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eFootball PES 2020: Data Pack 4.0 Impressions

eFootball PES 2020

eFootball PES 2020: Data Pack 4.0 Impressions

While many of us were busy with Valentine’s Day activities, Konami continued its post-release support of eFootball PES 2020 by releasing Data Pack 4.0. While the good majority of updates were cosmetic items such as new kits, boots and faces, there were a few gameplay updates sprinkled in too. As always, this infamous Konami note was in the patch notes:

“A variety of minor adjustments have been made to each mode to improve the overall gaming experience.”

This late in the release cycle I don’t expect to get major gameplay updates, but there’s still room to improve PES 2020 before next year’s iteration. So the question is, does PES 2020 play better after Data Pack 4.0?

The answer is a resounding yes.

As soon as the ref blew the kickoff whistle, I felt an immediate change in the game’s pace of play. It was more in line with the widely popular demo. At first I thought the speed difference was a result of playing a lot of FIFA Pro Clubs as of late, but as the matches accumulated, I felt a noticeable difference in the pace of play.

The game feels slowed down to a more realistic pace. Due to that change, there seems to be less open space, which is a PES legacy issue. Certain areas on the pitch, like the midfield, have felt more congested resulting in less time on the ball. This means the breakneck end-to-end action, a trademark of PES, has been reduced and only really surfaces when the game becomes stretched.

More Varied Attacking AI – PES Data Pack Impressions

In tune with a more realistic pace of play, the AI attacking is much more varied and patient:

Above, Liverpool (AI-controlled) wins the ball back after a deflected pass. As is often the case in real life, their midfielders then look to switch the play to the opposite fullback, stretching the opposition defense out wide. After a bit of quick 1-2 passing by Andy Robertson and Georginio Wijnaldum, the cross is inevitably blocked. Still, there is some nice patience exhibited by the AI in its build-up. Instead of consistently bombing down the flanks, the AI goes from attacking centrally to wide in a matter of seconds.

Again, here is another example of some patient AI play. After I (controlling Atalanta) cleared the ensuing corner kick, the AI-controlled Valencia collects the clearance. From there, instead of attempting a volley, something that occurred 100 percent of the time in this scenario in the past, the AI collects the ball, probes the defense — first via the dribble — and recognizes that I have nine defenders behind the ball:

pes data pack impressions

Instead of forcing the issue, either with a crossed ball into the box or an attempt at a through ball, the AI pays the ball until the attack finally fizzles out when a player is dispossessed. Little passages of play like this don’t seem like a lot and often go unnoticed, but it’s the little things that lead to better and more organic gameplay.

Better AI Awareness – PES Data Pack Impressions

Another noticeable improvement is AI awareness, specifically focusing more attention on the relationship between positional awareness and action. In the next clip, I attempt to play the ball out of the back, perhaps a bit too confidently considering the update to manual passing in this update:

Here’s a CB attempting to play a pass with his weak foot on the ground in the middle of the park to a center attacking midfielder retreating deep to collect it. Valencia, not pressing particularly high and still trying to regain defensive shape, recognize the lackadaisical pass and pounce on it.

Pre-patch, the Valencia player who intercepted the pass would have stayed glued to his position, not recognizing the pass. Post-patch, he picks up the ball and is immediately in on goal. The attack fizzles out, as most attacks do, due to an over-hit pass (another minor tweak — more realistic AI passing error).

Perhaps my favorite example of the increased AI awareness is exhibited here:

Again, it’s me controlling Atalanta (in blue/black stripes) and on the attack utilizing the width and flexibility of their 3-4-1-2 system. As the Atalanta attacker holds off the Valencia defender and plays a pass around Valencia’s Geoffrey Kondogbia (#6 in white), we’re bearing down on goal with three passing options for Atalanta’s Marten de Roon:

As I take the least risky passing option, the pass to the feet of Papu Gomez, our right midfielder #33 Hans Hateboer continues his intelligent run:

pes data pack impressions

As I hold the play up with Papu Gomez in an attempt to give Hateboer enough time to make the run, Valencia’s Geoffrey Kondogbia tracks Hateboer’s run, getting his body in-between the ball and runner, allowing him to intercept the ball and clear the danger.

Good AI run tracking + a nice physical animation = a realistic sequence.

The increase in AI awareness is not limited to just the AI. Attacking intelligence among your players, particularly on the counter, is better. This allows you to punish teams before they have a chance to regain their defensive shape.

