Soccer is the most popular sport in the world and it goes without saying that it happens to be thoroughly explored in the world of gaming! Due to the popularity of the sport, developers can seldom go wrong with a soccer title. They know that if they manage to get hold of a few licenses and produce a decent game with exciting interactions, it will instantly sell itself. As a result, we have received a ton of soccer video games over the years, some breathtaking and others forgettable to say the least. Even when we consider the latest generation, there are some soccer games that you should absolutely avoid and hence we thought of putting this list together for you guys. You can play these top soccer games on Xbox One, PS4, Xbox 360, PC, iPhone, Android or even online.
7. Active Soccer 2 DX (2016)
‘Active Soccer DX’ is a game that will definitely cater to a lot of old school fans. Remember the times when we used to play the arcady version of soccer on our NESs? The ones with incredibly fast gameplay and sliding tackles that covered half the field? If you do remember those games, then you will definitely be able to connect with this one. The gameplay is extremely arcady, so don’t go expecting a ton of mechanics if you plan to pick this one up. This is not your ‘FIFA’ or ‘PES’ where you know you are paying for a premium experience. Instead, this is one whacky top-down soccer game. That’s right! You view the game from the top instead of the ‘telecam’ that we are so used to nowadays. Though it provides players with the option to change the camera angles, the top-down cam is pretty much the best one for gameplay and we suggest you try it out before shifting the camera.
The top down view gives the game somewhat of an identity in a market that is saturated by ‘telecam’ players and its actually quite feasible. It even accents the gameplay in a manner that ‘telecam’ simply cannot replicate. Even though you are limited to a low number of moves due to its arcady nature, it more than makes up for it through its fast paced action. There are no scripted goals or injuries, just your pure instincts with the ball on the field. This makes for quite a competitive gaming experience when you are playing against your friends. It supports full multiplayer of up to 8 people, where they can participate in a tournament format or just play casually. In addition to multiplayer options, there is a single player campaign mode that features more than 850 teams for you to manage, ensuring that you never run out of content. Here you are required to select a team of your choice and then manage the same through seasons after seasons in order to become the best in your league.
Just because there is no ‘FIFA’ tag on this one, don’t mistake it for just any other soccer game. It contains all the classic teams containing all your favorite players, adding to the flavor and depth. We highly recommend this game to you if you are looking for a soccer game that’s slightly different. It has all the mechanics that you would want but lacks the proper finish and polish of the AAA games on this list, so a bit of discretion is advised. Watch some videos on YouTube before you invest into this one.
6. Football Nation VR Tournament 2018 (2018)
Attempting to provide a realistic soccer experience on VR consoles is an ambitious concept in itself, and the developers deserve some credit for this. Cherry Pop Games, the developers and publishers of the title, have repeatedly stressed on the social aspect of the game, and it does not fail to deliver. We were quite intrigued to find a soccer game on VR consoles since the genre requires a lot of innovation when it comes to replicating the format of the sport. The game engine needs to figure out a lot of physics related to motion of the players and this has seriously limited such games on Virtual Reality headsets.
Cherry Pop Games have implemented a few changes in order to keep the game accessible to everyone. For starters, teams are limited to five players and it seems the playing grounds have also been shortened in order to maintain balance. This is done to avoid repetitive gameplay, which can turn out to be quite tedious for players playing the game for the first time. You are also required to use your hands to control your feet, a thing that takes some time to sink in. The shortened fields are actually a bonus here, since covering the entire length of a soccer field can get quite tiring. Nobody wants to spend half of the gameplay wiggling their hands trying to get from one part of the field to the other. Hence, limited players along with a limited playing area fit quite nicely with the VR experience. And if you ever get tired of playing matches against the AI, then you can always go online and search for tournaments. There are several servers that provide players with custom lobbies of up to 16 people. You are able to join any of these lobbies and play against others online in order to progress through the tournament.
In addition to the global servers, the game also allows players to privately set up lobbies and invite friends. You can actually challenge your friends with this mechanic as it allows two people lobbies. These private lobbies can be created and deleted at your own will and is a major part of the total gameplay. We highly recommend you check this game out since it is one of the best soccer experiences currently available on VR devices.
