Pro Evolotion Soccer 2019

Pro Evolution Soccer keeps handing its haters fuel. If the series doesn’t have big-name licenses, the FIFA crowd says, it’s not worth playing. PES has destroyed this notion with an excellent return to form over the last few years, but for the first time in a while, this year’s game throws up more questions than answers.

First things first: PES 2019 plays a brilliant game of football. It’s more challenging than ever, is beautifully detailed in 4K HDR and will be celebrated by those already invested in the series. Konami have sought to give players more control and opportunities to play their personal brand of football. As such, PES 2019 takes no prisoners in its search for realism on the pitch.

Last year’s game tasked players with learning a more intricate style, one that favoured intelligent shifts of momentum over holding sprint and relying on breakneck speed. PES 2018 capitalised on the solid base built across years of reworking the series after a dire run on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. To the naked eye, you’d think PES 2019 was the same game sporting graphical enhancements and new skill moves, but subtle tweaks have a major impact.

Pro Evolution Soccer keeps handing its haters fuel. If the series doesn’t have big-name licenses, the FIFA crowd says, it’s not worth playing. PES has destroyed this notion with an excellent return to form over the last few years, but for the first time in a while, this year’s game throws up more questions than answers.

First things first: PES 2019 plays a brilliant game of football. It’s more challenging than ever, is beautifully detailed in 4K HDR and will be celebrated by those already invested in the series. Konami have sought to give players more control and opportunities to play their personal brand of football. As such, PES 2019 takes no prisoners in its search for realism on the pitch.

Last year’s game tasked players with learning a more intricate style, one that favoured intelligent shifts of momentum over holding sprint and relying on breakneck speed. PES 2018 capitalised on the solid base built across years of reworking the series after a dire run on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. To the naked eye, you’d think PES 2019 was the same game sporting graphical enhancements and new skill moves, but subtle tweaks have a major impact.

A lack of responsiveness can interrupt the flow of matches. It’s not uncommon to run into teammates who step into the way while you’re dribbling, and there are moments where you’ll wonder if your button press has registered at all. Defenders are slow to turn and compete when a pass is played behind them, even if you read the situation by switching players ahead of time. If you can nip ahead of the centre-back when a cross comes in, you’re going to often score.

Aerial challenges from goal kicks also feel weighted in favour of the forward by virtue of their being closest to the ball, particularly on tougher difficulties or against a friend. These aren’t game-breaking issues, but when the physical battle is so fierce and unpredictable in midfield, it’s disappointing that patterns emerge in other situations.

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