… 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.
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.