Soccer Tagged Articles RSS Feed | Soccer RSS Feed on en Launch Media Network It's In the Game: FIFA 19 Brings Real World Gender Inequality to Your Screen Fri, 05 Jul 2019 15:13:49 -0400 RobertPIngram

I don't deserve to control the players on the United States Women's National Team. Watch them play for just a few minutes, and it becomes clear that they are truly elite athletes at the top of their sport. Watch me play for just a few minutes, and you'll marvel at the realization there is no sitter so easy it can't still be blasted over the bar.

Every game I play as the USWNT does them some minor cosmic disservice. The good news for me is there's nothing I can do to disrespect them in-game even a fraction as much as FIFA 19 already has.

The Real World Fight

If you're just a casual sports fan, or not much of one at all, there are probably just a few things you heard about the United States team set to vie for their second straight World Cup title on Sunday morning.

They hung a baker's dozen on Thailand, and celebrated like the arrogant Yankee snobs that they are.

They are unapologetically egotistical about their place atop the sport, with defender Ali Krieger going so far as to say the second best team in the world is the 11 players on the bench at the start of any USWNT match.

They are captained by an unpatriotic winger who has knelt for the anthem and responded to a question about a White House visit by making it clear that she would not be going "to the fudging White House," and she did not say fudging.

These are the easy hot-takes trotted out by lazy sportswriters paid to talk about the Women's game once every four years, but disinterested in actually understanding it beyond a surface level. They are far from the whole story.

A Battle for Equality

In reality, there is a lot more than meets the eye when it comes to the women who will be taking the pitch to defend their world title this weekend. The reality is Krieger is likely not all that far off about the quality of the United States bench, and Rapinoe has spoken eloquently about how she protests because she is patriotic and believes that America is great but can be even better.

Sure, the 13 goals put past Thailand seem like overkill, but in the first match of a tournament where the first tie-breaker is goal difference, letting up only to see Sweden not do the same had to be a real consideration.

As for celebrating every last one of them, sure, there's the simple and sufficient explanation offered by Rapinoe when asked about criticism of their celebrations:

I mean, it’s like, we’re at the World Cup, what do you want us to do? This is the biggest stage, the biggest moment.

Scoring a World Cup goal is the culmination of a dream they've likely held since they were young girls. That's cause for celebration.

But there's more there, as well. After the game they stressed the reason they celebrated with the bench is because this is the reserves' World Cup, too, and the eleven players on the pitch wanted to share that glory with the twelve who weren't but still helped them get there.

Finally, there was the unwritten target of their passion -- United States Soccer. Not the concept, but the organization which acts as the governing body of the sport and the overseer of both the men's and women's national programs. The players are currently locked in a heated dispute with the association, having agreed to enter mediation following the tournament just days before it kicked off. 

At the root of the issue is the matter of pay. The women's team is far and away the more successful program. While they will compete to extend their existing record of three World Cup wins, the men haven't reached beyond the quarterfinals in over half a century, and missed out on their last World Cup after failing to manage even a draw against international minnows Trinidad & Tobago.

And yet, if two players participated in all 20 mandated friendlies each side must play in every year, the one who did so for the Men's team would earn more money for going 0-20 than the one who played for the women's team would if she claimed win bonuses in all 20 matches.

While in the past disparities have been brushed off citing increased income from the men, times have changed. The Men's team drew nearly 20-times as much game-related revenue in 2011, but over the last three years the Women's National Team has actually earned over $1 million more than their male counterparts. Not only does the surplus argue in favor of better pay, it also shows the significant growth potential from investing in the Women's program.

So, the players are mad. When you throw in additional complaints such as the tendency to book them to play on dangerous artificial turf at significantly higher rates, it's easy to see why. When they stepped out there to lay waste in their debut it was about getting a great result, sure, but every goal no doubt felt just a little nicer with the added declaration that they're still here, and still incredible.

But this is a video game site, so you may be asking, "What does any of this have to do with FIFA 19?"

The Same, But Not Equal

While EA can be accused of being a bit slow to adapt to the growing popularity of the Women's game, national programs have been present in the simulation for several years now. While the numbers are significantly limited, that can be to some degree excused by the very real limitation on how many federations are willing to invest properly in their real world programs. By adding the World Cup DLC to FIFA 19 and including all 24 nations, it is a step forward.

A very small one in a race where they will need some big leaps to catch up to what's right.

At first blush, the World Cup this summer got the same treatment as the World Cup last year. As the tournament drew near a special, free update was released to allow you to play your own version of the World Cup. That's great!

Only that's not actually what was released.

Sure, you can play a World Cup Final, branding and all. Sure, you can play a groups-then-knockout tournament. What you can't do is play a tournament which culminates in a World Cup Final, because the branding is available only in a one-off match.

What you certainly can't do is recreate the World Cup, because of the bizarre decision to only allow for a 12-team event, half the size of reality.

Even this choice could be overcome if it wasn't compounded by a further glaring omission. Resolute in my desire to recreate the tournament proper I decided I would simulate the first three groups, then play a tournament with the next three which included America, and finally use the game's custom tournament options to build the 16-team knockout those six groups yielded.


There is no option to use Women's teams in any of the various styles of custom tournament. All you can do is alter the one 12-fudging-team variety.

Because I'm a crazy person I gave real thought to doing the above then starting additional tournaments for the round of 16 and save scumming my way to finally having the proper final-8 that yielded before I realized that was too much even for me, a guy who keeps a custom spreadsheet of league tables in order to watch highlights and track results without fear of spoilers.

Even for me, that was a bridge too far, and there is no good reason why it should be that much work to recreate the tournament that the entire update is supposed to represent. It wasn't this hard in FIFA 18 when you could play the entire Men's tournament in the right venues, with the right teams.

The Little Things Will Also Get You Down

While the topline failure to do the simple job of creating a 24-team tournament to play through is frustrating enough on its own, much like the real world fight for sporting equality you find more annoying details the deeper you dig.

Several teams in the game don't have licenses with EA, meaning they are stocked with computer-generated players. Some of the top moments of the last month of an excellent World Cup come courtesy of players who find themselves replaced by generic randoms.

Want to take over Christiane Endler and recreate her otherworldly heroics in the second half against the United States? Sorry, you're as out of luck as Christen Press was as she watched fantastic effort after fantastic effort get clawed away by the Chilean netminder. Endler is not there.

How about taking a spin as all-time Legend Marta, who provided the inspirational moment of this and all World Cups when she stared down the cameras following elimination from her last World Cup and pleaded with the young girls of Brazil to keep their passion alive? Nope. She's gone, too.

Even the event itself falls victim to the generic curse. If a licensing disagreement was to blame for not securing the rights for more than a single game, it would be frustrating but still excusable had EA shown even the least bit of effort in making the tournament that they do have feel important.

Instead, you get a generic trophy for winning the Women's National Tournament, I kid you not. Congratulations to the US Women's National Team for being declared Women's National Champions, a title which sounds like it is theirs by default.

Would it have been so hard to call it the Global Cup, or even just the International Tournament? It's not that the name matters in the gameplay, it's that such a simple, lazy oversight shows how little effort or thought was put into the adaptation.

The good news is this is FIFA we are talking about, so they'll have another chance to redeem themselves, and due to the scheduling quirks of international tournaments, that chance will be next year with the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. While the Men's tournament at the Olympics is a glorified youth cup, that's not the case for the women. It's another major contest with all the world's best players. If EA want to start making amends there is a simple solution -- a fully cloned tournament to play out in FIFA 20. And at just 12 teams, we may actually even get it.

At the end of the day, FIFA, like all sporting simulations, prides itself on its ability to accurately represent the real world game it is based on. When it comes to the way Women's soccer is often treated with disinterest at best, or utter disdain at worst, by the regulating bodies responsible for overseeing it, it's fair to say that EA proved to be depressingly good at achieving that goal.

