(Image credit: EA)
For three decades the FIFA 20 vs PES 2020 turf war has played out as heatedly as derby days in Glasgow, Madrid or Manchester. Yet in terms of sales, licenses rather than on-pitch excellence have long determined the number one football game. Even during Pro Evo’s PS2 heyday, it could never match FIFA for official teams and kits – and so repeatedly saw its sales figures hammered by EA’s properly kitted-out rival.
It was only about a year ago that I thought Pro Evolution Soccer was basically dead. That’s how I felt right after Konami lost the licensing rights for the UEFA Champions League, the most important club competition, to its archrival FIFA from EA Sports. Despite this major setback, Konami hasn’t given up on its beloved franchise, and that’s great for soccer fans everywhere. At E3 earlier this year, I played a demo of the newly named eFootball PES 2020, which surprised me thanks to gameplay improvements, a redesigned menu system that’s easier to browse and better visuals of players and stadiums.
And while I have no doubt having the Champions League in PES 2020 would’ve made the game significantly better, there’s still plenty to like in the full version of the title, which arrives September 10th for PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC.
For starters, one of the things Konami worked on this year was to enhance passing, shooting and one-touch controls, which the developer says now takes into account more of the physics of the ball. This means when you’re taking a shot or making a pass you have to be mindful of how your player is positioned, or how fast you’re moving as you strike the ball. Defenders, meanwhile, are now smarter and have new ways to try to stop attacking players, including new slide tackle animations, quicker reaction times and the option to commit intentional fouls.
After playing a number of PES 2020 matches, I can tell you it’s definitely harder to score compared to last year’s game — and that’s good since you don’t want every match to be 5- or 7-0, whether you’re playing the AI or a friend. At the same time, as a defender, you’ll have a harder time getting skillful players like Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo off the ball. Sure, you might make successful tackles here and there if you’re playing with a strong defender, such as Liverpool’s Virgil van Dijk, but for the most part, it’s hard for Messi, Ronaldo and others elite players like them to lose possession. Just as in real life.
Speaking of Ronaldo, this year it will be surprising to not see him play with his actual team’s branding in FIFA 20. That’s because Juventus is going to be known as “Piemonte Calcio” in the EA Sports franchise, as a result of Konami striking an exclusive deal with Italy’s biggest club. That may not make up for the fact PES 2020 still won’t feature the Champions League — nor the names, jerseys and stadiums of other big European teams like Real Madrid or Liverpool — but it shows that some football clubs are willing to take a chance on Konami and shun FIFA.
Another new feature in eFootball PES 2020 is “Matchday,” a mode that lets players choose their favorite team and synchronize games to the schedule from professional leagues. This is similar to FIFA’s Match Day Live, which is also designed to make the game feel more in-line with what’s happening out in the real world. For instance, if Manchester United and Arsenal are playing each other one week and you play with either team and win, your points will be added to the total from PES 2020 online community, particularly those who are fans of the same club as you.
The goal with Matchday is for you to help your favorite team win as much as possible in PES 2020, so that it can be at the top of the standings and, of course, give you bragging rights over your friends.
“Edgarito” in “Become a Legend.”
My favorite mode in PES 2020, though, is “Become a Legend.” It’s not new to this year’s game, but it’s still a perfect way to pass the time and enjoy playing with and against teams you wouldn’t choose on a regular basis. Become a Legend, in case you haven’t played it before, lets you create your own player and pretend to live the career of a footballer. The player I created isn’t very good (yet), and the team I ended up on is one of Italy’s worst (Cagliari), but that’s why I like it: because it makes you have to keep playing to make him and your team better, since in the early years of your career you’re far from being a star.
I do wish Become a Legend was as realistic and cinematic as FIFA’s “The Journey” mode, since it would make it more fun to have a story that forces you to make every-day life decisions. That said, you do see Ronaldo make a cameo sporadically, even if you can’t have your made-up player interact with him.
All in all, I have to give it to Konami for not giving up on Pro Evolution Soccer after the disappointment of losing the Champions League rights in 2018. The company could’ve easily let the game go in a downward spiral back then but, instead, it has kept working to make the game better for fans who have loved it despite its shortcomings over the years. eFootball PES 2020, isn’t perfect by any means, but at the very least, it’s a sign that the franchise is alive and well. Now we wait to see if FIFA 20 is really as great as it promising to be.
This year, eFootball PES 2020 is fighting back. As explained in our FIFA 20 Juventus story, it’s snagged the exclusive rights to Italy’s most successful club, meaning the old lady of Turin will now be known as Piemonte Calcio in EA’s game going forwards. Huge. But what other teams, leagues and icons are exclusive to each football sim? Below we’ll steer you through the licensing minefield so you know what you’re getting from each before buying.
FIFA 19 saw a sea-change in the footballing market as EA recaptured the Champions League rights after ten years of the competition being exclusive to PES. That means that it’s again exclusive to FIFA 20, along with sister tournaments the Europa League and Super Cup.
