By Saim Cheeda
EA's FIFA franchise has definitely seen ups and downs. Today, we're going over the best games it has ever released.
As far as sports-based games go, no franchise comes close to FIFA. The series has kept things at a very high level for the most part, which is remarkable considering the longevity of this franchise. This has allowed it to be among the best IPs owned by EA Games, a trend that continues to this day.
Although most people will only focus on the latest releases, it's always worth taking a retrospective look at the series, to remember some of the franchise's high points.
Updated on December 25th, 2022, by Jack Pursey: The FIFA series is set to go through some significant changes. EA and FIFA's long-running partnership has ended, so EA will no longer be making games in the FIFA series. FIFA has said that the series will continue, although they will have to compete with EA's new series titled EA Sports FC.
The FIFA series is undoubtedly divisive today, with FIFA 23 being no different. We've updated this list to look at FIFA 23 and why it doesn't feature in this list of the best FIFA games of all time.
10 FIFA 07
- Release Date: September 25, 2006
- Available Platforms: Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 2, Xbox, Xbox 360, GameCube, PlayStation Portable, Nintendo DS, Game Boy Advance, Java ME
- Best Feature: The new sports engine - for those with the Xbox 360 iteration of the game
FIFA 07 is an odd entry in the series, as it is one of the best FIFA games, but only for those with the Xbox 360 version. Thanks to the next-generation technology that the Xbox 360 offered compared to the PS2 and GameCube, the 360 iteration was able to implement a new sports engine.
The technological advancements also meant that FIFA 07 could offer better match data and could award "Man of the Match" accolades for the first time in the series. These changes were fantastic, but the lack of improvements in the other console releases prevent the game from being ranked any higher.
9 FIFA 94
- Release Date: December 15, 1993
- Available Platforms: Mega Drive/Genesis, 3DO, Commodore Amiga, MS-DOS, Game Boy, Game Gear, Sega CD, Master System, Super Nintendo Entertainment System
- Best Feature: As the first entry, it offers excellent nostalgia value today
Although nostalgia does play a part in this pick, it's certainly not the only reason for its inclusion. As would be expected, the game feels very bare-bones today, but the simplistic gameplay is still as addictive as it was back when the game was released in late 1993.
Furthermore, the infamous gameplay mechanic of being able to run away from the referee when he's trying to book a player is still bizarrely enjoyable today.
8 FIFA 2001
- Release Date: October 30, 2000
- Available Platforms: Microsoft Windows, PlayStation, PlayStation 2
- Best Feature: Boasts one of the most significant graphical improvements between entries
The first game to release on the PlayStation 2 did exactly what fans worldwide were hoping for; it used next-generation hardware to create the most realistic sports simulator yet.
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FIFA 2001 is one of a handful of key games in the series that drastically improved upon its predecessor and made significant changes to the gameplay.
7 FIFA 14
- Release Date: September 23, 2013
- Available Platforms: Android, iOS, Microsoft Windows, Nintendo 3DS, PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, PlayStation Portable, PlayStation Vita, Wii, Xbox 360, Xbox One
- Best Feature: The introduction of the Ignite Engine
The first game to appear on the Xbox One and PS4 is also one of the highest-rated FIFA games on Metacritic, with an excellent score of 88 on Xbox One.
EA wasted little time in reinventing FIFA 14 on the consoles, as they changed the gameplay engine from the Impact Engine to the Ignite Engine, offering a completely new feel to the game.
6 FIFA 13
- Release Date: September 25, 2012
- Available Platforms: Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Wii, Wii U, PlayStation Portable, PlayStation Vita, Nintendo 3DS, iOS, Windows Phone 8, Java ME
- Best Feature: The newly implemented First Touch Control
Although it was a bit lacking in innovation, FIFA 13 is nevertheless an enjoyable entry and it greatly improved the Ultimate Team mode.
The difficulty is relatively high for this entry compared to others. This makes it one of the more challenging games EA has brought to the table, contributing to the entertainment value in a big way. Updated player kits are also more noticeable in this game, benefiting from its visual appeal.
