5 Best Football Video Games of All Time
The world of football is an incredible place to be a part of. Whether you’re a fan or a professional player, this common passion of ours has connected so many humans worldwide in ways few entities hope of achieving.
As kids, many of us grew up playing video games, and that passion ties into football perfectly. After all, many fans of football discovered this passion from playing classic football video games – including one in particular that feels more like a strategy game rather than a FIFA title.
The games on our list must be either football-centric or be strongly influenced by the sport. Other than that, the most important factor is immersion, regardless of the game’s age, its graphics, or sound. With all that out of the way, here are the top football video games of all time that left a great impression on many soccer fans worldwide.
1. Captain Tsubasa II: Super Striker
This is a bizarre, story-oriented gem of a game based on the popular manga and anime series. Why bizarre, you might ask. Put simply, you don’t control the game like the classics.
Instead, you get a map screen of the terrain with a little square that represents the player. Your teammates and adversaries appear as number on said screen. Above that, you have the cinematic screen that focuses on the character who possesses the ball.
When you encounter an adversary, the game pauses and quickly transforms into a turn-based JRPG-style frenzy. You can choose to do certain special moves, pass, or try to get through the adversary without losing the ball. Considering that the game is on NES, the graphics are downright impressive for the time.
We could talk about this gem for hours on end, so if you want to see more details, check out this comprehensive review on GameFAQs. While you will require some nostalgia goggles, we recommend playing this gem even today just to see how different and immersive it is.
2. Sensible Soccer
Often dubbed the chess game of the football world, Sensible Soccer was truly revolutionary when it first came out.
Its innovative bird’s eye view completely changed how football games would feel and control from then on. If you like playing the latest FIFA title, you’ll have to pay your respects to Sensible Soccer’s hand at innovation.
You know it’s a good game when you can learn the controls in mere seconds but master them only after hours of playing. And indeed, people did play this gem for hours on end. If you have the opportunity to play the game today, then do so. You’ll understand why you don’t need photorealistic graphics to enjoy a good round of football.
3. Pro Evolution Soccer 2005
During this dark period, the yearly releases of FIFA were basically glorified graphical updates with a few roster changes depending on the season during which the game was released.
PES, on the other hand, would go on to change the way gamers would play football that year. It managed to blend the perfect balance of arcade-type game mechanics and realistic ball control to great success.
It’s a deeply tactical game that doesn’t forget about the key element that made football video games popular in the first place: fun. While it massively changed the way gamers would play the series moving forward, the decision was ultimately a smart one. It indirectly inspired virtual sports and sportsbooks that you can see on this website.
4. FIFA 09
Speaking of the fairly repetitive FIFA franchise, it was during the fall of 2008 when FIFA 09 would come around to finally add some much-needed freshness to the series.
Long gone was the arcade-style gameplay that made the series famous. FIFA 09 would end up drastically upping the ante and implementing complex controls that felt more realistic and rewarding.
Collision detection was one of the other things that saw a major revamp, allowing for a more tactical approach in matches. The game series went on an arguably more enjoyable path since 09’s release, and many people loved it. Of course, there were a few fans who were disappointed by this drastic change. You can’t please everyone, after all.
5. Virtua Striker 2
Part of SEGA’s “Virtua” series, this game had mind-blowing graphics back in the day. It never really caught on the United States, however, which is a shame.
While it wasn’t a tactical experience, it showcased the potential of trying to emulate football matches in a more photorealistic manner. It was also fast and entertaining, which made it become highly popular in its home country of Japan.
How popular? Well, it received six different cabinet updates over the span of just three years. Not even EA with their current loot box fiasco hasn’t managed to do something like this. It just goes to show how much people can spend on your game if you make it enjoyable.
It’s interesting to think where football video games will go next. Until then, we’ll just keep waiting for the annual releases of FIFA and PES.
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