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Most gamers had eagerly awaited the release of the PlayStation 5, especially because it meant that they’d get even more realism out of video games based on soccer.
It must be said that technology has certainly come a long way from where it was about a decade ago.
Graphics enhancements and increases in internet speed and accessibility mean that we can now resonate more with the characters in our favorite titles, as they look and play just like they do on our televisions, not to mention the fact that we can easily engage in these games online with our friends courtesy of different game modes.
Soccer fans who love video gaming as a pastime are in for a treat here, as this article has been written to outline the best game recommendations for 2023.
Here’s a table which showcases the best video game options for soccer this year:
FIFA 23 wins here without much, if any complaints. Realism is taken to the next level with their HyperMotion player animations, as crunching tackles, interceptions and finesse shots look just like how you’d picture them in real life. Coupled with official licences for multiple leagues and teams, you get a playing experience on the PlayStation 5 that is pretty much unmatched.
More on that down below.
1. EA Sports FIFA 23
- HyperMotion2 Technology: Advances to HyperMotion gameplay technology with twice as much match data capture unlock new features and brings over 6000 authentic animations taken from millions of frames of advanced match capture to FIFA 23
- FIFA World Cup: Experience the pinnacle of international football with the men’s FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 and FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia and New Zealand 2023, with more information to follow in the build-up to each tournament
- Women’s Football: Play as women’s club teams for the first time in EA SPORTS FIFA history as the Barclays FA Women’s Super League and Division 1 Arkema come to FIFA 23 at launch. Plus, enjoy dedicated HyperMotion2 capture that powers the women’s game to make female players move authentically in FIFA 23.
To begin with, FIFA 23 is a game that is incredibly popular around the world.
Electronic Arts (EA) are the company that developed this game, and credit must go to their team of developers for making this game playable across all these different platforms.
They firmly believe in the benefits of positive play, as they stand for a gaming community that should always be fair, fun and safe.
EA can definitely be credited for the birth of “FIFA culture”, especially as they were the pioneers of the memorable “EA Sports, it’s in the game” slogan that we so often heard on past editions of their famous video game titles.
It must be said that this year’s edition of their FIFA game ticks multiple boxes, as you’ll see down below.
First up, we have…
World Cup game mode
Relive the excitement of Lionel Messi and Argentina lifting the 2022 FIFA World Cup trophy as you get to create your own personal story in this new game mode.
You get to play as one of the 32 qualified nations in an authentic single player recreation of this tournament, so whether you want to start matchday one with minnows like Saudi Arabia or the giants of France, the choice is ultimately yours.
The immersion that this mode provides is also really impressive, as it comes with authentic stadium atmospheres, match balls, trophies as well as World Cup commentary and cinematics that fully recreate the environment we witnessed in Qatar.
Women’s club soccer
Electronic Arts have made a massive stride forward with this year’s game by introducing women’s club teams for the first time in the game’s history.
So, if you want to test out Chelsea’s women’s team, you’re free to do so because of the Barclays Women’s Super League addition.
You can also play the knockout stage of the UEFA Women’s Champions League in FIFA 23, which is a massive improvement over last year’s title as you can experience what it’s like controlling teams such as:
- Juventus Women;
- Real Madrid Femenino;
- Manchester City Women;
- Olympique Lyonnais Féminin; and
- Paris Saint-Germain Féminine
Hyper motion 2 technology animations
Perhaps what’s most impressive about this game is the fact that data from two new full-match motion capture shoots and five training drills with professional teams has been used to reproduce new realistic animations for the gameplay.
The natural motion of soccer players themselves and the ball has been recreated through an advanced machine learning algorithm that draws on 9.2 million cumulative frames of advanced match capture.
Over 6000 HyperMotion-enabled animations make players move more realistically on the pitch, which is great for the authenticity of the match graphics.