- Release Date: October 25, 2002
- Available Platforms: PlayStation, Microsoft Windows, Game Boy Advance, GameCube, PlayStation 2, Xbox, Mobile phone
- Best Feature: The fast-paced, arcade-like gameplay makes it one of the most enjoyable entries
Never underestimate the power of ambiance, especially when it comes to football. This entry is the first one to really set the stadium alive with elaborate celebrations and a truly vibrant crowd.
This game is also user-friendly in both difficult and easy modes. For novices, the lower difficulty opens up many opportunities to score goals to their hearts’ content. The challenging level settings allow for one to execute techniques, bringing a certain satisfaction to successful strikes.
4 FIFA 22
- Release Date: October 1, 2021
- Available Platforms: Microsoft Windows, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Stadia, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S
- Best Feature: The well-balanced gameplay
Considering how bad the general perception of the FIFA series currently is, particularly after the dreadful FIFA 21, it may surprise some people that the recent FIFA 22 makes it onto this list. However, to EA's credit, the game offers the most well-balanced gameplay in the series yet.
Unfortunately, though, the game has various persisting technical issues and glitches that prevent it from being the very best of all time.
3 FIFA 11
- Release Date: September 28, 2010
- Available Platforms: OS X, Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, Wii, Xbox 360, iOS, Android, Nintendo DS, PlayStation Portable, Blackberry App World, Java ME
- Best Feature: The new Pro Passing feature, which greatly improved the player's control over their pass accuracy
The addition of many new features ensures FIFA 11 is fondly remembered. A refined dribbling system, Manager Mode that cuts out unnecessary fluff, Pro Passing that improves pass accuracy, and more all make for a smooth gaming experience.
It can get carried away in its aim to be more realistic, but this can be overcome due to the efficiency in gameplay execution. After all, mastering the styles of the players brings a professional mentality that makes FIFA 11 a can’t-miss title.
2 FIFA 12
- Release Date: September 27, 2011
- Available Platforms: Microsoft Windows, OS X, PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Wii, PlayStation Portable, Nintendo 3DS, PlayStation Vita, iOS, Android, Java ME, Xperia Play
- Best Feature: Tactical Defending, which significantly improved the overall balance of the gameplay
One can only hope that other sports franchises bring in improvements of the same caliber that FIFA 12 did. It erases the lack of originality that plagued its predecessor. The most appealing feature is the Manager Mode, which now feels like a world of its own.
The gameplay is such that gamers playing on the same team can feel like a real unit thanks to helpful A.I. teams with higher skills that actually come across as being a cut above the rest. This sets a high bar for excellence, and those up to the task can proudly claim to be pros in FIFA 12.
1 FIFA 10
- Release Date: October 1, 2009
- Available Platforms: Microsoft Windows, Wii, PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PlayStation Portable, Nintendo DS, iOS, Android, Java ME
- Best Feature: The fantastic revamp of Manager Mode
This entry’s legacy is such that it’s among the greatest EA games of all time. Everything from the soundtrack, ambiance, gameplay, and presentation are all polished to a shine. The focus is also very much on the field, as the pace is kept at an exhilarating level.
Improvisation is encouraged in playing techniques, and it’s always fun to see a new way of scoring goals. Due to the quick style of play, gamers are kept on alert at all times, which means there are no dull moments to be had here.
Why Doesn't FIFA 23 Make The List?
Another year, another entry in the long-running FIFA series has been released. FIFA 23 hit stores on September 30th, 2022, and was met with the all-too-familiar chorus of moans and groans from those wanting more changes in the series. Unfortunately, this feeling among fans has been prominent for years now, particularly when it comes to fan requests for a more in-depth career mode, a game mode that has been largely ignored since the rise of Ultimate Team.
FIFA 23 looks fantastic, has wonderfully smooth animations, and opening packs in Ultimate team is as exciting as ever; however, the game simply doesn't innovate enough from previous entries to earn a spot on this list.
It will be interesting to see what the future holds for the series now that the EA and FIFA partnership has ended.