PES 2019 Xbox One X Review
Another year and another new PES, has this one finally improved enough to take on the football king Fifa though?
Firstly I am happy to say that when it comes to the actual football Konami have nailed it once again! The football in PES 2019 is really impressive, the way the game flows as well as some of the shots, passes and tackles all add up to an impressively real feel to things! I personally found the challenge of actually getting a goal really held a sense of achievement when you finally manage to score unless your a pro at the game that is!
Going up against some of the stronger opposition with a weaker side really impacts the match and you will soon see you have a real challenge on your hands to actually get a result or even a goal! I really personally liked the challenge and the test the game gives you rather than just running the ball to the back of the net, you will constantly need to vary your approach and try new methods to work the ball into the back of the net! This years version does feel slightly different in approach compared to last year, it’s far slower and you can feel the build up compared to last years faster more arcade approach. Some players will like this and some will prefer last years so that will be down to the player to work out.
PES certainly makes the player work and the ball is realistically unpredictable that you may either find yourself in trouble with a dodgy deflection or in on goal up the other end! Passing also takes some practice and isn’t as laser guided as Fifa can be with stray balls soon pounced upon by the opposition waiting to punish your every mistake! On the pitch though there are a few issues worth noting, one would have to be the referee! he will pretty much stop the game for everything and I’m not actually sure he knows how to play on if you have an advantage! This infuriated me on many occasions during the matches as you can imagine! The goalkeepers can also cause a fair bit of frustration with some of their decisions and this isn’t even your keeper! You can be one of one with the opposition AI keeper and they never come out to close you down making it pretty easy to put the ball in the back of the net as they are hardly making themselves big and closing the angle. On the other side though when the AI gets into a one on one they don’t tend to run at your keeper like you would expect in real life, they hold the ball up and stop running at goal which on a few occasions seemed like a certain goal if they had just carried on running with the ball.
Anyway away from the actual football and this is where things take a turn for the worse, obviously the licences will always come into play here and unless some miracle happens this will always be PES’s Achilles heel compared to Fifa! Aside from the big loss of the Champions League licence that Fifa have now added Konami has added a few other leagues including the Scottish and Russian league to name a couple. Sadly compared to Fifa it just isn’t there and we at least need the full Premier League licence, having to use Man Red instead of United with none of the kit and logos really kills the immersion and is something the game is desperate for, PC players and PS4 players can get around this issue with an update file adding all what’s missing but sadly Xbox players can’t do anything about this and will have to put up with it unless they want to alter all the names themselves.
It isn’t all doom and gloom here though because the licences they do have really look good, the detail in the players and stadiums is extremely life-like and really impressive with a serious amount of detail! The players all look photo-realistic and even have things like the players actual real life tattoos, need to have a look at the infamous Sterling one if it’s there!
Sadly though this is where the good looking stuff ends and things start to get a little messy. The menus on the game are an absolute mess at times and really need an overhaul, I sometimes feel like I’m playing a really old version of PES which is a shame that the user interface can kill an experience when the actual football is so good! I also found the music in the menus to be a little weird and just didn’t fit a football game at all compared to Fifa which always seems to boast a great soundtrack to listen to while navigating it’s menus.
When it comes to sound though things don’t improve on the pitch either! The commentary is possibly some of the worst I’ve heard as well as some pretty dodgy sound effects, I know commentary can be difficult to get right and having enough lines to keep things from getting repetitive but this years PES really is bad and will probably have most players turning it off completely!
Onto the modes and there is a fair few to choose from, I personally jumped straight onto Master League and it’s basically the same as always. I take the team of unknowns and work my way up the leagues adding some of the worlds best to my team along the way! This is fun but really needs an overhaul and again is pulled back by the games dated UI. It’s always been the mode I go straight to and setup but it’s never been as good as I remember back in the days of the PS2 and struggles to keep me addicted like it did back then. The way transfers are negotiated are just annoying and It is all done by adjusting sliders and just feels dated compared to Fifa’s latest way of doing things.
PES also has all the usual modes like kick off for a quick match with your mates but it’s main mode is clearly the online MyClub mode. This is basically the equivalent to Fifa’s Ultimate Team mode and again this is where PES falls behind Fifa, MyClub feels pretty much like last years instalment but with a few additions to it. Featured players have been added and allow players to see what players have performed well during real life matches in the week. I personally like the MyClub mode but it does feel like it’s permanently playing catch up to Fifa’s Ultimate Team and like the menu system it really needs some work to push it forward!
PES 2019 feels fantastic when your actually playing the football and Konami is still dishing out a solid footballing experience but it’s off the pitch that everything is going wrong! The menus and licences need some serious attention for PES to ever challenge Fifa again. The football feel is there and while this has to be the most important thing it’s impossible to ignore the other issues, the sound is something that most will want to miss, terrible commentary as well as a soundtrack that at times feels like it’s in the wrong game! I want to love PES and I do honestly love the way it plays football but I need more, more licences, better menus and some commentary I can actually listen to without wanting to turn it off completely! If you are a PES fan then this years instalment is certainly worth trying but if you are a long time Fifa fan looking to switch wait till next year and live in hope that Konami sorts some of the off the field issues!
8.1 / 10
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This game code was sent to us free of charge for our honest review and has in no way influenced our rating of the game.