PES2019: an End of Year Review

PES2019 landed on my doormat more than one year ago, on 29 August 2018. Since then I’ve written tens of thousands of words about it in scores of blog posts and many hundreds of comments.

I’ve seen the game grumbled about, scorned and pilloried by roughly 80% of commenters on this blog, and it seems by most of the PES-centric Internet (what there is left of it).

And yet I come here today to affirm my oft-expressed view:

  • PES2019 is easily the best PES of the PS4 generation so far. This is certain for me.
  • PES2019 is the best PES since at least PES2012. I can see the argument here for PES2013 and PES2014, so it’s not quite so clear-cut.
  • PES2019 might even be the best PES since the Golden Age of the PS2. This one is more tenuous and open to the claims of PES2010 and PES2012. But it’s close.

For me! For me…

PES2019 handles beautifully. It feels like a PES game in my hands. The forums decry its lack of ‘responsiveness’ (as if we all automatically have the same understanding of the term, and as if we all automatically agree upon its positive value in football gaming).

Big lumbering players feel big and lumbering. Small nippy players feel likewise – even if there are too many of them. The sins of nuPES are not absent from PES2019, but they’re attenuated by the pro-side of the ledger.

Shooting is magnificent in PES2019. Stats-driven and context-aware, for the most part. PES2019 is the most stats-respecting PES since PES2014. Which isn’t saying much, I know.

I could go on, but in truth the entire past year has been my review. I refer the curious new reader to almost any post from the past year (and its comments section) to get a good idea of how PES2019 has been for me.

I cannot recall another PES in recent memory – PES2014, perhaps – that has been hammered (in the negative sense) so much.

The principal reason for the community’s anti-PES2019 ire has being its AI. (NB: single-player gaming is the framework of perception on this blog, and always will be. I do quite enjoy myClub when I dabble with it, but it’s a side-quest at best.)

Was I wowed by the PES2019 AI? Of course I was not! It was just another bog-standard football game AI in almost every aspect. It never did anything spectacular – but it always gave me a good game. Albeit a cheaty one sometimes.

But was I appalled by the AI, in any way, as the majority of correspondents here and across the ‘net were?

Nope. Not even slightly appalled.

As my frequently-posted demonstration videos proved beyond all doubt, for me the phenomenon that came to be known as ‘LCS’ was never even remotely a ‘thing’. It just never happened. Nothing. Nada. Zilch.

The repetitive AI attack patterns that others saw and were driven mad by, I never saw and was never driven mad by. My experience of PES2019 was defined by this critical difference. I got to explore and enjoy the game in a way that it seemed relatively few others did.

And boy did I enjoy it. Some of the most notable individuals I have ever played with in PES, I played with in PES2019.

I went looking for some goals of PES2019 to show off, principally long-range goals – my absolute favourite type.

Here is a short selection of my long-rangers this year, in a 3-minute video.

The Forlan boomer at 2:10 is my favourite goal of PES2019.

What didn’t work for me in PES2019?

I hated the local derby matches – hated them with a passion. 1000mph blizzards of sprinting aggro, with zero fouls. The very worst that nuPES has to offer. In Season 9 of Master League, I finally went into Edit mode and surgically removed all my derby matches from the game, and I will never play them again in their current form. Load of absolute crappy shite.

And AI fouls… I wanted more fouls, but when haven’t I wanted more fouls?

PES2019 was slightly better than other recent PES games for AI fouls. Most matches featured 1 or 2. But far too many featured 0 (ZERO) AI fouls. There should never, ever be any match with literally 0 (ZERO) AI fouls, but once again in PES2019 those matches were a frequent occurrence – as they will be again in PES2020.

There has only ever been one football game in history with a proper amount of AI fouls. I trust the reader does not need me to name it. (Its Name Shall Live Forever.)

But when I think of other things I disliked about PES2019, I’m struggling to come up with anything much. There’s the rough-and-readiness of Master League, of course. That corny and cuddly feel might start to lose its charm sometime soon, but that time wasn’t in PES2019.

My experience of PES2019 – my actual, lived experience, across an entire year – was one of deep enjoyment and pleasure.

It’s been a classic PES year for me.

My final score has to be based on my own experience. You can only taste the meal that you yourself eat. 15 hugely satisfying seasons in Master League speak for themselves.

