The new football season is just over a month away (except for the U.S., among other countries) and that means that FIFA and Pro Evolution Soccer (PES) will be releasing their 2020 editions of their popular soccer simulation games.
FIFA has undoubtedly been the most popular game in the past decade, although PES was a dominant force in the soccer video game industry in the mid 2000s. As FIFA gained more and more licenses and came out with more attractive game modes, PES quickly fell into the shadows, especially after FIFA bought the Champions League and Europa League licenses.
Nevertheless, since FIFA 13 came out, there has been a concerning lack of quality in successive FIFA titles. FIFA 15, 16, 17, 18 and 19 all had their problems, and EA has touted improvements to each successive game while simultaneously ignoring fan complaints. Konami on the other hand had some poor PES releases like PES 2014, but since then has quickly made changes to its titles and fixed things fans had asked for.
Since both titles will be coming out in September, here are some of the new features coming to PES 2020 and FIFA 20. While both games have their good qualities, PES initially seems like it will be the better game this year. So, what game should you buy: PES 2020 or FIFA 20?
FIFA vs PES
New Gameplay Features
Authentic Game Flow Authentic Game Flow: Gives AI-controlled players an increased understanding of time, space and position on the pitch, placing more emphasis on user-controlled play through new Dynamic One-on-Ones, enhanced AI Defending and Natural Player Motion.
Dynamic One-on-Ones: Built using the game tempo from the world's best leagues, an overhauled gameflow offers more true-to-life spacing and pace of play, resulting in more one-on-one opportunities putting emphasis on user-controlled Decisive Moments.
AI Defending: An overhaul in the positioning and tackling system creates an environment for AI to better complement the user-controlled player. AI will offer intelligent defensive support while rewarding and advantaging user defending.
Natural Player Motion: With locomotion and positioning innovations, AI players move in a more natural and composed fashion than ever before, creating realistic football movement for all players on the pitch.
VOLTA Football: Volta football is FIFA 20’s version of the popular FIFA Street series. You can design your own street footballer with a range of clothes, shoes and vanity items that you can get through completing in-game challenges. There are a few places you can play in: Tokyo, Amsterdam, London as well as a few others. In terms of game modes, there’s VOLTA World, which is like Manager Career Mode, Volta Story Mode and Volta Kickoff, which is just normal match mode. In kickoff mode, you can play 3v3, 4v4, 4v4 rush, 5v5 and professional futsal.
A lot of these new features sound great, but we have to hope FIFA 20 will not be the garbage fire that FIFA 19 was. Volta looks like a really fun game mode and nostalgia is always a winner. The new skill moves look a bit more natural and the animations look great. The AI defnding has to be better than FIFA19 — it has to be. The shooting too, which was god awful.
EA announced that news about Career Mode and FUT will be released later this month, and hopefully that means some real changes will be made. Career Mode needs a real overhaul and has been terrible for years since FUT became a money maker for EA. In addition, EA needs to fix its FUT servers as there’s way too much delay. In addition, scripting has to be taken out. The amount of times Neymar in game acts like he’s wearing a 100-pound backpack or when Mats Hummels catches up to Kylian Mbappe is unreal.
Overall, while these new features look great, FIFA 20 likely won’t be too different from the previous year's edition. Licenses definitely can make FIFA a more attractive title than PES, but the gameplay has to be good too.
New Gameplay Features
New Dribbling Technique: Finesse Dribble is an advanced technique that will allow users that are adept at anticipating the movements of their opponents to snake between defenders with exceptional agility. Developed in close consultation with Andrés Iniesta, Finesse Dribble empowers players with an affinity for technical flair to use superior technique and spatial awareness to outfox the opposition.
Upgraded Trapping Mechanics: Players will now exhibit enhanced intelligence when interacting with an approaching ball, choosing a trapping technique that is not only representative of their personal playstyle, but also one that suits each match situation. A handful of new trapping skills will also be available, including No Touch Control, which enables you to run beside an incoming ball without making contact, and the Trick Trap, a skill that allows you to feint a trap in one direction before deftly veering off in the other to beat an opponent.
Context-Sensitive Kick Accuracy: This means the accuracy of each shot and pass you unleash will change relative to your posture, your position on the pitch and how much pressure you’re under, making for a deeper and more authentic football experience. Now more than ever, you will be rewarded for timing, patience and match awareness.
More Realistic Defense: In PES 2020, significant improvements have been made to accurately recreate every tense moment of play that occurs around the box when defenders clamber to shut down a well-executed attack. These improvements include additional slide-tackle animations, more realistic animations when clearing the ball with your head as well as the option to perform an intentional foul as a last-ditch effort to save an otherwise hopeless situation.
Improved Ball Physics: Technically-minded football fans will be able to take advantage of a finely-tuned ball-control system that will allow them to manipulate the ball with various parts of their feet and control it with a greater level of dexterity.
Adaptive Player Interaction: In PES 2020, not only will each player’s individual playstyle affect the way he interacts with the ball, but it will also have a significant impact on the behaviour of the players around him.
