PES2019 Demo: 1st Impressions

Just visible on the left is the reflection of the August sun streaming through the window of the room. This sight – PES demo downloading, late summer sun filling the room – is evocative of so much. It’s always good to be here every year.

I grabbed the demo this afternoon, 24 hours early thanks to New Zealand, where it was crazily already the 8th of August. I really don’t understand how that is even possible. It’s as if this whole time and calendar system we live by is just a made-up convention or something.

I’ll get straight to it: I like this PES2019 demo. It has made me optimistic about the quality of the game that it represents.

PES2019 feels different to me straightaway. It looks fantastic – crisp and grainy, in a good way. I did see one crazy graphical glitch (captured and on show as the last item in the short vid at the end of this post) but otherwise, all was smooth as butter.

PES demos are very hit and miss. I can only think of two that have ever had me playing them for longer than a few days – PES5(PS2), and PES2010(PS3).

This demo is one of the stronger ones. The nasty surprise that match lengths were limited to 5 minutes actually enables you to play lots of matches back-to-back. You don’t have to head to the top menu after each match, and can just instantly play again. I played about 7 matches. Five as Liverpool vs Inter on Professional, then two as France vs Argentina on Top Player.

I was most interested to see how Visual Fatigue was going to work. This was billed, early summer, as something for us old-time players to treasure.

I didn’t see any Visual Fatigue in my 7 matches. Not one sign. ‘That’s because the matches were all 5 minutes!’ Maybe. Maybe not. We will see. I commented last night that I would put money on Visual Fatigue becoming the new TeamVision (remember that? me neither). Today I would put even more money on it.

I don’t think this pre-match tip is meant to be amusing, but it is:

Japanglish literalism there.

Fouls next, and there are some encouraging signs here. In my 7 matches of five minutes each I had roughly the same fouling rate as I’d expect in a 10-minute match on PES2018. Which hopefully means – logically should mean – that there should be proportionally more fouls per 10-minute match in the full PES2019 game. Again, we will have to see.

Somehow, the concept of PES being ‘free’ or ‘not free’ has emerged this year to stand proudly alongside ‘organic’ as one of the key buzzwordy-concepts of our times.

The game does feel a touch more ‘free’ to me on PA1 level. I saw enough loose passes to persuade me that there has been work in this direction.

Shooting? Too early to tell. I tried many long-rangers and it was pretty much as per PES2018: either the shots flew wide, or were tipped aside by the the keeper, or caught. We all know this routine by now. Scoreline management for online matches is at the back of the absence of long-range goals in PES these days.

I played France-Argentina, as France, to see how Mbappe would handle. Like bloody greased lightning, is how he handled. As did Salah for Liverpool.

Has the hideously misnamed ‘catchup bug’ finally gone from PES? I doubt it, somehow. I think the developers have instead found a clever way to cancel the ‘catchup bug’ sometimes, contextually, based on certain conditions. More study is needed here.

My first goal saw Salah streak away from the defence in a most un-catchup way. That goal is the first thing on this vid below.

Second thing is a nice moment where an AI defender ducks in front of my striker to head the ball away when it seemed a certain goal. #theAIthatweneed.

Third is that crazy graphical glitch. NB: it only happened once in realtime. The repetition is my sloppy editing, trying to show it off. My player is moved out of the way so the AI can pinch the ball.

All in all, I’d give today’s demo experience a solid 8/10.

PES2019 is the PES I was never going to play. I had already changed my mind by today, but I have to say that if I’d stuck to my decision, but then played this demo, it would have changed my mind.

I’ll be back with another new post at midday on Friday as usual. Let’s see what my 2nd and 3rd impressions are like.

Updated: 7th August 2018 — 21:13


  1. Really hard to judge things proper with just 5 min matches, Konami really messed up with that decision.
    I did notice that the CPU (on superstar) was blatantly more aggressive though, sliding in more with tackles in a few demo matches than I ever saw them do in the whole of PES18.

  2. Chris99 – he had already been injured previously in the game and after a tackle he went down and stayed down.

  3. Paul – Konami really messed up, or maybe it’s a perfect marketing strategy? Hard to fully judge the game on 5 min matches is probably what they intended. We’re all on here talking about how much we’re really enjoying the demo, for the most part. It’s working for them.

