The latest game in the Pro Evolution Soccer series was previewed in Scotland this week and deputy sports editor for Scotland, David Oliver, headed along to Celtic Park to try the new game that now includes all the Ladbrokes SPFL Premiership teams.
When is Pro Evolution Soccer 2019 out?
The demo for the title is available on PS4 and Xbox next week, on August 8. The game release in Europe will be August 30, available on Playstation4, XboxOne and PC via the Steam download.
PES 2019 will be available in two physical editions, with new global ambassador Phillippe Coutinho on the front cover of the standard edition and David Beckham on a special edition which gives fans the opportunity to unlock myClub bonuses. Also available at launch will be a digital-only Legend edition that will include added content for myClub.
Who is in it?
PES have secured additional licences for the new game, meaning Ladbrokes Scottish Premiership sides from Celtic and Rangers through to Motherwell, Hamilton and Livingston, are all included.
Each of the twelve competing clubs will appear in official kits and iconography through post-launch data pack releases and ensure that all stats and squads are updated on a weekly basis. Celtic and Rangers are PES19 partner clubs, which means they have additional features including playing at Ibrox Stadium and Celtic Park recreated in pixel form. Players from the two teams were also 3D scanned for as close to life-like resemblence as possible and with up-to-date tattoos as well as specific club-branded editions of the game. Only 1000 will be available.
Barcelona, Monaco and Schalke are among the other partner clubs across Europe while they have added rights to leagues including French Ligue 1, the Danish and Belgian top leagues
Any other big names?
The new PES will include legends including Maradona, Marcelo Salas, Ivan Zamorano, Ronaldinho, Pavel Nedved and Johan Cruyff. David Beckham has also signed up for a special edition of the game and will be included - in his current 2019 form. He too has been 3D scanned and will be included in the David Beckham edition with his current hairstyle, looks and tattoos. Attributes and abilities still to be decided.
PES 2019 is in ahead of the game. It will have a four week head start on its rivals with the release coming so quickly after the start of the football season. The ball physics have changed, and they've added a quick sub feature. They've overhauled the MyClub feature, added new transfer dealing situations and animations and all in all made the game that bit more realistic. A lot of emphasis has been placed on getting the lighting in the stadiums right, for day and night games, and the shadows cast are very life-like, especially under the Nou Camp floodlights.
What Konami say...
The creators' European brand manager Lennart Bobzien told JP Sport: "The team has used software to use the lighting and shadow to the most realistic effect. If you compare PES 2018 and this year's edition, you'll see the immediate difference, it's photo-realistic how the shadowing is in the stadium.
"The players movements are more fluid and replicate how you are using the controller, and the ball physics have improved. We have included snow and the ball will behave accordingly.
"We've added new club partnerships and added eight fully licenced leagues to the game, including the Scottish Premiership and the MyClub mode has been completely re-worked since it's introduction five years ago.
"We have new legends exclusively - David Beckham and Romario.
"We know that Scottish premiership fans want to see it in the game, and the fans are passionate and fanatic and want to support their clubs they put so much love into. With PES2019 we want to give them the opportunity to play with their local team whether small or one of the big names. You could play in the Master League as Motherwell with all the big players, Motherwell versus Schalke or Barcelona -- it's all possible now."
What our man thought...
Pro Evolution Soccer has had some dark days. Yet 'ProEvo' was the go to title when I was at secondary school. FIFA had the names, but that was just about it, then the tide turned. I went through years without even seeing Pro Evo let alone playing it. So Thursday was a throwback for me, and it felt good. All the features in gameplay that has put FIFA top of the football tree in recent years were there. ProEvo is back.
The graphics are incredible, smooth and life-like. Only the vivid colours differentiate between the real-time tunnel in the Nou Camp and the pixelated version. It's close, the shadowing effects are incredibly life-like. The players look good too. Andres Iniesta moves in every way like the little Spaniard should, and does, and the run made by Luis Suarez to the front post to cancel out Roberto Firmino's opener for Liverpool in my first test was inherently Uruguayan.
Perhaps it went from real to surreal in my second match when Karius saved a penalty for Liverpool, but then, isn't that the joy of computer games? Making the unlikely more likely in your control? There are aspects though that just add to the realism. Kylian Mbappe sprinted for France and outpaced everyone on the Inter Milan side, but that only lasted so long, even for him, and he soon tired and wouldn't track back.
Pro Evo is bringing a realism to the gameplay and the demo modes I experienced were slick.
But football's only part of the game, it's about personalities, individuality, creativity. FIFA had that when it was on top with the images and names of the players and clubs just right and that brought their games to life in the bad old days. Now though Konami have recognised that and that's why their attention to details, as far as getting the players latest tattoos just right and adding the little details like Roberto Firmino's no look pass and all their little idiosyncracies - it brings their personalities and the realism to, well, life.
The demo modes on the PS4 version included Liverpool, Schalke, France, Argentina, Monaco and the two Milan clubs and was impressive. When the game gets a dose of Scotland on release later this month it'll be even better.
Head to the PES Facebook page for the latest news on the releases.