Pro Evolution Soccer 2019 PlayStation 4 Review

PES 2019 is the next big thing in soccer simulation; possibly, the greatest way a soccer game is presented thus far.

By RON, Posted 12 Sep 2018

It’s that time of the year again. Like leaves changing color with the seasons, yearly sports games start creeping up on us. This time, we are looking at Konami’s football (soccer) sim, and EA’s FIFA main contender, Pro Evolution Soccer. Did PES 2019 just get a new coat of paint or is it a big step towards achieving perfection in simulated football? Let’s find out.

Let’s first talk about the elephant in the room: the lack of official teams and league licenses. The FIFA games are famous for the extensive catalogue of licenses players can choose from. In a sports game that aims for realism, this is undeniably a desirable feature. In the case of PES, the situation just worsened. One of its most appealing licenses, the UEFA Champions League, was not renewed for this year’s game. In an attempt to balance this out, some little and obscure leagues were added instead, namely, leagues from countries such as Belgium, Russia, Scotland, and Turkey. Not exactly what the avid football players wants but at least it’s something. Nevertheless, Konami’s awareness of the situation is still present in the form of allowing mods. This gives players the illusion of having the real things, albeit unofficially, thanks to the community.

Pro Evolution Soccer 2019, PES 2019, PlayStation 4, PS4, Review, Main Menu, Screenshots, Gameplay, Freekick

The game’s mechanics are still superior in terms of strategy and realism. This is the main reason several refer to PES as a soccer sim in the first place. Although most changes are barely noticeable, they stack up and, eventually, the game feels very much improved from its predecessor. This can be seen and felt easily on one of soccer’s most defining feats: passing. A good soccer game is only as good as how players deliver and receive passes. In other games, for example, passing is seen as a given, as if the player’s feet had a tractor beam ensuring that the ball goes from point A to point B. In PES 19, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Passing has become somewhat of an art in the game. Players are intelligent enough to know what kind of pass is necessary depending on context. If we add the fact that Konami spent a lot of resources developing a huge amount of brand new passing animations, it’s easy to see why the game feels very natural and organic. In real life, no pass is identical in any given situation, and PES 19 understands this. These moves depend on the skills of the player issuing them. Depending on their level, a player will be clumsier or more effective issuing a pass, receiving it, or even gaining control of the ball. This is a superb feature for gamers betting on realism. Another key element is that the ball feels better than ever. Physics really do shine, especially when it comes to the ball’s response. It feels like an independent object that needs to be controlled and skillfully manipulated regardless if we’re talking passes, dribbling or long-distance shoots to goal.


The graphics did not receive a massive overhaul but they are still top of the line; Konami’s Fox Engine aims towards intense realism in glorious 4K. This is especially true due to the fact that Konami stopped catering to last-gen consoles. Now they are putting all their eggs in the 4K basket, and it pays off. Aesthetically, the game is impressive. Everything, from the players’ resemblance to the crowd’s, is amazingly detailed. If paused at the right moment and with the right angle, the game looks very close to the actual thing and that’s one of Konami’s biggest accomplishments thus far.

The game isn’t without its flaws, though, the AI taking the cake in this regard. Offline matches might prove a bit underwhelming for seasoned players. In most cases, CPs will try to have the same kind of approach: low crosses. Even if it manages to make it through to the defensive line and face the goalkeeper one-on-one, a computer player will try to shoot from just outside the box, which can be a significant issue to some. While a patch could always be just around the corner, the fact that the game released with such a flaw is still a matter of heavy criticism. This is, however, noticed most prominently at the lower difficulty levels. When played matches in World Class or Legendary difficulty modes, it’s very unlikely that the AI will make any mistake and are capable of exploring all of the opposition’s weaknesses. There is however the option to go online or have local matches, which is the most appealing part of a sports game for most players.

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Game modes such as Master League, Become a Legend (the franchise’s career mode) and myClub (PES’s response to FIFA’s Ultimate Team –FUT-) make a return, to nobody’s surprise. These game modes keep things interesting even though nothing major has changed; not to mention that they’re already vastly popular for their diversity in terms of gameplay. Master League gives you the role of a club Manager, and you can pretty much do everything from signing and trading players to managing minor tactical details in the pitch. A new feature of this mode is that Managers can now view the club owner’s expectations in a menu. Major expectations, such as the board wanting you to win the league, will remain in the menu until you’ve achieved them, while expectations like winning a rival match, or winning the first match of the league will only display in the menu for the period in which they’re relevant. myClub’s Ball Spinning has been changed entirely. You are no longer able to see the spin, when spending 10,000GP on buying a player. In PES 2019, the game does the spinning for you in the background. Another small change is that instead of single spins for signing single players, gamers have to spend 25,000 GP once to sign three players in only one spin. As for Become a Legend, due to the upgraded passing, the gameplay feels more realistic. Since you control a single player in this mode, players need to master one touch passing to get used to the rhythm of the AI players. Those trying to play this mode using past PES tactics, will find it unlikely to success on higher difficulties.


In the end, PES 2019 is a soccer sim, a good one for what it’s worth. For the untrained eye, it might seem as just another soccer game, undistinguishable from any other. For veterans, however, this might be the greatest way a soccer game is presented thus far.


Sarwar Ron, NoobFeed
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PES 2019 Tips and Winning Guide. Here are some basic tips to help both new and veteran players keep their winning streak going in PES 2019. Also check our PES 2019 Xbox One X Review.


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General Information

Platform(s): PS4
Publisher(s): Konami
Developer(s): Konami, Konami Digital Entertainment, PES Productions
Genres: Sports
Themes: Soccer
Release Date: 2018-08-28

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