Can't Wait for the World Cup? Here Are 5 Great Soccer Games to Warm Up With Mon, 02 Apr 2018 14:13:21 -0400 Rudyardk

Commonly referred to as "the beautiful game,” soccer (or football in some countries) can offer a never-ending supply of emotions, mystery, surprise, and excitement -- sometimes all at once. Here are five excellent soccer games that will help get you excited for 2018’s World Cup.

1. Pro Evolution Soccer (PES) 2016

PES is just one of those immersive football series that makes you want to lock yourself in the room and throw away the key. Although PES 2016 has spent considerable time in FIFA’s giant shadow, PES 2016 is incredibly underrated and fun.

For example, FIFA is often criticized for retaining the same game engine year in and year out, and that’s where PES separates itself from the crowd. Not only does it include some fascinating and heart-pumping interactions between players and referees, but there is also little predictability.

In other words, this game will keep you guessing -- who will win tackles, who will land crosses, or whether shots will reach their intended destination. After all, the game should be more reminiscent of real-life soccer than a massively rigged game.

In fact, the 2016 version went on to be nominated for "Best Sports/Racing Game" at the 2016 BAFTAS, just as FIFA was. Despite losing to the excellent Rocket League, PES 2016 is full of some exciting and unpredictable footy games.

2. FIFA 16

Considered the nemesis of PES 2016, FIFA 16 is cleverly named after the association behind global football, Le Fédération Internationale de Football Association. With a strong name like that and a longstanding history of excellent commitment to FIFA fans, the 2016 version of the game quickly became something of a cult hit.

FIFA gamers are known to purchase every single new release, sometimes even queuing just as much as for a Black Friday event. Or, you could say that FIFA is the Apple of footy.

Whatever you choose to compare it with, it’s a fact that EA Sports has sold over 100 million copies of this game to soccer lovers all around the globe. While FIFA 12 will forever hold a warm spot for gamers, FIFA 2016 still has a few tricks up its sleeve.

Despite not being ranked a classic that should be remembered for generations, it is an excellent option for wasting away your weekends. It features slick graphics and interactive animations, and it’s always satisfying to see the evolution of the game from one year to the other.

Another great feature of FIFA 16 is the introduction of Ultimate Tournament modes, which let you create a team of superstars -- unless you already have the next game on our list.

More specifically, this article will shy away from football betting or stadium games. Instead, we’re talking computer graphics, and skills relating to your PS4 or PCs. From the classic days of DOS to our now action-packed virtual reality games, here are five excellent soccer plays that will warm up your excitement levels for 2018’s World Cup.

3. Football Manager 2016

Do you like a good challenge, or do you get easily distracted and bored by just tossing the ball from one player to the other? Well, then you’re in the right place.

If you are looking to answer the question of whether you’re a Special One or a Wally with a Brolly, Football Manager 2016 can show you the intense and immersive world of trying to win championships during the worst times of the league.

This game, like others on the list, is proud to get significant upgrades and features year after year, and it offers a more top-down camera angle than FIFA's on-the-pitch action. Organization, team spirit, the capacity for making quick and nitty-gritty decisions -- these are some qualities that you’ll need to possess before pushing your team towards victory and success.

Don’t also forget about the most "fun" parts: dealing with the press, in-team squabbling between players, devastating injuries that set team progress back, and more potential frustrations. While the game is interactive, it’s also hard and not for the weak-minded.

Having achieved critical acclaim, it made the list due to the combination of in-depth management options with user-friendliness and accessibility. Do you have what it takes?

4. FIFA 17

FIFA 17 brings different elements of interest. Unlike PES, last year’s FIFA game slowly yet surely shied away from conventional gameplay mechanics, instead focusing on the optimization of clever story plots.

That's right, in FIFA 17, you can become part of “The Journey” -- the tale of how a fictional character called Alex Hunter makes his gritty way through the Premier League. It’s a display of dreams, sweat, broken spirits, and commitment, as the story follows Alex and former striker Jim Hunter working together and achieving football success. Despite this, there isn’t much that’s changed; if the story is not your cup of tea, you can skip it altogether, going back to the classic footy games. Even better: You also get a taste of improved pacing, although most players will continue to appear lethargic at times. All in all, FIFA 17 breaks the barriers of conventional football games, giving us an innovative alternative to the much loved PES.

5. FootLOL

While tossing the ball around and competing against your friends is all good fun, FootLOL breaks any conceptions you might have regarding soccer games. To better put things into perspective, the game shows the amusing side of throwing sheep, cows, and other animals at your opponents and referee.

And so if you prefer a footy game that comes dressed in humor galore, don’t let this one pass. The game begins with a round of training before throwing you into the deep end, and you can choose to battle against either your friends or a smart AI. Equipped with over 60 levels of potential mayhem, FootLOL is the optimal antidote to the conventional badge-kissing seriousness of games like PES or FIFA.


Hopefully these soccer games will scratch that footy itch until the World Cup is here! Be sure to stick with GameSkinny for more game news, reviews, tips, guides, and more!

Level-5 Reveals New Gameplay Trailer for Inazuma Eleven Ares Mon, 12 Mar 2018 11:19:38 -0400 Erroll Maas

During the latest Inazuma Walker broadcast, Level-5 revealed a new gameplay trailer for Inazuma Eleven Ares, the next game in their strategic soccer RPG series, Inazuma Eleven.

Additionally, the new anime series of the same name and based on the game was announced to premiere globally on April 6, 2018.

Inazuma Eleven Ares will launch for PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, iOS, and Android in Summer 2018 in Japan. It is currently unknown if the game will release outside of Japan.

If the game does release outside of Japan, it will be the first in the series to release in Europe since the two-version game, Inazuma Eleven GO Chrono Stones: Wildfire and Inazuma Eleven GO Chrono Stones: Thunderflash, which released on March 27, 2015. It would also be the first in the series to release in North America since the enhanced Nintendo 3DS version of Inazuma Eleven, which released on the Nintendo 3DS eShop on February 13, 2014, and at this time is the only game in the series to see a North American release.

If Inazuma Eleven Ares doesn't see a release outside of Japan, interested fans will still be able to play the game due to both the PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch being region-free, although it would likely only have Japanese language support.

Keep an eye on GameSkinny for more Inazuma Eleven Ares news updates.


Ganbare! Super Strikers Brings Tactical Soccer Gameplay to PC Wed, 17 Jan 2018 11:38:01 -0500 Erroll Maas

Ganbare! Super Strikers is an upcoming tactical soccer RPG inspired by games like Inazuma Eleven and various sports manga series, which follows the story of a soccer team from a small town in Japan that is trying to play its way up to being selected for the National team.

Similar to the Inazuma Eleven series, the game will feature grid-based matches where players will have to level up and gain special equipment,  granting characters new abilities in the process. These various abilities will include stat enhancement, special kicks, defensive moves, status affliction, and more. Characters on the opposing team will have access to their own abilities as well, so players will have to learn how to properly counter or withstand these types of skills. The game is set to feature a large cast of usable characters, each with individual special strengths and abilities, so players will be able to create their own team combinations.

In addition to the single-player story mode, the game will also feature a local multiplayer mode where two players will be able face each other head-on.

The final version of Ganbare! Super Strikers is planned for release sometime in Q2 2018, but an Early Access version of the game is available on

Inazuma Eleven Ares Announced for Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, and Mobile Sun, 22 Oct 2017 22:55:35 -0400 Erroll Maas

In the latest Inazuma Walker broadcast, Level-5 revealed that the upcoming soccer game and seventh entry in the main Inazuma Eleven series, Inazuma Eleven Aresoriginally teased for "higher-end consoles" in  March, will release on Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Android, and iOS sometime in Summer 2018 in Japan.

It was stated that the game is being designed in a way so that players unfamiliar with soccer video games will still be able to enjoy it, while still keeping the strategic elements the series is known for. It was also said that the game will have higher quality visuals than what has been shown so far, and that they would like to have each individual character have the same high quality appearance as their anime counterparts. The developer is currently focusing on improving controls and making the game an enjoyable experience for all players.

