The eFootball PES 2020 Demo has landed

… and the title is the last time I will ever refer to this game by that accursed name. Except when I want to rage or titter about the onlineification of PES or suchlike. Then I’ll be busting out the hilarious eQuips…

Otherwise, it’s plain old PES2020 from now on.

I grabbed the PES2020 demo from the New Zealand store on Monday afternoon. In your Game Library and your USB Sticks, the game is now filed under the letter ‘e’ for eFootball instead of ‘p’ for PES. Which neatly moves it alphabetically ahead, by one letter, of its famous rival that starts with ‘f’. Hmmm.

First of all, this:

Has it ever been red before? Is it red for confidence or for danger? Could go either way, this one. I’ll say it now: PES2020 might end up as half-built on release as PES2014 was. Mainly due to the shockingly bad AI, but I’ll get to that.

Straight into the menus and the traditional early pissing about. I noticed that the single-player demo was called PES2020, and the online multiplayer demo was called eFootball. I’d be happy if that was a deliberate policy and a signal of exactly how this whole eThing is going to be played by Konami. Keep eStuff out there. Keep PES in here.

Before my first match I stopped off in Personal Settings and tweaked things to my liking, like so:

Purple (mauve?) is the colour of PES2020. I don’t mind it.

A word on the menus and general design logic: it’s exactly the same, everywhere. Which doesn’t surprise or disappoint me. There was no massive wholesale redesign in the works. No one connected with Konami or PES Productions ever said there was.

I’m nearly always happy with a PES demo. After a year of plugging away at the previous PES, a fresh PES always feels, uh, fresh…

And I’m happy enough with this one, overall, but there are some worries that are exceptionally worrying.

I posted my first two matches in comments on the last thread, where discussion was very interesting about the AI in PES2019. Those two matches are here and here.

The first match shows me discovering one of the best things about PES2020: the new Stadium camera. I fiddled with it to get it looking like this:Easily the best camera view in any PES since the Golden Age PS2 days. FIFA, of course, has never not had this camera view (among many others), so our rejoicing should be relative.

Passing and shooting feel different, as they should. Lots of error in passing now. I was confused at first, but slowly got the hang of it, and started to like it. The classic way of a new PES.

My perennial nuPES bugbears: the lack of AI fouls, and the lack of long-rangers. I’m still bugbeared on both counts.

There are AI fouls in this demo, but I’ll be surprised if they make it to the final release game. And even if they do, they’ll be progressively patched out as the year unfolds.

And long-rangers: late last night I stuck the game on Beginner and played two back-to-back matches, something of a home-run derby for long-rangers. Could I score a long-ranger? Nope. I predict skullduggery here too. The wearisome fact is that PES2020 can’t be allowed to have long-rangers, or it would unbalance the online side of things.

Here’s the final game I played last night, on Superstar, me as Juventus vs Vasco da Gama:

This PES2020 Demo AI is the worst I have ever faced in a PES.

Passive, dozy, dopey, no threat, no challenge, just a great steaming pile of nothing. It’s not so much that it does bad things. It’s that it does NO THINGS.

I’m not sure I conceded a goal in any of my matches. I must have conceded. I think I did? But there was no sense of ‘AI That We Need’ about this AI.

On this showing, PES2020’s AI reminded me of the PES2014 AI on release, which was a disaster for the series that it is still trying to recover from.

So that’s the demo. I’d give it an encouraging 7/10 for the novelty factor. And assume that the release version will feature an actual AI worth playing against.

So-called ‘Pro’ players are already chipping away at Konami to get all the good bits removed or ‘toned down’ (i.e., removed). It is a 100% certainty that they will have their way. In a sane world ‘Pro’ players would be the last people anyone would listen to. In this world they’re the only people who ever get listened to. So let’s enjoy the AI fouls and passing errors in the demo while we can.