5. Headmaster (2017)
‘Headmaster’ has a very intriguing background to say the very least. You have been put in a soccer correctional institute and now you must dedicate your days and nights to improving your skills in the sport. It’s called the ‘Football Improvement Centre’ and the aim of the game is to escape…errmm…graduate from the institute! However, this is not an easy task given that all the cogs are spinning against you. Safety standards are non-existent and you required to take part in several training activities involving a lot of questionable objects. These may range from explosive balls to knives and you are required to carefully and tactically head the ball into the goal. Make sure you get the blunt edge or you might require a few stitches later on. And this is just the start! It gets more whacky and outworldish from here, so head on at your own risk! This is a VR title after all and if ever the knives and the forks get to head, there is relief with a beach ball and we found ourselves going back to it more than we expected. This is one soccer game you should definitely try out if you have the corresponding VR headsets.
4. Blood Bowl 2 (2015)
‘Blood Bowl 2’ cannot really be called a soccer game in its truest sense, but it features all the basic mechanics of the sport, so we decided to throw it in anyway! It was developed by Cyanide and published by Focus Home Interactive in the year 2015 for Windows PC, macOS X, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One devices. If you have played the original ‘Blood Bowl’ that was released in the year 2009, then you will definitely find your feet in this one. However, if you are not familiar with the title, then you will have quite a time learning and mastering its mechanics. There is quite a bit of strategy involved, so you better get your thinking hats on before you start playing this one.
Now for those who are unfamiliar with ‘Blood Bowl’, it is a turn based soccer video game set in a fantasy universe. It allows players to choose a race, pick their team and then take part in bloody duels to the death. Yeah, quite a morbid turn for a soccer game and it gets even more interesting from here on. Even though the old engine was scrapped along with all the real time gameplay mechanics, we feel the turn based format actually is lot better for the game and accents it perfectly. Therefore, if you are coming from the 2009 game, then you will definitely find a few surprises here and there.
In addition to the new mechanics, a whole new campaign mode has been added that tells the story of Reikland Reavers, a team made up of humans. They are going through a really messed up situation at the backend of the club’s management and you need to take control of it and restore the team back to its former glory. In addition to the pesky humans, there are other races such as The Orcs, Dwarves, High Elves, Brettonians and Chaos, etc. Two other factions that are only available to people who pre-ordered the game have also been released but they make no difference to the overall gameplay. Many other factions were also added later on as part of DLCs and free updates, making the races extremely diverse.
Throughout the course of the campaign, you will also need to fix your stadium. There are five different stadiums, each originating with the basic 5 races in the game, and with over 10 add-ons for each of them, a considerable portion of the earnings are spent on it. There is more than what meets the eye with this one and hence we highly recommend it to people who like playing soccer games in general. Though the gameplay is a lot different from other soccer games, we definitely feel that fans of the sport will be able to thoroughly enjoy the strategic depth of this title.
3. Rocket League (2015)
‘Rocket League’ is a very unique take on soccer games where you are required to play soccer with the help of rocket powered cars. It’s almost like demolition derby, except that it’s played with a football. Developed and published by Psyonix in the year 2015, the game has become one of the most popular and critically acclaimed sports video games of the modern era. Most critics have praised the developers for seamlessly combining the two genres, giving rise to a unique and progressive title. It is like a breath of fresh air in an industry polluted by repetitive gameplay elements and we hope the studio goes on to innovate a few more games in this manner.
So what’s special about ‘Rocket League’, you ask? Everything, we say! We can’t remember the last time we had so much fun playing a sports game, and that in itself speaks volumes about the title. You are given a rocket-powered vehicle which you must use in order to capture and shoot the ball towards your opponent’s goalpost. Similar to soccer in real life, there are two teams battling it out for the win but unlike the real life game, there are only four players in each team. This perfectly balances the gameplay out as you don’t really need 11 players on either side, when you have access to rocket-powered supercars.
The physics of the game can get a bit wonky at times, with the ball flying in a completely different direction than what physics define, but then again since all the players face the same problem, it kind of balances itself out. It even leads to some hilarious gameplay moments, and honestly, we are not complaining. This is major improvement from their previous 2008 game ‘Battle Cars’, which was the first game in the series that introduced the concept. We feel that going forward, the team will be able to deliver even more polished games because of the experience they have gathered through their previous entries and we can’t wait to try them out. This one is highly recommended to anyone who is looking for a slightly varied soccer game, albeit with the same mechanics and rules at heart.
