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.