  4. I seem to recall PES demos being 5min matches before. I certainly recall a relatively recent thrill at the release of a ‘normal’ 10min demo. Still not played the PES 2019 demo but even taking the the usual new/nu PES anticipation into account, it’s all sounding quite positive.

    n-G – I completely understand your way of playing MyClub and how it offers more than just a levelling up and up of difficulty as you play but even the player progression doesn’t make me want to play it as anything more from a fun aside to ML.

  5. Just to let you know NG – I spoke to an engineer about my dropping connection and sluggish performance. He burst out laughing when he heard the model of my router…”that should be in a museum”. Like yours it had plunged to around 1Mb when downloading updates but it must have become the ‘boiling a frog’ scenario for me as I really didn’t twig till this week. I am anticipating a mind blowing revolution when the fibre lands. Soon as I get a job everything else is getting the semi Paul treatment (obviously not that chrome kitchen or the diamanté toilet roll holder).

  6. Turf – was it an ‘old tech’ router? outdated aerials, and wifi frequency??
    You are in for a treat then, your speeds should shoot up, all that Turf P0rn you can speedily download.

    Shed – for me its been one of the most positively received demo’s in years, not that it means anything because there’s still that big red panic button Konami can press at any time before release.
    But it feels …. for want of a better word, ‘Evolved’. It’s not a great deal different from PES 18, except the obvious graphical upgrade, but then none of the old classic PES games that we revere were either.

    Back in those days, it took a good few days of intense play to really start to notice the changes, most quite subtle, but all for the better, the game evolved from title to title. This year feels that way, where as past years Konami had a lack of direction and every new release would have a new passing system, or new feature, or just a complete turn of direction.

    Lets hope Konami keep the game the same (iron out the bugs) and release what ‘could’ be a classic PES game, one we’ve been waiting a while for.

  7. Paul – what you indicate re. fouls, noticed that too. I get fouled quite frequently before a pass reaches my player if the cpu realizes it can’t intercept it. A good addition and I hope it stays. Definitely more fouls. Tried the PC demo btw and apparently you can extend match time to whatever you want – will be trying that.

  8. I’ve played a couple of games with the time extender tool and it works well, stamina scales up to the minutes selected. It gave me the chance to test out the visible fatigue feature so I run one of my midfielders into the ground and eventually he just gave up and sat down, had to go off. I didn’t notice whether he got any worse beforehand but he was running about ok.

    I’m finding the game a little easier than 2018, definitely not the ai that we need. Maybe Legendary will be playable this year though.

  9. Paul – yesterday I was on the cricket field at bamburgh. The combination of turf, magnificent castle backdrop, sand dunes and sunshine was almost too much glory to take in. Nothing comes close to crisp whites and red ball on turf. Although honourable mentions are due to swans flying over the 9th at 7am and a watered pre-champions league pitch. It’s no doubt the same for you when you hear the soft closure of a metal cutlery drawer…

  10. Cook – he literally just sat down and stayed there? That is awesome!

    Turf – can’t recall the cricket pitch but Bamburgh castle and its surroundings are simply spectacular, one of my favourite ever summer holidays there

  11. It’s an amateur show in every way Abbeyhill – they don’t play in a league, only friendlies, they are staffed by old boys, the square isn’t large, nor particularly top level (all that sand for a start) but the vista is just stunning. I was at warkworth last week and they had a bird of prey thing going on – another fabulous Northumberland castle/village/beach that hardly anyone knows about. They have a cricket pitch in sight of the ramparts too.

  12. Sounds Lovely Turf, swap that cricket pitch for a finely manicured footy pitch with striped grass and box nets and I’d be there!

    Cook – he just sat down?? haha.

    Been playing the demo on Superstar, not finding it easy at all, the cpu teams are much more aggressive, they will lunge in and tackle as soon as the ball comes near you, much better than the tame stand-off defences of last year.

    had a few matches last night playing on full manual, the pace of the game slows down considerably, it was like watching a real life match.
    50% of my passes are accurate but its the little 5 yard lay off passes that are essential around the box, that often go astray on manual, did manage to unleash one rifle shot from 30 yards into the top corner but the keeper dived and palmed it wide.

    PS: Have you seen this?

  13. Oh Paul… Red Dead Redemption is one of my holy 3 games (along with Ocarina of Time and Wild Hunt). I hope we get what we are waiting for, because it looks awesome!

  14. Uncle Turf – I check the BT Infinity website every week waiting for fibre to make its appearance in my area, and will be there on Day 1. The constraints of a standard broadband connection are just too great these days.