Updated: 30th July 2019 — 11:42


  1. Turf – Mac over PC for reliability and seamless workflow any and every day.
    They just work, also you can get MS office (word, PPT, excel etc) for mac, or even just install parallels VM on the mac and run windows and any PC apps you want inside that, again seamless.

    If you have an apple tv you can airplay from a mac to that so can work on the big screen, good for presentations etc.

    I actually ditched my iphone 6 months ago and switched to the Samsung Galaxy S10, as was fed up of being tied into apples ecosystem and paying £1200 for a phone that apple wouldn’t let me customise in any way shape or form.

    But a mac over Pc every time.

  2. turf – If it’s predominantly going to be used for word processor stuff, documents etc then do you really need the extra outlay for a macbook?

  3. Uncle Turf – you can get Microsoft Office for Macs and it works wonderfully. It’s a stubborn myth that Macs have their own file system (and a one-button mouse). Not true at all. I’ve got an MS Office installation on this very computer and it’s better than on Windows IMO. Get a Macbook Air if you’re budgeting, or just blow the kids’ inheritance on a maxed-out Pro! On the down side, it’s true that for what you’ll spend on even a second-hand Mac, you can get a much higher-specced Windows machine, faster processor, more RAM etc.

    Tommy – finding manual much harder on the PES2020 demo than on PES2019, mainly due to the camera making all the angles seem awkward. See my vid in today’s post for signs that I can acclimatise to it though. I love the idea of Manual (feels like hardcore, Dwarf Fortress-style levels of footy gaming) but I’m dubious about it being a long-term thing. Only 50/50 dubious though and I’d never have said that a week ago. When a Manual move comes off it’s incredibly satisfying.

    Paul – that’s what’s always stopped me as well – the sight and the feel of playing a simple pass 5 yards into touch, is always incredibly deflating and has always sent me back to Assisted of some sort. But that’s usually in a match that means something in my CCFC ML. Now, it’s the silly season and I’ve persisted this time, with some different results and feelings.

    Just finishing off today’s post and will be over for a look at yours – I see a replay up there that I’ll want to watch. Many thanks for the kit! I did put one of your old ones on Arsenal in the PC demo but the bloody game wouldn’t let me use it in a match?

  4. No worries NG, I added Covs real away and GK kits for this coming season too if you want those they are all up on PESFX.

    I loaded a kit on to Arsenal in the demo too but was miffed you cant choose it in game, they added edit mode in the demo seemingly purely so that creators can get option fies out for day one, and check it looks all ok on the models in game.

    seems PES Universe are the only ones doing a day one OF this year, and they charge. PESworld aren’t doing theirs anymore.

  5. Thanks, I didn’t know that about getting Office for Mac – I’ve read a few vs guides and don’t recall seeing that, they just mention keynote, etc. I do ask this sort of question regularly but have never taken the plunge. I wonder about using Cloud services and all that kind of do I want a Chromebook type of thing but i always retreat back to my locally saved old Dobbin Windows effort.

    Tommy – yes, but I’ve got one eye on whatever comes next with this. I didn’t need to think when doing the thesis as I knew I would only ever be reading pdfs, typing and the odd end of year conference slideshow. Working from home now on this data stuff is making me increasingly frustrated with sudden stops in Excel, or unexplained slow downs. It is largely a cost justification – could I get the most high powered bomb proof PC for an entry level Mac price or would I still suffer the familiar irritations (which I have so little knowledge of how to fix).

    If they were the same price I guess it would be obvious what I want.

  6. Uncle Turf – a Mac’s working life is typically double, or even treble, that of a PC, something that I can personally testify to. A classic cheap or mid-range Windows PC is effectively furniture after 2-3 years, while any Mac is still going strong 5 or 10 years later. Source: my 2009 iMac, which I have hacked to run the latest MacOS (Mojave) and am typing on right now. So the cost is worth the extra years of life, and they’re good years too. A good upper-spec Windows PC is of course upgradeable too and can be kept going. It might come down to which OS you prefer and I have to say, MacOS is the best I’ve ever used. It’s got that iOS-style gloss to it, and I do wish we’d kept the old OS X feel and branding, but… it’s still fantastic. Speaking as someone who’s dallied with Windows and many flavours of Linux over the past 6 months. I like Windows and Linux, but MacOS is the OS that ‘disappears’ in use. In the good way of course.

