Last September we reviewed eFootball PES 2020 for the PS4 and PC, finding it to be the most authentic footballing experience on current consoles. The game was a good incremental improvement on the previous year’s game but in some ways it lost some of its content in an effort to gain others. Since EA has a monopoly over most global footballing licenses Konami tends to drop some while attempting to gain others. Two of those were the UEFA Champions League and Europa League. The publisher lost both licenses to it’s bitter rival but gained access to the UEFA EURO 2020 competition for their game. Unfortunately with all sports temporarily being shut down that acquisition may have been for naught.
The developers updated the game using their Data pack system and in doing so they added the now postponed EURO 2020 competition to the current game. Data Pack 7.00 released for the PC, PS4 and XBOX ONE on June 4th 2020. This update included the Official UEFA EURO 2020™ license added along with several new cinematics and animations. Included with this were two new stadiums – Wembley Stadium and the Gazprom Arena. Stadiums were not the only addition however. Konami also added every EURO 2020 national team including their current squads.
This new completion can be can be experienced via Cup, Master League, Become a Legend and Local Match Modes. With the new official EURO 2020 transitions, scoreboards, Kits (no badges – not sure why), Official Match ball and entrances we got what should feel like something spectacular. The hype right now should be out of this world but it isn’t. Sports games derive their appeal from the sports they emulate and that’s especially important for tournaments. Fans tend to watch the matches during the week then hop onto their game of choice to then emulate the action consumed via the tele. With no ERUO tournament action on the tele there’s nothing to emulate.
Had the developers done something like historic matches in the NBA 2K games then maybe the hype without the tournaments would still be there. Imagine playing that historic 2016 final as Portugal against one of the most dominant French teams ever. Imagine losing Cristiano Ronaldo in the 25th minute to injury, then defending a barrage of attacks from Pogba and Co, being dragged into extra time and then having to claw at win via a screamer from Eder. Just imagine that, no like seriously imagine it because that’s not in the update and it should be. Nostalgia is a hell of a drug and unfortunately PES 2020 EURO 2020 update doesn’t capitalize on it.
As for gameplay it has seen some minor changes including fixing an issue which sometimes caused lofted passes kicked with a full power gauge to fall short of their target while using Manual Controls. However for the most part the gameplay is unchanged. It retains the same ebb and flow present in Data Pack 6 with a few tweaks to the Ai which sees more varied situations happen during matches depending on the difficulty chosen. What this means in game is that you’ll find the Ai sometimes making more mistakes while at the same time being more clinical in the second third. You’ll also find more variations in your shots thanks to what seems to be improved shot power in certain situations.
There are of course also improvements for myClub like the ability to choose National teams as your Base Team. The mode has seen other fixes as well related to the representation of team strength in the online mode, but we’ve yet to see any EURO 2020 implementation in it.
As with other Data Packs, 7.00 includes more face models, new player and manager portrait updates, team emblems, team strips and updated player names. They even included New season data for Campeonato AFP PlanVital (Chile). This is great for players like myself who play Master League and desire constant improvements to the game as time passes.
In conclusion this is what PES has become. It’s an incremental improvement to an otherwise great game. Yes it can and should be better, Yes we all want more of the features that were in the legendary PES 2006 but we’ll have to wait a lot longer for that it seems. The EURO 2020 addition to PES has added something new to the game that fans will love, but with the EUROs being postponed till 2021 this may have been a bust. With no hype or real nostalgic incentive to play, this addition may just be played once then subsequently forgotten. For those who have been sitting on the fence, well this isn’t going to sway them. What Konami has added is just enough, but nothing more.
The copies of eFootball PES 2020 used for this review was provided to us by its publisher, Konami.