Pes

What is it?The lathử nghiệm in Konami’s football series.

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Expect khổng lồ pay:$60/£45Developer:Konangươi Digital EntertainmentPublisher: Konami Digital EntertainmentReviewed on:GTX 1050Ti, i7-7700HQ CPU, 8GB RAMMultiplayer?Online and up to lớn four players locally.Link: Official site


Pro Evolution Soccer 2019 reminded me just how good Konami"s football games can be—& why I"ve sầu been playing FIFA instead for years. The slow pace requires precision, patience và deliberate build-up play, và putting together a 10-pass move sầu ending in a volley from the edge of the box is a better feeling than anything you’ll find in FIFA. But poor AI và intermittent online connectivity have given me more headaches than those moments of glory are usually worth.


Not all that much has changed since last year. There are no new modes & no game-changing new controls lớn master. You’re also still playing, largely, with unlicensed teams, so expect to see Man Blue up against West London White. Some leagues, including the Scottish Premiership, are fully licensed, along with the odd team lượt thích Barcelona & Liverpool, & you can always download an options file khổng lồ get the proper team kits & badges for unlicensed teams. It’s never really bothered me, especially because I spkết thúc most of my time in Master League, where you take a team of made-up nobodies to the top.

Beheaded

Though there are no revolutions here, subtle improvements bởi vì exist on the field, starting with animations. It’s not just passing và shooting that look more realistic than ever: in my first few hours I was regularly pulling up instant replays of players stumbling after being tripped, or of the goalkeeper trying to lớn gather a dropped ball, and watching in awe.


Ball physics are also improved. In FIFA, it sometimes feels lượt thích the ball is being pulled lớn a player’s foot—here it bounces & bobbles, skips over the wet surface, & spins erratically after a failed flick. If you want a good first touch you have sầu to lớn think about both the direction you’re running in và where the ball is coming, and you can’t simply ping passes between players at will, which means putting together a slick team move feels more satisfying than ever.



Shooting is a joy, as it always is in PES. Leathering one from the edge of the box inkhổng lồ the top corner makes me want to lớn jump out my chair—you can really give sầu it some oomph. First-time shots capture the real-life power that you can get from putting your foot through a driven cross, & it’s something FIFA simply can’t replicate.


Combine that with the excellent ball physics and you’ll score all sorts of goals. I’ve sầu bagged 25-yard screamers, deflected scuffs that trickle into the corner, 1v1s in which I’ve slipped the ball under the keeper’s body toàn thân, & first-time volleys that curl inkhổng lồ the top corner.

I’ve sầu not scored many headers, though—high crosses were dominant in PES 2018, but Konami has gone a bit too far in making them more difficult. The ball bounces off your head lượt thích a balloon, giving the keeper plenty of time to react. Yes, headed goals were too easy last time, but they were fun, and now they’re almost completely gone.

Getting cross

The drought of headers is the first sign that some of the changes from last year aren’t welcome, và the same is true for the AI, which is all over the place. Offline, the CPU is obsessed with getting to the byline, firing in a low cross and either burying it first time, or laying it off lớn another player to lớn stick it in the net. I’d wager those crosses tài khoản for more than half of the goals I’ve conceded.

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On its own it’d annoy me, & I’d want more variety—but it’s made worse by woeful marking by defenders. Konangươi says it has improved player positioning, but I don’t see it. Whenever I’m trying to lớn blochồng a cross out on the wing, the CPU strikers peel off my centre backs with ease, creating space without any effort. One-twos cause havoc, and defenders always step up và fail to follow midfielders running inkhổng lồ the box.



When a striker is rooted in position & the ball is in the air, it’s practically impossible to lớn win the header.

To protect against that, I’ll take charge of players off the ball khổng lồ ensure they mark their man, while holding B on the control pad to lớn sover a secondary defender lớn the ball. But defending off the ball is less fun, & sometimes not effective sầu because my teammates will simply charge at the ball without any regard for the space around them.

Defending in general is in desperate need of an overhaul—PES gives you much less control over a defender than FIFA does. In FIFA you can decide at what distance lớn pressure an attacker, & then press a separate button to step in when the time is right. In PES, holding A will take you towards the attacker slowly (you can hold sprint and A lớn run towards them), & you won’t stop until you win the ball, commit a foul, or watch them skip past you. You can’t properly jostle an attacker, either, so when a striker is rooted in position và the ball is in the air, it’s practically impossible khổng lồ win the header.

Other AI quirks include the CPU never shooting from outside the box and turning down clear runs at goal for no particular reason, even when my defenders have no chance of catching them. Often, it’ll instead recycle the ball khổng lồ the wing for (you guessed it) a low cross.

CPU defenders sometimes let you dribble khổng lồ the edge of the box without tackling you (handy, but hardly realistic) and occasionally play a ridiculously deep defensive line, with the centre backs camped inside their own penalty box when the ball is barely at the halfway line.

All these AI problems make playing singleplayer a pain. I’m still enjoying Master League, in which you start with a team of also-rans & slowly build an elite squad, but I’m liking it less than previous years. The lachồng of updates from last year doesn’t help either: there’s a new Master League difficulty mode in which you can get fired from your job, but it’s otherwise the same, as are all the other singleplayer game modes.



Pros và cons

PES hasn’t changed enough since last year, & it’s gone backwards in some regards, including the AI.

Online multiplayer fares better, when it works. MyClub is a decent alternative lớn FIFA’s Ultimate Team, and I’ve enjoyed filling my squad with star players. You can buy player packs with real money, but I’ve always had enough in-game gold khổng lồ give me a stream of new talent. I haven’t experienced any lag against online opponents, và I haven’t had anyone quit a game, either, which is a pleasant surprise. I lượt thích the new ‘Featured Players’, which are stat-boosted versions of players performing well in real life. It makes MyClub feel current.

However, for the last three days I haven’t been able khổng lồ connect to Konami’s servers. The problem seems lớn be specific khổng lồ PC, & none of the suggested unofficial fixes (here, here and here) have sầu worked for me. Lots of other players, judging by comments on Reddit threads & Steam forums, are in the same boat, & understandably angry. Konami says it’s working to lớn sort the issue—but its tốc độ of response doesn’t fill me with confidence. If you want khổng lồ play online, wait until the problem is properly sorted before even considering buying it.

And even if you’re not playing online, you should think twice. PES 19 still produces moments of magic, và it’s still more realistic than FIFA. But it hasn’t changed enough since last year, and it’s gone backwards in some regards, including the AI. I’ll probably finish my current Master League season và dip in when I have friends around, but I doubt I’ll be playing it in six months. Even now, I’d still piông chồng last year’s FIFA over this year’s PES.