Football is the most popular sport in the world, and the FIFA World Cup is the biggest football competition there is. It stands to reason, then, that the World Cup Final is the biggest sporting event of them all. As the momentous day draws nearer, and one of the teams still remaining in the World Cup inches closer to being crowned world champions, the excitement surrounding the event around the world is reaching fever pitch. And we know just how to make that excitement that much more special- by doing what we always do in every situation ever no matter what. By playing video games, of course.
More specifically, though, by playing some incredible football games. This is a feature about ten incredible football games, all easily playable right now, that you should get into to get ready for the big day on July 15th.
Without further ado, let’s jump right in!
Let’s start with the most obvious choices first. And really, is there any choice more obvious than FIFA 18? EA Sports have refined their series’ gameplay to a ridiculous degree over the last few years, with FIFA 18 featuring even more refinements than its predecessor. With an entertaining career mode, the amazing narrative-driven The Journey, and the dangerously addictive Ultimate Team, FIFA 18 is a love letter to anyone who considers themselves a fan of the sport. On top of that, EA also recently released a World Cup update for the game, which is totally free. The perfect way to gear up for the festivities ahead.
2010 FIFA WORLD CUP SOUTH AFRICA
If you’re looking for something that’s even more dedicated to the World Cup than EA’s new update for FIFA 18 though, 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa can scratch that itch. This was the last World Cup-specific FIFA game EA made, and it was absolutely brilliant. From its stellar presentation that captured the atmosphere of the massive competition that the World Cup is perfectly, to its moment-to-moment gameplay, which was bang in the middle of the period where EA Sports were making some of the best and biggest changes and improvements to their formula, 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa is the perfect side activity for football fans during the World Cup.
PRO EVOLUTION SOCCER 2018
But of course, FIFA isn’t the only big name around when it comes to sports simulation video games- this is a two horse race, after all. Pro Evolution Soccer has been its massive and bitter rival for as long as anyone can remember. What the series lacks in shiny presentation and licenses, it makes up for its amazingly polished and fine-tuned mechanics, with many veterans of the genre even claiming that, as far as pure gameplay is concerned, PES has the upper hand over FIFA. Oh, and PES 2018 is also the last game in the series that will have UEFA licenses, so if for nothing else, maybe play it to hear that iconic song in-game once more.
FOOTBALL MANAGER 2018
While FIFA and PES battle it out year over year, every year, on the pitch for the crown of the best football simulation game, Football Manager consistently maintains its monopoly in the management simulation space. This is a game that is tailor-made for hardcore veteran fans of the genre. With a bevy of charts, graphs and stats to pour over, a ridiculous level of detail in systems, and micromanagement over every aspect of your team’s management like you’ve never seen before, Football Manager is easily a game you can pour literally hundreds of hours into.
NEW STAR SOCCER
If you’re looking for a lighter, more accessible football experience, then New Star Soccer, downloadable on iOS and Android devices, is the perfect game for you. New Star Soccer sees you playing as just one player, and it follows you on your journey from the lowest rungs of the football world to the very top. But it’s not just about football- when you’re not on the pitch, you manage your finances, you sign sponsorship deals, you buy stuff with your money, you manage your image with the media (and thus, the general masses), you improve your stats, hell, you can even participate in side activities (like betting on race horses, or playing blackjack). It’s a deceptively deep (yet still very accessible) experience that can pull you, and refuse to let go for dozens upon dozens – if not hundreds – of hours. The best part? It’s completely free.
Score! Hero is yet another mobile football game, but unlike New Star Soccer, the focus here is squarely and solely on the on-pitch action. What sets is apart is how different, simple, fun, and addictive it is. Every time the moment arises to pass, cross, or shoot the ball, the action pauses, and you then have to chart the ball’s trajectory yourself, by drawing it on your touch screen. As we said, it’s very simple – you can basically play the game using just one finger – but it’s so, so good. On top of that, it looks great, and it’s also free.
FIFA is a series that has its fingers in many pies. There is, of course, the main series as well, but over the years, it’s also tried its hand at international-only games, management simulators, and street football. 2012’s FIFA Street brought back the fan favourite street football variation of the sport back into the limelight, and it’s fair to say that it wasn’t nearly as successful as its parent franchise. It has its issues, sure, but it’s also undeniably fun. You’re pulling off tricks, panenkas, and over-the-top flair shots in street environments with the likes of Rooney, Messi, and Ronaldo- how can it not be fun?
MARIO STRIKERS CHARGED
Okay, we’re getting into “weird football game” territory now, but Nintendo and weird basically go hand in hand, so it’s more or less unavoidable. The iconic Italian plumber has been a doctor, a kart racer, a tennis ace, and, well, a plumber. Mario and co, however, have also been weird, whacky football stars. Wii and Wii U title Mario Strikers Charged was an incredibly enjoyable game, mixing on-pitch football action with the trademark goofiness and over-the-top abilities and power ups that we all expect to see in any Mario game. Playing this game online against a friend is an absolute blast.
Is there any football game weirder than Rocket League? A bunch of monster trucks boosting around arenas, pulling off gravity-defying stunts, trying to jet an oversized ball into the opponent’s goal- who thought this was a good idea? Whoever it was deserves a medal, because Rocket League is a brilliant game. Mixing car combat with football? Absolutely genius. In spite of being three years old, Rocket League still remains hugely popular to this day, and that’s because it struck gold with its brand of bombastic gameplay.
DREAM LEAGUE SOCCER
You’d think delivering a proper, FIFA or PES-like experience on mobile devices would be next to impossible, but that is exactly what Dream League Soccer 18 does. In spite of being a free to play title, Dream League Soccer includes proper, full-fledged matches for you to play, as well as a meaty and addictive career mode to sink your teeth into, where you create your own team and pull it through the ranks to the very top. You upgrade your stadium, you buy new players- it’s the perfect blend of management elements and on-pitch action. Basically, as close to FIFA as you can get on iOS and Android.