World Cup season is here! And with it, many gamers are, of course, turning their heads toward soccer games. Not that soccer games actually ‘need’ events like the World Cup to be popular. For instance, the FIFA series is listed as the world’s best-selling sports video game franchise.
Suffice it to say soccer is the most popular sport in the world, and even though many consider the Superbowl to be the most-watched sports event in any year, this is far from being true.
The last three World Cup finals were watched by a whopping 517 million viewers, peaking at 1.1 billion at certain times. The Superbowl has an average of 91.6 million viewers, plus between 30 to 50 million outside the United States.
That’s just part of why soccer games are so popular. Realism, game mechanics, different gameplay modes, and, above all, multiplayer experiences are what make them extremely popular worldwide.
Here are the best soccer games, both official EA Sports’ FIFA and other exciting competitors.
This edition built on what FIFA 19 had delivered, improving several shortcomings of the previous version. One of them was that defenders were beefed-up compared to attackers, making the latter easier to catch up with.
However, the main addition is the VOLTA mode, a combination of the story mode and FIFA Street. It has three modes, Tour, League, and Story. Unfortunately, there’s no branching in the story mode like in previous iterations.
FIFA 21 doesn’t break any new grounds but brings some welcome improvements over the previous game. Whereas it must be challenging to release AAA sports games year after year, the lack of at least one new feature for the sake of marketing alone is absent.
This brings you an honest title, where you get refinements such as an improvement in AI attackers, a new collision system, and further additions to the VOLTA mode.
Just like FIFA 21 did with its predecessor, FIFA 18 is a consolidation of new ideas that FIFA 17 brought to the table. This is why it’s a beloved version even today. Part of that is thanks to the FIFA Ultimate Team improvements with icons from football legends such as Maradona and Pele and get daily rewards.
The game feels real and less arcadey when playing. What you do with your controller now has more weight on the outcome of the gameplay than before. They introduced six new player styles to offer more variety on the field.
eFootball PES 2021
The main competitor to the FIFA series is the former Pro Evolution Soccer (PES) from Konami, now eFootball alone but previously eFootball PES. Confused? Millions of others too. That, indeed, hasn’t helped the franchise, even though eFootball PES 2021 is a solid title.
It consolidates everything PES 2020 offers, making it an excellent choice for soccer players. The AI is a lot better, and its highlight is the Player ID, which is present in other games in the series. This feature offers animations specific to soccer stars, including their unique moves and skills.
This is a classic today, thanks to its frenetic pace. PES 2012 is both loved and hated because it sacrifices realism to provide thrilling experiences with its fast attacks. Accurate or not, this makes for very entertaining matches.
Besides that, the game offers a number of improvements over its predecessor, like the Active AI with improved team play, an Off The Ball system where you can place a player’s position quickly, and more modes like the Club Boss one.
After a disastrous launch, where the Internet was littered with horrifying screenshots of players’ faces, eFootball 2022 has now improved. In fact, now we can all see a good game surfacing beneath the insane amount of bugs.
The main feature of eFootball 2022 is that it’s free to play. This alone makes for an exciting proposal, bugs or not. There is another interesting feature, where you can ‘decide’ the progress of your players. For instance, you can spend XP points on specific players’ skills. This is important because every player will have their own version of players, offering much more variety, especially in multiplayer.
FIFA 22 debuts the HyperMotion feature as the highlight. This is a new motion-capture technology powered by Machine Learning, which writes new animations in real-time.
But it’s not only cosmetic changes. An improved Tactical AI allows AI attackers to make six times more decisions per second than before.
HyperMotion changes every aspect of the game, making it as realistic as it can currently be. Still, the game also has a lot of other improvements, such as better goalkeepers, a co-op mode on Ultimate team, and many more customization options, as well as the ability to create your own club.
Dream League Soccer
Dream League Soccer is way up on the list, thanks to being a worthy competitor against the two giants from Konami and EA Sports. This is one of the best soccer games for mobile apps.
The game is specifically designed for mobile, so it’s lightweight and free to play and download.
You can customize everything about your game, including your club, stadium, and more. There are tournaments where you can compete in multiplayer matches, but you can also play offline.
Overall, it’s a great addition to any soccer fan’s mobile game library.
FIFA 23 deserves a special mention since it’s the last EA Sports soccer game with the FIFA name on it. This shows throughout the game, especially with the Power Shot feature, which makes a zoom-in of the situation, and an updated HyperMotion feature.
Aside from this, the pace has dramatically improved, making matches more realistic. This makes the defense work much better against attackers and sets the game a bit more in tune with being a ‘soccer simulator’ than a ‘soccer game.’
Plenty of FIFA soccer titles to choose from
All of these titles are worthy of being checked, especially in the current World Cup season.
Even though some games are definitely old, they’re still noteworthy titles. Bear in mind that these games offer new gameplay mechanics on each iteration, and many players prefer the older ones.
Whatever your choice, it’s a great time to get your team together and play some matches.