks some of which you will think are ok and some you will want to skip. The commentary in the game is the same duo of Jon Champion and Jim Beglin. Nothing much seems new with the commentary, just the odd new phrases, but that’s to be expected.
The game gives you a variety of game modes to keep you busy, with some given more attention than the others. You have the standard kick-off mode to jump into a match with the computer or other users in various game types. You have eFootball, a new feature to play against other users in a variety of different events and tournaments. Master League returns, and allows you to play a career mode as a manager and the team. You take control of board room affairs, transfers, game plans and how you handle the media. It benefits from realistic cut scenes although there is no spoken dialogue, it does provide a good experience and play through to guide your team to success.
You also have Become A Legend mode, which I feel is the weakest part of the package. You take charge of your own custom player – and only that player – in the game. It is an interesting style, but it suffers from easily frustrating game mechanics.
The first being that even if your player is on the bench as a sub, you still are required to sit through the full match until being brought on at some point. Likewise if subbed off, there’s no way top end the game early. They allow you speed the game up slightly but even then, watching two AI’s play each other is like watching paint dry. Another downside is that they don’t offer you the option to play as the whole team. This divides opinion as some feel the experience should be with the one player and you shouldn’t influence the others in the team. I sit on the other side. When playing as a forward, watching the AI play terribly and starving me of the ball is very tiresome and just ruins the experience for me.
The last game mode and probably their best one is the myClub. This is their version of FIFA’s ultimate team, in where you try to build the best football team you can with those gained in player packs. However rather than opening packs you are using agents and scouts to try and grab the players for your team. They can be used by playing games and earning points to be able to use these agents or gain scouts to obtain newer better players. Or you can use real money to buy myClub coins to speed the process along. This game mode has a lot of different features to help shape your team and keep your interest and it is what I deem the best mode to play.
eFootball Pro Evolution Soccer 2020 is another fine addition to the Pro Evolution Series. Konami have done some work good on the gameplay mechanics and the graphics are looking better and better every year. A few of the game modes come out better than others, with the Legend mode not sitting right with me. An effort has been made to secure more football rights to gain more attention for football fans and keep rivalry well truly alive with FIFA, which only benefits the consumers at then end of the day.
This game was tested and reviewed on Xbox One. All of the opinions and insights here are subject to that version.Want to keep up to date with the latest Xt reviews, Xt opinions and Xt content? Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.