Thanks very much to Josh for the post! I’ll shut up now and leave him to do the talking……
I hate FIFA games. Both the fact I’m terrible at them (I’m terrible at most football games) and just about everything else the FIFA games have to offer.
They’re the sports game equivalent of Call of Duty games and just like the developers of what has become a massive mess of a game that is losing its identity because it doesn’t know which direction to head in, EA has made a living from churning out the same old crap each year offering little more than kit updates and squad changes.
Their football games are unbelievably buggy, they’re made to milk players for all they’re worth, and fuck me those celebrations, one of the worst things they brought to the game.
I will admit, I used to like them back in the days they were good, and FIFA games had a cracking soundtrack. I also love the idea of being able to see the likes of Roy Kent and the rest of the Richmond FC boys from Ted Lasso appearing in FIFA 23.
But sadly, my pride, stubbornness, and moral compass won’t let me buy it or even download a demo of it (tried playing the demo at i69 but wasn’t allowed to play unless I signed up for an 8-man tournament I didn’t want to be a part of).
So, what better way to show my distaste for FIFA games in general than looking at a bunch of football games that are 110% better than FIFA.
New Star Soccer
New Star Soccer, also known as NSS, is a series of football games developed and published by New Star Games. The aim of these games is to create and control a football player as you move through the ranks of the available leagues, which cover many from around the world, to then being noticed and recruited to your national team.
But you don’t just focus on life on the pitch, as you also take part in activities off it from training to improve skills, shopping to improve your lifestyle and then juggling relationships between friends, fans and the manager of your squad. The game is best known for its mobile version, which won a BAFTA in 2013 for Best Sports/Fitness Game and it’s still a game I play today that is much, much better than any modern FIFA title.
One of my favourite football games of all time. It’s very different to FIFA games because you don’t control individual players or the teams on the pitch, because you focus on the management side of the beautiful game. From organising training, signing new players and giving team speeches, it’s all about how you handle the day to day running of the club to inspire your players to glory.
There is just something so satisfying about taking teams from the bottom division somewhere, and watching them rise through the ranks to enter the most elite competitions available to the country you decide to manage in.
What makes this game exceptional though, is it is so detailed, and the scouting system is that large, professional teams even use it to help scout players and work out tactics for upcoming games. Some people who have played it have even used the game to inspire them or as part of a resume to go into coaching. It’s crazy. All FIFA has encouraged is you to spend your money of stuff that isn’t worth it.
So this one is going back a long-ass time having first played this on the PlayStation 1. It was the pinnacle of football games at the time along with International Superstar Soccer Pro, but Actua Soccer was next level. It was part of an entire series of sports games developed by Gremlin Interactive that really put 3D football games on the map.
At the time I remember the graphics feeling so realistic, but nowadays revisiting, they just look like pixelated blobs. But the game was launched with a fantastic reception for a game that kept the beautiful game simple, but also elevated it too in terms of the video game experience we were used to at the time. Sadly, despite some sequels that ended up flopping, Actua Soccer didn’t last past Actua Soccer 3, and ultimately the series would come to an end in a time where FIFA truly was probably the best football game around.
eFootball PES 2020
Probably the closest rival that FIFA has had from any football game in the past few decades has been the PES series, but for a while, they had fallen off the ball and they couldn’t get near EA. Then, Konami began to acquire licenses and rebuilt the game from the ground up, and eFootball PES 2020 was one of the best football games I had played in a long time. It was absolutely fantastic, and miles better than any FIFA game in recent years.
People really began to take notice of PES again and saw it as a serious competitor that offered a better gameplay experience. However, Konami then went and cocked it all up when they changed the game to eFootball and dropped the PES name. The idea was great, releasing the game free-to-play and just letting players purchase expansions to update team rosters and kits each season (the way it should be).
But all the hard work that had been put into making this series great again with the latest installment was ruined. Because upon release it was like a completely different game that developers had done a half-arsed job with. It was as poor as Harry Maguire’s defending or even the financial management of Rangers fall from glory when they went into liquidation.
Ok, so this one is in here at a push because it’s not technically a football game, it’s a car game where they play football. Kind of. But, it’s still much better than any recent FIFA game so it deserves its spot in this list with the rest of them.
Incredibly addictive, fast-paced, and incredibly enjoyable to watch competitively, Rocket League is one hell of a game. Just ask our mate Stubat all about it. He’ll give you presentations, write you essays, maybe even do some artistic dance for his interpretation of how good the game is. He’s literally mad for it, and I understand why because it’s just an all around fun take on the beautiful game that just happens to involve rocket-propelled cars.
Any more Football Games?
And there you have it, five football games old and new that are much, much better than any recent FIFA title. There is a good mixture in there, covering consoles past and present as well as mobile too, so be sure to go and check them out. And if you have any other football games you think are better than FIFA let us know so I can agree with you. I don’t even need to check them out, because I know right away you’re right, as anything is better than a FIFA game at this point.