Inazuma Eleven Ares in planned for release in Japan sometime in Summer 2018 for Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Android, and iOS. It is currently unknown if the game will release outside of Japan. 

Stay tuned in to GameSkinny for more Inazuma Eleven Ares updates.

Professional Video Gaming - Is It a Real Sport? Tue, 11 Apr 2017 08:00:01 -0400 Karthik Krishnan

While there’s no formal education offered to become a pro gamer, many people have honed their skills in the various categories of games to make sustaining careers out of them.

For the longest time video games were viewed as massive time-wasters that encouraged laziness and anti-human interaction. In many movies, the stuck-up anti-social teenager who could not talk to girls was only good at video gaming. This may not necessarily be the case as gamers are normal human beings with the exception that they have a special interest for computer games, just like a fashion enthusiast would love to wear glow necklaces. Esports may be unconventional but it’s here to stay.

Here are some of the features that make professional gaming worthy of being called a real sport:

It takes skill and practice

esports, gamer, gamergirls

In the same manner in which baseball requires constant hitting and missing, so does video gaming demand long man-hours of practice. To be a professional player one has to put time aside to understand the dynamics of the game, the characters, the scoring and the rules of play.

A professional gamer can practice with robots or artificial intelligence just to get a feel of the controls and the game user interface. Afterward, he/she can advance to playing with friends for a more social setup and to learn the aspect of teamwork.

Tournaments and training organized

esports, arena, stage

Just like soccer, baseball, and rugby, pro gaming has attracted a lot of attention from both players and fans across the world. In 2015 alone the global esports audience was estimated to be 226 million people. This rapid growth of interest in video games led to the creation of online tournaments starting 2000. As the sport became more competitive a global championship was put in place where a 16-team participates for a month. As many as 40,000 fans filled the Seoul World Cup stadium in 2014 to watch a live League of Legends game. Some of the major tournament names are the World Cyber Games,  North American Major League Gaming league, Electronic Sports World Cup, and the World e-Sports Games hosted in China.

Video gaming requires intense private/home practice but this may not be enough to prepare one for a competition. It is in this regard that various institutions made by game developers have come up to offer professional training on a list of games. An example is the Team We Training center in China.

Pro gaming pays

dota 2, character, selection

Shooting hextech gunblades from behind a computer may seem like a lazy way of passing an afternoon but it pays the bills for thousands of people out there. By 2016 Dota 2 had awarded a total of 86 million dollars to different players over 632 tournaments organized. Lee ‘Faker’ Sang-Hyeok is one such player who bagged a cool 1 million dollars after winning a League of Legends game. Gaming companies also create employment opportunities, therefore, paying salaries for a huge population of people.

Wrap up

By definition, sports is an activity that calls for skill and/or physical exertion whereby one person or a team compete against an opponent for the sake of entertainment. If you ask me, video games check all the boxes in this regard. Not only does it need top notch skills it's rather entertaining as well and pays well too.

Video gaming as a ‘real’ sport may be controversial but it has a lot of perks that earn it the title -- not to mention esports competitors are treated as athletes for the sake of travel.

Rocket League's "Dropshot" Adds Fun (If You Can Fly) Fri, 24 Mar 2017 12:15:01 -0400 Nick Lee

The new changes added in the latest Rocket League update provide players more options to customize their game play experience, but the new game mode, "Dropshot", is only for frequent flyers.

Overall the new game mode and prospect of rising through the ranks of Season 4 adds a fresh new challenge to the game, while the "Dropshot" game mode specifically adds an entire new metric to the game; A win could happen at anytime, anywhere in the arena. The goal of the mode is to crash the ball along the panels of the arena itself to create a makeshift goal out of the arena sides. Once a panel can be broken it will be highlighted and from there a player must get the ball through the holes to score.

Unfortunately, this game mode goes by pretty quickly for more experienced players, and will come as a challenge to players who aren't able to use the wall and timed hops to simulate flying through the air. More high flying players will be able to arch the ball along the walls and score into vulnerable spots on the arena floor. Overall, it would be best to avoid this mode if you aren't able to fly just yet.

This comes after the previous updates that modified car appearances, mostly leaving some to feel the update wasn't for them. While you earn your wings, there's always the new custom training that was also added in the update to hone that perfect lift off.

Before you skid off to train for this new game mode, aimed at the more experienced player, search GameSkinny for more Rocket League news and updates.

FIFA 17 Review - The King of the Virtual Pitch Sun, 04 Dec 2016 07:13:12 -0500 Tomas Nicolsen

I have been playing games in the FIFA franchise for as long as I can remember and have enjoyed every aspect, every new feature and the style of gameplay they can bring to the pitch.

But the latest installment really sings: Improved graphics, new game mode features and being able to play as the best teams in the world are just a few of the things what makes FIFA 17 such a great game.

EA Sports have put a lot of time and effort into FIFA 17, and the studio has swapped their previous Ignite graphics engine for the more powerful Frostbite engine. This is a huge leap forward in terms of visual representation in a sports game. The Frostbite engine is what helps support the graphics in the Battlefield and Mirror’s Edge games series -- and we all know how graphically superior those games are.

With this, FIFA 17 shows us new player expressions during in-game play, from anger to joy and surprise, adding a greater sense of realism to the pitch. EA Sports have also take advantage of this in the way they have designed the stadiums. The lights glow with a new brilliance and the grass ways in the grass with every breeze.

FIFA 17 is truly a sight to behold. 

FIFA 17 comes with new and improved A.I interplay, attacking options, physical interplay and set pieces, which have really changed the dynamic of the game. Set pieces like penalties are a lot harder to take; it is a lot more difficult to find the top corner from such close range. And playing against an A.I is a little bit more challenging than it was in previous games, so that makes it a lot more fun -- and a lot less boring.

What's more, you can play as some of the best teams in the world because FIFA 17 has licensing for all the top footballing leagues. You can play as Barcelona, Manchester United, Bayern Munich, Juventus and many more. Be the manager, swap, rotate and transfer players, or be the player and show how good you are on the ball, using skill, speed and teamwork to get past the opposing team.

But really, these gameplay and mechanics additions aren't too much of a surprise for a game of this caliber. The FIFA games have always been a leader in dynamic gameplay options. The likes of a scouting system, where gamers can send scouts to various countries to find “non-real” footballers was a fantastic feature they added a few years ago.

And FIFA 17 has brought out another incredible feature similar to that -- The Journey! This game mode allows you to personally experience what it is like to be a young and upcoming football star. Gamers play as Alex Hunter, a young English prospect, joining him on his journey to becoming one of the world’s best footballers. 

It's really a smashing experience! 

At the end of the day, FIFA 17 still brings us our fan-favorite game modes like Team of the Week (TOTW), Team of the Year (TOTY), FIFA Ultimate Team (FUT) and much more!

The online gameplay for FIFA 17, and indeed FIFA in general, has been something other competitive games can’t compete with. FIFA 17 offers a smoother and better online experience than the likes of PES 2017, which will bring you a lot of lag issues.

Overall, FIFA 17 is a great game --it will keep you entertained for many hours. New game features like The Journey, improved graphics and detail to improving the gameplay make it the best sports game to date.

Of course, there are areas for improvement that will hopefully take place in FIFA 18  (for example, the penalty taking system is far to obtuse and difficult and EA could really put the Frostbite engine to better use). But the good out weighs the bad here. There are too many positives in the game to focus on what the negatives are.

Get. This. Game. 

Thanks to UKinGAME for letting me play & test the game.

Get on the good foot: A beginner's guide to FIFA 17 Thu, 29 Sep 2016 06:00:02 -0400 RobotsFightingDinosaurs

FIFA 17 released today, to the delight of fans of real football everywhere. The game's mechanics and feel are very similar to FIFA 16, but the developers threw in a few quirks and additions that you'll need to take advantage of if you really want to bend it like Beckham. Luckily, we're here to help. This guide to FIFA 17 is designed for players both new and old, so even if you think "first touch" is something that you and your summer camp significant other did behind the cabins after hours, we'll bring you up to speed.

