What football (soccer) video game should I get?

I am a casual football watcher. I have been getting into football more recently, and I’ve been watching much of EURO 2012, for example. Anyway, I’m interested in getting a football video game, but I’m not sure what to get. The main series seem to be the FIFA series, and Pro Evolution soccer, but I’m not sure how they compare.

Also, both series have a new edition every year, but I don’t really know how much they change from year to year. Do I lose much by getting the 2010 or 2011 edition? For both series, the less up to date editions are quite a bit cheaper.

The game I get will be for the PC by the way.

Fifa is probably the better game, though the new Pro Evo soccer is supposed to bridge the gap a bit.

I’d recommend trying a demo of each.

Since you are on PC I’d recommend that if you with Fifa, go with 2012. It’s the first version to be on par with the console version of the game (well in terms of features, graphics are better on PC). Previous to this EA Sports basically didn’t give a damn.

Also, this is one of those games where a gamepad is best. So if you don’t have one, pick one up. A wired xbox controller will work right out of the box on your PC. Otherwise a windows branded xbox controller will work perfectly, and a native xbox wireless gamepad will work with a wireless adapter - should be available at amazon.

It’s really a matter of what you’re looking to get out of it:

One of the major differences is FIFA is fully licensed with all (?) of the real teams and players, if that’s something that’s important to you. PES has a few licensed leagues, but a side-by-side comparison on this one point is comically heavily favored by FIFA.

On graphics, I prefer PES myself; the player movement looks smoother and more realistic to me, and the player models seem more detailed, but FIFA has a better overall presentation. The in-game commentary in FIFA is outstanding; in PES it’s just adequate.

Gameplay wise, it all depends on what type of game you’re looking for: FIFA is more of a simulation-type experience; you have to know something about strategy and be able to execute as a team, whereas PES is a bit more arcade-like. That’s not to say you’re going to be reeling off double-digit goals every game, but PES feels more accessible to those (like myself) who don’t want to have to work really hard (read: lose to the computer a lot) just to be competitive with the AI.

Given a choice, I’d go with PES myself, but again, I’m not really that into soccer so I don’t care about having licensed teams and real players or playing out perfect real-life soccer strategy; I just want to run that thing in to the box and take a shot.

The best soccer game by a wide margin is the SI Football manager series. Rather than control an individual player you are instead the manager of any one of hundreds of real clubs. You buy players, set training, make tactics, speak with the media and do whatever is codeable that a real football manager does.

Its a very detailed game but also very fun and addictive. But its not a arcadish game where you can control individual players.

Addictive? ADDICTIVE?

Football Manager is a dangerous, dangerous time sink of a game. Since I started going out with my girlfriend, I basically had to stop playing and haven’t picked up a game in 3-4 years as a result - it was either that or a) end my relationship or b) never sleep. The urge to play just one more game is very difficult to resist.

I love Football Manager but find I get overwhelmed after the first or second season. Basically I start as my local team and work my way to the Premier League, get given a relatively huge transfer fund and get overwhelmed finding the best ways to use it. Also I keep finding awesome transfer targets and starting all over again with them in mind. You can easily spend hours just looking for a single player (unless you resort to cheating websites or mods). No game assaults my emotions like it though, I find myself screaming at my players when watching the matches and cheering them on when they score. I get very angry when one of my players gets injured (I refuse to re-load). It’s amazing how it draws you in and makes you care. Occasionally you will be watching a real football game on TV and one of your obscure players will be on one of the teams and you’ll feel an immediate bond with them even though you didn’t even know they were a real player before then…

If you like tactical management games and like football then I couldn’t recommend it highly enough. If you prefer the more standard arcade type football games then definetly go with Fifa or ProE. I tend to buy Fifa but frankly I’m terrible at it, I might give ProE a try this year.

Thanks for the info everyone.

I have actually brought football manager 2012. I got it a few weeks ago, when green man gaming had a sale on, and I’m enjoying it so far, even though there are probably a lot of details I’m missing, and I’m deferring to the coaches/assistant managers on quite a few of the details.

I started this thread because I was interested in getting an “arcade” style football game, in addition to football manager. The two sorts of games scratch different itches.

I’ve played the demos of Fifa 12 and PES 12. I’d played them before, but only played the PES one once before, as there is a long* trailer video, that kicks in before the playable section. Anyway, PES seems off somehow in the controls, whereas FIFA’s controls seem more “fluid”. I think I’ll probably go with Fifa 12.

I’ve got an X-box 360 controller for Windows, by the way, as Kinthalis suggests. I got it after I got Super Meat Boy, which has an intro screen mocking players who use the keyboard**, and I’ve used it ever since. It’s a nice controller, and a lot of PC games have a control scheme designed for it.

*Only a couple of minutes, but it feels long when you don’t know how long it’s going to be.

**The controller is a lot better than the keyboard in Super Meat Boy, BTW.