Konami are back with PES 2019 and this time they have a slight advantage over their main rival FIFA from EAGames as that game is not due for release until the 28th September, will it help them push sales? Is PES 2019 good enough? Let’s find out.
Before we go further, I am no super fan of football I don’t blindly follow any team hoping they become the best of the best. Even during the world cup I watch each match and cheered the winning team, apart from the over the top fouling players (Belgium) or how Harry kain always seemed to fall at the right moment. I have friends that swear by Liverpool, blindly following dreams of old, but they live in France and Cardiff what happened to loyalty to your home team? Should you not be throwing your support behind them? I really do not get it.
Football draws in all types of people, regardless of race, sex, religion, they find a team and they support that team through everything, every loss, every win, they smile, cheer, cry its one hell of an emotional rollercoaster ride for them. So when a gamer jumps behind a game do they automatically support the team they follow in real life or do they create their own team with players from all around the globe to make their dream team? This seems to be a mixed bag, some will go for their main team some will just go for a dream team, who did I go for? Well, I needed a little help from a football fan, a fan that likes both PES and FIFA a fan that plays both games, a supporter of at least one team, cough Tottenham Hotspur (Spurs) known as North East London within PES 2019.
I did not do this because I have never played PES or FIFA before, I have the older versions of these games on Switch and PC and I have played them in the past. I rather enjoy running around the pitch scoring goals, but I have no idea about the rules of a pitch, like all these offside bollocks. I just play for the fun and hope I win. I brought my friend in because he watches a shed load of matches and knows a lot about the game, from how players perform, to their little tricks and winning goal performances.
So one of the disadvantages of PES is the lack of partnership deals as FIFA seems to have agreements with literally every nation and club around the world, this is what helps to draw in the football fans. Now PES does have a few official licenses like FC Barcelona, Arsenal, FC Schalke 04, Liverpool, and a few more. Then you have the rest of the club teams like Manchester United as Man Reds or East Midlands who are Leicester City. Unless you are a true fan you would have no idea what PES Team Name represents what team, I actually went to google to find out, even though my mate knew, just shows what I know.
But do missing official teams really make the game a bad game? In no way, PES is such an amazing experience on the field. For me, it was a learning experience which seen me checking out the training mode. A mode that guided me through the games football mechanics, from teaching me to take on defenders, skipping around the goalkeeper to finding my striker and hitting the back of the net. For me this was a must, I suck at playing these types of games, even though for some reason I enjoy playing them, so learning the skills required to play is always a must for me. The training allowed me to improve my close ball control and many more aspects and when going into the game for the first time, I was not a complete fool behind the controller.
There was something I noticed while playing the game, just like FIFA’s real player motion technology, which allowed individual players to play like the real version of themselves, this sort of experience was missing in PES, they all felt the same, no difference between one star to the next. This has all changed now with PES 2019, each star player feels different to play. It is like they have somehow designed a program that takes into account the players style, height, weight, stamina and much more.
PES call this Magic Moments a way to simulate how a player will react in the real game from dribbling, positioning of the ball, defensive line and understanding the proximity of others around them. Then we have player fatigue which simulates the real game even more, players look and feel tired and when they start feeling tired you can really see it, they start to suck, cannot really put a better word in there, they simply do not perform as well as they did at the start.
During a match, substitutions will be key if the ball goes out of play a simple tap of one button, will give you all the recommendations you require to choose the best player to bring in. Everything about playing a match is so much better than anything FIFA can chuck at you and this is coming from a person that does not care much about which is better, I just can see the difference clearly.
When my friend jumped into the game for the first time with North East London as the team he wanted to play with, he was instantly surprised to the attention to detail on the players, the pitches and the stadiums, he said and I quote ‘****ing amazing’. He was gobsmacked at how will players performed with the ball and how accurate the AI was keeping up with him while he was making his way down the field, everything felt fluid or as he said realistic.
Modes aplenty, like the PES Master League, which allows you to be the manager of a club, while purchasing stars are more of a necessity, and when you see a star you want to get, purchased by another club your heart sinks.
There is a mode called Become a Legend which allows you to take control of a player and progress to become a legend, exactly what the title of the mode says, but it lacks in engagement like FIFA’s story mode, which for me made the whole aspect of bringing my legend to life and progressing him through the beautiful game.
MyClub which is a fan favourite now offers a new player base card system over the games previous literation. New Featured players are players that have performed well during matches appear and ‘Featured Players’. Their skills will be improved based on the performance, acquires these players will help strengthen and boost your team. You also have legends, like Micheal Owen, David Beckham, Maradona Steven Gerrard, and many more legends.
There are some issues, the menu system is not the greatest, but it does work and trying to listen to the commentary from Peter Drury and Jim Beglin in the game can get a little hard when the crowds are going wild.
PES shines like a bright star when on the field; everything about the game lies here and is it not ‘The Beautiful Game’ that makes a good ‘Football Game’ to watch. Do we really need a team that we support in the outside world to really enjoy playing this game? I did not, and that might be because I do not have a preferred team, but I know plenty that always goes for the same team in the game as they follow in real life.
FIFA has everything when it comes to teams and story, but it lacks finiese when it comes to the beautiful game on that beautiful patch of green. Ignore the lack of Official licenses and enjoy the 400+ teams, 10,000 players and 40+ stadiums all wrapped up in 4K and HDR with such an amazing in-game engine, then you have in your hands a stunning football game.