Last year I praised Konami for their generosity in myClub and PES 2019 Lite. This year I’m evaluating it’s sequel, eFootball PES 2020 Lite to see how it stacks up. As with last years version of the game this is still a trimmed down version of PES with a focus on myClub. As I’ve mentioned in previous years, if you’re looking to play Master League and other single player modes, then this is not the version of the game for you. Those modes are available in the full priced version of the game, or currently through XBOX Game Pass for XBOX ONE users.
If you’re interested in learning about the full game then check our full review of it. If Master League is your interest then check out Master League dedicated review as well.
Now since myClub is the main focus of this version of the game, I’ll jump directly into my analysis of that mode.
Firstly, I just want to say that myClub isn’t as generous as it has been in previous years. Also, since it is an online only focused mode, I’d like to be transparent that it is possible for it to improve or worsen depending on the aspirations of the publisher. Thus far, it’s been more focused towards prioritizing the premium currency, myClub coins. Like in previous games, you get 30 of these every few days as part of the game’s login reward system. Once you have 100 coins you can purchase special agents which will grant you access to featured players, and Legends. Now keep in mind that this is a randomized system, so you’re not always guaranteed to get the players you want. In the previous game you could purchase some of these agents with GP, the regular currency you earn by playing the game, but that’s a rare occurrence in this year’s game. This stronger focus on myClub coins left a bad taste in my mouth, because you’re able to purchase this currency. With it having a greater focus in the mode, I find it to be much closer to EA Games, FIFA Ultimate Team than it has ever been, and that’s not a good thing.
myClub coins cost one dollar per 100 coins, which may seem like an inexpensive price to pay, but remember it’s being used in a randomized system with possibilities of duplicates. This means you can possibly spend thousands of coins and not get the player you actually want. There is also no limit to the amount of coins you can spend on some special agents, particularly the ones which include Legendary players. For most kids and some adults this could result in them gambling away all their money on chances to get the players they desire. What makes this even worse is that PES is an annual released game where purchases don’t roll over.
It has also become even more pay to win in that players can now outright purchase full licensed teams to use in myClub. These teams cost $4.99 (€4.99, £4.99) and include all current players in the team. There has been what I assume to be some balancing attempts to keep the current in-game economy functioning, by not allowing players from these purchased teams to be placed into other squads and vice ver·sa, but I can’t see this as anything but pay to win. I don’t know of any PES fan who’s been asking for this, but I’m sure there will be some out there who will defend it.
The game also lacks the free agents from winning special matches, which was a feature I appreciated a lot in the previous games. In a way it seems like the developers went to the drawing board, looked at all the things that made myClub possible to be played for free and turned most of them off. It’s a shame because this is a franchise which needs all the good will it can muster and with FUT losing its appeal for similar reasons, it was the ideal time to stay on course.
Now all that being said, the devs do seem to listen to the fan base and make adjustments inline with our interests, so if you play this game and mode, be vocal via https://www.facebook.com/pes.devteam/.
So with all the negative points out of the way, let’s talk about the good stuff. The gameplay is exactly the same as that in the main game for eFootball PES 2020, so that means all the improvements to the dribbling, physics and atmosphere created from what is easily the most authentic footballing experience to date. When actually playing the game, there is nothing that comes close. The gameplay is solid with impressive visuals which do a good job of emulating the real thing, especially when the new camera is in use.
Online matchmaking is very similar to last year’s game, and so is the netcode. As such, I’ve had great matches online, and a few with some input lag, but overall it has been mostly positive. eFootball PES 2020 Lite also comes with local multiplayer, All of the online modes and edit mode on PC and PS4. In local multiplayer you have access to the teams; FC Barcelona, Manchester United, FC Bayern, Juventus, Arsenal, Palmeiras, Flamengo, São Paulo, Corinthians, Vasco da Gama, Boca Juniors, River Plate, and Colo-Colo. You also have access to three stadiums; Allianz Arena (FC Bayern), Allianz Parque (Palmeiras), and Neu Sonne Arena. As for the online modes, you have access to all teams and stadiums available in the full game.
With myClub we’ve got improvements to player leveling. Instead of having players base level be 1 with their current form being 30 and max level above that, it caused way too much confusion. Now all players start at level 1 being their current form with the possibility to level up past that using trainers, or from being used in matches. The myClub members presentation has also been changed to display more data on players in an easy to access format. Some players may not like that this has come at the cost of the beautiful player renders, but I prefer it over having more loading screens. The rest of myClub has remained unchanged, so if you played last year’s game then you’ll know what to expect.
Lastly I just want to take a moment to discuss Matchday. This mode seemed to have so much potential before launch, but I’ve found myself not playing it much. This is due to it only being active for a very limited amount of time, and the rewards not seeming worth it. That kinda sucks, because I was greatly looking forward to playing Matchday after experiencing it in Germany during Gamescom 2019.
eFootball PES 2020 Lite is Konami playing it safe while still pushing the wrong boundaries. What I mean is that at the time of writing this is still a game that I’d recommend to responsible adults, but I don’t know if that will be possible in the future. I genuinely want this franchise to succeed, because markets don’t thrive with monopolies, just look at what NBA 2K has become. PES needs to be a competitor in this eFootball space, but not at the expense of its most loyal fanbase. Practices like that is the reason I jumped ship from FIFA back to PES, and though this year’s game is still not the most egregious in the market, the precedent it’s setting thus far has me worried for the future.
The Copy of eFootball PES 2020 used for this review was supplied to us by the game’s publisher, Konami.