What’s the name of the game

I’m still in the process of pre-ordering my copy of PES2020. And here is a sight to warm the cockles. Searching Simply Games for ‘efootball’ produces the result you can see here. Zilch. Nothing.

Sadly, searching ‘e football’, with a space, does produce the PES2020 result. Boooo.

That gap between ‘e’ and ‘football’ is as strange to me as the one that so many people put between ‘PES’ and its year. I will always render the name of the game as PES2019, for example, whereas the majority seem to prefer ‘PES 2019’. I don’t know which is right and which is wrong or why. I only know what I like.

(P.S. I still haven’t preordered. I’m dithering this year over whether to go PC or stick with console. It’ll almost certainly still be console, but I’m allowing myself the luxury of taking time to choose.)

I’ve played another few demo matches, and that is now the end of the demo for me. The only reason I will now put on the PES2020 demo, on any platform, for the rest of time, is if somebody discovers an Easter egg of some type hidden in the code, which is of course most likely on the PC platform.

The 5-minute demo on the PS4 is no longer of interest. So I now wait with the rest of the PES-facing world to see just what disfigurement Konami can wreak on PES2020 between now and September 10th (or thereabouts).

It’s a shame that this is the outcome so many times when taking a shot from outside the box.

HitThePostOrBarFromRange2020 would still be a better name than eFootball.

I’ve continued my manual passing and shooting experiment on PES2019. My Cercle Brugge career is now well into Season 17 within the Master League world as a whole. I was with Coventry until the end of Season 15 of course.

I swooped for Jarvis from my old club, picked up Emre Can from my own Youths, and got myself a few other journeymen. I’m enjoying it.

In another innovation, I have started playing with drastically reduced HUD elements. I saw a South American YouTuber muttering in Portuguese over footage of his own beloved Master League. He had turned off every single screen overlay, including the scores.

I have not gone that far. Here’s mine below. My player is just in the act of making a pass:Scoreboard top-left. Translucent radar bottom-middle. Nothing else. The strategy and ATT/DEF level markers appear for a couple of seconds when changed. It’s enough.

I couldn’t do without the scoreboard and radar. I like to orient myself within a match in time and space.

The biggest change here is the elimination of all on-screen power bars for passing and shooting. Remember the fuss when the little arced power bar first made its appearance in PES2011? ‘Surely they can’t stick with this,’ we complained. ‘It looks stupid,’ we grumbled.

Funny how quickly that under-player power bar became part and parcel of the visual grammar of football gaming. Doing away with it feels like a pleasing step back to classic PES days. And truth be told, our passing and shooting nous is all in the fingers anyway.

As a pleasing bonus, removing the on-screen power bar also removes it from the Free Kick view, making a system that at times is a touch on the easy side, that bit much harder. Since removing the HUD power bar I’ve got about 10 free kicks in shooting positions on the PES2020 Demo and on PES2019, and have fluffed them all. Normally I’d have scored about 3 or 4 of them.

My manual passing and shooting experiment is starting to wane a little. I am still relishing the sheer bloody difficulty of it, but it does take the wind out of my sails to work a great chance only for my 20-year muscle memory to take over and cause me to hit the corner flag with the resulting shot.

Here is a full 10-minute match, full manual, reduced HUD:

It’s all a matter of training of course. Sticking with it.

I’m in two minds here. On the one hand, PES on manual settings is fantastically hard and rewarding when it comes off, like a footy game Dwarf Fortress. On the other hand, I know that come mid-September, with the evenings drawing in, I’ll want the pipe-and-slippers experience of having my normal Master League trajectory…

I’ll see how it all goes.

Updated: 6th August 2019 — 10:23


  1. NG – I would be interested to know if others use the power bar as I never look at it. Passing and shooting are all about feel for me. Plus with assistance on your commands are overridden and as a result the power bar remains a mystery to me. Never considered turning it off though.

  2. Darryl – I’m not sure anyone does use the power bars for passing and shooting in the ordinary way of things. The only part of the game where I notice myself missing a definite use-case is for free kicks. Even there it’s still all in the fingers. I think we just got used to them visually.

    They’re easy to turn off via Match Screen settings. Very pleasant to have that classic feel in 2019. It strikes me that it’s weird I’ve only got around to doing this now.

  3. That was my feeling last year. I toyed with manual in the off-season but in the end I took the easy route. Yet again I was D1 champ in 5-6 seasons and slower progression is what I crave, so I’m going to commit to manual this year. Will it be as enjoyable? Will I stick with it? Unknown. I need a full season without retreating back to assisted in order to know if it’s for me, or not.

    Everyone is different. Do what feels best for you.

  4. Tommy – I put on the PC PES2020 demo yesterday and played a few on PA1 and Basic again and it felt so good to just put some moves together and finish off with a meaningful shot. Then I went back on my PA0/Manual PES2019 Cercle Brugge, and here it felt rewarding to sweat a bit to create chances (which then nearly all went embarrassingly wide – I find my shooting muscle memory kicks in at the crucial moment no matter how much I want to remember not to).

