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Soccer Video Game Reviews

FIFA 17 PS4 Review

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Overview: 4.5/5 Superb fun although some frustrations e.g. no World Cup and also much harder club v country effect. But fun to play, like watching on tv and great soundtrack.

Background

I had really been getting into FIFA 16 on the PlayStation 4 when of course, FIFA 17 comes out. My first impressions were not great. Instead of the megastar Lionel Messi as the cover star, there are high-quality but second or third rate players – i.e. those who did not even reach the Ballon d’Or 2016 shortlist e.g. Marco Reus, James Rodriguez and Anthony Martial. My first question was what has gone wrong with FIFA video games? Have they lost funding or something?

So that is annoying even today that there is no Messi or Ronaldo as the cover star. Not even Neymar.

The other thing is the switch to the Frostbite Game Engine. This gives the game an ‘earthier’ feel rather than the sweet saccharine almost like watching a movie on tv version of FIFA from FIFA 16. (By the way, I am just talking about PlayStation 4 – I understand the PC version for example is completely different.

It Grows On You

I started by playing as Argentina first in friendlies and then in my own World Cup in a custom tournament. Basically, there are 32 teams, we have 8 groups of 4, with the top 2 in each Group then playing each other home and away in knock-out phases.

This is a bit like the old European Championships – well maybe a bit like Euro 2020 – where teams played the tournament in their home and away stadiums.

It was fun having a superb team like Argentina. I switched Higuain and Aguerro with Dybala who was superb and Messi in the position just behind him with Gaitan on the left and Di Maria on the right.

The games can be quite hard with many matches where I have dominated only to be hit on the break. Belgium are brutally hard to beat. I play on the Professional level and have never gotten past the quarter finals as yet.

The controls – or at least the basic controls are easy to master. It is more ‘realistic’ than in FIFA 16, whereby your players need time to recover their footing after making a tackle, one player can get in the way of a team-mate’s shot etc.

Sometimes I accidentally switch to just controlling the keeper which can be annoying.

It does take quite a while to manually set up the World Cup tournament but it is fun doing this.

The Club Tournaments

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I then decided to play as Real Madrid in La Liga. I didn’t realize that this as a tournament is different from a Managerial Career. In the Tournament phase, you can’t switch players and also, well actually you can if you go to settings, but there is not a formal process of transfers etc.

The tournament just lasts one year and that is it. It is incredible how many country tournaments you can choose from.

The main difference between club and country is just how much more difficult and physical the club version is. Whereas in the country format, I would be able to easily round opposing full-backs and defenders to whip in crosses, there many games even against mediocre opposition where Bale and Ronaldo could not deliver crosses because the opposing defenders almost always stopped them. There is no more leaving the ‘defender for dead’ as they are able to return and catch up with you.

Also, many games can end up in midfield battles where you pick up and lose possession very quickly. It is harder in the club level to keep possession once you have made a tackle because immediately the opposition is onto you.

With all this being said, I was dominating the League with Morata and James Rodriguez in fine form before an injury to Benzema and also tiredness – this plays a real role in FIFA 17 – both within a game – Messi at the start can destroy the opposition before hardly being able to get past anyone (a bit exaggerated but you know what I mean) and also in the season. If you play the same players for two or three consecutive games, they often don’t perform as well.

Women’s Tournament

A nice addition in FIFA 17 is the women’s tournament. I played as the USA and the games here add a different dimension. Just as hard. This is the only way to have a World Cup tournament ready to play.

FIFA 17 Soundtrack and Commentary

When I played a previous version of FIFA regularly, it introduced me to loads of new singers and bands I had never heard of before. The same with FIFA 17’s soundtrack. I struggle to sometimes listen to new music – comfort zone etc. But listening to bands from around the world again and again and then putting the FIFA 17 Soundtrack onto my Spotify Playlist has helped and now I have new music to listen to.

This is one of the best things of FIFA 17. And the highlights section where they show the main action with some edited parts of the songs are incredible.

