PES 2019 Review
Although I now risk sounding like a broken record, with another year of PES soccer upon us, we have yet another year to talk about how the soccer mechanics outshine the competition, but how through game still lacks the modes and licences of “the other guy.” It’s become a cycle to be sure, as felt PES 17 and PES 18 both outshined FIFA on the field, while struggling off it. While I hoped 19 might be the breakout year for PES, I was unfortunately wrong, but I’m not sure it’s Konami’s fault.
The on field mechanics in PES 2019 is currently unrivaled. For those looking for a natural, more realistic experience on the field, PES delivers in spades. When speaking with soccer loving friends, we all agreed: if we were to ever play and single quick match of soccer on console, we would chose to play PES everytime. And in reality, that is a huge compliment to the work Konami put into this game.
On the field, nothing comes close to PES when purely looking at the soccer from a realistic point of view. Realism is a huge necessity for me when I play games, and once again PES delivers. How to best explain this? Passing.
In “that other game,” players use the A button to pass the ball between teamates, holding it down to increase the power of that pass. Whether you are 15 or 20 feet apart, or perhaps 2 feet apart, regardless of the power uoi put on the pass, your teamates will neatly handle the ball. Ever have someone powerfully pass you a soccer ball from 2 feet away? You’ll almost NEVER accept it perfectly. In PES, that type of pass is something you won’t ever do, because like reality, you’ll be losing control of the ball.
Adding to the realistic experience is the outstanding ball physics. I’ve played a ton of soccer games in my lifetime, but none have come as close to replicating the real movements of a soccer ball on a pitch as Konami is able to do here. Whether skipping across grass, or landing from heights on a soft field, the physics that define the game have never felt so real.
The biggest issue with PES, however, is how the game handles off the pitch. THe menus are a bit basic and boring to work with; in areas where they could provide context to the modes presented, there are large blank areas rather than little touches that would have livened things up. My Club is back, and I actually really enjoyed how the mode came together, but it still pails in comparison to the FUT mode. The different modes in the game aren’t the biggest weakness however; an even bigger problem for PES is the lack of licencing.
And I’m not sure this is something they can easily fix. With EA snapping up the licences for some many of the worlds major leagues, it leaves little for Konami to grab onto and exploit. What is licenced in the game, is incredibly fantastic, from outstanding realistic stadiums, to beautifully done soccer player animations from the likes of players like Bale, and more. When Konami has the licence to do something in the soccer world, they do it incredibly well. When they don’t, things seem a bit muddled, and aren’t as impressive as they could possibly be, likely again because of limitations in what they can and cannot recreate in video game form.
Despite these issues, this is still very much a great second option to the FIFA franchise. Arcade like soccer isn’t for everyone, and the purest will find much more to enjoy in PES 2019. If you can get behind playing as the Man Red instead of Manchester United, you’ll likely be in for a good, authentic experience unlike anything I’ve ever played before. Special moves are more enhanced than in previous PES experiences, but don’t expect every player to pull them off. Understanding who’s on your team, and what their abilities are, go a long way in determining how successful you will be.
Whether you run through an entire season, or dive headfirst into My Club, there is still plenty to enjoy here. PES is an experience I’ll continue to return to month after month, and while I might save my Manger Mode time for FIFA, I like the simplicity of My Club that probably makes it more appealing to simpiler minds like my own. It’s not as in depth as FUT, and I can admit it’s also not as good, but it’s easier, less stressful, and the ability to play realistic soccer are enough to make me play it primarily this season.