Know the basics

If you've never played a FIFA game before, the first thing you'll notice is that you're thrown right into the action without really knowing what you're doing. You'll play through a FA Cup final match between Chelsea and Manchester United, and if you can stomach looking at Wayne Rooney's stupid face long enough, use this time to get comfortable with the controls. Once you're done, you'll notice that there isn't really a tutorial as such, which is why you probably googled "FIFA 17 guide" in the first place.

That said, there is a kind of makeshift FIFA tutorial by way of the skill games on the play menu. You can learn basic passing, shooting, and dribbling skills there. Pay particular attention to the shooting drills as well, and attempt finesse and chip shots in order to get comfortable with them. Since the height of your shot is determined by how long you hold the shoot button, this practice will be necessary to ensure that you don't end up launching shots over the crossbar when you're one-on-one with the goalkeeper.

Again, these are more drills than tutorials, and pass over some necessary points in the interest of simplification.

Listen to your trainer

The good news is that despite the fact that FIFA 17 doesn't have a guide or tutorial in the game, it does have a live "skills trainer". The bad news is that all it does is cycle through the game's controls on offense and defense. That said, this trainer is very handy in exhibition games, as it'll allow you to get to grips with the different types of passing moves, shots, and defensive challenges you have at your disposal. It's also very helpful in set pieces like corner kicks.

You'll also, if you're playing the game's career mode, be able to keep track of manager feedback. Listen to it, and look at your match score at the end. You'll be able to see what you did well and what you did poorly, and see whether or not you were in position for a majority of the match -- key for footballers anywhere on the pitch.

Know your moves

Having said that, if you don't have time for all that work, we'll go over some of the key offensive and defensive moves here so that you know how to use them to their full effect.

Normal pass

The normal pass is just what it sounds like. You'll kick the ball to a teammate, and he or she will receive it. This is a safe option, and if you're cycling the ball around the box or around your defenders trying to find open space, this should be the pass you use, since the passer doesn't lead the receiver into open space.

Through pass/threaded through pass

This pass is the one you're going to want to use when a striker or winger is making a run, usually. The passer will lead their target, allowing the receiver to run up and receive the ball, ideally after having beat their defender on a run towards the goal. These passes are more risky since they're designed to go through traffic, so make sure that you have a good angle.

Lob pass

This is another risky bet, especially if you're passing into traffic. You're essentially betting on the height and the strength of the pass receiver to get into position to receive the lob pass over the defender. It's not a bad strategy, especially when you want to advance the ball.


Normal shot

Your standard bread-and-butter shot. Use this when you're not one-on-one with the keeper, to try and beat him with speed.

Chip shot

If you've beaten your defender and are one-on-one with the keeper, you might want to try a chip shot depending on how far out of the goal the keeper is. The idea is to time the shot just right, so that the ball arcs over the keeper and into the back of the net. It's a very situational shot, but if you notice that the keeper is out of position, it is a sure-fire way to bury a goal.

Finesse shot

This is another shot designed to beat a keeper one-on-one. Use this one if the keeper is in position, and you don't think a chip shot will work.

Standing tackle

This should be your bread-and-butter defensive move. You're unlikely to be carded for a standing tackle, and if you miss, you won't find yourself out of position. If it's successful, you'll pop the ball out, and most likely come away in full control.

Sliding tackle/strong tackle

This is more of a desperation move, if you feel like an attacker is on a break. If you get the right angle, you can poke the ball away with a slide tackle, but you really need to be careful as this can lead to a penalty kick, or even a yellow or red card. Never tackle from behind or the side -- try to always attack from the front. This will help you avoid cards and penalties.

Contain/teammate contain

If you want to play the tactics game, you can hold the contain button to press the ball handler and try to force a mistake. You can also call a teammate over to do the same thing, but beware because this does often leave your defense out of position. The contain function is best used on the sidelines, where the ball handler has few places left to go.

Putting it all together

Now that you know your toolkit, the best way to test it out is by playing. It'll also give you a chance to try out those fancy dribbling moves and celebrations against real opponents. You'll be man of the match in no time! 

How are you enjoying FIFA 17? Let us know in the comments! We'll be here in the meantime, hoping that our favorite English Premier League team doesn't get relegated.

A Guide To Installing Licensed Kits & Emblems In PES 2017 Sun, 25 Sep 2016 07:16:29 -0400 Angie Harvey

Pro Evolution Soccer has always been notorious for its fake team names and unofficial team kits due to FIFA owning the majority of the licensing rights. As with previous years, the licensing issue in PES 2017 are still as present as ever, as it continues to deter some players from even purchasing the series. 

Thankfully, as discussed in our review of PES 2017, Konami has done an absolutely fantastic job at trying to rectify the issue. Players can now use the customization system to not only create and edit kits but to also import pre-made kits and emblems thanks to Option Files that have been created by the PES community. Luckily, Konami has made it easier than ever to import the Option Files onto your PS4 or PC -- sorry Xbox users! 

Here is our step-by-step guide on importing official team kits and emblems in PES 2017.

Importing Official Team Kits On PS4

What You'll Need:
  • A USB stick
  • A PC or Mac 
  • Option Files
Step One

First, you will need to open your USB stick and create a folder that will be used to store all of the Option Files. For the game to be able to recognize the file, the folder needs to be called "WEPES".

Step Two

Next you will need to download the Option Files. While there are countless different locations available for you to obtain these files, we will be using PES World for this guide. You can download the Option Files for the PS4 version here:

Once the option files are downloaded, extract the zip file and transfer them into your "WEPES" folder that you created on the USB stick.

Step Three

After downloading the options and storing them on your USB stick, you can now start up PES 2017.

Once the game has started, navigate through the main menu and click Extras > Edit > Data Management > Import / Export. Click on "Import Team"

Step Four

Upon clicking "Import Team" a pop up will appear and warn you about the cap on imports. Ignore this pop up and proceed to select all the files in the list and click "next". 

Another pop up will appear stating "Select team to import data to" and "Apply player and squad data". Leave both of these options un-ticked and click "next". The game will now begin to automatically import the files into the game for you. Depending on the amount you will be importing, this may take several minutes.

Step Five

After the kits have finished importing, simply save your game and enjoy your fully licensed teams!

Importing Competition Emblems
Step One

Emblems need to be added manually, so they will be a little more time consuming but I can ensure you that it is well worth the effort.

Head back to Import / Export and click Import Image > Competition Emblems. Next you will need to tick "Import Selected Images" and select all the league badges you want to import into the game. 

Step Two

Navigate to Extras > Edit > Competitions. Once in Competitions, chose the league you wish to edit and click Emblem > Load. Upon clicking "Load" select the image you want to replace the default. 

Click save and you are now done!

If you have any issues, you can check out NGB's video guide below.

Importing Option Files on PC

To get the option files working correctly on PC, the process of installing the data is a little different to the PS4.

Step One

Download the option files for PC from Pes-Patch or from another fan site of your choice. For this guide we will be using Pes-Patch.

Step Two

Once downloaded, follow the instruction prompts that the installer provides.

Step Three

Upon being asked where you want the folder to be installed, manually select the location. If you are using Steam the location will you will need is C:\Steam\steamapps\common\Pro Evolution Soccer 2017. This location will differ from player to player depending on where you install your games.

Step Four

Start up PES 2017 and to ensure that everything has worked correctly, navigate to Edit > Teams. From here you should firstly notice that the league emblems have been changed and as you sort through the teams you will notice the names and kits are now correct.

What are your opinions on the licensing issues within Pro Evolution Soccer? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below!

Pro Evolution Soccer 2017 Review - Is This The End Of FIFA? Sat, 17 Sep 2016 12:00:01 -0400 Angie Harvey

Another year, another football game and another battle to determine which football simulator is the best on the market.

