PES 2020 – Gamescom Impressions


So I was lucky enough to be invited to Gamescom 2019 this week. It was an amazing experience full of great gaming moments. I know you guys want to hear all about PES 2020 so I’ll get straight into it! But first, I personally would like to thank everyone who has ever supported PESUniverse and helped us to grow. It’s great to see so much interaction and for all those who sent me messages or asked questions, I hope you enjoyed the coverage and I’ll try to answer any remaining questions in this article!

Let’s get into it.

So the Gamescom build is a slightly updated build compared to the downloadable demo that was released a while back. I say slightly because this build is more a refinement of what we’ve all played in the demo at home. Germany, Schalke and France make up the new teams on show and the PES Legends make another appearance in this build. The match time can be adjusted to 10 minutes. The demo also featured new mode Match Day. Overall, there were some small subtle things I noticed in my play time but the good areas of the game have remained pretty much the same.

This is hugely positive in my opinion. Oftentimes in the past, the direction has been changed late in development which affects the best things that actually exist in earlier builds. I was delighted to feel and see that the core gameplay mechanics felt similarly balanced. Pace, passing, shooting and defending all felt similar to the E3 build I had played back in June and the main demo that we’ve all downloaded. However, the refined tweaks I mentioned added to the flow of the game in a great way.

When I mention flow, I mean the way the game switches from attack/defend with each possession and how the game handles going through the animations. The overall feel of each play occurs more naturally and the game encourages different play styles very well. It’s not a massive change from what we have all played at home in the demo but I did notice one or two differences in my play time such as more variety in passing error and first touch error. It’s subtle enough that unless you’ve played a few hundred games you might not see it but it’s also great to know that the main areas of the game are being left alone with only small, subtle tweaks being adjusted.

The pace is the biggest thing for me. I’ve fed back for years that PES needs to embrace its simulation roots, add a skill gap and balance overpowered gameplay mechanics throughout a titles life cycle. We recently conducted a survey asking people to rate the pace of the game. Over 3,000 people answered the survey and 88% of those were happy with PES 2020’s overall pace on the pitch. This build upholds the pace evident in the downloadable demo. The speed of the game defines a lot of various factors especially defending. Defending is as important as other other area of the game. In fact, many asked about defending and the refs.

I thought the ref let some tackles go in this build that they wouldn’t in the downloadable demo while others thought they were pretty much the same. It’s a tough one to put under the microscope at an event like Gamescom. Saying that, it’s important we keep an eye on the the refs as we head towards release. Another area of discussion is defending which I personally think is spot on this year. I think people are just not learning the mechanics but my opinion is my opinion. It’s not definitive and could differ from yours. Defending in PES 2020 is difficult. It’s a challenge to win a ball cleanly as it is now a manual process rather than PES 2019’s automatic style of dispossessing. This has frustrated people who were used to holding a button and winning the ball.

Yes, the refs still need a slight bit of work and the collision system can sometimes mean you give away a free when you shouldn’t (refs seemed slightly better though) but both don’t define the actual outcome of a game. It’s not like you’ll concede a goal a game because of either aspect.

People are going to have to learn to defend – simple as that. And think about their positioning. You can no longer leave gaps and chase the ball. Admittedly, you couldn’t do this in PES 2019 either but players who didn’t defend well were helped by the homing missile AI. Not this year. This year, you’ll get massively punished especially by patient players who are good at the game.

One things we can all agree on is that there is definitely a skill gap in eFootball PES 2020 and players looking to step up their game to the next level will not be able to rely on filling their team with superstars and sprinting through an opponent. France were simply incredible to play with and against. Mbappe and Dembele playing off of Griezmann was such a joy. However, when playing against them, I never felt helpless because of their pure speed and agility. I defended the space and played deeper than usual but if you are prepared to stay alert and watch for gaps on every attack, you’ll be rewarded.

PES always enables fast players to have an advantage but this is the first year since PES 2013 that I’ve felt Messi will be as big an asset as Ronaldo. Kante was probably the best DMF in myClub last year because of his pace but he gets dominated against a tall stopper like Javi Martinez. If that differentiation stays in myClub, we’ll have a lot of options for starting XI’s. If you’ve played enough of the downloadable demo at home, you don’t need me to tell you how the game plays or feels. Chances are you have played a lot of games so you know how the game flows. What I will say though is that this gamescom build flows better. It’s hard to explain it.

There are still niggles that can be improved but the gameplay is at a high point this year. Some people would like the game to become so realistic that they would want to see player hydration incorporated throughout the game. While others want to get the ball with Messi and score a goal every possession. The key is finding that ideal balance between those two sets of fans. One way to achieve this is to create some fundamental core gameplay mechanics and I think PES 2020 succeeds here. The challenging defending might alienate some people but adding skilled, challenging gameplay also brings in new players also. I played all of my games on pass assist 1 and this is where PES truly shines. 

Some people will want an extra helping hand and will turn to pass assist 2 & 3 online. The game plays so much better at pass assist 1 and that’s not even a purists opinion. Everyone over at the event agreed that the variety in gameplay improved each match so I hope it becomes the default setting for most players. It gives you that extra bit of freedom to make a killer pass. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to get in touch!

Check out some exclusive screens below!


  1. Keep up the good work…thanks for feeding this back. I’ve been a fifa player for years but after playing the demo this has me sold. I played the fifa beta and it’s the same old in my opinion, pes demo blew me away. Can’t wait to get your option file up and running! 😁

  2. I’m in the same boat as Andrew Jones (above). I’ve been playing FIFA career mode for the last 8 years and it’s never really improved that much. I bought both games last year for the first time and really liked PES, this year I will be officially dumping FIFA. After playing the PES 2020 demo I was blown away, whereas the FIFA career mode BETA was really disappointing. So looking forward to PES, only two weeks to go 🙂

    Keep up the great work PES Universe.

  3. Wow. What can I say? This year is going to be special. I haven’t been this hyped for a long time.
    Thanks to all at PesUniverse for your efforts and I am very happy to be part of this community. Roll on 10th September.

  4. Will be joining the PES community this year. Played FIFA since it’s inception in 1994. I have also played the odd PES game over the years and when it was ISS. I just feel this year PES has me genuinely excited. Watching yours (The Midnight Kid) and The True Brits (Ricky)’s content, it has got me hooked.
    1 Question: If you get chance to speak to Konami, could you ask them to change the audio of the Ref’s whistle as it sounds like Thomas the Tank Engine’s whistle….lol
    Keep up the good work and I will promote PESUniverse on my channel as you guys deserve it.