PES 2019 is a fantastic football title that any football fan should have, from the crisp passing to the fantastic player movements, it’s the most natural feeling football game you’ll play. I’m not saying it’s perfect however, there is plenty it could do to be a great all round game.
Konami have had a hard time recently, with Borussia Dortmund ripping up their contract and losing the UEFA license to EA, they have had to resort to getting official licenses for other leagues including the Turkish Super Lig and targeting clubs individually. With Teams like Barcelona, Arsenal, AC Milan and others on board you can see them hopefully getting other clubs on board.
Each team they have partnered with has allowed them full access to 3D face scans of players, most look fantastic although I have seen a few dodgy ones too (I’m not sure how happy Mesut Ozil will be with his face!) There are also detailed representations of the stadiums.
The Emirates Stadium for example has the awesome graphic wrapped round the stadium of the famous players through the years with their arms around each other, it looks amazing, of course it’s a shame they have been able to do it for more teams.
Putting that aside however, they have reworked how things play on the pitch and I’m really enjoying how it plays. Patience is key, you’ll only manage sprinting past defenders a few times before players start to get tired, depending on which player it is, you’ll notice them making less of an effort when they are tired. Thankfully, you can make quick substation without having to pause the game which is really helpful. You can adjust your gameplay simply by using the d-pad if things aren’t working out in an attempt to put your opponents under pressure, making the right choice can make all the difference.
Unlike in FIFA, you won’t be able to smash a 30-yarder in almost every time, you’ll need to hit that perfect shot to beat the better keepers, however thanks to the way the ball moves in PES 2019, it could deflect off a player leaving the keeper stranded. Players will take first time stabs at shots, depending on your timing you may smash a sweet volley in the top corner or the top of a stand. It’s great being able to improvise with shots and there actually being a chance it could go in because of how freely the ball moves. Free kicks seem to be easier to to take, you can adjust your strategies at set pieces to take advantage of the opposition.
As do the players, the animations always feel fluid, if a player gets knocked and stumbles it looks natural the way they try to get back up to recover the ball, keepers desperately try to claw balls away if they have been sent in the wrong direction. The fluid animations however don’t stop goalkeepers from letting in soft goals, floating balls that a baby could catch seem to send keepers mad as the flap at the ball as it trickles in, while jockeying with attackers when trying to defend seems to always result in a foul.
The other annoyances for me include the awkward pause when the ball goes out of play, it’s only a few seconds but it ruins the fluidity of football, occasionally the player will run to get the ball to get things going but it doesn’t happen enough. Yet again the commentary is dreadful, it doesn’t feel natural enough, I’m always going to try a speculative 30 yard but the commentary always makes it seem like it was going to fly in when it clearly wasn’t. Compare it to how FIFA handles its commentary and you’ll easily notice the difference.
PES 2019 comes with plenty of games modes, with the return of the Master League, where you attempt to manage your team to glory, while MyClub, the Ultimate Team of the PES world is back. Legends such as David Beckham are available to sign which is cool, but essentially it’s a not as snazzy collectibles mode. We delayed the review so we could have a run through MyClub and of course the online matches. As more players came online I found it easier to get games, specifically in the Online Divisions mode where you play a set number of games in an attempt to get promoted through the ten divisions. Apart from the silly amount of time you are allowed to set your team up, I found the online works really well.
The lack of licenses in PES 2019 will always annoy me, but for a pick up and play football title, I’m having a blast. Take the breaks off by removing some of the assists and it’s a hell of a football title, every time I score a goal or watch a play take a ball out of the air with an extraordinary touch it puts a smile on face. PES 2019 feels like a pure football.