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When it comes to football simulation games, FIFA has been dwarfing Pro Evolution Soccer in terms of sales and reviews for more than a decade. However, each year, the plucky underdog manages to claw itself a little closer to their wealthier rivals. Could this be the year Konami finally catches up?
PES 2020, or eSports Pro Evolution Soccer 2020 yo give it its incredibly long title, has already been released - but FIFA 20 isn't due to drop until later in the month.
But plenty of reviewers have been piling in with their thoughts on the demos.
Pro Evolution Soccer has always beaten FIFA when it comes to gameplay, and this year is no different. FIFA has stayed true to its more arcadey style, where tricks, flicks and overall pace play a huge factor in the outcome of the game - which makes it more accessible for new players.
This year FIFA has introduced 'Football intelligence' which has created more realistic movement for all players on the pitch. There's also been improvements to strafe dribbling, controller tackling, set pieces and composed Finishing.
Eurogamer says: "There are a couple of occasions where the new ball physics come into play with more realistic trajectories and some more bounce, tackling looks more robust and I get the sense fast players are able to get away from defenders now, but beyond that nothing in particular stands out."
PES 2020 has improved on their more realistic approach to gameplay. As well as an all new camera angle which makes you feel like you're actually watching a live game, the new Finesse Dribble system gives flair players like Messi an extra edge as they can now shimmy their way past defenders like never before.
This comes in handy as the defensive A.I has been dramatically improved, making it harder to score a goal, yet it never feels unfair. Perhaps the most noticeable improvement to PES 19 players will be a gameplay element called 'miss-kicks' which adds player errors which would happen in real life. This massively reduced the ability to use ping-pong passing and makes you consider you actions more carefully.
Gamesradar's verdict is: "For the most part, eFootball PES 2020 offers up a faithful replication of the beautiful game. It's easily the most realistic and immersive PES to date, at least offline, with new features such as the 'Stadium' camera and various gameplay enhancements proving key additions."
FIFA has always been the better looking of the football sims, that is, until now. PES have been upping their game each year, and now they've even managed to pip EA to the post in some of their player models. Recently, Konami announced that it had partnered with some of the biggest football teams in the world including Juventus, Manchester United and Barcelona.
This doesn't just mean that they've now got their official team names, crests and kits though as a statement on their website reads:
"In addition, the development team has been granted in-depth access to the players themselves, via full-body 3D scan, in order to recreate their likeliness in the game as accurately as possible."
There are some players that haven't been scanned yet, which still look much better in FIFA, but the distance between the two has now been closed.
FIFA has always had a much bigger selection of licenses, which is a major reason as to why they always sell more. Some players just don't want to play as Man Red in the Trad Brick stadium, and that's fair enough. After Pro Evo lost the rights to the Champions League to FIFA, many people assume they'd be dead and buried.
However, this year PES has fought back, stealing the exclusive rights to Juventus from EA Sports, and also gaining the rights for Euro 2020. FIFA still wins this category hands down.
In attempt to freshen up the franchise, EA Sports have introduced FIFA Street-esque VOLTA mode in FIFA 20.
EA describes it as, "a brand-new style of gameplay grounded in football realism which immerses players in the flow of the street with new tools including simplified flicks and skill moves, new flair animations, or using the wall as a teammate."
Players will be able to play three vs three Rush (no GKs), four vs four, four vs four rush, five vs five and professional futsal.
PES doesn't seem to have any new modes to note, however, it has made massive improvements to the offline Master League mode, including cut scenes, manager models and improved transfers.
So Which is Best? FIFA 20 or PES 2020?
Without a doubt, FIFA 20 will sell more copies than PES 2020, however this is the closest PES has come so far to convincing people to jump ship. If you love Ultimate Team and the arcade feel of FIFA then you don't have any reason to switch, as it'll be vastly superior online.
But if you want a chance of pace however and want to enjoy a more tactical experience, then PES is more than worth a look in.
A game of two halves? Absolutely. And probably one that's set for extra time and maybe even penalties.
Featured Image Credit: Konami / EA Sports
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