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How Do PES 2020's New Changes Impact This Year's Game?

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For a good five years now, PES has felt superior to FIFA on the pitch. If you don't believe this, you haven't played PES since everyone still called it Pro Evo, back in 2006. It is a fact.

PES's problem, of course, is that it lacks the licensing firepower to rival EA's behemoth. Publisher Konami's attempts to address that have culminated in what it says has been a long-term goal for the series--getting Manchester United as a fully-fledged partner club. The company is quick to point to the access this brings--from full 3D body scans to an immaculately recreated in-game Old Trafford--and the global appeal of having such a big club on the cover of PES will be enormous. Even if that cover star is Scott McTominay.

But these token gestures--see also the equivalent partnerships in previous years with clubs such as Arsenal, Fulham, Inter Milan, and Barcelona--always feel to some extent like Konami is trying to trick unsuspecting players into thinking it has a greater roster of licenses than it actually has. "Look at us!" the Man Utd Edition shouts. "We have the real Man Red now!"

While these gestures--especially, as I said, with a club as big as Man Utd--help, I think people care more about having entire licensed leagues, even if they aren't in so much detail as these much-vaunted partner clubs. One big statement won't do much to tempt serial FIFA players, who know FIFA 20 will have Man Utd in it anyway. Meanwhile, die-hard PES fans will just mod the real kits into PES 2020. What matters most in PES is how it feels on the pitch.

I only got to play three matches of PES 2020 during a recent preview event, but it already feels surprisingly different from last year's game. The most notable change when you first jump into a match is the new camera angle, which aims to provide a closer experience to what we're used to seeing on Sky Sports. It works, even if it's quite disorienting at first.

My second big takeaway was just how poor AI defenses appeared. Back lines seemed to push up aggressively, leaving huge gaping gaps for me to exploit. My winger pairing of Anthony Martial and Juan Mata, combined with the pace of Marcus Rashford up front, wreaked havoc in behind. This might have been the tactics of the team I was playing against--PES Legends, since that and Man Utd were the only two sides available in my demo--but it did also occur when playing against a human player later on.

On the ball, things have slowed down once again, and while this was once a refreshing change--bringing PES's gamespeed down made the series simultaneously more realistic and more satisfying--it's now got to the point where things are starting to feel a little sluggish. Animations look beautiful but take ages to complete. Not being used to this, I was already informing the DualShock in my hands of my next desired move, but it would take so long for that to happen that it was often no longer the right course of action. Hopefully, some of these teething problems can be ironed out in the remaining weeks until launch, leaving those animations--which really do look beautiful--to properly shine.

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PES's off-pitch aesthetics have been given a makeover, too, with new-look menus that were, let's face it, much needed. Everything feels a little smoother, which is welcome given the amount of time PES heads will likely spend in the game's edit suite.

It's difficult to get a real feel for a football game in just three short matches since both PES and FIFA (and others like Football Manager) are played so heavily over the course of a year, with so much hidden depth beneath the surface to expose. I was a little disappointed by what I played so far, but I put some of that down to my own rustiness, the limited nature of this demo, and the high bar Konami has set over the past five seasons. I remain cautiously optimistic about PES 2020.

PES 2020 launches for PS4, Xbox One, and PC on September 12. A demo will be released on July 30.

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Oscar Dayus

Oscar is GameSpot's Staff Writer, and as the youngest member of the UK office he's usually the butt of the joke.
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mfmaxpower

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"For a good five years now, PES has felt superior to FIFA on the pitch. If you don't believe this, you haven't played PES since everyone still called it Pro Evo, back in 2006. It is a fact."

When you lead with this, it undermines the entire article. PES might feel superior, but it hasn't played superior. And yes, I've played PES every year. Been playing both games every year for a decade plus, and before only played WE.

PES feels FAR superior to FIFA, and always crushes FIFA in the pre-release gameplay video war, but each year there's something - usually multiple things - that make PES an inferior experience. I'd love for PES to really retake the crown, but I've learned my lesson before by getting too psyched up only to be let down after a couple weeks of play.

