PES 2020 tips: 5 essential things to know before you play

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Following an off-season which seemed to last an eternity – and a mildly curious name change – the time for some eFootball PES 2020 tips is finally upon us. And it’s not just that new moniker you have to get used to where PES 2020 is concerned. The latest instalment features a raft of gameplay changes, particularly on the defensive side of the ball, meaning your muscle memory is about to get a serious workout. Never fear, however. With GR’s PES 2020 tips you’ll be defending like Van Dijk in no time at all. We've got five PES 2020 tips here, ranging from tactics to skills and even how to manage your players' balance.

Tactics aren’t just for show

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A big advantage Pro Evo holds over rival FIFA 20 is its wealth of tactical options. PES 2020’s scope for getting a team to play just the way you want it, via formations, playing styles and even individual player instructions, is massive – allowing you to fine tune to the tiniest of details.

Having a team set up to complement your footballing ethos and the players at your disposal is essential if you want it to outperform the sum of its parts – so use your first few matches to experiment with what’s on offer before jumping into modes such as Master League. If you like to whip balls into the box, a wide formation with the ‘hug the wings’ instruction ensures space on the flanks. Those who prefer intricacy will be better suited to a narrower set-up making use of the Barca-esque Tiki Taka approach. Still unsure? Then you need our PES 2020 formations guide, which will be live on the site imminently.

Defenders assemble

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For the longest time PES’s defending was somewhat automated. If your opponent was in possession you’d simply direct a player towards them, hold down X, and moments later emerge with the ball.

In PES 2020 things have changed. Tackling has been refined, with referees now more than willing to penalise those that rely on blindly pressuring opponents to win possession. But don’t panic! The key to a clean tackle is all in the timing: waiting for the perfect moment to make your move and win the ball without committing a foul.

This requires patience, and it’s often more beneficial to force your opponent into making an error rather than dive in and risk the ire of the referee. Using the square button to summon AI assistance is the most effective method of doing this: it allows you to close down and potentially intercept your opponent’s passing opportunities, whilst always keeping a man between them and the goal. As Paolo Maldini once said: "If I have to make a tackle then I have already made a mistake."

Go backwards to go forwards

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While patience is critical in defence, it’s a handy attribute to have in attack too. One of the main differences between PES 2020 and previous iterations is its slower game speed, which means your route to goal often benefits from a more cerebral approach. Instead of attacking at will, it’s usually advantageous to work the ball into other areas of the pitch, even if that means passing backwards.

This is helped by the new broadcast camera which gives you a wider view of the pitch, and more opportunity to explore areas in which your attack may be more potent, or your opponent’s defence weak.

Patience is also needed when it comes to passing and shooting, following the introduction of context-sensitive kick accuracy. This means that the effectiveness of every pass and shot is influenced by the posture of a player, his position, and the pressure he’s under.

A shot taken whilst your player is off balance is more likely to find Row Z than the back of the net, so be sure to wait for the exact moment in which to strike. The reduction in game speed is again a huge help on this front.

Do homework on your squad

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With each incarnation of Pro Evolution Soccer, Konami faithfully recreates thousands of pro footballers to give the most realistic experience possible. It’s not just the players’ likenesses that get added into the game, however: their playing styles, strengths and weaknesses are also masterfully implemented.

Knowing your individual players strengths, weaknesses, and preferred foot – and therefore swiftly learning what each is or isn’t capable of – can lend a huge advantage both online and off. You wouldn’t expect Gareth Bale to take a shot on his right foot if the opportunity was there to use his left and the same principles apply to PES.

PES 2020’s menus can be a headache, so if you’re struggling with those use a third-party site such as PES Master instead. For example, a comprehensive guide to Virgil van Dijk’s in-game attributes took me exactly three seconds to track down.

Dish out some right stick

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The introduction of a new finesse dribbling system – developed with the help of Barcelona legend Andres Iniesta – makes a colossal difference to the feel of PES 2020 compared with its predecessors.

With a flick of the right stick your player now moves the ball in the desired direction, regardless of which way they are facing. This not only makes it easier to retain possession, but when used with traditional sprint and dribble functions can be a devastating way of beating an opposition player.

Finesse dribbles can also be linked together with multiple turns and shimmies incorporated into player movements to truly bamboozle defenders. These are especially effective in one-on-one situations. Oh, and they look awesome too!

Although players with high dribbling attributes can execute better moves, every player in the game is able to finesse dribble to some extent – meaning it’s well worth mastering the technique.

PES 2020 is out now. Prefer its soon-to-be-released, big-bucks rival? Then here’s a breakdown of FIFA 20 ratings, showcasing the top 100 players in EA’s football sim this year. Or check the best PES 2020 formations here!