The Pro Evolution Soccer series has always evolved along some special path: while its closest rival, FIFA, focused mainly on casual players (and this is most of the audience of sports games), the Japanese went to a completely different steppe. Where FIFA was simpler and more fun, PES turned out to be more difficult and realistic – but there were always enough fans of such a “serious” approach to football to ensure decent series of sales and new releases every year.

In the last year a dumb question «Konami, what the heck?” Sounded in my head constantly. Take a look at the PES 2019 interface design! Well, it would be a toy for the domestic market, but no, people in the rest of the world have already seen the example of FIFA, where the interface, although not perfect, is still user friendly. And here you have pixels and clumsy, sometimes creeping out text borders. Where does it fit?

Returning to the series this year, I reconciled in advance that I would have to kill my eyes again. Well, basically, okay – but the gameplay is interesting. But no, this time Konami did the normal design: there is no longer a constant feeling that I am playing a browser game assembled on my knee. Yes, in some places the interface is overloaded and far from the definition of “intuitive,” but, frankly, it’s still an order of magnitude better than in previous years.

However, it’s still not clear to me why some of the images – for example, those that appear on the main menu – are of such poor quality. Is there really not enough time to take high-resolution pictures and cut them more carefully? Yes, this does not affect the gameplay, but the impression spoils brutally!

Generally surprising: Konami devotes enormous attention to some details and completely ignores others. Say, they perfectly recreate the appearance of the players of partner clubs (they are literally scanned from head to toe to create an accurate three-dimensional model) and at the same time do not hesitate to put a pixel Miralem Pyanich next to them. The simulation of the fans, the stadiums and, of course, the football field is just perfect. But as soon as you decide for the sake of diversity, move to some little-known league, for which the developers obviously did not have enough time and resources, you will not see a choice from several sets of forms, or even photos of players. It’s clear that such leagues will be added to the project anyway, and for some it will probably be important, but the striking differences in the development of the “favorites” and everyone else are unpleasantly striking.

What about football itself? Well, he’s still the most believable on the market. And although the developers did not radically change the mechanics, they brought in a couple of improvements that markedly affect the perception of gameplay. For example, the pace of the matches themselves has noticeably decreased: after the same FIFA, the game may seem slightly inhibited. But all these accurate passes and handling of the ball do not harm the gameplay at all – on the contrary, they only deepen it. Even in matches with bots, you now need to place more emphasis on tactics.

The defenders began to disturb the attackers much more vigorously, so the attacks should be well thought out. But the goalkeepers that last year were ubermachines, able to catch absolutely everything flying towards the goal, on the contrary, nerfed: they are now less frisky, but much more animated – you can hardly distinguish them from real players.

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In addition, the players began to make mistakes more often in the handling of balls, which is why long passes almost lost their meaning. But the selection of the ball is much easier (at least according to my feelings), but spamming tackles will still not work, especially if the opponent surpasses you in skill. I myself am a big fan of this technique, but now I have to use it very carefully, choosing the right angle – in case of failure you will instantly receive a yellow card. In one of the first matches, for example, I collected one yellow card for everyone except the goalkeeper.

More developers have introduced a new ball control system – Finesse Dribble. With it, you can control the soccer player with the ball much more accurately and accurately in a small area of ​​the field, so now all fans of the “false pass” or “clever stroke” will have something to do. Sometimes players respond poorly to teams from the gamepad, but, in general, the mechanics feel very nice and fresh. Moreover, the developers here were advised by Andres Iniesta himself.

And, perhaps, another nice innovation from Konami is the updated camera. Previously, it simply moved in the same plane along the entire field, but now it looks more like a real television camera. That is, it is as if all the time in the center, but follows the ball, because of which the goal produces a fairly wide viewing angle. So the stadium can be seen better, and it is more convenient to control the situation, and in general the picture looks more lively.

The license wars waged by EA and Konami have already become a separate meme. From the side, watching the Japanese pull either Manchester United, Bavaria, or Juventus from their colleagues, of course, is interesting, but for an ordinary player it’s rather a headache: today you play for your favorite club in one project, and tomorrow, another futsim buys the rights to it. And so every year.

Buying a Juventus license was an unpleasant surprise for EA – and not only because they had to urgently rename a club already added to the new FIFA to Piemonte Calcio. From the mere announcement of the “electronics” lost 732 million euros of capitalization.

The funny thing is that the end user is unlikely to feel the difference: your favorite football players look beautiful with both publishers. And you can hardly feel the difference in the gameplay for the conditional Messi: that in PES, in FIFA all the crown feints and goal celebrations are equally spectacular. Perhaps, due to the fact that the Japanese project is more precisely a football simulator , it’s a little easier to feel the way of the ball and the technique of hitting. But in general, as for me, the transfer of a favorite player or an entire club to another project is not enough reason to urgently change one game to another.

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