    So I’m currently 50-50 on it. I did try the ‘Lloyd Settings’ (PA0 passing/Assisted Shooting) but i think it’s got to be one or the other for me.

    I will be sticking with minimal HUD though. It’s very pleasant.

  5. I’ve played no more than a handful of matches on the demo and won’t be playing any more. I have so little faith that the changes made – and there will be changes – to the final game will be to my liking that I feel rather flat about it all. I certainly have no intention of pre-ordering at this stage.

    My summer of PS2 PES continues. I’ve played PES5 (no space there, see), PES6, PES 2008 (a space here though), PES 2009 and PES 2011 – all PS2 versions on my trusty old slimline console.

    PES5 is great of course. PES6 is fun as is PES 2008. PES 2011 (PS2) seemed like a winner for a while what with its PS3 gen ML on proper PS2 PES but, no, I’m back with PES5. This game not only feels like home but it’s definitely the most balanced PES ever made in every way.

    Looking at my memory card, I noticed that my original PES5 ML (I used to edit my own version of Brighton’s squad back then rather than use the defaults) only lasted seven seasons. I think this was due to mini-Shed being in his terrible twos at the time.

    I’m now in season eight of my ‘proper’ defaults ML with Brighton defending league champions. My slightly ageing squad is struggling to keep up with ‘invincibles’ Arsenal at the top who are indeed unbeaten after eight league games and already ten points clear of my fourth placed Seagulls.

  6. I played a game and tried to see if I used the power bar consciously.
    Looks to be only for through balls, rest of the time it is just timed. Set pieces I just stop it around 70-80%, funny thing muscle memory.

  7. Just started new ML with my beloved Man United with manual (advanced shooting) controls on professional level – and to be honest? I like what I see, game is so way more realistic, all those bad passes, lost possessions, just feels good, really good.
    But probably I will comeback to PA1 with new PES as I am planning to play more MyClub this time. Please, don’t kick my ass for it, but I really want to try to get into this mode this time. We will see for how long I can stay with this ambition.

  8. tried going full manual many times over the years, all the way back to FIFA09, but still not 100% convinced – it certainly adds an extra layer of difficulty to the games but for me in a rather artificial way, like holding the controller upside down or half shutting your eyes. The skill of being able to shift the left stick to exactly the right point on a 360 degree spectrum is a useful one but not really connected to the other key skills of timing, technique, using the players’ individual abilities, spotting space opening up a few passes ahead etc

    Lloyd – did like your last video; putting Rice up front in his testimonial and scoring a couple of goals with him to round off his fine career was a lovely touch

  9. No Manual for me, ever. Just so counter intuitive and opposite to what I want from gaming. The limited time I have I want to pick the game up and play, PES is very contextual anyway so based on players stats, players will pass, move run, shoot in different ways based on their stats, manual removes all that, plus the learning curve and retraining of muscle memory to adapt to manual, the gaming year would be half over by that point.

    If the game plays right and the mechanics are solid then theres no need for manual, there’s no extra kudos or entitlement attached with playing full manual.

    If you win every single match on Legendary and find the game too easy and need another layer of difficulty then manual is an option, im far from that place though.

  10. Abbeyhill – had to give him a good send off. Probably my favorite player since the Legend that is Sibon

  11. Manual doesn’t remove all stats, that’s a very ignorant view. Stats are very apparent in manual, you notice when a player has higher stats in a particular area. Errors are down to the user, and the system needs to be learnt. You can’t just try it occasionally and decide that it’s broken. If anything passing assistance negates stats more as everything is laser-guided, but I wouldn’t really say one system is that different from the other.

  12. Tommy – having played every single pes ever released over the last 15+ years and having tried every control mechanic available I hardly think my views are ignorant.
    I also never said manual was broken, I just said its not for me as I want to be able to pick a game up, within my limited time i get to play, and if I have Modric, I want to be able to pass like modric, with accuracy like Modric, I don’t want to be spending all my time learning a manual control scheme just to be able to complete a 10 yard pass accurately.

    Big difference.

    Manual is great if that’s what you enjoy, it’s not broken, I never said it was, just said for me, and my personal preference, isn’t something I ever have any interest in using, except for the odd L2 manual raking pass down the wing into space.

  13. Paul – Yes I get what you was meaning. I think it was 2015 when the game went down the contextual route and the game overrides your imputs,so you really have no control, for example with the type of shot you pull off. Manual is like the argument for Brexit and taking back control. The two don’t go together. I preferred football games when there was no such thing as pass assistance levels and totally agree that a good game shouldn’t need to have them.

