Hitting the post – Improving on realism but still lacking on licenses

Football games comes and goes every year with yearly instalments of FIFA from EA and PES from Konami. This time, we managed to get our hands on PES2019 courtesy of Konami and this is the first PES that we played after a few years sticking to FIFA. So some of the features might be introduced in the earlier games, and we will be comparing the two.

Addressing the elephant in the room, the graphics are up first. The pitch along with the players are beautiful to look at, but the UI does need a little reworking as it does feel cluttered sometimes. However, we have noticed that the players tend to have a freaky smile, baring their teeth whenever the camera zooms onto them. But that aside, the crowds are decently animated (if you don’t zoom in close) and they finally managed to get their hands on some official teams in Liverpool, Arsenal, AC Milan and FC Barcelona.

Licenses still an issue for PES

Licenses still an issue for PES

The official teams do have players that look more realistic compared to their other counterparts. Some of the leagues are fully licensed as well, along with a plethora of official stadiums. As for the other teams without an official license, sadly they are bound to names such as, Man Blue and Man Red. Luckily for PC players, there are mods out there that can change the look and the names of the clubs, to make it just like an official league.

Formation settings, allowing you to fully customise how the players move

Formation settings, allowing you to fully customise how the players move

As for the gameplay, passing is smooth and plays a little more realistically compared to its other counterpart. Skill moves such as flicks, and pin-point crosses are not easily performed and instead, you will be relying on sleek and accurate passes, but that depends on how you set up your team tactics. And speaking of tactics, there are plenty to choose from and you can easily customise how you want your team to perform. By clicking the L2 Button and Directional Buttons, you can switch your tactics such as Tiki-Taka or Attacking Fullbacks on the fly without needing you to go into the menu.

The crowd, most of them repeated

The crowd, most of them repeated, with weirdly a lot of puffer jackets

A goalkeeper clawing at a ball going in

A goalkeeper clawing at a ball going in

Continuing on gameplay, while the actions are somewhat smoother, players seem to take an extra step before they are able to sprint. This means that the players are kind of sluggish, even fast players such as Aubameyang did not feel as fast as he would in real life. We also noticed that in some matches when you are 2-0 down, some players played more sluggishly and passes weren’t as accurate anymore. Even if you’re not 2-0 down, when your players are exhausted, they will move more slowly, to show that fatigue does matter and plays an important role in the game, prompting you to bring in fresh legs to tackle the match.

Another annoying part that we have to point out is with the audio. Starting with commentary – some phrases repeat a little too much to our liking. Yes this happens to other sports games too, but we felt that the commentators failed to record more lines to vary it up a little. As for the stadium atmosphere, if you are playing on an official stadium, it feels more lively and the crowd does get hyped up and will have chants going. But if you are playing on a non-official team, the atmosphere will feel bland and not lively at all.

Setting up training, with arrows indicating what stats will be focused on

Setting up training, with arrows indicating what stats will be focused on

Training is a fun aspect to Master League but only needs to be done once and that’s it. Certain players can be allowed to train in a certain role and over time, their stats in that department will increase. For example, a defender can be trained in a “The Destroyer” style that will focus their training on Physical Contact, Injury Resistance and Stamina.

When it comes down to the wire, PES2019 does not really reinvent anything new to the genre but merely offers a breath of fresh air and a different style of play compared to its counterpart. In some parts that it lacks, it makes up with more details in the other. For fans of the series however, you’ll feel right at home with this iteration of PES. We did enjoy PES2019 as we found ourselves trying to tackle the game with a slower pace and a have a higher priority when it comes to defense. A good defense is a good offense as people once said.