Football can be loved in different ways. I, for example, do it sitting on a sofa with a gamepad in hand. Like millions of the same “footballers,” I was looking forward to the release of FIFA 19. Of course, the series does not make annual breakthroughs in the genre, but still the project from Electronic Arts has noticeably improved in the last two years. And against the background of the eternal rival, Pro Evolution Soccer, he stands out noticeably although the brainchild of Konami was always something to oppose FIFA. Right now Pro Evolution Soccer 2019 is the most realistic football simulator. And I love ordinary realism in games. But it seems that in this case, it is he who prevents PES 2019 from winning the same audience. After many hours of exploring both projects, I want to return only to FIFA 19 just because it causes me at least some positive emotions.
The art of winning
Pro Evolution Soccer fans are proud of its tactical depth. To date, Konami still offers the most realistic football experience. The abundance of tactics and the possibilities of their settings, the need to continually monitor the actions of the whole team on the field – this is what attracts this footsie. AI at the maximum complexity quickly adapts to your style, and you need to change it at every opportunity if you want to win.
True, for some reason, this does not work at lower levels. It is at the maximum settings that are vital, for example, the transfer to the cut, because rivals are actively going to the selection. Sometimes the game requires such a concentration, as it was a rating match in StarCraft, and not a football simulator – although it would seem, there are a lot fewer variables to control.
In FIFA 19, tactical schemes just appeared – albeit in a much more arcade version than in Pro Evolution Soccer. But it is rather good. Veterans will rejoice at the new tactical possibilities, and newcomers will not be confused in the sliders.
On the verge of foul
The playability of football simulators is mostly determined by the number of leagues and a variety of modes although there are some nuances. It is much more beautiful and more presentable to play in the Champions League than, for example, in the Turkish league.
Regarding the number of leagues, Pro Evolution Soccer has bypassed a competitor long ago, but mostly the Japanese got little-known tournaments. And this year the Konami project also lost the UEFA Cup – the Champions League and the Europa League. Most likely, this was the reason for unimpressive sales in Europe and South America. Now all the top championships belong to FIFA 19.
Maybe this is a tricky plan of the Japanese – to acquire individual licenses from the best clubs, and not to buy incredibly expensive rights to entire leagues? It seems to be a logical decision, because so you can save money, almost without losing in-game content. But then it is not entirely clear why they need the Russian Premier League on exclusive rights.
Play like Beckham
Do you need a story in with sports games? In 2018, even some big-budget shooters did not bother with the story campaign. And here, for three years in a row, the story of Alex Hunter and his friends has been developing in a football arcade. I was very skeptical about the plot mode as far back as FIFA 17. But, in principle, he allowed me to look at the mechanics of the game, offered proper training before going online and, in the end, gave an extra ten hours of entertainment.
In Pro Evolution Soccer, the plot is not there and never has been, but the game does not lose anything from it. On the other hand, in FIFA, he found himself in the right place – even if he is stupid and naive, he is still about football. Just as in films about this sport, the main thing here is the game itself, and not the relationship of the main character with his coach, not to mention personal dramas.
The brainchild of Konami remains the most accurate imitation of football, even though it sometimes goes too far. At some point, the realism of PES 2019 will bother you, and other problems of the game will come out. They are unlikely to confuse the fans, but for a beginner – they will become an argument that will force them to play the game rarely or even remove it altogether.