PES2019: 9/10

Updated: 3rd September 2019 — 12:06

74 Comments

  1. Great read NG. I’ve been out of the game too long after having a child. You’ve got me thinking about buying a PS4 to play Master League.
    That goal video is absolutely majestic, loved it. The ball seems to move so slow on those long shots, it just looks so pleasing.

  2. nG – Since you put it like that, it makes perfect sense. You could even spend a bit of time playing the top-down camera (or whatever you call it) to get fluent with AS and then switch back to a side view.

  3. Yeah it takes a little getting used to wit the inverted aiming on Advanced shooting NG, but does make sense once you get used to it.

    Another key thing you need to remember is that you need to aim at the direction you want to shoot BEFORE pressing the shoot button.

    If you aim (shooting left to right) North West (top left) for the bottom right hand corner then you have to pull the LS into that direction then shoot, not shoot then aim, its all a bit back to front on advanced but geats easy with practise.

  4. are people really back on the advanced shooting horse? It’s something I try every few years, like for three games then sling after missing a goal line tap in as I’ve kicked it yards to the side. It’s not doing a PA0 at all, it’s hugely counter intuative imho. Like learning the piano with your feet – you can do it but why would you when there are altrnatives. Manual shooting though? It gets a fair bit of support and would end my anger with 2018/19 ‘just past the post’ and flying keepers.

    Tiger Woods on Wii is the game PES5 could have been.

  5. Turf – There’s more to Advanced shooting than you make out., agreed its been wavy last few years but appears better in PES 20.

    For example, with basic shooting, its restrictive in that if you are 25 yards out, the power required to make the ball reach the goal dictates that the shot will rise, whereas with Advanced, you can choose to keep the shot low and hard from the same distance still with power.

    My gripes with Advanced are that although it gives you more variation in where you place the shot, its unreliable with first time shots and headers, also a lot of shots hit the post.

  6. Paul – sent you a message about a kit on pesfx. It’s my boys footy team kit. Going eventually start 2020 ML as Blackheath Wanderers instead of Liverpool. Be the first time I haven’t started with Liverpool since I started playing Pro Evo. Boom!!

  7. All this manual talk reminds me of Sensible Soccer or Kick-Off and the way shooting was on it. ISS on the N64 had a great shooting with pulling back to do a chip. It felt natural.
    Truth be told I’m a bit excited to get stuck into the game compared with previous years.

  8. Lloyd – saw your message, I’d need clearer pictures of the crest and the images on the sleeves mate.

  9. Paul – yes, it’s the first time shots and stuff you want to instinctively swing at in and around the six yard box. Manual shooting?

    Had a look at the blog on pesfx but I can’t see all of the screen on an iPad – it seems to cut off the sides of the comments – something about ‘my settings at work Chris’is at one edge. Never had a problem like that on FIFA site Paul.

    …and I want to apologise to Abbeyhill for my spelling of intuitive, I was on a different device but really there is no excuse.

  10. Grilled Seabass — hello again and while there’s been huge debate over PES2019, I’ve loved it and others have too. I remember your stance on all things PES all the way back to PES2010, which I vividly remember you calling ‘prehistoric’! (I loved PES2010 too.) So PES2019 itself might seem similarly retrograde to you, but there’s no harm in trying. You’ll soon be able to pick up copies for cheap. I saw a copy in my local CeX the other day for £20 though. Seems a touch high.

    Tommy — I got a few manual matches in on PES2019 before work today (road-testing all the settings I’ve ignored for years) and tried to pass from the kickoff to any player I wanted… and I could do so, easily. There was never any issue. I also found that I can spray balls around more on manual now. Very gratifying.

    Uncle Turf/Paul — Advanced Shooting is very weird. It’s like ‘manual basic’ shooting, i.e. each quadrant corresponds to an area of the goal and the pressure on teh stick determines exactly where, and then the power makes another adjustment… I was happy to be able to do hard low shots a la Lothar Matthaus in the 1986 World Cup, and I did find I was able to get first time shots off OK, but overall… needs more study. Alas, I think the ‘parliamentary arithmetic’ of the next few days and the imminence of PES2020 means it won’t get that time.

    And don’t even get me started on Advanced Through-ball.