  7. You’re adding to the argument…I’m looking at refurbs from reputable resellers and the Apple store itself as I’ve read plenty of decent comments. Some of these start getting the prices within a couple of hundred quid, even more depending on what I want. My slight concern is my dwindling eyesight and perhaps the need for a huge screen at some point in my life.

  8. Uncle Turf – I bought a preowned Mac Mini from Hoxton Macs a year or so ago and it arrived like new and has been excellent. I swapped an SSD into it though, which I assume you won’t be able to do, so do NOT buy a preowned Mac without an SSD in it. SSD being the solid state drive of course. Any sign of a HDD (old-school spinny-disc hard drive) and do not touch it with a bargepole. Sorry for the spinny-disc terminology, I don’t know what you don’t know, etc.

    TL;DR: Hoxton Macs were reliable for me, but in this day and age DON’T get any Mac (or PC for that matter) with a regular old HDD in it.

  9. Turf – if you do decide to go for a mac, let me know your budget, a mate of mine works for a mac reseller (new & refurb) and may be able to get you a decent price.

    I bought my dad a 2013 macbook off ebay last year, he just watches netflix and films and browses the web, was about £450 at the time, its now 6+ years old and still boots up within 30 secs of opening the lid, old spinny HDD and all.

    SSD is definitely the way though as NG said. my 2018 Macbook pro with touch bar from being cold powered down, to fully loaded, ready to launch any app instantly, takes 4 seconds.

    Good thing about macs too, is the powernap feature, meaning any updates are done in the background silently even when the mac is put to sleep. None of this infuriating windows updates routines that cripple your pc and make it unusable for an hour plus.

  10. Paul – my beloved 2009 iMac still has its original HDD from 10 (TEN) years ago in it, and still works fine as well, even on Mojave. Waking from sleep to a useable state can take a couple of minutes, but that’s the only real symptom of age. The Core 2 Duo processor just chugs along, doing its thing. I upgraded the RAM to the model’s maximum 8GB which helps it out. HDD diagnostics indicate there’s still plenty of life left in the HDD too, no sign of any failing sectors etc. Mechanical HDDs can go anytime of course, but at this stage I’m curious to see just how long it can go for. I have a vision of this iMac being like one of those 1950s fridges you sometimes see in the news as still working today. I bought an SSD to put in it a year ago but still have it on ice, waiting, because I’m curious (and the iMac SSD upgrade is a pain too of course). Behind all the gloss and slickness, Macs are the solid Russian tanks of computers.

  11. NG – They are more expensive of course but as you rightly said, can last 2 or 3 times the lifespan of a equivalent PC, so balances it out overall.

    That will be a tricky job replacing the HDD with an SSD as you have to remove the screen and all its components.

  12. Paul – I ended up having to disassemble the entire Mac Mini to put the SSD in, as the existing HDD was in the lower of two drive bays beneath the motherboard. That was a stressful hour but I did it and a Mac Mini is a nice backup machine to have. The iMac SSD upgrade looks tough which is why I’m holding out with curiosity to see how long the HDD in it lasts for.

    My year or so of journeying through other OSes brought me back to Mac, inevitably. 10 years of OSX and lately MacOS, and I think I’ve had one single kernel panic on my first MBP, once. Linux of course has gone tits-up on me quite often, but that’s part of the interest of Linux. In about 6 months of my Windows laptop it’s BSOD’d roughly once a month. (Problem tracked to Google Chrome and how it handles memory in Windows.) If I want to play with my computer, I’ll boot up Windows or Linux. When I need my computer to be invisible, it’s Mac. For someone who doesn’t want to bother with tinkering and ‘just work’, Mac and iOS are both no-brainers.

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