Few sports can match the global appeal of football – or soccer – as it’s known in the States. According to the sport’s governing body, there are approximately 250 million players worldwide. Indeed, FIFA 20 was one of the top-selling video games across America this year as the public sought home-based entertainment.
The next installment, FIFA 21, is due for release in early October on PS4, Xbox One, and PC. The new version promises a serious upgrade on Career Mode, which allows users to simulate the experience of managing a team and taking control of key phases during games.
Soccer simulation games are a huge part of the industry, too, with millions of dedicated armchair managers. So, if you’re already a FIFA fan, here’s a look at other games within the soccer genre.
The 2019 edition sold over 2 million copies, and the franchise is well past 18 million sales since rebranding in 2014. More leagues have been added to recent versions, helping grow the interest in territories where soccer hasn’t always been so popular. FM 2020 has 119 playable divisions. Players can now also manage as MLS or A-League clubs, both of which are fully licensed leagues in the game.
They can still manage their favorite European teams, of course, but teams like Seattle Sounders FC and Sydney FC have also been made available. The ability to manage teams in previously unavailable domestic leagues will definitely contribute to soccer’s global appeal. Many other brands, businesses, and even bookmakers worldwide are working towards bringing the worldwide soccer action closer to its fans.
For example, in Australia, where bookmakers that accept POLi deposits betting sites are huge, brands like bet365 and Unibet offer customers a live streaming service for international soccer tournaments, from La Liga to the Indian Soccer League. All of which means that this move by Football Manager is one step closer to using the power of soccer to unify fans all over the world.
Pro Evolution Soccer
Developed by Konami, PES is the biggest rival to the FIFA franchise. The two could barely be split at the turn of the millennium and sold similar numbers until the introduction of Ultimate Team in FIFA 09. The squad building feature proved a genuine, unique selling point for the EA franchise, and since then, it’s been one-way traffic for the market leader, especially with the proliferation of online gaming.
Regardless, there are still millions of soccer fans that enjoy PES every season. Although that makes it tougher to play as a newcomer, the Pro Evolution games are known for better gameplay. FIFA is usually lauded for its better graphics, but the 2021 edition of Pro Evo looks set to take a big step forward in this department.
Konami announced partnerships with some of the world’s biggest soccer clubs, including Manchester United, Barcelona, and Juventus. This includes 3D modeling of their players as part of the games’ development process. It’ll be interesting to see how this impacts the look and feel in future releases.
Football, Tactics & Glory
If you want to bring an RPG feel to your soccer simulation experience, then Football, Tactics & Glory is for you. You will take charge of a team in the bottom tier of your chosen country and work your way up through the divisions. You can download user-made modifications to replicate real-life teams, but you’ll always start at the bottom of the pyramid.
When it comes to game time, it’s not as fast-flowing as some of the best RPGs, but there’s plenty of strategy at play. Each player gets three moves, each with the pitch divided into tiles, like a longer, wider chessboard. How a player ranks in a certain attribute helps determine the outcome based on your selection.
You can choose where each player moves, when to pass, shoot, and whether a powerful or precision shot is best. Even if you’re new to the world of soccer, the simple interface makes this an accessible, engaging choice, especially if you’re short on time. It’s much more about strategy than the frantic action and rapid reaction times you’ll need for FIFA 21.