    All in all though it’s been very interesting exploring all these settings that I’ve neglected for years. Manual PA0 passing in particular.

    prsgame — my shameful football gaming secret is that I never played Sensible Soccer in its day and despite many attempts I’ve never got into it since. I hear you on how the wacky settings on PES sound — but there is something worth exploring there, a treasure to be unearthed. The ultimate sim-settings. But PES2020 will have to start conventionally for me.

  11. I actually bought PES2019 on sale for my Xbox One, and I do love the gameplay. I didn’t do a Master League though, don’t think I can with the vanilla teams.
    By all accounts 2020 looks like a refining/upgrade on 2019 so I might pick up a PS4 for that.

  12. Early reports from those with the full game that it’s noticeably faster on default speed. I found this video from Thursday that seems to confirm it – this looks ridiculous to me:

    Zero AI fouls as well, all match, in a supposed high-octane full-blooded derby.

    I don’t know what’s more amusing, that, or the widespread SHOCK and HORROR at how Konami could do this AGAIN. As if it doesn’t happen literally every year, with every football game.

  13. Ahh, here we go again. The familiar treachery, the familiar denial. “I thought it would be different this year!” We should all have known better. The familiar mutterings are creeping into the forums too. “Everything appears the same as last year”. “PES 2019.5”, etc etc.

    At least things are slower on manual. It’s a different kettle of fish anyway. Playing 2019 in manual these past few weeks has felt like it’s a new game. The true PES 2019.5. This is also why it will be difficult to compare it to eClub2020 fairly, or at least what I’ve been used to in the past in terms of gameplay.

  14. nG – That chap could have the game speed set high. The ball does travel very quick. The other videos I’ve seen don’t seem that nippy.

  15. nG – Ignore comment above. Looks like the game/ball physics have been sped up a touch, a lot of talk about it here and there.

  16. Theres also numerous posts on social media stating the game plays same speed as demo, wouldn’t take a video shot on a mobile phone from some random guy playing the game, without knowing the settings he used, as gospel.

    Guess we’ll find out soon:

    View post on imgur.com

  17. Paul – Que será, será, I guess.

    No shipped email from ShoptTo yet, but I checked my account this morning and it’s moved from Pre-Orders to Orders, and ‘pre-processing’ to ‘processing’.

  18. Shopto will probably ship later today or tomorrow then Tommy, you should have by monday latest.

    Also had the text message and email from simply games saying order has been shipped so deffo on for a tomorrow delivery. I’ll be out all day.

    you had your order update NG ?

  19. Simply Games dispatch text received. They must have sat on stock from yesterday IMO. Interesting, as if ShopTo also dispatch today, Simply Games will have lost their famous one-day-earlier edge for the first time, and ShopTo would have been the better choice (they’re cheaper too).

  20. probably didnt wanna risk posting yesterday and people getting the game in the week before release, in case word got back and they jeopardised stock numbers for next time.

  21. Full game, pace is just fine.

  22. Paul – that kit is mint mate. Cheers

  23. No worries Lloyd

  24. A few days ago I snapped my fingers and said: What glorious reading awaits me on PES Chronicles? And it wouldn’t load.
    For a day. I freaked out man, like is this the death of another great thing? I need philosophical Englishmen after all. But today here I am happily wading through terrific writing. “Not even slight appalled.”

    It’s like an aware version of a Gen Y or Z tech review which gives us gems like: “While it’s growing on me, still not my favorite.”

    I’ve been building teams on my XBoX s, no import files allowed. Pes 2018 to be precise. I built: 1998 Brazil, 2000 Brazil, 2004 Brazil, 1985 Argentina, 2001 USA, 2017 USA,1999 Man U, 2007 Man U, 2017 Man U, 2007 Chelsea, 2017 Man City, 2005 Barca,
    2010 Barca, 1998 Columbus Crew, 2002 Columbus Crew, a half assed 1985 Napoli, a terribly incomplete 1969 1967 Santos…

    The aesthetics of desiring many fouls and long money shots are correct. For sure MINUS 2 speed, and full manual, no indicators visible makes the game immersive, clunky and real. But my next move is probably PS4 PRO, a fee at Pes Universe, and sadness at the horrible crowd noises of the only proper football sim.

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