PES 2019 makes an interesting distinction. It’s not a game about football so much as it is a game about the guys playing football. And exactly how they play it - their behaviours, tendencies, and individual techniques - makes for a livelier game. No longer are you a massive deity in the sky moving generic pieces around a pitch, nor should you think of your team as a collection of stats. Here, players take on a life of their own.
The biggest development is a feature called Magic Moments. This refers to a set of 39 RPG-like traits that are distributed across the roster of players in combinations that give each of them their own personality. So, for instance, only gifted shooters like Kevin De Bruyne can hit ferocious rising thunder-bastards that rifle into the net, while Ronaldo’s headers are practically laser-guided. Magic Moments go further than merely adding new moves, though. They also offer effects such as fighting spirit (which gives players better performance when fatigued), super sub (where players improve if brought on in the second half), and man marking (which enables a player to more doggedly stick to opponents). What’s good is these animations happen automatically, whether a pinpoint cross or an acrobatic clearance off the goal line, triggering by themselves if you’re in the right time and place. This makes players feel as distinct to control as they are to watch.