The discussion around ‘PES vs FIFA’ is a warranted, but exhausted one. Yes, they’re both football games, but anyone who’s actually taken the time to play each one extensively knows that they’re essentially not for the same people. So, for all intensive purposes, we’re going to avoid that talking-point pitfall.
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. That said, the last few iterations, much like it’s counterpart’s (which we won’t go into), have admittedly felt too conservative in their innovations. Thankfully, PES 2019 makes the first notable jump in a few years, whereby the changes are blindingly apparent.
The visuals have received a much-needed upgrade, now aligning with the already-impressive likenesses that the franchise has managed to pride itself on – seriously, PES’ David Beckham looks more like David Beckham than David Beckham (yeah, some legends have been added to the game). Also, in motion, it looks glorious thanks to some new animations that have been added to passing particularly, along with some improved ball physics that really make it feel like it is it’s own independent entity, rather than it being magnetised to your feet.
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licenses will still be a deal-breaker for many, and the menus, UI, and transitions to and from replays are painfully outdated.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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