Home Gaming Pro Evolution Soccer 2019 is struggling to make an impression

Pro Evolution Soccer 2019 is struggling to make an impression

3 min read

PES 2019 E3 2018 hands-on 2

Sports games are hard to iterate on year on year. They have to make meaningful changes to gameplay and content so that players don’t feel like an online update to roster changes is the only thing they’re paying for – a struggle which Konami is seemingly struggling to deal with this year. It’s not only prevalent in the slightly tweaked gameplay but the licensing too. Without anything of worth in terms of the big competitions, PES 2019 just felt limp at E3 this year.

Presentations detailing the entire structure of the game preceded our hands-on time with a few matches, most of which was dedicated to some of the smaller changes that the game will introduce. PES 2019 is bringing with it better off-ball control, which will allow you to set up attacking formations a little better instead of overly relying on the computer to get it right. It’s joined by more attention to detail with regards to player abilities of sorts. You’ll be able to pull off nice looking tricks like no-look passes and varying dipping and rising shots. There are 11 new skills in total, but I can’t say I can recall most of them after playing around three matches aside from the new passes. They’re surprisingly deceptive, and a really good trick to pull off against another human opponent.

PES 2019 E3 2018 hands-on 1

Konami spent a long time touting their new partnership with David Beckham this year too, as opposed to someone actually headlining the sport today. Beckham is great, and is still an acting ambassador for the sport in a much smaller capacity. And he looks great in the game too (hell, PES 2019 still looks spectacular in that FOX Engine, there’s no disputing that), but it just feels like clutching at straws. Why Konami wouldn’t target someone playing for the biggest leagues in the world is strange, even if they chose to contextualize it in terms of Beckham being another strong addition to their family of Legends.

The answer might be linked with events taking place off the pitch. This year PES lost the license to UEFA, which includes both the Champions and Europa Leagues. Now PES was always lacking in official content when compared to the likes of EA’s FIFA, but this year seems to sting a little more. There’s the omission of even more teams this time, despite the appearance of larger clubs like Barcelona and Liverpool. But UEFA was a big selling point of the series to some fans, and no additions from leagues in Argentina, Portugal and Russia (which was a big talking point in the presentation for some reason) are going to change that.

PES 2019 E3 2018 hands-on 3

Still, PES 2019 feels good where it counts. It’s still a very fast-paced football game that is graceful in motion. There’s purpose to your actions on the pitch to a degree that FIFA doesn’t feel like it’s been hitting in a while, even if all of its proposed new features don’t shine through that well. What PES 2019 is riding off of is a solid establishment of mechanics and levels of quality that have existed for a long time now. So that doesn’t mean it’s suddenly bad, but rather just a little more boring year on year.

That’s arguably going to matter less to those players who purchase PES every year, but this was the first time year Konami’s struggle to keep licensing shows far more than before. EA is buying up what they can to sink PES, which is never good for a market that only contains two horses. And if Konami wants to stay in this race, it might need to do a little more to make an impression.

Last Updated: June 25, 2018


  1. If fifa buy ucl license, konami can’t have it?


  2. Rio

    June 26, 2018 at 04:08

    If fifa buy ucl license, konami can’t have it?


    • Tbone187

      June 27, 2018 at 11:58

      Fifa probz overpaying for exclusivity.


      • Rio

        June 27, 2018 at 21:55

        Is that a monopoly?


        • Tbone187

          June 28, 2018 at 08:24

          Corruption in Fifa + EA business model = Monopoly.Definitely! Floating under the radar somehow.


    • oscar487

      August 14, 2018 at 09:29

      No, Konami cannot have it, EA overpaid and Konami cannot keep up so they have to give up and invest the money in other areas, striking deals with other leagues and clubs. Monopoly is a bitch.


  3. L Dizzay

    June 26, 2018 at 18:02

    What a terrible article, you have given us no information about the game. The fact it’s even slower than PES 2018 and miles slower than FIFA and you call it “very fast-paced” instantly discredits this article. Great journalism.


  4. oscar487

    August 14, 2018 at 09:23

    Monopoly is ruining this world.


  5. oscar487

    August 14, 2018 at 09:28

    So just because fifa is the governing body does not make them the master of football, or to say they do not own football. I feel it should have been fair to grant all parties equality when it comes to licences, there would be better competition. Anyway, PES have the best game play and playing PES is more realistic as it is hard and more competitive. I don’y really care because I always a get patch for PES with all kits and logos.


  6. Nacho Muncher

    September 17, 2018 at 12:00

    PES graphics and animation are superb, but the AI game play in BAL is pitiful. Try to use pressure to get the ball after waiting a few minutes a foul usually results. On the other hand you will be barged from behind, knocked over, and even occasionally find a giant crawling up you back o head a ball, without any free-kicks. And the in-game skill development us pointless! In other words, after a few enjoyable games, Japanese humour kicks in and you are the butt if their joke. However, the look and feel of PES is the best in my opinion; but how long you can endure a cruel, unfair game without much fun?


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