PES 2019

PlayStation Official Magazine (UK) - - CONTENTS - @IanDean4

Hav­ing been a fan of PES since its Win­ning Eleven days I look for­ward to a new edi­tion of the se­ries like Dec awaits the re­turn of Ant; ea­ger and ner­vous at what this new ver­sion will be like. While last year’s PES 2018 was ex­cel­lent, and in­tro­duced co-op on­line matches, it felt less ex­cit­ing than the year be­fore. It was slower and more con­sid­ered with an em­pha­sis on in­tri­cate pass­ing. In terms of PES it was a side­step, a toe poke rather than a sub­lime side-foot, but a goal nev­er­the­less. Why talk about last year’s PES in the re­view of this year’s edi­tion? Be­cause PES 2019 takes ev­ery­thing good about the last two years in the se­ries and splices it into one of the best foot­ball games on PS4… with some fa­mil­iar is­sues.


On the pitch you get the pace and end-to-end ping of PES 2017 mixed with the close con­trol and free kick sys­tem of PES 2018. There’s a real sense of bal­ance to this year’s game that en­sures no mat­ter what’s hap­pen­ing you al­ways feel there’s a creative op­por­tu­nity to zip the ball to a team­mate or nip at your op­po­nent’s heels, steal­ing the ball and coun­ter­ing.

The over­pow­ered pass­ing from PES 2018 has been re­fined. There’s now room for er­ror, and with fewer passes seem­ingly ar­rowed to team­mates the op­po­si­tion has a chance to in­ter­cept. If your player is off bal­ance or har­ried his passes can lack power or pre­ci­sion and bob­ble into space away from your in­tended tar­get. It sounds ir­ri­tat­ing, but in play it feels nat­u­ral and is re­cov­er­able. It’s one step closer to em­u­lat­ing the tus­sle of real matches.

There’s an ad­dic­tive swag­ger to PES 2019. You feel em­pow­ered to shoot from any­where with few rou­tine goals. When you do strike the ball it feels good – hit a 25-yarder and the ball will rise and dip re­al­is­ti­cally. Play­ers re­act with ur­gency to loose balls in the box, too. The new adap­tive an­i­ma­tion re­ally brings these pin­ball mo­ments to life as play­ers flick and flail at the ball in re­al­is­tic ways.

When play­ing Mas­ter League it’s a tes­ta­ment to the AI that these mo­ments feel ran­dom and not or­ches­trated. While PES 2018’s AI was good, op­pos­ing teams would get stuck in the same tac­tics and un­flinch­ing pass­ing pat­terns. This year CPU teams sub tired play­ers but also switch tac­tics to suit. That said, this sin­gle­player mode lacks pol­ish and aside from slight tweaks to the trans­fer sys­tem and bud­get cal­cu­la­tions, Mas­ter League is as it was last year.


Of course, the lack of li­censed teams is an is­sue but Kon­ami


has done a good job of try­ing to plug the gap left by the Cham­pi­ons League mov­ing to EA’s FIFA this year, with spo­radic team deals and in­tro­duc­ing new leagues – the Scot­tish, Rus­sian, and Por­tuguese stand out. How­ever, if you want true au­then­tic­ity, FIFA is still your game.

That’s not to say PES 2019 doesn’t look good; I can con­firm Firmino’s teeth are spec­tac­u­lar. But the depth of fi­delity will al­ways be lack­ing when you don’t have ev­ery re­al­world sta­dium, player like­ness, and the lat­est kits.

It’s moot once in-game, how­ever, as an­i­ma­tion is fan­tas­tic and helps sell the mo­ment-to-mo­ment events that al­ways make PES feel like a real foot­ball match. This comes into its own more than ever, with fa­tigue vis­i­ble on screen so you can spot tired play­ers and swap them us­ing the new Quick Sub – change play­ers with­out go­ing into the menus.

On­line the lack of li­censes is less rel­e­vant as you build your team in myClub. PES’s equiv­a­lent to FIFA Ul­ti­mate Team has un­der­gone a shake up and in­tro­duces a card-based sys­tem, just like, ahem, FUT.

There are now play­ers of the week with ac­cu­rately mod­elled stats that ad­just as real-world play­ers per­form in a week­end’s games. You can even sign du­pli­cate play­ers and use them as trade-ins for new stars.

But like much of this year’s PES im­prove­ments to myClub are slight once the sea­son gets go­ing, and you may start ques­tion­ing what is truly dif­fer­ent. PES 2019 still plays great, but maybe we need more.

For­get the li­censes – PES 2019 feels like the real thing.


Be­low Snow is back! Games feel zip­pier when played on frozen pitches.

Right Free kicks and cor­ners adopt the ex­cel­lent sys­tem from PES 2018.

Above left The re­play sys­tem en­ables you to re­live goals in 4K HDR glory.

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