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.