FIFA 19 was fun but frantic, with passing feeling pinball-esque when attempting to break down a defense. FIFA 20 slows the overall pace of the game, allowing users more time on the ball instead of making every team play a high press regardless of tactics.
The result is a game that, like PES, has made central midfielders more important than ever. While pace is still useful, the reliance on it has faded in comparison to previous series. Dribbling, specifically the LB/L1 strafe dribble, has been reworked, making it a vital skill.
Tight situations that required side passes now can be dribbled past, meaning that in FIFA 20 you’ll be able to use Messi in a manner similar to his actual play. Instead of looking for pace, you’ll likely find yourself searching for dribbling attributes when choosing your lineup.
Defense has also received a revamp, becoming both more difficult and more rewarding than before. The new controlling tackling technique means you won’t be allowed to simply let the CPU tackle for you but successful tackles from the user will typically result in the defender having possession of the ball rather than bobbling off to an oncoming attacker.
After a few years being ignored by FIFA, the career mode has been revamped. Upgrades range from the cosmetic — as is the case with manager customization — to the game changing — as we see in player morale.
Morale appears mostly in the form of constant player chats — which are very similar to what happened in previous editions, except now you’re allowed to actually reply to them. Requests are what you’d expect from players, such as increased playing time demands, or younger players asking if they’re able to play in the league cup.
The other key addition is the press conference upgrade. While they’ve been in the game for a few years, they’ve always had a touch of the rudimentary about them, working solely in text and making little difference to the game overall. This time it’s all fully rendered, with your painstakingly rendered manager gives answers to questions that directly affect team morale. It’s a combination of effects that showcase just what FIFA is so good at, using the seemingly superfluous to create a more immersive mode.
One place where FIFA 20 clearly outshines Pro Evo is presentation. Often dismissed as bells and whistles, presentation can actually be the key difference between a player feeling wholly immersed in a game, and still feeling they are sitting in their living room looking at a screen. While PES still delivers the slightly better game of football on technical matters, the clunky presentation and commentary often pull you out of truly feeling like you’re partaking in a match.