The commentary is great. There are different English commentators for the club v country games. I also love how they take into account what happened in previous games. There is also a lot of emotion and some make you laugh e.g. when you do something stupid like throw the ball to the opposition etc.

Overall: Well Worth Playing

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If you love watching high level football, as I read in the latest The Blizzard, this is what FIFA 17 gives you. A bit grittier and harder to play – especially with the club version v FIFA 16 but still fun. You also get the dynamics of the stars e.g. Ronaldo and his customary postures and goal celebrations. Although I want to update Messi’s all-blonde haircut. I think you can download updates which I haven’t yet done.

Definitely worth buying if you love playing football/soccer on your video game console.

Football Superstars: Soccer Video Game Review

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Background

We all know that the soccer players have an exquisite life off the field, but most simulation games offer us only the ability to control them on the field.

Football Superstars is a fun game that manages to blend the soccer simulation with the ability to explore the life of a soccer player off the field, which is quite amazing to say the least.

Football Superstars is a free to play title, which means that you just need to go to its website or Steam and download it immediately. You get to create a new account and design a character that can resemble your looks if you want.

Create Your Own Characters

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We found the character creation process to be very interesting and highly intense, something that can be hard to find nowadays.

You can create a club if you want, or join one of the clubs that are already created. Of course, the higher leagues can’t be accessed at first, and this is what makes you play more and more, because there are always new unlocks to be made and new incentives to advance in your career.

We liked the fact that you can join beginner clubs in matches right from the start, with virtually no restrictions.

Matches in Football Superstars are highly intense, and controlling your character is very interesting. The movement and character animations are fluid, which makes the game feel very realistic and much more impressive than many other soccer simulation games.

Slight Issues with the Game

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The problem however comes from the fact that the graphics aren’t exactly top notch, something that will certainly put some people off, unfortunately. This is a shame considering how much passion has been placed into creating a wonderful soccer simulation experience.

As you start, you get to experience a tutorial zone with some short matches which will tell you everything you know about the game, and which lasts for around 30 minutes. With so many skills and streaks to learn in the game, it’s important to go through the tutorial first. As a bonus, you do have the opportunity to play practice games from time to time in order to keep you fit.

The off-club life of a soccer superstar is displayed amazingly well, because after matches you can enter a club house filled with NPCs that will give you diverse ideas, missions and which have a plethora of functions. Of course, you are free to visit the cities you live in at your own pace.

Even though there are only 2 cities, these are very nice and highly impressive, since they have lots of attractions, as well as bars, shops and cafes, so they do look and feel like the real deal, something that you might not expect from a football simulation game.

Summary

The on-course and off-course systems manage to blend seamlessly into providing an impressive, interactive soccer experience. Playing Football Superstars does allow you to live the life of a superstar, and this is why we highly recommend it for any soccer enthusiast! Sure, it does have its flaws like bugs and some bad graphics, but it’s a wonderful experience, one that you will like for sure!

Destination Soccer Rating: 7/10

Football Manager 2015: Soccer Video Game Review

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Background

Football simulation has always been one of the most popular genre in the simulation sector of gaming, mainly because they put you in the place of a soccer team manager, as you try to lead your team to victory in the best possible way.

What makes Football Manager 2015 stand out of the crowd however is that it successfully manages to continue and build up on the success off the franchise, while also adding some intense simulation that make it stand lout.

Similarities to FM2014 and Others

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The interface of Football Manager 2015 is pretty much similar to its predecessors. However, what makes the game better is the fact that now every portion of the team management blends seamlessly and you get better menus that make reaching a new menu very easy.

The gameplay in Football Manager 2015 is also similar to the older titles in the series, but now we get a great in-game editor that makes the whole gameplay even better. On top of that, you can use the editor for competitions, which opens up a plethora of new activities that you can take full advantage of, if you want!

In Football Manager 2015 you also get numerous types of management styles, which make replayability even better, because you have to many options that you can tackle with.