It is no secret that Konami’s longest running franchise, Pro Evolution Soccer, has drastically suffered since its PS2 era, which many fans of the series consider to be its prime. As a result of continuous lackluster features and gameplay over the years, many fans have since shifted to its only rival competitor on the market, FIFA. But this year, things are different as PES 2017 has come out striking for goal and the battle of the best football simulator is closer than ever before.

Following up on its predecessor, PES 2016 has formed a great foundation for PES 2017 to become one of the best feeling football simulators that has ever been created. PES 2016 laid out these foundations by introducing new features and gameplay modes into the series which prompted the return of many past fans.

This is where things get interesting. Konami has built upon these foundations by tweaking and balancing some of the most important aspects of the game and unlike most developers, they weren’t afraid to release a game that isn’t full a brand new flashy features.

PES 2017 has built upon what worked so great in its predecessor and has since tweaked and balanced the areas in which the previous games suffered in. By doing so, Konami has been able to create a football simulator that is not only fun but almost accurate to the point of realism.

With that being said, here is what we loved and didn’t love about Konami’s latest edition of Pro Evolution Soccer.

The Most Intelligent AI To Date...

One of the best aspects of the game this year is the AI as Konami has taken upon feedback and created an AI that is not only accurate but also extremely smart. Throughout the game you will often find your team mates making runs and moving into positions that are actually worth your time. As you play through a few matches you will begin to notice just how well your team gels together and in no time you will learn what plays work the best so the ball can find the back of the net. Whether it's a through ball or lob across the field, you can feel the realism through the new AI as your team mates are actually where you would expect them to be.

Konami has even gone as far as to make individual players distinguishable as you will instantly notice the different playing styles between the big stars. Whether your playing Messi, Ronaldo, or even Neymar you will notice that they move very much like their real life counterpart which only adds to the realism that is radiating from the game.

The referees in PES 2016 were highly criticized and often deemed as flawed due to their almost non-existent presence within the game. However, I am happy to say that they have been improved in PES 2017 and wont hesitate to pull the yellow or red card if needed.

Goals Are Once Again Rewarding...

One of the most noticeable changes that Konami has put a lot of focus on is goalkeepers as their animations and reactions have been drastically improved. You will be able to notice these differences when you see them react to rebounded shots and also how much harder goals are to come by.

This new and improved technology not only makes for much more rewarding goals but also adds a sense of realism to the game that was not previously there.


The physics within PES 2017 are among the best and Konami has really worked hard to make sure players this year receive gameplay that is not only smooth and enjoyable but also as accurate as possible to real life football. Konami has really out done themselves in this department and has delivered on their new concepts of Real Touch and Real Pass.

You will find that the dribbling and passing are as accurate as ever and the shooting is better than any previous game. Tackles and other physical aspects have seen a huge improvement and the accuracy is spot on. You will also notice how well the ball bounces and interacts with players as it no longer seems to be unrealistically attached to the player or like it snaps to their feet.

Master League Is Better Than Ever

Master League is by far one of the best modes that is available within the game. Master League allows you to take on the role of coach, where you must manage and deal with budgets, player transfers and sending off scouts, all while playing football as well. Trust me, it is much easier than it sounds and it is also extremely addictive.

While Master League is clearly the most favored mode by fans, it didn't happen to receive any need additions this year, but that's okay, as Konami has made a number of new modifications to its current features which only makes it more fun to play.

The transfer system has been modified to now include separate budgets for transfers and wages. This now makes financial aspects of the mode much easier to handle when things get more complex. Players can also now be signed on six month loans followed by the possibility of signing on for long term.

Deadline Day has also been given a taste of realism as it will now count down by the hour to help make negotiating transfer fees easier. Players are now also rewarded with new team roles that include "Hero" and "Bad Boy". "Bad Boy" for example can be earned by being vicious on the field. Along with this training has been improved and players can now adapt to new positions after several games. With the new additions added this year, Master League is more fun than ever before.

Online Is Okay But Still Suffers the Same Issues

The online aspect of Pro Evolution Soccer has never really been that strong but Konami has made an attempt to improve the online play. You will now notice that squad updates are in place and will be updated -- if they hold up their promise -- on a weekly basis. PES 2017 also features a new online league that lets competitive players go head to head. 

However, some of the issues I found were that the game not only takes a while to find an opponent but the lag and disconnection issues plagued most of my online games. Konami has also implemented a region lock on the online multiplayer which prevents players from playing with friends around the world.

Licensing Is Still An Issue But Customization Is Here To Fix It...

Let's be honest, one of the main reasons that people are hesitant to play Pro Evolution Soccer is due to the licensing issues that surround the game. Konami are never going to be able to compete with FIFA's mammoth publisher EA Sports in the licencing department anytime soon, so if you are one of those people that plays purely for the licensed teams, then nothing Konami does will be able to convince you to play the series.

There is something that just doesn't feel right when you go up against the likes of Yorkshire Orange (Hull) and MD White (Real Madrid) that just happens to ruin the immersion and realism experience.

However, if you are able to live through the licensing woes, Konami have been busy creating an in depth customization system that allows you to edit and customize full kits, logos and even players. While some enjoy spending countless hours creating kits and logos, others find it very tedious and not worth the time and effort. Hence, finding their way back to FIFA where the system is simpler and you don't have to worry about third party files.

But there is a way to fix the licensing issue, it just requires a few extra easy steps. If you are a PS4 or PC user (Sorry, Xbox One users...) you will be able to use the data share feature which allows you to use thumb drives to transfer other people's creations and data into your own game. By using these online third party websites, you will be able to gather full team kits, logos and roster lists to help create the impression that your teams are now licensed with the correct name, logo and kits.

Commentary Is Bland & Disconnected But Crowds Are Full Of Emotion

The commentary for PES 2017 is very lackluster as when Peter Drury and Jim Beglin are not talking -- which is quite often -- you will find them over using phrases that have been said not only multiple times during the match but consecutively over each match you play. You will also find that the commentary focuses very heavily on phrases instead of teams and individual players. More often than not you will find that the commentary will also feel emotionless and disconnected from what you are actually doing in game. 

However, the crowd is the real saving grace here as they are full of emotion, especially as they begin to chant during the game and cheer after a goal, they will also voice their opinion by booing when a poor tackle or decision is made.

Yet Another Last Gen PC Port...

It has become quite the Konami tradition to release the PC port of Pro Evolution Soccer as a hybrid of both PC and PS3/Xbox 360 versions.

This really is a very disappointing aspect as it not only cheapens the entire game but also the series as whole. While the game does play exceptionally well compared to past versions, I can't help but feel that the gameplay quality is a tad sluggish compare to that of the current generation console editions.

While most players will be picking up the game on a console -- which I highly recommend over PC, I can ensure you that you won't be disappointed. Konami has done a terrific job with the graphical quality in these versions. Licensed teams have even had their faces 3D scanned to provide an in-game likeliness that is simply remarkable.

Camp Nou, which is exclusive to PES 2017, also looks stunning as it boasts an immense amount of detail. The graphics quality showcased within the current gen consoles doesn't only look great but also adds to the realism that Konami is trying to achieve in this year's game.

Here is a comparison video which details just how drastically different the two versions are in terms of graphic quality.

He Shoots, He Scores...

Overall, Pro Evolution Soccer 2017 is without a doubt one of the best feeling football games to date. Despite its flaws and obvious issues, Konami has created a game that is not only fun and enjoyable to play but also has a sense of realism thanks to the games improved AI, physics and overall gameplay.

A review code for Pro Evolution Soccer 2017 was provided by the publisher.

FIFA 17 Announces New Career Mode Features Sun, 14 Aug 2016 06:21:33 -0400 Angie Harvey

EA announced that FIFA 17 is set to receive some brand new Career Mode features that are sure to excite the fans. Available on PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC on 27 SeptemberFIFA 17 will offer brand new features that will allow the player to have even greater control over their club’s season. It will also introduce the option to compete in the J-League and will feature a fully rendered manager avatar to roam the sideline (thanks to the Frostbite engine).