What this allows for is things like:
- More composed ball striking; and
- Cleaner outcomes for goalkeepers coming off their line to claim aerial crosses
Here’s a video which showcases some of these animations:
2. eFootball 2023
What used to be known as Pro Evolution Soccer has now transformed into eFootball.
Made by Konami Digital Entertainment – a company that’s always looking ahead to the future when it comes to technology and hardware infrastructure since its founding over 50 years ago – eFootball represents a change in their strategy for facing the juggernaut that is EA Sports and their annual FIFA title.
What they’ve done here is release a soccer game that is free to play, with in-game data such as squad updates available via purchasable “add-ons”.
We’re not quite sure why the company decided to take this approach, but nonetheless they’ve made a decent video game out of it.
Here are the headline features of this one:
The FIFA World Cup has just concluded and many people are excited to craft their own journey to the final in Qatar.
You see, eFootball has introduced a variety of in-game national team events that celebrate soccer’s biggest spectacle which takes place every four years.
This means that you can try out national teams and compete in an international cup experience which is their way of gamifying a battle for World Cup glory.
Check out the trailer for it below:
Additional club licenses
On the club level, eFootball has added a couple of licenses for teams like AC and Inter Milan.
This means that you not only get to see players from these two Italian clubs donning their famous red/black and blue/black home jerseys, as you also get to view them in their official training attire during warm up sessions too!
Konami get a thumbs up for the realism on that point!
For those of you in love with the nostalgia of purchasing a physical game disc for your console, then have a look at the 2021 version of the same game below.
- Season update - PES 2021 is an updated version of last year's title, efootball PES 2020, providing the latest player data and Club rosters. Due to the delayed Season endings for many leagues, the latest data for certain licensed leagues and teams will be available via updates at launch and after (Internet connection required)
- Exclusive UEFA Euro 2020 content - ahead of the real-life tournament in 2021, the official UEFA Euro 2020 content will be included at launch in PES 2021. Featuring the offline UEFA Euro 2020 tournament Mode, all 55 UEFA National teams, Wembley Stadium and more, This is the best way to simulate the tournament before and after its Summer debut
- Iconic moment series - relive and recreate memorable moments from the careers of current and former football Superstars with this new myClub series
Backward compatibility on the PlayStation 5 means you don’t have to worry about this version of the game not working on your console, even though it’s specifically designed to work on PlayStation 4.
3. Football Manager 2023
- Find the right club for you. Meet the board’s targets and beat the best as you win football’s top prizes.
- Don’t just sign superstars, create them. Recruit smartly with the help of your scouts and provide pathways to the first team for your wonderkids to develop a world-class squad.
- Your team’s playing style is down to you. Create a unique strategy on the tactics board to deliver big wins and memorable matchday moments.
Football Manager’s latest iteration is another step forward in bringing the realism of soccer management to the fans who love to watch games.
The Sports Interactive company that produces the world’s most popular soccer management simulation was founded in 1994, with their diverse and continuously expanding studio doing its very best to make fans of the sport happy with each yearly release.
You can play this game on PlayStation 5 through Football Manager 2023 Console Edition, which will have “radial menus” that are designed to make the game more intuitive on this piece of gaming hardware.
Despite there not being much in the way of new features when you compare this 2023 game to Football Manager 2022, there are still a couple of things that make it stand out.
Here are a few of those:
UEFA club competitions license
A lot of people that play this game are on the hunt for Champions League glory, meaning they choose to journey with one of the biggest teams already in Europe’s most prestigious competition.
Or alternatively, they try and build a team from the lower divisions of a European nation towards being eligible to compete in this competition.
Football Manager 2023 will have fans of this sort of challenge buzzing, because in this edition of the game the studio has incorporated official licenses for UEFA club competitions, such as the:
- UEFA Champions League
- UEFA Europa League;
- UEFA Europa Conference League; and
- UEFA Super Cup
Here’s a glimpse of what this looks like:
What this means is that realism is taken to the next level in 2023’s game, as the look and feel of European nights is vastly superior to what was offered in the previous year’s title.
