Virtual soccer fans await this challenge almost like the Champions League final: FIFA 19 against PES 2019, the two visions of the most beautiful sport in the world according to Electronic Arts and Konami. The American company and the Japanese company have started for years to chase each other and proceed each for their own band, ready to give the best of themselves on the virtual green rectangle, strong of the unique characteristics that distinguish their champions.
In this way, the choice between the two games does not depend so much on which is the best simulator, but from which football it is able to satisfy your needs. Never like this year, the challenge on the side of the game mode knows no match, while the one on the gameplay is definitely more difficult. So let’s sit on the stands as good “observers” and prepare to evaluate the performance of the two-star players in question. As in any real football match, the last judgment will be the field.
Ball at the foot
We start immediately to analyze the performance of the two contenders ball to foot: which sportsman will be able to dribble his opponent and bag the ball on the net? The odds of the bookmakers, in this sense, seem to opt for a draw, but at the 90-minute test, the result could also be slightly different from expectations. In terms of gameplay, FIFA has made major changes: the introduction of timed finalizations and dynamic tactics allows more experienced players to customize their games in detail. Accuracy, timing and an excellent reading of the race are in short the keywords to be able to perfectly control the eleven players in the field and score with the aim of a sniper. Even before these additions, FIFA 19 remains anchored to a “spectacularizing” interpretation of football. This playful approach translates into a rhythm of play that is always very fast and dynamic, which does not – on most occasions – reproduce the typical speed of a real encounter. Certainly it is not possible not to take into account the simulative ambitions of the work of EA, considered a series of variables that affects the control of the ball, the reaction of the sphere based on weather conditions and contrasts (which, thanks to the feature Scontri 50 / 50, take into account the different builds and statistics of the athletes). But, overall, the physics of the ball is too light and a tendency to overly privilege the acrobatic moves away FIFA 19 from the championship of the simulation 360 degrees. On the other side of the barricade, we find PES 2019 which, unlike the enemy team, has not deployed on the turf a formation full of big changes.
In this sense, the goal of Konami is to gradually refine the formula of play, and with this new chapter has achieved quite important goals on the front of realism. To play, Pro Evolution Soccer 2019 it is a natural evolution of the previous episode, finished in almost every aspect and undoubtedly satisfying. A more pondered match rhythm and a more accurate ball physics management make it a more inclinable football player to pad realism.
It should be admitted that, by virtue of an even more marked likelihood, Konami could have engaged a little more in the improvement of some atavistic gleanings, increasing, for example, the impact on the playability of weather effects, whose presence on the grass does not change the course of the meeting too clearly. In short, if Electronic Arts seek the soul of football in the strategic dimension of tactics and the spectacular impact of the games, Konami tries to recreate it with a more reflective approach, where the speed of the race and the behavior of the ball play a predominant role. Similarly to what happened in the past few years, in short, the decision is always up to the players. But beyond the gameplay,
Question of modalities
… and as regards the available modes, EA scores one more goal. PES 2019 has not trained with sufficient effort to bring solid innovations to its superstructure, slavishly proposing the same possibilities as the previous edition. Next to the Master League and the Become a Myth, which would deserve a gritty old-fashioned, peeks into an always substantial myClub mode, which – although retaining a fairly typical framework – changes the method of purchasing players, making it more customizable and less tied to the whims of fortune. By replacing the lottery of the balls to be selected, the new player packs (inserted this year for the first time) are more closely related to the different combinations of agents to be engaged and their characteristic variables: although it is always the goddess bandaged to have the last word, on the whole, the user has a slightly more decisive decision-making power in relation to the past. Then comes the co-op mode, one of the spearheads of the PES multiplayer component, capable of transmitting the same team spirit and the same competitive spirit as a real football match, both locally and online. Unfortunately, however solid and well-made, Konami’s content offering runs out on a not-very-extensive list. On the other hand, the American study drops a royal flush on the table. First of all, FIFA 19 greatly enriches the kick-start mode, replacing it with a series of options, called Custom Rules, which give users the ability to change the dynamics of the games: there are meetings in which we will have to choose how many goals to score to win, others in which to each bagged network we will lose a random member of our team, others where only shots on the fly count , others in which the nets from outside the area are worth two points, and finally others in which neither fouls nor offside will be whistled.
And if it is true that EA has not added significant extensions to the Career and the ProClub, it is equally undoubted that accusing her of laziness would be rather unfair: the partnership of the Champions League withdrawn from the rival allowed the inclusion of additional tournaments under license, while modalities such as the mammoth FUT and the third season of Il Viaggio return with great fanfare.
Frostbite vs Fox Engine
And here we come to a comparison of a purely graphic mold. In the same way, as tested in previous years, Frostbite and the Fox Engine try to achieve two different objectives: on the one hand the realism of the staging, and on the other the almost maniacal modeling for the faces of the most famous athletes.
Electronic Arts, thanks also to the partnership with UEFA, increases, even more, the visual quality during the matches, perfectly simulating the atmosphere of a real football match: on the distance the result is very pleasant to admire, with a rendering of the shots always meticulous and very similar to that of a televised meeting. Like every year, however, approaching the look during the replays and in the pre and post-race interlude scenes, we notice some approximations in the faces of the players, who instead have been digitally reconstructed by Konami with more evident attention. In PES 2019 the body and the reproduction of the samples are clearly superior, much more similar to the real counterparts. Where the Japanese football gives way is in the construction of the stadium mood, less engaging if compared to previous episodes, also because of the absence of the license of the Champions, which – with its logos and its official jingle – subtracts a bit ‘of bite at a general glance. Where both games are visibly arranged, it is in the digitization of less well-known players, which show a certain superficiality and negligence. In short, it is about two alternative visions that follow the same ideology of gameplay: FIFA chooses the overall spectacle, PES the realism of detail.