New Skills and Abilities: Aggression: As the name suggests, players with this skill will bear down on a player with the ball with considerable aggression. Tight Possession: Players with this skill will be able to use superior finesse and technique to out-maneuver the opposition in tight spaces. Through Ball: Players with this skill will receive an accuracy boost when playing through balls. Long Shot: Players with this skill will receive an accuracy boost when shooting from range.
Ronaldinho: The introduction of several new Ronaldinho-inspired animation sets means that you’ll finally be able to move like the man himself, using unparalleled technical flair and fluid movement to beat defenders with impunity. You’ll also be able to use some of his showboat first-touch techniques, including chest control and back control. Ronaldinho will also be available as a PES Legend if you buy the PES 2020 Legendary Edition.
Master League Remaster (Manager Career Mode Equivalent)
Interactive Dialogue System: New in PES 2020, Master League’s powerful interactive dialogue system puts the reins firmly in your hands when it comes to controlling story progression. Choose responses that suit your personality to drive mode progression and create your own personal Master League story.
More Realistic Transfers: The transfer market in PES 2020 will use a brand new algorithm built on a rich library of real world football data to ensure that transfers, transfer fees, salaries and various other elements are in close alignment with reality. The new transfer system will be more customizable than previous years, with the ability to configure how often players transfer, how difficult negotiations will be, how often your players are paid and whether your first year will feature a pre-season transfer window.
Improved Manager Models: PES 2020 offers you a greater variety of Manager models to choose from thanks to the use of high performance 3D scanning technology to capture images of individuals of varying body shapes and sizes. Additionally, you’ll now be able to play through Master League using one of several world-renowned managers as your avatar, including Zico, Johan Cruyff and Diego Maradona.
Customizable Sponsor Logos: Create and customize your own sponsor logos, which will be displayed on the media backdrop during interviews as well as on the Master League main menu screen.
Enhanced Lighting Engine: Vast improvements made to the lighting engine ensure a greater level of immersion as the stadium, stands and players are brought to life under both natural and manmade light. Enjoy a unique visual experience in every match as dynamic daytime lighting systems simulate the sun’s position in the sky to create hyper-realistic shadows.
Improved Player Models: 3D full-body scans have been taken of various players to add a new layer of photo-realism to player models in PES 2020. Scanned players have been recreated with exceptional attention to detail, with each of their movements calculated and rendered in game with stunning accuracy.
Realistic Custscenes and Replays: This year, you’ll be able to sit down and treat yourself to a movie-grade experience with Master League’s cinematic cutscenes, expertly interwoven with the mode’s new dialogue system.
Enhanced Turf Rendering: Dramatic improvements to turf rendering are coming to PES 2020, adding depth and personality to each blade of grass.
Konami has been a lot more transparent about what’s coming to PES 2020 than EA has with FIFA 20. There are pros and cons to this: The tons of new features coming to PES 2020 look awesome, but at the same time revealing everything kind of takes away from the excitement. Still, PES looks fantastic this year.
Master League allows you to use Diego Maradona, Johan Cruyff, Zico and others as your manager if you don’t want to create your own. More cinematic cutscenes, better lighting and visuals in the game is a huge plus as that has been sorely lacking for the past few years. The player models look better but still aren’t as good as FIFA, but the gameplay definitely looks better. The ability to edit teams, players, etc. has always been an area that PES does better than FIFA; it's safe to assume the same editing features will be in this year's addition.
Something I would like to see is a stadium creator. PES used to have a stadium creator function that was absolutely awesome for unlicensed or created clubs; hopefully that will come back. PES sorely lacks licenses though, and that can make things difficult in terms of drawing more fans and promoting realism. However, the ability to download fan created option files allows you to “license” teams and leagues yourself. PES recently partnered with both Arsenal and Manchester United, and both Premier League teams will be fully licensed for this year's game.
Final Thoughts On FIFA vs PES 2020
Both games have their pros and cons. FIFA has a long way to go to fix its gameplay issues and improving game modes that aren’t FUT. Still, VOLTA looks like a really cool game mode with potentially a lot to offer. PES’s gameplay looks great and the improvements to Master League and the visuals are welcome changes. Still, the lack of licenses and aesthetics of the player models and unlicensed teams aren’t amazing.
The worry for FIFA is that it’s not supposed to be the same game as it was the previous year, which turns out to be the case for successive FIFA games. Assuming a lot of these problems are fixed, FIFA 20 could be a fantastic game. PES’s player models still need improvement and Konami has to do better to get more licenses if it wants to keep competing with FIFA. Overall, PES looks like it’s going to be a solid game this year. FIFA doesn’t look like it’s going to be much different this year, assuming that EA’s announcements about Career Mode and FUT don’t impress very much.
As a diehard FIFA player, Konami has finally convinced me to switch exclusively to PES. Don’t take my word for it though — do your research and buy the game you really want to play.