FIFA 20 or PES 2020: Which football game should you buy this year?

We thought it was game over for Konami's PES, but we couldn't have been more wrong.


Call of Duty versus Battlefield. Xbox versus PlayStation. FIFA versus PES.

For years, gaming has been a battleground for rival titles and platforms – each one fighting for market dominance.

Some years have seen victory shift from one to the other. Battlefield 1 obliterated Call of Duty’s misfiring Infinite Warfare back in 2016, only for Black Ops 4’s ‘Blackout Royale’ to steal a march on Battlefield V’s Firestorm.

READ MORE: Absolutely everything you need to know about FIFA 20

In the football world, though, there has only ever really been one winner – EA’s FIFA. Last year’s game outsold Konami’s PES 2019 40 to 1.

PES was on the ropes.

Instead of rolling over and accepting defeat, the Japanese publisher went at FIFA even harder – this year pulling off a marketing tour-de-force including acquiring the rights to Juventus, Manchester United, oh and a small tournament called Euro 2020.

Leo Messi has been leading the marketing charge for PES 2020

They even hired Barcelona legend Andres Iniesta as a consultant to improve gameplay and reworked ball physics.

FIFA, meanwhile, added Volta football. Oh, and I think the grass looks a bit better.

So, what game comes out on top this year? Here we go through key aspects of both to help you make the best decision.

For more detail, don’t forget to check our dedicated FIFA 20 review and PES 2020 review. Let’s kick off.

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Gameplay and presentation

FIFA 20

FIFA 19 is regarded by many as the worst game ever produced in the series – its 1.4 rating out of 5 on the Xbox Marketplace speaks volumes.

After the first-time finesse, back-post crosses and overpowered kick-offs – FIFA 20 had to deliver on its gameplay, and we believe that thus far, it has.

With more difficult skill moves and long shots, as well as improved AI defending, the steps have clearly been put in place to restore the balance between attack and defence.

It’s just not that fun.

READ MORE: Absolutely everything you need to know about FIFA 20

PES 2020

PES 2020 is withut doubt the best PES game in years when it comes to gameplay and presnetation. The ball itself is a technical marvel.

It boasts a far more arcade-like feel to it than EA’s game. The midfield seems often out of the game as play switches rapidly from defence to attack, sometimes more like a game of basketball, rather than football.

Messi in action for Barcelona

This doesn’t mean you will see plenty of goal fests though – finding the final ball can be difficult and when familiarising yourself with the game, you’ll have more luck seeking overlaps or chipped through balls out wide than you will through the middle.

The passing game makes a top-class midfield even more obsolete. First-time passes are difficult, even the most technical midfielders need to control the ball before playing an accurate pass, unless your timing is exquisite.

Gameplay isn’t perfect. Defenders often stand still, leading to some very cheap goals – while player swtiching can be a real issue when playing online – it’s just a bit erratic. Still, when it works, PES 2020 is a lot of fun.

Career Mode / Master League

FIFA 20

At long last, Career Mode has had a revamp this year, with overhauled manager customisation and more interaction with your players taking you closer to the action than ever before.

Dynamic player potentials ensures every single Career Mode is different, and can give you the joy of growing an unknown home grown talent into one of the finest players on the planet.

FIFA 20 Career Mode has had a few tweaks but nothing revolutionary

Although there has been a huge reform to the mode, at large it is still the same. Shame… it could have been so much more.

PES 2020

Konami promised this year’s Master League would provide players with the opportunity to manage their clubs with a more distinct sense of personality and navigate a more intricate transfer market.

The set-up certainly has more of a storyline to it than EA’s version.

You first choose between a cluster of legends or fictional managers – Diego Maradona and Johan Cruyff are the headline options, but there are plenty of great choices such as Roberto Carlos and Lothar Matthaus.

Master League is a fantastic achievement and builds on last year’s game

You are then taken around the halls of the club by a supposed board director, meeting the captains and various key players. Your chosen manager even holds a polystyrene coffee club as he oversees his first training session.

You then face the media where you’re given your first chance to shape your managerial personality in a press conference.

READ MORE: Absolutely everything you need to know about FIFA 20

You can adjust pretty much everything about the transfer window, including transfer frequency, negotiation difficulty, starting budget and whether there is a first window transfer market.

Essentially, you can choose whether you want a realistic experience of a Football Manager-like transfer frenzy.

All in all, if you are looking for a proper story mode in your career, the new Master League will suit you well.

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Talal Musa

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