Konami are just over a week away from releasing their latest football title for the current generation of consoles, eFootball PES 2021.
At the end of this year, the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X are set to arrive, so this is set to be the last eFootball PES before making the jump to next-gen consoles.
As such, PES 2021 will be a smaller release, coming in the form of a ‘Season Update’ while Konami focuses on making the 2022 title next-gen-ready, switching from the Fox Engine to the Unreal Engine.
So, what can we expect from eFootball PES 2021, and what comparisons can be made between Konami’s approach to PES and EA Sports’ staple football title, FIFA.
How does the eFootball PES 2021 season update work?
eFootball PES 2021 will be almost identical to its predecessor, but with some cosmetic changes. Konami have offered a season update to the squads of eFootball PES 2020 rather than producing a brand new title.
As a result, players who already had PES 2020 will be able to pay less than the recommended retail price for the triple-A title.
If you pre-order eFootball PES 2021 and hold a copy of last season’s game, you can receive a 20 per cent discount on both the Standard Edition and Club Edition season updates.
To claim this discount, you’ll need to go through the in-game link of PES 2020 or PES 2020 LITE. The LITE version of PES 2020 is available from the PlayStation Store and Microsoft Store for free.
The Standard Edition costs £24.99 (€26.99/$29.99). If you pre-order the title, you’ll get Lionel Messi on-loan in the myClub game mode, as well as an eFootball PES 2021 theme if you’re playing via a PlayStation 4.
If you decide to pre-order eFootball PES 2021 Club Edition, you’ll have five options to choose from, with each featuring one of their biggest licence partners: Bayern Munich, Barcelona, Juventus, Arsenal, and Manchester United.
The Club Edition that you select offers more digital items across the board than the Standard Edition, but each Club Edition does come with team-specific additions, such as the Club Squad for use in myClub, a digital kit, an ‘Iconic Moment,’ and an in-game menu theme.
Each of these editions costs £29.99 (€34.99/$34.99), regardless of the club selected.
Is the cost-cutting update the way forward for football games?
This approach by Konami has been well-received, unlike the continued approach of its main rival in the football game space.
EA Sports have opted to release a new, full-priced title for FIFA, which arrives following the launch of another of their annual sports titles, Madden NFL 21.
The NFL game has come under incredible scrutiny since its release, receiving an average Metacritic user score of 0.4 out of out 100.
This says a lot about Electronic Arts. With Madden being the only licensed NFL game, EA allowed themselves to fall into a repetitive funk of producing poor title after poor title.
If Madden NFL 21 is anything to go by, FIFA 21 will most likely be another fully-priced cash-grab that neglects the desires of its player base and fails to improve enough to warrant another premium price tag.
The bottom line for fans of the FIFA series is that the first edition on the next generation of consoles has to have improved on-field action, and not just be another Ultimate Team cash-grab.
Whilst eFootball PES is the unappreciated underdog of the football genre, it has plenty to offer as we sign off on the current generation of consoles.
It is a hard game to recommend to Xbox users, though, due to the inability to import kits and logos. Still, PlayStation and PC users can enjoy the use of real-world cosmetics created by the community to bring in the visuals that football fans crave from their games.
This year, eFootball PES 2021 is offering several ways for you to get a cost-effective update while the Konami team scales-up operations to create an even better experience for next-gen consoles.