The matchday experience comes with those UEFA branded pre-match lineups and scoreboards you see when watching the matches on television, along with UEFA club competition branding for other graphics such as goals, cards and substitution announcements.
But it gets even better!
Football Manager have made sure to include distinct player walkout cutscenes prior to kick off, along with the signature UEFA Champions League anthem that we’ve all come to love.
You’ll also come across bespoke podiums for trophy presentations when a final has concluded, with lookalike trophies and match balls also reflecting real life which adds even more immersion.
Match AI and animation improvements
We all play Football Manager to create workable tactics and see how they translate when played out on the pitch.
The thrill that comes with seeing a formation or player role that you tweaked succeed in a competitive fixture is simply amazing.
And this year’s game promises to deliver even more with regard to the matchday experience.
The developers have worked on making the artificial intelligence (AI) that controls opposition teams more open to chasing leads by committing men forward; giving them greater tactical variety when it comes to formation selection and player roles, as well as making them savvier in how they go about distributing team shape and balance.
What you ultimately get is a game that is better able to reflect the managerial styles of different real-life managers, from your Pep Guardiola’s to your Jurgen Klopp’s, Jose Mourinho’s and Thomas Tuchel’s.
In addition, players make better decisions on the pitch when compared to previous editions of the game, as the development team have tweaked things like goalkeeper reactions when making saves.
One example they gave was that in one-on-one situations, goalkeepers will adjust their bodies in order to narrow down the shooting angle for opposition attackers, using their frame to make the goal behind them appear smaller.
Tactical play from wing backs has also been improved, as these wide players will look to press more aggressively which mirrors the way team’s using such systems in real life tend to play.
Additionally, in the final third of the pitch, strikers make better decisions with regard to finishing chances.
You’ll see your forward more likely to attempt shots across the face of goal; opening their bodies up for those finesse strikes as well as taking a more composed touch before calmly slotting the ball into the net.
Another area that’s been improved is player and staff acquisition.
Gamers are now equipped with a squad planner that helps them forecast their team depth for the current and upcoming seasons, giving them a more refined way of planning future transfer moves in the summer or winter windows.
When it comes to scouting, you can mark your recruitment focuses as either a top priority, standard priority or low priority, which allows you to prioritize assignments for your scouts based on the level of urgency.
Take a look at footage from the game below, as it gives a great visual demonstration of how the game plays out:
Additional considerations prior to buying a soccer game for PlayStation 5
Hold your horses!
Making a purchasing decision for soccer games in this category should be taken quite seriously, because there are two particular factors that you need to bear in mind beforehand.
Let’s now go through each one in turn.
When you’re playing on a console like the PlayStation 5, being able to compete against your friends is pretty much a core requirement.
You wouldn’t want to invest in a game that’s purpose built for single-player gameplay, because in this case the game developer won’t have devoted much of their attention to making multiplayer modes as enjoyable.
This is where a game like Football Manager struggles on PlayStation, as their multiplayer modes are nowhere near as engaging as their full-fat single player simulation.
On the other hand, a title like FIFA is built well for both sides of the spectrum, as online play is a core part of their offering with their game servers built to handle it.
With the global economy pretty much flat on its feet as a result of an impending recession, the pennies are not easy to come by.
Consumers may not be able to dedicate as much financial spend to their video gaming fix, so a free-to-play title like eFootball 2023 might really come in handy.
Weigh up how much you have to spend before buying a soccer game for PlayStation 5, especially because titles on this newly released console cost more than games built for its predecessor (i.e. PlayStation 4).
It’s quite easy to pick a winner when it comes to the greatest soccer games for PlayStation 5.
FIFA 23 should take pole position, followed by either of eFootball 2023 or Football Manager 2023, depending on which one you prefer to play.
For further reading on this topic, you can also have a look through our product roundup of the finest soccer games for PC, as it also covers similar titles.
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