Of course, you still have the opportunity to control every aspect that is included in the management aspect of a soccer team, and you can do transfers or choose the formation tactics. Like always, Football Manager 2015 places a lot of emphasis on styles, statistics and how efficient the players really are in the field.

Some Changes this year

On top of that, Football Manager 2015 deal with the player personality in a great way, because the personality does affect the way they play on the field. However, we think that Football Manager 2015 is a more conservative update when you compare it to 2014, but the updated teams and new features do blend into a stylish, fun game with a lot of things to do and which eats up a lot of your time.

You also get to make some media interaction, which means that talking with the media as a team manager is possible and does work a lot as you try to find new sponsors for the game.

The game engine did receive a little polish, but it’s not a new one, so overall the graphics are pretty much similar to the ones that you can find in the previous versions of the game.

In our opinion, the game looks stunning and the database is up to date, a great effort from SEGA, as the game allows you to control a plethora of teams. Character models look great as well, pictures are current and high definition, so the title is a visual feast, that takes full advantage of its large database in order to provide amazing soccer experiences.

Overall, we can clearly say that the development team has done it again, as it offers one of the best soccer team management titles on the market. There are a few minor flaws, but in the end the experience is amazing, and with so many teams, you have an immense replay value, which means that you can literally spend hundreds of even thousands of hours in the game without getting bored. Football Manager 2015 offers you a lot of value for your money, and that is the reason why we recommend it to any soccer enthusiast!

Destination Soccer Rating: 9/10

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Pro Evolution Soccer 2015: Soccer Video Game Review

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Background

One of the best soccer simulation games that you can find on the market, Pro Evolution Soccer 2015 (aka Pro Evo 2015) is a game that has always been thought of as the rival of EA Sport’s FIFA series.

But while the series was usually thought of as the arcade football game rather than being a simulation such as FIFA, Pro Evolution Soccer 2015 does manage to improve the arcade feel brought by Pro Evolution Soccer 2014 and the previous installments.

It does that by offering better graphics, as well as an unique feel that just makes the game stand out as it tries to reach new audiences. Whether you want to be Messi or Ronaldo, there is plenty to enjoy here.

Pro Evo 2015 v FIFA 15

And while FIFA has its own Ultimate Team system that makes it very easy to make every soccer match a dramatic experience, Pro Evolution Soccer 2015 successfully manages to introduce a similar thing in the form of myClub. This offers a lot of physicality in the matches, making the whole experience a lot more realistic.

When it comes to the AI during the matches, Pro Evolution Soccer 2015 has done a stellar job in improving the bad AI from the previous version, and instead it brings a very good artificial intelligence which takes full advantage of its knowledge during the matches.

Home advantage can be seen, as the AI will attack more aggressively and thus it will try to score faster, which is very interesting to say the least. The idea that players have fatigue is greatly used here, as it makes the whole game feel more natural and vibrant.

Controlling the Game

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Overall, Pro Evolution Soccer 2015 comes with a gameplay that is much more realistic than what you would expect from the series, something that’s great for all gamers.

Controlling, passing and shooting are done seamlessly, although in our experience the controller helped us more than a keyboard. Graphics in Pro Evolution Soccer 2015 are quite beautiful, and even though they don’t match the polish of FIFA 15, they still work great. Animations are a little stiff at times, and the overall experience is a great one from a visual standpoint, as the characters are also nicely done as well.

Pro Evolution Soccer 2015 comes with a great soundtrack and some neat voice acting, but in our opinion the thing that makes it great is the fact that you get some of the best leagues and cups in the world. There are numerous competitions you can attend, so you have enough content to keep playing for hours.

There’s also the option to play online, which is great as well, because you can test your skills in front of other players. In our experience, the online play with Pro Evolution Soccer 2015 is quite interesting, as it provides us with a wide range of people to play it, and there isn’t any lag involved to.

