Pro Evolution Soccer 2019 Review

PES 2019 Review

Reviewed by: Daniel Baesel

As summer slowly turns to fall, we get ready to welcome the beautiful game of Football back into our lives as most major leagues have now officially kicked off for another campaign.

And with the start of the Football season we also welcome another iteration of Pro Evolution Soccer onto our favorite gaming console or PC.

This years theme is simple: Refinement.

Grizzled PES veterans will not find huge leaps from last years game as far as splashy new features, but the refinements which have been made, will jump out at players almost immediately.

Before we get into the new modes, revamped UI and licensing, let’s talk about PES 2019’s finest asset: Gameplay.

The gameplay continues to be the highlight of PES 2019

The gameplay has always been on the forefront of the franchise and this year is no different. The game looks and plays absolutely stunning.

The lighting has been revamped and depending on the time of day, the pitch looks so realistic, it’s often hard to distinguish between a real life match on HDTV.

Player animations are once again an absolute treat to watch and especially thrive in 1 v 1 battles for the ball. The game represents human behavior better than any sports game I have played to date. Players stumble over another, hard touches can be felt better than ever before and the AI does a better job than ever before exploiting weaknesses you may have left on your team by pulling players out of position. Progressive fatigue can also really be felt as the match progresses and this year there has been an emphasis on player fitness which players shouldn’t ignore. I played an overtime thriller in the French Super Cup as PSG vs Monaco and by the time the 2nd OT period started, players from both sides were extremely tired and moved much slower than in the first half.

The ball physics have also been refined even further and I must say that finally the ball acts and feels as if it is it’s own entity and no longer relies on the players for proper “feel”. The sheer amount of passes and shots which leads to goals are staggering. No goal ever feels the same and completing a skill move with the ball to get around a pair of defenders is more satisfying than ever.

Stadiums and fans look as great as expected in a PES title

Off the pitch, the UI has been cleaned up and simplified. It still has a very “PC Gamey feel” to it but the top menu now only features the most important game modes and features. Sorted by “online” or “offline” tabs, it lets users jump into their favorite mode quickly and without digging through multiple menus.

Licensing, or the lack there of, has always plagued the PES franchise and has proven to be too much to overcome for some football gamers. This year there are many changes once again as Konami has lost the exclusive license to the UEFA Champions League. That, coupled with a last second decision by popular German football club Borussia Dortmund to terminate their exclusive contract with Konami is definitely a blow to some fans (including myself as I am from Dortmund).

I applaud Konami however as they have decided to focus on some of the smaller leagues in the world and have scooped up a total of 8 new leagues including the Russian Premier League and the Turkish Süper Lig which will make football fans in those countries very happy. A total of 13 officially licensed leagues with all its teams are in the game this year, most prominently the French Ligue 1.

Additionally, all but one team (Juventus) are present for the Italian Serie A along with a handful of prominent European powerhouses such as FC Barcelona and Liverpool.

Master League makes its return and is by far PES’ most fleshed out game mode. Minor additions have been made to the mode including a full playable pre-season and a “challenge” difficulty which handles player transfers, finances and manager expectations very realistic compared to the real world of international football.

If you are not interested into diving head first into everything it takes to run a professional football club, you can also choose to play “League” mode which is a bit easier to grasp for newcomers.

MyClub, which is Pro Evo’s team building game mode, received the biggest overhaul this year as it now features legends as well as special player cards which represent outstanding performances in the real world of soccer. It is still too early to tell but from the looks of it, the MyClub mode will be updated with content and special events regularly through PES 2019’s life cycle and should keep the game fresh for months to come.

Aside from Master League and MyClub, PES 2019 features a total of 14 game modes including 3 v 3 co-op, online co-op, League, Online Seasons and a new mode called “Random Select Match” which randomly populates a user team and opponent with players from the PES 2019 roster and lets you acquire one player from the opposing team via trade.

It’s a neat spin on the game but longevity  is a concern with this mode. The meat and potatoes of PES are still Master League and MyClub. I hope that Konami brings a few more fully fleshed out modes to the game in the coming years as all other modes currently feel shoehorned into the product, and there isn’t a whole lot of incentive to play them.

VERDICT:

Pro Evolution Soccer 2019 is quite possibly the best representation of it’s real life counterpart in any sports game to date.

On the pitch, it is also the most realistic Football game we have ever seen and for fans of the franchise or fans of the sport, it is an absolute masterpiece to own.

In a way I consider PES 2019 more of a sports simulator than a “game” as it has enough content and hands on strategy to keep even the most hardcore Football Manager players’ hearts content.

With that being said, it may lack a bit of newbie friendly onboarding. The learning curve to succeed at the game is steep and to master it even steeper.

I still recommend PES 2019 to anyone who is a fan of “The beautiful game” even if your favorite club is not licensed in the game this year.


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  • Gameplay
  • Game Modes
  • Presentation
  • Longevity

Summary

Pro Evolution Soccer 2019 is quite possibly the best representation of it’s real life counterpart in any sports game to date.

In a way I consider PES 2019 more of a sports simulator than a “game” as it has enough content and hands on strategy to keep even the most hardcore Football Manager players’ hearts content.

Overall
4