The Season Update maintains excellence with the ball in play, but is unable to add any new weight both on and off the pitch.
The football season ended in an atypical way, it begins in the same way and it seems that the same thing has happened with PES 2021. Konami’s football game does not arrive as a new delivery to use, but is an update season to prepare for the landing, the following year, with a new generation product. This meant, on paper, that the title would simply be an update of squads and teams, keeping the entire base of PES 2020. And surely we can say that it is, but that things could also be better communicated in the Japanese company. Because playably PES 2021 does not provide new mechanics or actions, but it does change how the matches develop, improving several elements of its previous installment that have been polished here.
It may seem like a small thing, but the reality is that this seasonal update also involves refining the gameplay of the base title. And the gameplay of that installment was possibly the closest to real football that we currently have. By physics of the ball (improved in this installment), by game rhythm, by variety of situations (there are more in 2021) … PES 2020 embraces the concept of simulation more than any other, and its update season maintains and polishes that essence . The problem is that the product is wildly vague. We were already warned. But for several years the game modes need an urgent renovation, something that is now even more in doubt while maintaining exactly the same structure.
“Take the ball, pass the ball” (Pep Guardiola)
To play PES again is to enjoy many situations that only occur in the title. The slower pace of play is accompanied by many hallmarks: from inaccurate passes depending on our position to a randomness of situations with the ball that breathe realism. This is noticeable in almost every game situation. A pass into space, in other games or arrives, or it goes too long or the defender cuts it. Here the variability is much greater. The center-back may touch it but the ball is stopped and benefits the player. It may deflect you and land on other feet. Seeing that many different things happen in the same situation is a great satisfaction.
Everything, so to speak, is much more organic and alive. Rebounds in different parts of the body leave different situations, as happens with shots bitten or with jumps in disputes for the ball: no two resolutions are the same. That brings a great variety to the games, which take place to the sound of the ball. And it has improved a lot compared to the previous installment, with much more presence of the game in the center of the field. It is true that the passes into space are still devastating, but the defense AI has been improved, which does not leave as many gaps in the wings.