Total Club Management

Total Club Management will give the player new objectives to fulfill based upon your board’s priorities.

The board’s exceptions will be categorized into:

  • Domestic Success
  • Continental Success
  • Brand Exposure
  • Financial
  • Youth Development

Financial System

FIFA 17’s Career Mode introduces Club Worth, which is a newly rewritten and authentic club financial system. The new system will allow players to see detailed breakdowns of their income from transfers, loans, match day revenue, media and merchandising, along with expenses that range from player and scout wages, stadium maintenance and much more!


Thanks to the Frostbite engine, PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC users will select from 11 High-Res coaches that will be brought to life on the touchline.

New League

Japan J1 will be joining the long list of existing leagues that player's will be able to compete in throughout Career Mode.

Full details on FIFA 17's brand new Career Mode features can be found on EA Sports Official Website.

Are you excited for these brand new Career Mode features? Let us know in the comments section below!

What's New in FIFA 17? Wed, 22 Jun 2016 07:52:32 -0400 uniquecontent

FIFA is one of gaming longest running franchises, with new iterations each and every year for well over 20 years now (I still remember playing FIFA '94 as a kid). As a result, it has some of the most loyal and keen fans of any series, many of whom rush out to buy the latest instalment on the day the game is released every year. 

There's no doubt that FIFA is the king of the football game (although last years iteration of Pro Evolution Soccer was incredibly good), but with a new version of a sport that rarely changes that is produced annually, EA Sports don't always hit the mark with their changes and additions. Rarely is the game completely overhauled, but the continual tweaking, while occasionally annoying fans, has produced recent additions to the franchise that have elevated the brand to almost untouchable heights. So, as we're quickly approaching the release of the newest game in the franchise, we take a look at what's new in FIFA 17. 

The Journey

In recent years, FIFA has stayed away from making dramatic new additions or changes to the game. We've seen more stadiums, better kits, improved player likenesses and (marginally) better commentary, but nothing revolutionary has been added for quite a while. That's all set to change this year however, with the introduction of a single-player story mode entitled 'The Journey'. This is the first foray into a story-led mode for the FIFA franchise, but frankly I've been waiting for one ever since the excellent story mode in the EA Fight Night franchise. In The Journey you play Alex Hunter - a young, up and coming English footballer looking to sign for a Premier League team. You can control either the whole team or just Alex, and your personal journey will depend on your performance in the game, as well as the decisions you make both on and off the pitch. We're a little light on details at this stage (such as how long The Journey will last, or how the story arc will play out), but it's an interesting addition to a game that will also include the more traditional Career mode found in previous FIFA games. 

New Graphics Engine

FIFA 17 will run on the Frostbite engine for the first time - the same engine that powers Battlefield 4 and Star Wars: Battlefront. According to Lead Gameplay Producer Aaron McHardy the team have been working towards moving FIFA onto the Frostbite engine for the last two years, and by all accounts the move will result in better lighting, more realistic gameplay and greatly improved player models and likenesses. Considering FIFA didn't exactly looked bad or unrealistic in the 2015/16 version, I'm excited to see the impact of the new engine. 

Improved Ball Control and Additional Gameplay Features

The new graphics engine has allowed the FIFA development team to add some major upgrades to the gameplay system in FIFA 17, making it a significant improvement on last year's instalment. The new 'pushback' technology results in more realistic (and less frustrating) first touches and a new physical approach to the game as a whole. Players can now jostle and fight for position, as well as fighting for control in the air. As well as improvements to control and touch, the game is a major upgrade in terms of shielding (including an innovative air-shielding system) and footwork, with touches and movement now being far more intuitive and looking considerably more realistic. 

More Intelligent AI

The AI (artificial intelligence) system has also be revamped with the addition of the Active Intelligence System. This results in much better player movement, understanding and use of space, and improved player runs off the ball. 

Defending has never been easy in FIFA games - especially for beginners - but it can still be incredibly frustrating coming up against a solid and determined defence. FIFA 17 adds a lot more options and variety into the mix when it comes to breaking down stubborn defences, making each game feel different from the last and opening up the number of potential approaches you can take to putting the ball in the back of the net. 

FIFA 17 will be released on Xbox One, PS4 and PC in September 2016. 

Control Reality in Pro Evolution Soccer 2017 Thu, 02 Jun 2016 16:44:08 -0400 JessDambach

Be ready for this fall, because every aspect of playing Pro Evolution Soccer 2017 will be more intense and realistic than you could ever imagine. Your control over the entire team and the team dynamic can be tweaked during the fast-paced gameplay that is continuously changing. There is an increased sensitivity in ball handling skills. These new features will be game changers. In general, the new features that will be seen in this new game are:

  • real touch
  • precise passing
  • goal keeping
  • total team control
  • advanced instructions
  • corner kick strategies
  • authentic visuals
  • natural player movement
  • adaptive AI

a soccer player is trying to trap a ball coming towards him while there is a defensive player coming near him to steal the ball

The new feature I think will be most revolutionary is the adaptive AI. We all get annoyed by computer players messing up the game, especially since they have a tendency to be really bad and allow goals to be scored because they keep stabbing the ball on defense. Losing possession of the ball by these agents is the WORST thing that can happen. Due to the team basis of the game, the adaptive AI feature completely changes the world of soccer gaming. As a player, you want your true abilities to actually shine through which is what adaptive AI allows. If you are good, the entire team is good; if you are bad, the entire team is bad. Your skills really depend on whether you win or you lose, not on the ability of the simple agents.

I can not wait to see just how much this feature truly changes the game. The game website goes more in depth about all the new features.

World of Tanks Announces Tank Football 2016 Tue, 31 May 2016 10:40:25 -0400 Joe Passantino

When one thinks about an MMO dedicated to wars of the 20th century, one might not consider football (or soccer, for American players) to be a vital component. Apparently, Wargaming, the developer of World of Tanks, disagrees. The studio announced today that Tank Football 2016, a "special in-game event" focusing on one of the world's most popular sports, will debut on June 10.

The event will last nearly a month and will consist of 3 vs. 3 football/soccer games, lasting seven minutes apiece.

Sounds simple, right? Well, things get complicated with the inclusion of the tanks, and by extension, their guns. Players must use the tanks' guns to maneuver balls around fields and into their opponents' nets.

The event's contests avoid all-out tank warfare, as tanks cannot damage or destroy one another during games. They can, however, shoot the tracks of opposing tanks and immobilize them through ramming. Players can also activate a "football consumable-Turbocharger" to increase the speeds of their vehicles.

Tank Football 2016 features three different stadiums, as well as battle missions that can be played solo or with up to three teammates. In addition, a tank football tournament will take place, with prizes including one year of Premium Account time and portions of a $5,000 pool.

Interested gamers can find more information about Tank Football 2016 via the World of Tanks official website.

Rocket League's basketball mode coming in April Wed, 30 Mar 2016 04:27:42 -0400 Scott Simpson

Psyonix has announced that Rocket League's upcoming basketball mode, officially dubbed Dunk House, will be coming to the game in April.

They took to Twitter for this reveal:

Fans of the game, which is often and aptly described simply as "soccer, but with rocket-powered cars", have reacted excitedly to news of the update. It looks set to fundamentally alter the way the game is played as aerial ability, one of the harder aspects of mastering the game, looks set to become a lot more prominent. This will probably appeal more to hardcore Rocket League players than the game's more casual fan base after the initial excitement has worn off for the new mode, which was originally teased earlier in the month.

The game became a somewhat surprising smash hit when it was released, earning a number of industry awards and a dedicated fan base. Rocket League has even been adopted into the eSports scene -- and the new update, which looks set to considerably modify gameplay, is sure to solidify its status there.

10 Prospects To Draft Onto Your Squad in Football Manager 2016 Wed, 11 Nov 2015 04:14:16 -0500 Justin Andress

Can you feel the excitement building? Can you hear the roar of the crowds? The shouts and hollers of players on the field? Can you feel the anticipation for another year of the best sports simulation around? That’s right, we’re just a few days away from the release of Football Manager 2016! This year’s iteration promises to be something really special. The good folks at Sega and Sports Interactive are delivering a ton of new changes that are designed to make FM16 the most popular release yet.