Konami might have lost the rights to football’s biggest club competition, but in response it’s signed a fresh deal to implement the biggest international trophy of the coming campaign. The finals to Euro 2020 take place throughout the continent next summer, and a tie in with PES 2020 will see free DLC with updated teams and kits for all qualifiers added in the spring. RECOMMENDED VIDEOS FOR YOU…
Below is a list of individual leagues which are exclusive to each game. Serie A (Italy), Ligue 1 & Ligue 2 (France), Pro League (Belgium), Superliga (Denmark) and SAF Superliga (Argentina) appear in both FIFA 20 and PES 2020.
Some of FIFA’s exclusive leagues, such as the English Premier League, are also represented in PES but with fake logos and team names.
It’s worth noting that the Romanian League is new to FIFA 20.
– Brasileirao Serie A (Brazil)
– Brasileirao Serie B (Brazil)
– Russian Premier League (Russia)
– Thai League 1 (Thailand)
– Hyundai A-League (Australia)
– Osterreichische Bundesliga (Austria)
– Campeonato Nacional Scotiabank (Chile)
– Chinese Super League (China)
– Liga Dimayor (Colombia)
– EFL Championship (England)
– League One (England)
– League Two (England)
– Bundesliga (Germany)
– 2 Bundesliga (Germany)
– 3 Bundesliga (Germany)
– Eredivisie (Holland)
– Calcio B (Italy)
– Meiji Yasuda J1 (Japan)
– K League 1 (South Korea)
– Liga Bancomer MX (Mexico)
– Eliteserien (Norway)
– Ekstraklasa (Poland
– Liga NOS (Portugal)
– SSE Airtricity League (Ireland)
– Liga I (Romania)
– Abdul Latif Jameel League (Saudi Arabia)
– Scottish Premiership (Scotland)
– La Liga Santander (Spain)
– La Liga 1 2 3 (Spain)
– Allsvenskan (Sweden)
– Raiffeisen Super League (Switzerland)
– Super League (Turkey)
– MLS (USA)
FIFA 20 vs PES 2020 comparison: Partner Clubs
One method both football games use in an attempt to score one-upmanship is bringing on board partner clubs. In some cases, it doesn’t make too much difference: Manchester United are a PES 2020 partner club but EA’s Premier League license means it can still include Old Trafford and the Red Devils’ crest and kits in FIFA 20.
In others, such partnerships are a genuine gamechanger. Both Spain’s Camp Nou and Italy’s Allianz Stadium, two of the biggest stadiums in world football, are exclusive to PES 2020 thanks to Konami’s deals with Barcelona and Juventus respectively. And yes, a little reminder that Juve really aren’t in FIFA 20 – although you can still use its players such as Cristiano Ronaldo and Blaise Matuidi under the guise of Piemonte Calcio.
– Juventus (fully exclusive, so kits and stadium are only in PES 2020)
– Barcelona (stadium exclusive to PES 2020)
– Manchester United (also in FIFA 20 due to EA’s Premier League license)
– Bayern Munich (stadium exclusive to PES 2020
– Arsenal (also in FIFA 20 due to EA’s Premier League license
– AC Milan (believed to also be in FIFA 20, full confirmation TBC
– AS Monaco (stadium exclusive to PES 2020
– Celtic (stadium exclusive to PES 2020
– Rangers (stadium exclusive to PES 2020
– Palmeiras (fully exclusive to PES 2020
– Flamengo (fully exclusive to PES 2020
– Sao Paulo (fully exclusive to PES 2020)
– Corinthians (fully exclusive to PES 2020)
– Vasco da Gama (fully exclusive to PES 2020)
– Universidad de Chile
– Manchester City
– PSV Eindhoven
– AS Roma
FIFA 20 vs PES 2020 Icons comparison
EA has so many legends of the sport signed up to Ultimate Team these days that it’d take hours to scroll through them if we listed them here – instead, jump over to our FIFA 20 Icons guide for the full lowdown.
PES 2020’s selection of legends for MyClub is more modest, yet still features some colossal names from years past. It’s the only football game this year to boast David Beckham, for example. More are expected to be added throughout the course of the season; we’ll update this post as and when that occurs.
– Andrei Arshavin
– Andres Iniesta
– Johan Cruyff
– Diego Maradona
– Oliver Kahn
– David Beckham
– Pavel Nedved
– Hidetoshi Nakata
– Park Ji-Sung
– Patrick Vieira
– Lothar Matthäus
– Gabriel Batistuta
– Francesco Totti
– Franco Baresi
– Daniele Massaro
– Christian Abbiati
– Robert Pires
– Sol Campbell
– Gilberto Silva
– Freddie Ljungberg
– Emmanuel Petit
– Diego Lugano
– Francesco Toldo
– Paolo Maldini
– Walter Samuel
– Ricardo Rocha
– Javier Zanetti
– Roberto Carlos
– Esteban Cambiasso
– Paul Scholes
– Dejan Stankovic
– Ruud Gullit
– Youri Djorkaeff
– Hidetoshi Nakata
– Luis Figo
– Ludovic Giuly
– Alessandro Del Piero
– Alvaro Recoba
– Marcelo Salas
– Ivan Zamorano
– Patrick Kluivert