2. Pro Evolution Soccer 2019 (2018)
We all know about the age old debate that has been going on about the best soccer games of all time. Over the course of the years, it has come down to two distinct games that has managed to dominate the global charts by a huge margin. Ask any soccer fan about their favourite video game and you can expect either of the two answers — ‘FIFA’ and ‘PES’. These two have been at it for a very long time now and honestly, we are not going to settle the debate.
Personally speaking, I always prefer playing ‘FIFA’ to ‘PES’, simply because the former provides its players with licenced content. Let’s be very honest here, no one likes to see their favourite team represented as MD White rather than the original Real Madrid. Though the latest entry in the series, ‘Pro Evolution Soccer 2019’, has managed to acquire licences for a few of the leagues worldwide, it still fails to properly represent some of the most famous clubs in and around Europe. It’s almost disheartening to see the current German Bundesliga cup holders, Bayern Munich not even represented in the game. However, Konami has taken a step in the right direction and has acquired licences for some of the better known teams out there. One such example is FC Barcelona. This is a very welcome change and has been extremely well received by the community. It seems we can hope for more such inclusions going forward so that fans of the series will be able to connect with their favorite clubs.
Now that I am done criticizing the game for its shortcomings, let’s get to the better part of the discussion — the gameplay. This is where the title shines. If you are looking for pure gameplay and entertainment value alone, then you should definitely go for this one. The players are all well defined and live up to all the expectations you might have from a soccer game. The physics are also spot on and the ball mechanics feel organic.
The first time you pick up your controller, you feel well acquainted with the controls and the power is extremely well balanced. The full body touch control that was introduced in the previous instalment of the series finds its way back into the game, although in a more polished manner. The system is now more intuitive of where the actual position of the ball is in comparison to the player and then chooses the actions accordingly. It manages to keep the interactions between the teams interesting and cuts out the repetitiveness from sports games. We highly recommend you try this out if you are looking for a soccer game to play on modern consoles like Xbox One and PS4.
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1. FIFA 19 (2018)
Well, you are definitely familiar with this one if you are reading this article, so it needs no special introduction but for those living under a rock in 2019, ‘FIFA’ is a massively popular soccer game developed and published by Electronic Arts for Windows PC, Xbox and PlayStation devices. It is one of the longest running video game series of all time, with over 20 instalments being released for it over the course of 20 years. It was first released in the year 1993 and has since then pumped out one game annually, never missing a beat. If you thought consistency was the name of the game, they are the masters in that. However, its not unnatural for a sports game to release annual installments since a lot of things change over the course of the year and it becomes necessary to reflect the same in the game. EA has been spot on with this and has been consistently improving the experience for their fans.
I still remember playing my first ‘FIFA’ back in the year 1998 and what fun it was! It seems like it was just yesterday that I put on the game and the familiar ‘Blur’ track rang on the homescreen! In ‘FIFA 98’, only basic sprites were used for characters but it reflected the very flavor of the sport. There were a lot of glitches and hacks back then, some of them infuriating and some of them awkwardly hilarious. I mean, it was completely possible for you to take any player into your opponent’s half when their goalie had the ball and tackle the hell out of him. Now this will result in the player being sent off, but repeat it a couple of more times and you will end up with five players on your side going up against the opponent. Get a friend to join the action, and you both can play a 5v5 match on a soccer pitch made for 11. These glitches are what made the gameplay extremely addictive and even though we have come a long way into the future, they have always been a primary part in the evolution of games.
In ‘FIFA 19’, 20 years after ‘FIFA 98’, not much has changed except for the glitches and bugs. These have made way for a more realistic soccer simulation experience that really shines on modern consoles like Xbox One and the PlayStation 4. With over 35 licensed leagues and 55 national level teams, its very hard to find a club that isn’t present in the game. We highly recommend this one to fans of soccer games since EA has done a spectacular job with the series, paying much attention to detail and listening to their fans. I don’t care what the haters say, but having names like Cristiano Ronaldo and Neymar on the official covers speaks volumes about the title and we highly recommend you try it out.
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