The annual battle for the crown of virtual football king has returned, with PES and FIFA unleashing their latest entries to go head-to-head with one another. While FIFA 19 is still just a week away, we’ve got our hands on Pro Evolution Soccer 2019 to see what Konami’s offering entails this season.
There’s no denying that while FIFA is an easy pick-up-and-play game, PES is for the technically-minded football fanatic – the player who wants to have a little more ‘thought’ and a difficulty-curve around even the simpler parts of the game, and for the most part, PES has etched itself a niche in the market at delivering that experience. PES 2019 has made a notable jump this year, with some much-needed tweaks making an appearance.
Graphically, the game has seen a huge boost, with the general visuals now aligning with the excellent likenesses that the franchise has prided itself on for years. Thanks to some new animations that have been added to passing particularly, the game looks stunning in motion, and some improved ball physics really make the general play and weighty ‘feel’ of the game shine.
Where PES 2019 falls short, however, is still in its top-level polish. The lack of official licenses will still be a deal-breaker for many, and the menus, UI, and transitions to and from replays are painfully outdated. While this does seem like a minor gripe – given that the moment-to-moment football gameplay is superb – it does hamper the experience when getting to the game and the video presentation bits in between the shots and dribbles feel awkward.
Thankfully, PES 2019 does have its on-field to redeem itself, which will please football purists over license-fanatics. The gameplay is still tough and rewarding, while smarter AI and a visible-stamina system adds enough depth to keep you coming back for more… well, another season at least.
PES 2019 is available on Xbox One, PS4, and PC.
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