Chief among the changes being made — at least according to series fans — is the inclusion of the “Create-A-Club” mode, a game mode that “allows you to name the club, add yourself and friends to the line-up, edit the squad to your heart’s content and even choose the colours.”

Sure, you know what you want your team name to be, and you know what colors your players will rock as they race onto the field. Now all you need is some quality players to round out your squad.

This is Football Manager, though, so you can’t actually expect the developers to take it easy on you, can you? Of course not! While you’re fighting your way to the top of your chosen league, you’ll have to deal with the same issues any manager would encounter, both on and off the pitch. One of those issues: the salary cap. That’s right, there’s no such thing as an unbeatable squad right out of the gate. You’ll have to manage your finances and make the most of your purchases. Thankfully, we’ve done the work for you and compiled a list of names that are certain to put you on the road to a title.

Abel Ruiz

Abel Ruiz

Don’t sleep on the FC Barcelona youth striker. In real life, the goal-scoring machine is set to be a really valuable player, but that hardly compares to his value in FM16. Pick him up early if you want to give your squad the best chances at being a contender down the line.

Anton Mitryushkin

Anton Mitryushkin

Nineteen-year-old Russian goalkeeper Anton Mitryushkin is something to behold on the pitch. Year after year, the up-and-comer has proven himself to be a wall that no soccer ball can pass.

The youth player won’t be an amateur for much longer, so it’s absolutely necessary to get him on your team if you’re in the market for a cheap goalie early on (and if you’re not, you should be).

Riechedly Bazoer

Riechedly Bazoer

On the field, Bazoer still has some maturing to do. In FM16, he’s like the next Pelé. He excels at a tough-to-find position (the Regista), and he’ll only improve as you play him. Expect to pay $15 million for him right out of the gate, but considering how much FM16 loves the guy, that’s a steal.

Considering how his price (and talent) soars as the game progresses, you’re doing yourself a favor nabbing him early, especially before he’s drafted by an opponent and he becomes a problem for your defense.

Carlos Gruezo

Carlos Gruezo

Midfielder Carlos Gruezo comes from a tradition of football players. The son of a former footballer, the people behind Football Manager 2016 clearly expect great things from the Ecuadorian.

His success is assured in the game, so you’re only cheating yourself if you don’t nab the youngster from Stuttgart as soon as humanly possible.

Simone Scuffet

Simone Scuffet

If you passed on Mitryushkin, then you should definitely keep Italian firebrand Simone Scuffet in your sights. Obviously, a high-performing goalie is key to a top notch squad. Unfortunately, great goalies are few and far between, and organizations who have one tend to pay top dollar to keep them.

So, keep an eye on the youngest goalkeeping talent out there, and make sure that Calcio Como’s Simone Scuffet is near the top of your list.

Toni Trograncic

Toni Trograncic

Bayern Munich’s teenage star Toni Trograncic is still unshaped, it’s true. He’s what you’d consider a long term investment. Especially since the kid is so young that there’s no telling which position he’ll play when he comes of age.

What is certain, though, is that Trograncic is one of the most technically skilled players of his age group. In other words, it doesn’t really matter where he’ll end up, because he’s going to dominate.

Ike Ugbo

Ike Ugbo

On the off chance you’re an under-18 footballer in Europe, you’re probably already very afraid of Ike Ugbo. This season, he opened Chelsea’s Youth season by knocking out a hat trick right out of the gate, a number that put him on path to becoming one of the organization’s leading all-time scorers.

And he’s only 16. Get him now, people, while the getting is good!

Joel Asoro

Joel Asoro

Sunderland’s 16-year-old acquisition is certainly one to grab first thing. The club has placed a lot of importance on his development, and for good reason.

Described as a “fox in the box,” Asoro is swift-footed and deadly from the inside. He’s already shown a lot of talent as both a striker and an attacking midfielder, so he’s certain to fit into your squad wherever you need him.

Jonathan Silva

Jonathan Silva

Series vets will recognize the name Jonathan Silva. The defensive wunderkind has repeatedly been the bane of club owners who haven’t drafted him early on (you know he made your life miserable in FM15).

The Argentinian’s value is guaranteed to spike after the first season, so be sure to invest some cash in him while he’s young and feel that much more confident that your defense has an extra layer of protection. 

Andrija Zivkovic

Andrija Zivkovic

In the case of Andrija Zivkovic, we need only prove our point by doing a little simple math. If you pick up the playmaker in your inaugural season, you’ll drop about $1.1 million to acquire him.

If you pass on the potential winger and wait until 2017 to acquire him, then that price tag jumps to about $40 million. So … yeah, buy him. It’s just common sense.

If you play it smart and use some of these players before they become big names, you can be dominating Create-A-Club mode without breaking the bank. 

Back onto the pitch: 'Football Manager 2016' beta impressions Tue, 03 Nov 2015 20:02:51 -0500 Justin Andress

We’re just a little over a week away from the November 13 release of Football Manager 2016. And while fans are salivating in anticipation of the game’s official release next Friday, the good folks at Sports Interactive have continued their annual tradition of gifting a beta to those gamers who pre-ordered. It’s really more of a soft launch than a beta, since the game will be playable up until the official release date and any progress gamers make will be transferrable to the full game.

As of October 28, anyone who pre-purchases Football Manager 2016 will be eligible to jump into the beta and start crafting the club of their dreams. For the first time ever, players can customize their manager and create their very own club from scratch. In short, FM16 is shaping up to be one of the good ones.

A screen shot of Football Manager 2016's customize a manager screen.

If you’re not one of those people who absolutely needed access to the newest version of the PC mega-franchise right this instant, then allow us to weigh in! You see, ever since the 28th, those happy few who’ve already bought the game and immersed themselves in all of its simulation glory, well, they’ve been just clamoring to tell anyone and everyone about how this year’s iteration of the classic sim series feels in their hands.

Fortunately for you, fair reader, we’ve combed through the comments, the feedback, and the usual assortment of gamers who just like to complain to bring you the most relevant user critiques from this year’s beta. Without further ado, let’s hit the pitch.

How’s It Looking?

In a sports simulation, looks aren’t usually on the top of people’s wish lists. After all, you spend a significant portion of your time in any Football Manager game just looking at menus and screens filled with random names and stats. How pretty can a developer really make that?

As it turns out, pretty darn pretty.

Screen shot of Football Manager's new UI.

As one person put it, “The UI is sexy as h*ll.” That’s fairly cut and dry in terms of praise. That redditor wasn’t alone, however, as  Sky Sports host Pete Graves echoed that sentiment on Twitter:

Of course, the interface upgrade may also have some folks wondering if there’s a bit too much information on the screen at one time. The overall effect of all the new information can be a bit daunting for some players.

In Summary: The new version of Football Manager 2016 is gorgeous to behold, but you’d better be prepared to read your way through the Champion’s League. 

More screen shots of Football Manager 2016's UI.

How’s It Playing? 

So, sure the game is pretty. That’s almost a given, even with games that are released annually like Football Manager. The gameplay is really where it’s at, and with a series like Football Manager that tends to mix up its gameplay year after year, that aspect of the game can be kind of a question mark.

Football Manager 2016 simulation gameplay.

Thankfully, users have been incredibly kind in their critiques of the notoriously difficult sim. One player proclaimed:

“Seen some dodgy keeping still though, especially when you see it in 3D. One on ones still seem to be missed more than scored. Overall though, I'd tentatively say its a good improvement.”

When it comes to individual player skills, the title still plays favorites (hope you’re a Rooney fan!) as much as any other sports game. From nation to nation, the level of detail can be surprisingly hit-and-miss. 

For example, the French leagues (notoriously under-represented in past titles) have finally been updated. As one gamer wrote:

“I want to highlight the fantastic work made on french leagues … I'm a Bordeaux fan, and this year, it is so good to finally have 60 players in my squad. All the stats were realistically updated!”