    Cook – that is very good news. I ran a player into the ground in the 5-min demo, and saw him just carry on regardless, so all these reports of other experiences is very encouraging.

    Re. difficulty, we have to remember these are Exhibition matches, with different difficulty layers. #AIthatweneed2019

  15. I may have been hasty saying it was easier, I was just having a good run with Inter v Milan.

    The fatigue thing, I was dribbling with the ball and the player pulled up holding the hamstring, it looked realistic but in effect he sat down and had to go off injured. I’ve tested a bit more and it appears the players are gradually getting worse as fatigue gets more severe i.e. touch, passing, shooting, dribbling. I think if it could be turned up a notch or two it would be better. I’m interested to see how accumulated fatigue will play out in ML.

  16. Shed – PES demos split about 70/30 into 10-min and 5-min matches in my memory. The suspicion this time was that Konami had deliberately shortened it knowing everyone would be watching for the effects of Visual Fatigue, which indicated that it was either not in the game at all or so low-level it might as well not have been. But all seems good there.

  17. Paul – looks like I really have talked myself into a PS4 Pro, only outstanding question is when. The PS5 is going to be 2020 at the earliest it seems. I continue to be blown away by the graphics on my 2013 PS4 and standard HDTV.

    Think I’ve played all I’m going to play on the console demo now. I won’t get time to sample the expanded PC demo until Monday now, and will likely get a post for Tuesday out of it, and that’ll be me done until release.

  18. So I played some more myclub last night. I distinctly recall playing against (gasp) other people in previous years – about 3 matches, the last one of which was so annoying it ended the mode for me, so why now ps plus? Is that a recent introduction as I’ve never had membership. Anyway, I get it, I really do, there is something distinctly master leaguey about the squad building, shaping and trying to find a square peg for your square hole. However, the vs com cup competition summed up the problem for me. I played it, Monaco in the first round, lost 0-2. I was treating it as if it was the Coca Cola/rumbelows/milk you know that early season cup. Then I realised I could simply play it again, and again, and again, until I won. That doesn’t sit right for me, if they introduced master leagues competitions to myclub it would be near perfect.

  19. JS Hutt – I never played RDR but RDR2 looks beyond amazing, it will be a day one purchase.

    NG – there are some good deals kicking around for the PS4Pro, and you’d get about £1009 trade in for your old PS4, bringing it down even more.
    The PS4Pro is not only 4k, but faster and more powerful all round with enhanced chips etc, so its well future-proof, will last you until the PS5 and way beyond.

    I kept my old PS4 and put it in the bedroom and mirrored the HD’s, so I can move from the living room up to the bedroom and pay master league from where I left off. Or just use it is a media hub for films etc.

    All this talk of the fatigue system having an affect is positive stuff, may have the odd match or 2 on the demo over the weekend, but that will be it until release for me too, want to come in with PES 19 fresh after having had a few weeks break.

  20. JS Hutt – I’ve still got an unplayed RDR laying around… criminal really, as I know full well what a game it is.

    Paul – how do PS3 games look on a 4K TV? Any improvement? And was it on your 4K TV that you were trying to play a PS2?!

    Uncle Turf – the rinse-and-repeat nature of offline myClub reminded me of my classic days playing ISS on the PS1. And in my filthy summer of myClub this year, I was using online matches to contrast with offline. So I would play offline, play online, play offline, etc. That positions the VS COM matches in a much more positive light. Much the same may or may not happen with PES2019 from the start, depending on how ML is.

  21. NG – No Idea! I’ve never played PS3 on a 4K TV, I don’t own a PS3.
    Good quality 4k Tv’s though, do a really good job of upscaling non 4k content, the PS3 would look good, as its still a HD output.

    PS2 via the HDMI adapter, scaling a SD 640 x 480 output up to 4k, wasn’t great, playable, but replays were unwatchable.

  22. Paul – having spent the past 24 hours absorbing lots of info about 4K and HDR and the rest, I think that trying out a PS2 on such a TV was a really bad idea… It was never not going to be bad. You’re much better off emulating PS2 games with PCSX2 on a PC or Mac if you ever have the time to fiddle again. Maybe a project for next summer.

  23. NG – there are no working decent PS2 emu’s for Mac, PCSX2 on mac has been unsupported and not developed for years, and I don’t own a PC.

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