Summary

Overall, we found Pro Evolution Soccer 2015 to be a stellar soccer game that brings a much better AI and a lot of realism when compared with Pro Evolution Soccer 2014, and that is definitely a change to the better.

It might not have the polish of FIFA 15, but it has many competitions and teams, a myClub mode and more attention to detail when compared to the aforementioned title. If you are a soccer fan, then Pro Evolution Soccer 2015 is well worth a shot, so try it right away!

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FIFA 15: Soccer Video Game Review

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Background

Soccer is one of the most loved sports in the whole world, so each gamer does have high expectations when it comes to soccer related games. This is especially true in the case of FIFA, a video game series that has spawned dozens of games related to the king of sports. The latest entry, named FIFA 15 tries to add some new and exciting features into the mix, while also heavily improving on the ones that already existed.

Differences to Earlier Versions of FIFA

One of the first things that you can immediately spot when playing FIFA 15 is that the presentation has been completely improved. We are talking here specifically about the fully remodeled players who look much better and closer to their real life counterparts, a thing that definitely immerses you more and more into playing the game. The character models are accompanied by much more realistic hair physics as well as turf degradation that make you feel right near the football players at all times.

On top of that, we were astonished to find that we now have the opportunity to browse multiple camera angles in the game.

Improvements in Animation

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Animations have also received a major revamp, and this can be seen especially in the case of goalkeepers whose movements are much more fluid than expected. This leads to more dynamic and unexpected situations that just breathe new life into the game. We found that even the AI received quite a lot of interesting improvements, as they tend to catch up on your strategies and counteract much faster, not to mention that it can be quite hard to defeat the AI on the upper difficulty modes.

Rosters and Stadiums

As expected, the rosters for all team have been updated in order to match the real life teams. However, it seems that the main emphasis in FIFA 15 has been placed on team in the United Kingdom and specifically those in Premier League, as all stadiums which can be found there were remodeled in the game in a more realistic manner than before. Additionally, numerous camera cuts and presentation modes show how much detail was placed into the recreation of these stadiums as well.

Of course, we once again get the ability to enter the Ultimate Team mode, although a neat feature allows us to loan the star players if we can’t purchase them right away. Creating a team filled with celebrities will require a lot of time and in the end it can be quite costly, but that shouldn’t be a problem in the long run, especially if you are a dedicated football game player.

It’s important to note that the Tournament mode makes a triumphant return in FIFA 15, and as expected there are numerous soccer competitions from all over the globe that you can enroll in.

Unfortunately, there are a few important ones missing, such as the World Cup, Copa America and the European Championship, but these are removed due to some licensing restrictions. You will need to wait until 2018 for the next Official FIFA World Cup game. You can still play FIFA World Cup 2014.

Career Mode

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Overall, we found the Career to be the mode that brings you a ton of fun, although online play is very interesting as well. In fact, thanks to the ability brought by the new consoles to share gameplay videos, you will have the opportunity to record and share important moments of your game with your friends.

The only downsides that we found while playing FIFA 15 is that the commentary still remains awkward like in the previous versions, with numerous situations in which the commentators speak about things that aren’t really accurate in regards to what happens in the field. Also, FIFA 15 places a lot of emphasis in the exciting football and thus has a problem in providing a long term depth.

There are however multiple upsides this year, which make the game a much better experience than FIFA 14 was. First of all, the goalkeeper animations are very interesting and the AI performance has increased exponentially. The loan system for the Ultimate Team is quite good as well and, what’s even more important, the formations and tactics are easier to implement in the game. Of course, the focus that the title has on attacking play rather than defense makes the online matches feel a lot more vibrant and realistic, which in the end add a lot of value to the online experience!

Summary

As you can see, FIFA 15 comes with quite a lot of improvements when compared to the previous titles and it’s certainly one of the most polished soccer game experiences that we have received up to this date. It plays great, even though it does have its share of bugs, but it does manage to make you feel in the middle of the football field, and in the end this is all that matters.

Rating: 8.5/10

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