Whenever there’s a discussion about Pro Evolution Soccer within the team, the first thing pointed out is the licensing issue. Controlling players with fake names and weird team names might not be everyone’s cup of tea. Because come on, wouldn’t you want to play as your favourite team or player or in your favourite football league? Although it’s possible to an extent but this has been a huge pain point among PES fans. However, the ones who have really put in hours into the game keep coming back to it. Why is that so? Because Konami has still managed to continue mixing the right ingredients into its gameplay that not only feel real but satisfying. It would certainly be an over-exaggeration but PES’s game mechanics and ball physics are still unparalleled. A new edition releases every year and loyal fans will expect new features or game modes to be added. But this time, it looks like there aren’t any huge changes introduced with PES 2019.
Konami isn’t going to revamp their football game just for the sake of it. In PES 2019, the changes seem to be based on fine-tuning and enhancing the already impressive gameplay of PES. Skill traits have been something that was present in the game for a while now. With the latest version, 11 more skills have been introduced. The purpose of these skills is to allow the players to make them unique. Otherwise, any player will be able to carry out every other trick, throwing away any sort of individuality. For instance, between a player with an overall score of 90 and another player who has the same score along with a skill of Captaincy, naturally, the latter would be a better choice for a team’s captain. They are collectively called Magic Moments and there are 39 in total in the game. These traits are useful sometimes because they can affect your overall team’s morality as well. Certain traits come in handy at the most valuable moments such as clearing out an impossible shot on target from an opponent or winning the header from a corner. These are crucial turning points of a game and if you’ve played football games a lot, then you would know how frustrating or wonderful that stoppage time goal can be. We love how the game focuses on these little things that actually matter in a real football match.
On the field, it feels just like home with the ball reacting as it should whichever way contact is made. Whether it was intentional or accidental, the ball will travel across the field and between the players quite accurately. And this is reflected by the animation of the characters that almost accurately fit the motion of the ball. If you’re new to the game, make sure you go through the Skills training over and over again. Only then will you be able to master the game. Otherwise, you’ll only be passing the ball around and blindly shooting towards the goal, praying it lands inside the net. Whether you play as the striker, midfielder, defender or goalkeeper (during penalties), you’ll discover how their strengths can be used to trump opponents. With some knowledge about your player’s skill traits, you can take advantage of it to break the defenses and score. As always, we found the game mechanics to be extremely fun to experiment with once we went past the regular dribbling and skills.
There weren’t any weird glitches that we faced during our play time. At times, we found the referee’s decisions to be weird. Almost every sliding tackle was given a yellow card whether it was a minor or major one. There were several times where we could have been given an advantage but the referee would stop and give a free kick instead. We think the ‘temper’ (for the lack of a better word) of the referee changes based on the skills of the players or the team. While playing with low-tiered teams, the referee hardly bothered giving out many fouls. However, picking strong teams turned him into a maniac. This inconsistency sometimes broke the flow of build-ups and scoring successful last-minute winners.
Commentary is an important aspect that sets the mood of a football game along with the chants from the fans. It seems like Konami hasn’t done much to improve this experience since after maybe five matches, we could hear the same dialogues. Throughout a single match, the commentary doesn’t feel seamless and feel more programmed. Essentially, the commentary isn’t realistic enough and you start noticing it after a few of matches.
There are several game modes in PES 2019 but if you were waiting for something new, then you’d be disappointed. Minor to no additions have been done to the existing ones. Master League, which is the career mode here, has some minor updates to make finances including transfers, salaries and budgets a lot easier to manage. You get massive changes to myClub, Konami claiming it to have the biggest changes in years. A big addition would be ‘Featured Players’ which is a set of players that played well in the real world over the weekend. Their skills will be boosted based on their real performance and you will be able to include them in your squad. Football legends including David Beckham, Oliver Kahn, Maradona, Nedved, Maldini and many more are going to make their way under myClub Legends. Exhibition matches can be played both online and offline, against real players or co-op.
A wonderfully built game can be completely ruined if it doesn’t look good. While PES 2018 had good graphics and a stable frame rate, it still looked like the stereotypical console game lacking nice textures and depth. This totally changes with PES 2019. From the licensed stadiums to the officially supported players and teams, everything looks stunning. Sometimes, it seems too sharpened. When you play matches with the licensed teams, you will get to see the team kit, player faces, home ground, etc., in great detail. When we picked FC Barcelona and played in their home ground, Camp Nou, it had a different presentation or cutscene. It gave us a fly-by of the dugout where the players line up before entering the field. As they enter the field, the stands can be seen full of fans and they aren’t just a pile of heads and disfigured bodies but you can actually identify one from another.
Previously, the environment would look flat and slightly dark. It clearly lacked a good lighting technology to illuminate the game environment. However, in PES 2019, the illumination techniques have been given a wonderful boost. Everything looks bright and beautiful. Shadows now form better on the field based on the time of the day. This is basic for most other games out there but it has finally arrived in PES.
Platforms: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Microsoft Windows
Developers: PES Productions
PES 2019 – The Verdict
Pro Evolution Soccer has always been a great football game and it still is. If a football fan plays PES 2019 for the first time, they will definitely enjoy how controlling the ball and shooting it into the net feels like. However, before experiencing all the fun, they will be taken aback by the weird names of the leagues and cups. All these years, PES has had an official partnership with UEFA’s Champions League. Unfortunately, that is no longer the case. Although the company has acquired licenses for seven new leagues from various countries, they are still missing the licenses from the most popular leagues out there. Not just leagues but team names as well. Not being able to play with their favourite team’s name can be a deal-breaker for many. Playing as Man Red (Manchester United) or MD White (Real Madrid) isn’t really fun. However, this can be tackled using fan-made patches that replaces the unofficial team names, kits, stadiums, etc.
Coming to PES 2019 specifically, it was simply an incremental update. No new game modes were introduced. This straight away makes it a no-brainer to not buy the game for owners of PES 2018. However, as we’ve stated earlier, if you want to enjoy the most realistic version of football in the form of a video game, ignoring features such as game modes and official league names, PES 2019 is the game you should go for.
Be the first to leave a review.
Abhijit "BabuMoshaaye" Dey
This ape-descended life form believed that coming down from the trees was a bad idea until he was introduced to video games. Has spent endless hours playing Prince of Persia, Hitman, Assassin's Creed, Unreal Tournament, Half-Life and Left 4 Dead. This makes it three sentences, Half-Life 3 confirmed.