Watch out FIFA, Konami just gave football a personality.
The annual battle between EA Sports and Konami for the football video game crown has been enthralling over the years.
At times the tussle has been one-sided with Pro Evolution Soccer dominating the early years and FIFA pouncing on complacency for its own period of dominance.
Things have evened out over the last couple of years, though.
Facing an impossible task to make up ground lost on FIFA due to its lack of licences and gloss, PES has been forced to take a very distinct approach in carving out its own niche. And my goodness has it paid off. Because Konami has quite literally brought football to life and PES 2019 is bristling with personality.
If you are mulling whether to spend your money on FIFA or PES this year it will be a bit of a waiting game to see what we get from EA at the end of September.
But what of PES 2019 which launched this week? Well you won’t be swooning over new game modes - because there aren’t any really.
Indeed there aren’t any significant changes of any note in that respect. This year it is ALL about personality. Magic Moments are PES 2019’s crowning achievement.
The player individuality that is born from an almost RPG-esque number attribute system sets PES apart from any football game before it and the game already feels like a new benchmark for the genre.
Gone are the days of the most famous faces doing their trademark piece of skill and dressing it up as bespoke. PES 2019 goes much deeper and accurately recreates a player’s habits and styles.
No longer bound by having to cater for the last generation of consoles, the animation and brilliant ball physics bring PES’s famous passing system to life.
Enhanced physical mechanics have made defending more satisfying and goalkeepers are more true to life. Fatigue plays a major role too and changes the entire dynamic of some matches in a positive way.
There is no denying the lack of licences is frustrating and a big feather in the cap for EA. With that comes the usual annoying and boring commentary too.
But make no mistake this feels like the start of a new era for this long-running franchise which has made great strides in the last two years. The past master is still the pass master and that remains at the heart of everything beautiful about PES. This my gaming friends is the best yet.