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ginxeno

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Weird thing is i never felt PES superior to FIFA regarding the gameplay

i always think FIFA players will felt PES weird and stiff and PES players will felt FIFA is too loose and arcadey in a way, but for me, they were just different, like Dirt vs Forza kind of way

I played it both, depends on which friends coming to my place, but for online mode, FIFA is way better

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mikewalterz

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@ginxeno: FIFA's gameplay is completely broken. It was probably peak enjoyment in FIFA 15 but since then it's declined massively. In the meantime PES has established itself as the superior in terms of gamemplay. I do agree that FIFA wins in the online department though (such as Ultimate Team).

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Kgblizzy89

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Edited By Kgblizzy89

2018's gameplay was perfect in my opinion. I didn't really get into the advanced move-set, I always just kind of turned at the last second (I know if you do a down-up on the joystick, or from the players' view on the field right-left, it'll do a "snake," or... "robinho"). The main thing that's wrong with it is not enough people play online, and part of the reason is that not enough people play it online, and part of that reason is that the server are atrocious, and also, so many FIFA fans are goin around saying "ahh FiFA is WAAAY better," in high school and college, and all their friends are just agreeing without ever playing it for themselves, or their friend is the only guy with game console and has FIFA. I've stuck with Winning Eleven since the day, and I can't remember a single day FIFA was EVER better than Pro Evo, besides online functionality, mini-games during loading screen, music, UI (which, to be completely honest, it's a User Interface, who cares...), and FIFA's "Become A Legend" mode has a better close-up camera angle (or I guess it's POV). I can't stand not being able to look to my sides and back. I think it's possible, but it's got the snap-back action where as soon as you let it go it goes back to center. Just leave it there. I'll turn it when I need to (or add a click-button to quick snap back to center). AI needs improvement. Players do NOT move towards the ball during a pass. A defender WILL just step around the player and intercept it. Calling for the ball, and it's been more than 3-5 seconds (say, you call it immediately as a midfielder receives it, and he- not reacting to your "call"-plays a through ball along the side for a winger to run onto it, and it takes him a second to get to it as it's slowing down at the base line), the player WILL play it to you regardless of if you're open or not. Their needs to be a default reset timer, cause I'll call it and hope for that miracle last second chip over the top, but the guy doesn't read the "call" in time and plays it to someone else and then he'll play it to me... and, for whatever reason, PES AI does NOT play the ball backwards... I do NOT understand this. If the ball is into the opponent half, they WILL play it forward, and after 1 or 2 "dud" clear-outs by the defense, and a forward or midfielder gets it, it's like there's ants in their pants and the HAVE to kick it, and it misses 95% of the time. Like, every concurrent attempt makes the necessity to kick it at goal that much more imperative. Through balls don't really work for forward pass to forward runs either. It's definitely possible, with some backspin English on it, you can get the ball to slow down and hover right in front of the guy you're passing it to, obviously to the side the defender isn't guarding the shoulder. The game will many times just blast it out of bounds 30-40 yards in front because... there's an opponent "nearby".... like I said, diagonal passes to straight runs are fine, but straight passes to straight runs are pie in the sky. I know it's technically not always the best option, cause a defender can cut it off, but at just a slight angle it should be more than fine.

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gamingdevil800

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Rumour has it they'll be adding a new dive mechanic for Neymar with a Devil May Cry style "stylish" multiplier for any impressive roles/dives you can perform. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V9S5w2uaMok

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alien33

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@SinspaW

I prefer PES to Fifa, but that statement was downright childish fanboyism.

Not that it is rare in Gamespot anyway. I'm used to it by now.

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SinspaW

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"For a good five years now, PES has felt superior to FIFA on the pitch. If you don't believe this, you haven't played PES since everyone still called it Pro Evo, back in 2006. It is a fact."

This passes as journalism nowadays? Damn.

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