eFootball PES 2021 | Review, more than just an update?

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Aina Prat Blasi
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Like every year, this 2020 too will offer despite everything the usual "battle" between the two giants of football video games. Yes, because the challenge between Konami and EA Sports, albeit in a different guise from the one we are used to, still promises sparks even in the face of the delicate situation of recent months. At least from this point of view, things tend towards normality: eFootball PES 2021 Season Update, product conceived as an update of the title released last year, has finally arrived among us.

Before starting with the actual review, it is right to dwell on this last point. In fact, the new PES 2021 does not bring substantial changes compared to what was seen in the last edition. It is precisely a title that, placed between two generations of consoles, aims to update its predecessor especially as regards the squads and the teams available. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the football championships ended with considerable delay and the transfer market is still in progress: which is why releasing a completely new title would have been a truly complex undertaking for a variety of reasons.

PES 2021, it must be said, is an update but also a stand alone game: you can in fact buy and play it regardless of whether or not you own a copy of Konami's previous football title. The strength of this initiative is undoubtedly the price, which will allow players to experience the Pro Evolution Soccer experience without incurring excessive expenses: in fact, we are talking about half - or a little more for editions with some extras - compared to normal. selling price of these securities. But let's not get lost in small talk and let's move directly to the facts: how is eFootball PES 2021?

eFootball PES 2021: a small step forward

The nature of this PES 2021 inevitably means that the news is really very limited in quantitative terms: this does not mean, however, that the purchase of the game is an end in itself, with this review we therefore want to underline what are the elements of differentiation from the predecessor. Let's start with the usual sore point of Konami football titles: licenses. If on the one hand we find the exclusive rights for EURO 2020 - which will be played over the course of next summer - and of several teams including Roma and Juventus, on the other hand we find some significant shortcomings.

In fact, there are no teams like Milan, Inter e Real Madrid: a sore factor, yes, but the result of the continuous "battle" with EA Sports to grab the rights to use the official kits of the teams in question. They are replaced by fictitious teams - Milan becomes Milan RN, Inter is called Lombardia NA and so on - resulting in the absence of even some of the most important stadiums in the world. If the possession of the Roma license means that the Olympic Stadium is one of those that can be selected, it is also true that there is a lack of a football temple like San Siro.

This could make someone turn up their noses but, to be honest, these are not at all elements that negatively upset the gaming experience. This indeed, for its part, appears slightly refined compared to last year with some minor improvements applied in terms of gameplay. The game appears slightly slower, with greater background fluidity and therefore the possibility of being able to carry out actions and tactics in a more reasoned way.

Dribbling is also improved, allowing for better and more careful ball control, while what was a persistent problem of some previous editions of the game has been fine-tuned. The moment a player loses the ball, he will immediately start running to retrieve it while before, in most cases, he stopped leaving this task to his teammates. Basically we can therefore say that there are few, small changes: factors that contribute to conferring PES 2021 a slight increase in realism.

As for the game modes, even here there are not many news worthy of note. Come back myClub in all its glory: the online component of PES 2021 is in fact in excellent shape and, while adding nothing to what we saw last year, it still promises to offer hours and hours of fun in a game system now consolidated by all points of view.

La Master League, historical game mode of the Pro Evolution Soccer series, this year does not fail to offer an immersive and interesting gaming experience in several respects. Here we will be able to choose our team and, as a coach, manage all those elements aimed at leading them to the Olympus of football. We will therefore find ourselves taking care of training sessions, the transfer market, relations with players and the press and so on: at the time of taking the field, however, all this will be placed in the background, and it will be then that we will really have to show our value.

Also this year it will be possible to choose, in the coach creation screen, among some faces well known to the general public: our digital alter ego will in fact have the appearance of one among Giggs, Lampard, Maradona, Guardiola, Roberto Carlos and many others. It will not fail finally either Become a Myth: mode introduced several editions ago that allows the user to create his own player, and then accompany him during his football career. In short, no major revolution, but always the usual quality product to which Konami has accustomed us for a few years.

Is PES 2021 a passing chapter?

As already anticipated in recent months, PES 2021 will be the last chapter of the series to use the Fox Engine. A farewell that comes after seven years of service - the first football title based on it was Pro Evolution Soccer 2014 - to make room forU. In short, from next year Konami wants to try to raise the bar further, giving life to a product aimed at achieving an increasingly accentuated basic realism.

Consequently we can safely say that, as far as sports titles are concerned, in PES 2021 it is possible to admire the Fox Engine at its peak. It goes without saying that this is therefore a transitional chapter, on which the Japanese studio has invested less resources both for the issue linked to the pandemic but, above all, to concentrate all efforts on what we will see next year.

At a graphic level, therefore, nothing to say, while as regards the sound sector we regret having to ascertain how much no changes of any kind have been made. The commentary, also this year entrusted to Caressa and Marchegiani, in fact, it does not present any news in the comments and in the sentences spoken. Instead, the soundtrack changes, even if to be honest it does not present particularly noteworthy tracks.

In analyzing a product like eFootball PES 2021 in its entirety, we therefore find ourselves commending Konami for the strategy adopted. Offering everything at a really very advantageous price, for the reasons we have already talked about, is a winning move from several points of view: the hope is, however, that this will allow the company to work on a next chapter that does justice. to the brand further raising the standards.

If the strategy is and remains commendable, the modus operandi lends itself to some criticism: the management of the updates, with the first update released on the day of the launch, could perhaps have been planned more carefully. For the first important Data Pack we will have to wait until October 22, which makes the purchase of the game something non-essential in a short time. On the official Konami website you can still consult the complete and updated calendar of updates, with any last minute changes that will be promptly reported also on the Game Division pages. In the meantime, we invite you to share your opinion on Konami's strategy: are you ready to take the field?

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