After a long and arduous wait for FIFA 12 to arrive I have compiled and review the greatest football (or soccer if you prefer) games of all time. The games chosen have been selected for various reasons, you may agree with my choices, you may not, but chances are that every ones list will be different in some way shape or form.
1. FIFA series
Way back in 1993 when the first FIFA game was released the graphics and player animation was a million miles away from the slick player movements and facial details we now expect. You simply moved a blob around a green blocky pitch. Looking back and comparing to our games we have now, you say to yourself what were we thinking. But knowing we had hours on hours of fun that’s what made FIFA for me! Over the years what’s got better? Off the pitch, the face and the appearance of the menu gets better every year, and much faster than its sluggish old self. FIFA introduced a manager mode and ultimate team mode lately and that seems to be having a great impact on FIFA.On the pitch, graphics and the game engine has improved a massive amount. What’s got worse? My opinion nothing has got worse just needs tweaking and updating, for example wind control and ball control is not that realistic yet but I’m sure they will soon. Over the years you can tell they have jumped a big gap, you can actually tell who you’re playing as and it seems you’re watching TV.
2. Championship manager
Championship Manager is a series of international football management Games and was first released in 1992. The release of the first version of the game was not an outstanding success due to people’s ignorance of this sort of game, and sales were steady rather than astronomical. However, this soon changed and today the renamed Football Manager franchise now boasts an army of dedicated fans, myself included, whom literally live, breathe and sleep Championship Manager (much to the chagrin of close family members, friends and generally anyone who knows you!). For me, it was Championship Manager 99/00 which really kick-started my passion. The simplicity of managing your favourite team was a breath of fresh air; being able to bring in those star players that you wish your manager would sign whilst nurturing your favourite academy players was a big part of my growing up. Nowadays the series has reached an incredible depth of detail, with the in-game scouting network being that detailed and accurate it’s used by professional clubs with lower budgets to scout potential transfer targets as well as opposition players and staff. With the game of football constantly evolving, and the Championship Manager series evolving with it, I can see only a golden era for this type of football strategy game- And I love it!
3. PES Series
Pro Evolution soccer is a brilliant game but has always been behind FIFA, except for one year, Pro Evolution Soccer 3, i was blown away with the improvements and you could see the creators put all their effort in to this game to make it bigger and better. Pro Ev 3 made full use of everything the PlayStation had to offer with graphics and player movements that we realistic and smooth. You no longer felt like you were in an arcade playing on a joystick, you had more enjoyment you got from FIFA, I had so much enjoyment from this game i spent my life on it when it was released. But in my own opinion this was the highest point in the series and declined from PES5 onwards.
4. Sensible Soccer
Sensible Soccer was one of the first football games to really hit the mark. Whilst the graphics don’t look to have come on that far since pong when compared against the likes of FIFA 12, back in the early nineties those small blobs were cutting edge. The main attraction of Sensible Soccer however was not in the graphics; it was the outstanding game play. The fact that anyone could pick up a controller and play the game to a reasonable standard, but the game still left room for serious gamers to develop and become masters. But best of all, you even had the proper player names. No need to cheer for Bryan Goggs on Sensible Soccer.
In the opinion of this writer, despite the outstanding qualities of all the games, FIFA stand head and shoulders above the rest. First released in 1993, it has continually evolved and whilst Pro Evolution may have overtaken it in some gamers hearts for a couple of years in the late 2000’s, it is now firmly back on top. The new FIFA 12 game is set to smash all records and leave its rivals desperately trying to mimic.