Wednesday 16 October 2019

eFootball PES 2020 review: Beautiful game has an ugly, shallow side

XO/PS4/PC ★★★★ Age: 3+

Lionel Messi in eFootball PES 2020
Lionel Messi in eFootball PES 2020
eFootball PES 2020
Creature in the Well
Ronan Price

Ronan Price

Ever had two friends you think would be perfect for each other? PES and FIFA are like that in my mind.

One has bucketloads of talent and feels very grounded, yet a bit scruffy. The other is seductively glamorous, extraordinarily generous but nonetheless quite awkward in its interactions. Can you guess which is which?

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PES 2020 is, of course, the more gifted football game, this year's instalment delivering even more impressive naturalistic animation, convincing player behaviour and believable ball physics. Tweaks to areas such as dribbling and team tactics mean that playing PES 2020 closely resembles the ebb and flow of a real match, reflective of each side's relative talents.

It makes for a hugely enjoyable footy experience - satisfying, challenging and only occasionally artificial (such as when the AI or the ref lose the run of themselves).

But, with the exception of the promise of a free Euro 2020 mode next year, PES has little else to trump the FIFA 20 juggernaut, also out this week. FIFA has all the official licences (PES is improving but only marginally), a superior interface (PES is so slow) and heaps of extras to give depth to the basic game.

A PES push into esports (hence the awkward prefix in the name) seems to be only novelty here but it amounts to no more than new online leagues.

It comes, as always, back to the core gameplay, where PES outperforms FIFA in its realism and adrenaline rush. Perhaps a merger of the two franchises is the only way out of this annual dilemma. If only PES and FIFA would get it on.





Creature in the Well

XO/PC/Switch ★★★★ Age: 12+

Creature in the Well

This kooky genre mash-up marries pinball, puzzles and dungeon-crawling, bathed in a distinctive art palette. Your puny bot must power up a giant, complex series of machines by flinging orbs of energy around rooms resembling pinball tables.

Sometimes the rooms fight back, sometimes the pinball bumpers are on a timer or must be lit in a certain order. It's at once a challenge to your dexterity and your intellect.

It's all underpinned by a melancholy backstory about the titular colossus who isn't best pleased by your presence on his patch. But this is one creature you'll want to meet.




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