  14. abbes – it might shock you to learn that I played myClub a lot in PES2018, and a little in PES2019, and I would say of the mode: I do like it. It’s very well put together and has much more of Master League’s DNA in it than many of its followers are aware. It could do with being a lot slower to grow a good team. You should only get a single top rated player after a lot of graft, but of course you can have a great First XI pretty much straight out of the box. And the online community is at times… challenging. In the mental health sense.

    abbeyhill/Tommy/Paul – PES on Professional difficulty with all-manual settings is a pretty great football game in its own right. re. the difficulty of it, much depends on the camera, and I do find that there are noticeable stats-based differences between the players. Although I have to say it’s bloody hard work. A session last night back on my old PA1/Basic settings was like returning home, felt brilliant just to knock the ball around and have ‘proper’ shots again (on Superstar – the fact you can get a great game on Professional is one of manual’s secret strengths). Stil 50/50 on the future of manual for me. It think it’s likely to be an end-of-year thing as it looks like a weeks-or-months-long learning curve, and I can’t see myself wanting to go through that and begin PES2020.

  15. I’m going to say it because nobody else has, semi assist on Fifa is the perfect balance between manual and assisted. There are 4 pass assist settings on Pro Evo but they aren’t scaled equally. Probably to keep the online button mashers happy.

  16. Cook – I play with semi assist on FIFA and find it much more balanced too, only play online against semi assist players too, leads to a lot more turnovers in possession due to the pass error.

    Was relegated from Divison 4 last night, after dominating pretty much every match in terms of possession, shots, corners, etc, but up in the higher divisions 90% of players play custom formations of all out defence, they choose teams with 3 very fast attackers and its a rinse and repeat of pack the box out so you cant get in or get a long shot off, then hoof the ball to an attacker who uses pace and dribbles in at goal, very hard to combat.

    I’ve deleted the PES20 demo, wont play it again until release.

    Darryl – At least you had the cohesion to read my post properly.

  17. Cook — I mentioned FIFA as the originator of the passing assistance thing, and the best at doing it too, because it offers all the fine gradations of the feature, from the ‘master setting’ of Semi-Assisted all the way to the various slider options that affect it as well. PES2020’s steps in this direction with the increased passing error on PA1, even if that survives to retail and beyond (a 10% chance at best), is just a fraction of what FIFA has done in this area since 2008.

    Paul — PES2020 demo well and truly done here too. Crazy that the first copies will start landing on doormats as soon as four weeks tomorrow. The Tuesday release this year makes this quite unpredictable of course. To meet previous years’ service, the likes of Simply Games would have to dispatch on Friday 6th September, or even on the Thursday — but when will they and other retailers get their stock? If Konami want to be awkward and ensure that release week is release week, they’ll arrange stock deliveries for Monday 9th… But that eliminates the safety buffer that retailers and publishers like to have, so it seems certain that stock must be delivered the week before…. Going to be a very interesting week, that week before. I think stock will be delivered Wed 4th and they’ll all start dispatching Thursday 5th. I kind of hope not, as I’ll be at work all that weekend.

  18. I would rather see one of them have a gap year and get the game out in time for the start of the football season. I think that would be a better marketing coup than sticking a letter on the front of the title.

  19. NG – Yeah think thats the only way it can work really, the retailers would never have time to ship out if stock didnt arrive until monday.

    from my time working at Argos head office years ago, stores would get new video games around 3 days before release, which was usually a Friday. Was always interesting seeing which stores had put copies through the tills early and broken street dates, some idiots even used their staff discount so was trackable to an individual.

    I remember Microsoft coming down heavy on them as they broke Halo’s street date.
    Reduced stock, delayed stock and fines I think they threatened.

    I will probably just wait until the weekend after release and pop down to Game and pick it up, maybe trade a few other games I dont play and get 20 quid off.

  20. That’s the demo done for me as well. It’s grown on me quite nicely, I like it. Just read a konami tweet though that fouls will be “addressed” because of “user feedback”. We all know what that means. The lack of vision or faith is alarming over at konami. In contrast I really liked EA’s approach post-release last year which basically came down to “learn the game, we’re sticking to our guns”.

  21. #1 – Saw that and replied, lots of comments on that tweet saying do not change the fouls, its fine, and people need to learn the jostle/tackle timing properly so we will see what they do!

  22. Paul – that caught me eye as well. Quite encouraging! Though it would be absolutely hilarious if konami changed course again based on THAT feedback. Calling for those sliders again….

  23. Fouls by the AI are so few anyway, they’ll be back to 1 per match after all this. The same happened last year, but worse, with the PES2019 demo featuring 5-6 AI fouls per 5 minute match, sometimes. The full game of course was more or less back to the nuPES standard. Oh, and visual fatigue was watered down, and then progressively so as the year and the patches wore on.

    The online multiplayer side will always, always win this battle. It was lost before it even started. There was never any prospect of the fouls surviving the demo. There is a chance of the PA1 passing and shooting error making it, as the ‘Pro’ players all use PA3 and they don’t care about it as much. And they only ever shoot from 2 yards anyway. And they smell.

  24. I’d be quite happy if they fine tuned the fouls a tiny bit in that currently, fouls are given for nothing, any physical coming together is called a foul usually, this needs refinement, as theres physical jostling in matches in real life without there being a foul called, as it stands it nullifies the strength stats, as you cant use strength as you always concede a foul, and obviously the number of fouls conceded by the AI needs tweaking to be increased.

    Obviously though none of this will happen, they’ll just blanket reduce fouls.

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