Here you’ll see Atalanta capitalize on Valencia’s Ferran Torres (#20 in white) taking too much time on the ball before being dispossessed. This leads to an Atalanta counter and ultimately a Duvan Zapata goal:

Once dispossessed, Atalanta breaks forward with five attackers and one advanced striker coming back to link the attack:

pes data pack impressions

After linking up with the most advanced attacker, Atalanta’s Ilicic allows the advancing attackers to sprint onto the ball. It’s eventually sent out wide before being sent in low and fast, finding Zapata who cuts in front of Valencia’s Gabriel for the tap-in goal:

Zapata, just as he would be instructed to do in real life, does a great job of stepping in front of the defender, thus getting goal-side for a simple tap-in.

Bottom Line

Data Pack 4.0 isn’t perfect and doesn’t address some of the issues that plague eFootball PES 2020, such as inconsistent refs. However, it’s made the game as good as it’s been since the demo. Good on Konami for showing a willingness to make changes that go beyond basic cosmetics this late in the cycle.

How are you enjoying eFootball PES 2020’s Data Pack 4.0?

14 Comments

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Discussion
  1. Great article, really liked that clip you shared with the Valenica midfielder tracking that run in the box. I didn't expect PES to improve this much that late in the cycle, kudos to Konami.
    RoyceDa59
    Great article, really liked that clip you shared with the Valenica midfielder tracking that run in the box. I didn't expect PES to improve this much that late in the cycle, kudos to Konami.

    Thanks Royce!
    Yeah that pretty cool of Kongodbia, to stay with his runner. He could have easily passed him off to a CB but he made sure he did his part.
    I've got a good clip of Ramsey going on a trademark run finishing it off with a toe-poke tap-in. Classic Ramsey although he managed to not get injured lol.
    Each time I play I'm honestly surprised at how different the game feels compared to before the update. I don't play often, so I'm on Professional, which was providing a realistic challenge before the update depending on who I was playing against with Inter.
    Post update, it's actually tougher to create chances as I have to try different things, and with there not being as much space as before I have to be more patient, even when trying to counter.
    Really enjoying it overall.
    I picked up PES 2020 last week, I can't believe how much better the gameplay is than PES19 or FIFA20. Creating chances is hard to do and since the patch, I've noticed a bigger difference in how different teams play.
    I own both Fifa and PES. After the 4.0 patch, the games aren’t even close anymore. PES is champ. The flow, momentum, passing, shooting... all have a feel and touch that make sense. The controls are different from Fifa.... but when you properly learn to play the game on Stadium Camera with the controls mastered... its incredible.
    I put Fifa back in for a game after playing Pes post 4.0..... i didnt make it to half. Game removed. Deleted. Traded in next week. Game over.
    Sent from my iPhone using Operation Sports
    Excellent article with spot-on details of why this game really shines. As a 15 year player of FIFA I've really come to not only enjoy PES but with the poor state of FIFA there is no turning back for me. The immersion and attention to the small things are extraordinary. That's what you get when devs aren't consistently chasing their tails trying to fix a million little bugs and glitches! For all of you FIFA refugees just know this...to "get" this game you simply must understand how the devs at Konami work the controller. The MAJOR difference is with PES you must go easy on the L3 stick...as opposed to FIFA wherein its a very button-heavy game.
    Data pack 5.0 is out now. I’m hearing some rumblings that it messed up the game?
    I’m playing now, don’t notice anything different?
    Was data pack 5.0 updating anything gameplay wise?
    Sent from my iPhone using Operation Sports
    hockeyyt988
    Data pack 5.0 is out now. I’m hearing some rumblings that it messed up the game?
    I’m playing now, don’t notice anything different?
    Was data pack 5.0 updating anything gameplay wise?
    Sent from my iPhone using Operation Sports

    It seems to have made the first touch a bit heavier (in an unrealistic way) and ball awareness (players reactions to 50-50 balls) worse. Only played a handful of matches with DP5 but so far the early results aren't positive.
    Gameplay against AI is worse. Easier. A lot of players standing around on defense. Why they take step back ???
    PSN: TheGritsBlitz
    Current Franchises:
    Madden 20 - Falcons
    NBA 16 - Hawks
    PES 2020 - Chelsea
    The Show 19 - Braves
    Well hopefully DP 6 is around the corner and adjusted these aspect to be like DP4.
    I wish I could have stopped it before if finished downloading
    Sent from my iPhone using Operation Sports
    Changed my mind, i was using custom fluid formations. Switched to default only, 20 min halfs. Much better.
    Hunkerdown
    Gameplay against AI is worse. Easier. A lot of players standing around on defense. Why they take step back ???
    PSN: TheGritsBlitz
    Current Franchises:
    Madden 20 - Falcons
    NBA 16 - Hawks
    PES 2020 - Chelsea
    The Show 19 - Braves
    7 matches since switch back to default gameplan AJAX..
    PSN: TheGritsBlitz
    Current Franchises:
    Madden 20 - Falcons
    NBA 16 - Hawks
    PES 2020 - Chelsea
    The Show 19 - Braves

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