Unfortunately, the initial rumblings from players indicate that Australian leagues may not have fared quite as well, at least in terms of the level of detail available in the beta.

Fans of the series should be relieved (or disheartened, as the case may be) to find out that the game’s historically high level of difficulty is unchanged

Of course, one Fulham fan actually stated, “Overall Rating: 11/10 best game ever... I can now forget how crap my team is in real life and live through this video game.” If you can win with those guys, FM16 can’t be that hard.

Just a heads up, players hoping to get a jump on the top potential in Football Manager 2016 can check out this reddit thread, which is sure to expand in the coming weeks.

In summary: Most people are pleased with the gameplay changes, and Football Manager 2016 is still hard as crap, especially if you’re trying to win with Leeds United.

How’s that Software Working? 

Football Manager 2016's Create a Club mode

Gameplay improvements are only worthwhile if the game actually works on your machine. In a world where games are launched seemingly half-finished on an increasing basis, how is Football Manager 2016 doing while it’s in beta?

On this note, you might be pretty surprised by the answer. Several users have actually stated that the newest version in the franchise plays better on their machine than the last. Even in the beta, the game seems to be playing quite well for most. Though some people have cited issues with multiple crashes, these bugs seem easily remedied (at least according to the comments...we have had zero issue with the game’s performance).

In summary: Works good.

In short — assuming you just scrolled all the way down to the bottom of the article in order to get the gist of the beta — all you need to know is this: If the initial user feedback is any indication, Football Manager 2016 is one of the best iterations in the franchise’s history. Developer Sports Interactive has clearly swung for the fences in their quest to deliver the ultimate in sports management sims, and the result is largely successful. If you’re the type of gamer who simply loves to get lost on the pitch, then this is definitely the game you’ve been waiting for. Prepare to get your life destroyed.

Pro Evolution Soccer (PES) 2016 Review Wed, 14 Oct 2015 05:27:07 -0400 Liam J Hamilton

From FIFA to PES, back to FIFA and now back to PES. I am the Ibrahimovic of soccer video gaming. No loyalties. No ties. Just a mercenary to the highest bidder - of fun. And this year: I am scoring goals with PES.

PES 2016 boasts the most realistic experience of the beautiful game available on a virtual pitch. 

It feels great, but...

Players feel more like their real-life counterparts than ever before with PES player ID. Tackles feel more brutally realistic with the new collision system, and the ball hitting the top corner of the net after a great team move has never felt so satisfying. The passing game is really responsive, and it's a joy to pick out team mates when in possession. The problem is when you don't have the ball.

Defending in PES is made nigh impossible when your opponent is zipping the ball about the midfield before one of your defenders makes the frustrating (albeit realistic) mistake of playing one of their attackers onside and allowing a simple through ball to create an easy goal scoring opportunity. This, coupled with being able to hit the target from anywhere in the last third and some unreliable goalkeeping, makes unrealistic scorelines almost every time.

This is a minor quibble, but it can really detract from the otherwise brilliant gameplay and realism when you and your opponent share at least six goals most games. 

The - mostly - great gameplay is backed up by stunning visuals, made possible by the Konami-made Fox Engine, which is also used in Metal Gear Solid. Now your in-game players share your look of desperation on their sweat-ridden faces when you're battling for an equalizer in the last ten minutes. 

Neymar Sweating

Lots of game modes

In terms of game modes, there are plenty of options to appeal to all demographics of soccer gaming enthusiasts. The old favorite, Master League, which has a new look and feel, gives you the reins for a chosen club team and allows you to test your squad in a league with teams from the same country - your goal being to qualify for one of the fully-licensed club competitions, such as the Champions League or Europa League.

Master League is a really fun experience. The prospect of turning your squad from relegation candidates to league champions or even European Champions in a few seasons will really get you invested in this game mode. The AI you play against isn't too bad, either. It often poses a tough and original challenge that is satisfying to overcome every time.

Master League new Menus

There is also PES' response to FIFA's Ultimate Team (FUT), called MyClub. This allows you to create a team made up of players from around the world and take on other people's teams online. You'll start off with low skilled players, and after earning points and coins for performing different accolades on the pitch, you can purchase different scouts that will give you access to a higher level of player. Over the course of time, you'll improve your team and your standing amongst the other players in the PES community through the league and cup competitions.

MyClub is a different take on the tried-and-tested FUT, and while it's not entirely up to par with FIFA in this concept, there are still some interesting features.

MyClub Screenshot

As you can imagine, there are also classic head to head game modes and even Champions League themed competitions online that come with real prizes from Konami.

There are just a few more minor issues

Online gameplay in PES can be really exciting and fast-paced like the rest of the game. But connection issues and the more-than-occasional lag during gameplay makes this side inferior - at least for the time being. Hopefully these are just teething problems with the new game and will be rectified in the coming months.

Despite mass media praise for this new installment, Konami's latest title has also received its fair share of negative press. In all offline modes, there are no summer transfer updates - which means you'll be playing with last year's squads until the data pack drops at the end of October. This has angered many fans, but it may be forgotten about after everything is updated and online issues are fixed. 


PES has won this round over FIFA, but it may not be quite the victory they were hoping for. It's a massive leap in the right direction with its innovative gameplay and features, but simple mistakes have stopped it from being the new Pro Evolution Soccer everyone was hoping for. 

EA dropping 13 female athletes from FIFA 16 doesn't make anyone a victim Fri, 18 Sep 2015 11:13:23 -0400 Destini Islands

In 2013, the NCAA decided to end their deal with EA Sports because of lawsuits from former players who wanted compensation for allowing their likenesses to be used for free.

According to some fans, these athletes are greedy and should be thankful to even be featured in a popular video game at all. The more practical admit that if all players were properly compensated for their image, EA might not be able to afford making college sports games at all.

Whatever your thoughts are about players being compensated for their image ultimately doesn't matter. The 13 female athletes EA were forced to exclude to not jeopardize their collegiate athletics eligibility isn't a major blow to EA and at worst, was a slight waste of game programming time. The truth is iterated in their official statement:

None of these NCAA student-athletes or potential student athletes were to be individually compensated by EA SPORTS for their inclusion in the game.

That's right. In case you're not up-to-date on the state of affairs in regards to student-athletes in the NCAA, players are paid in a college degree and are forbidden anything else. In what has been brought to light in many a scandal, many times these degrees are "useless" or "easy" to get students to meet minimum GPA requirements to keep playing. 

NCAA players are made to sign contracts confirming they are "amateurs" and in return cannot receive compensation or benefits that come with being an athlete like contracts, playing with "real" professionals, or even owning the rights to your own face.

For example, Todd Gurley was suspended for making side cash over autographing memorabilia for fans.

A college degree might be enough compensation if education was a priority for the NCAA, coaches didn't make millions off of their players and refuse them anything for themselves, and players didn't occasionally starve.

Education not being a priority is been admitted by players all the time, whether behind closed doors or openly.


The reality is, the only thing this changes is slight disappointment

EA isn't suffering, the NCAA isn't suffering, but these students' former excitement has been taken from them.

Sorry, Ms. Buchanan. It's more than just pride at stake for these athletes (or, "amateurs"). While it's all smiles on the battlefield, NCAA athletes have to consider the reality that they will be battling their own to become professionals. For NCAA soccer stars, only 1.4% continue on to the pro leagues. That is, if you're a man. NCAA doesn't even care enough to include women's professional soccer predictions on their main 2015 pages. You have to look elsewhere to find those abysmal statistics.

EA dropping these 13 women from FIFA 16 only means that they will have less exposure and bragging rights if they fail draft and have to give up professional soccer—and let's face it, it's still a very real possibility.

So we can all stop with the "poor EA" at this point. They don't agree with the NCAA decision, but it's not like they were paying extra anyway. With deals like this, it's no wonder many athletes featured in games don't even play them.