Game Review | eFootball PES 2021 Master League

To avoid wasting your time I’ll be very clear right off the bat. eFootball PES 2021 Season Update isn’t for Master League Players who already own PES 2020. It’s also not available in most online stores at the time of writing thanks to Konami removing it. The only way to acquire it is to purchase a physical copy for PlayStation, XBOX or somehow find a digital code on some third-party store. Poor anti consumer practices on Konami’s part in an attempt to get players on their new game – eFootball 2022.

There I said it!

This iteration of Master league offers nothing that an option file couldn’t fix on PES 2020, especially if you’re playing on PC. Yes they’ve added Giggs, Lampard and Guardiola as Manager choices but they’re not worth a $20 to $30 expense if you already have last year’s game. Kits, transfers and all that other jazz can be altered using option files from either PES World, PES Universe or other similar sites. On PC it’s even possible to add more stadiums, managers, players and other features. Thanks to the modding community players essentially only need updates for core gameplay changes. Everything else is already covered. Heck I know of some folks who still play PES 2014 with mods for current players and kits because they prefer its gameplay.

PES is a series all about it’s gameplay and that hasn’t changed with this release. Matches still have the same eb and flow with great passing thanks to a realistic emphasis on the weight of the ball. Almost nothing beats playing a long ball across the field to your on running player for a spectacular finish once you get the hang of it. It’s exhilarating coming back in the 90th minute to steal a point from a rival or clinch a win with a change of tactics. Pretty much all the praise I had for Master League 2020 stands because it’s the same as this one.

Nothing is All good or bad

All that good does however include all the bad. Refs still make absolutely terrible calls, collision boxes are not always accurate and dribbling with the right stick is not really intuitive. You’ll sometimes find yourself cursing at the tele when your players don’t make runs you know even your gran would make. Master League also doesn’t have all the updated transfers due to the window still being open at the time of review thanks to seasons being delayed. This will be rectified in October with a data pack so if you’re getting the game solely for this mode then you should definitely wait till then. Getting it now will only mean needing to restart your Master League when the data pack releases.

Visually and audibly the game is exactly the same as 2020. Konami have of course added a new soundtrack to the game but that’s about it. This means that you’ll hear the same old commentary we’ve all heard a million times along with the same stadium noises and atmosphere. It’s been over used so much so that many will opt to turn off the commentary all together. Commentary aside, those who skipped on PES last year should at least find some solace in the atmosphere created, especially those coming from FIFA.

Just keep in mind that again, this is the same game as 2020

Konami may claimed to have improved realistic transfers in the game this year but players at their partnered clubs still have inaccurate release clauses. In real life Messi has a release clause of 700 million euros but in the game it’s about 300 mil. Real Madrid’s Brahim Diaz has one that’s 600 mil but you can get him for 12 mil from the Spanish giant. This disparity can be seen across the board with players including Griezmann, Alphonso Davies, Lorenzo Pellegrini and so many more. They may be fixed after a few data packs but that’s not guaranteed. Had the publisher not made that realistic transfers claim I’d have probably not even noticed. Personally It’s not really such a big deal when considering that the mode itself is still fun to play despite such inaccuracies.

PES 2021 Master League Gameplay Still Quality

Master League has and continues to benefit from its gameplay being second to none other than it’s successor. Along with that oh so special feeling of taking a lower league club and turning them into world beaters. It’s little things like the Ai being more aggressive when playing rivals or the meta around your players and other clubs. Snatching a great prospect before the end deadline day feels ever so sweet while trying to offload your dead weight by including them in matches.

2020’s addition of sliders to affect the rate of player movement and transfer difficulty increased the challenge. Quite frankly I’m still enjoying myself with this mode despite being well aware of its flaws. One week player injuries don’t really affect my team choices much and players rarely force you to include them in the squad. It also majorly sucks that I can’t create myself as a manager as I’ve done in years before. Yet I’m still having fun!

Final Verdict

From the publisher’s own words – PES 2021 is an updated version of last year’s title, eFootball PES 2020, providing the latest player data and club rosters. Rosters to be updated later due to the delayed season endings for many leagues. Those who own PES 2020 for Master League need not get it due to a lack of enough substantial additions to the core experience. It’s still a great mode and I stand by everything I said about 2020. If you’re able to get it or PES eFootball 2020 then I recommend getting them because so far Konami have forsaken the Master League crowd in eFootball 2022.

The review copy of this game was provided to us by its publisher Konami.

Qudduws Campbell

That messy hair bloke: Romantic, Food lover, Gamer, Sports Fan, Manga Reader, Tech Head, Podcaster... Pretty much do a bit of everything.