Lets face it, we’ve all spent a lot more time inside in front of screens this year than we’d like to admit. Whether it was binging “Tiger King” or playing a healthy amount of video games, quarantine allowed us to get deeply acquainted with our laptop or TV screens.
With next generation gaming consoles set to release this holiday season, new additions to coveted sports video game franchises are sure to be on the way or already here. Here's a countdown of the best sports games on the market:
5. Madden NFL
Although it's made by the same studio that brings us FIFA (EA), Madden is an entirely different game. Players will know exactly what they’re getting if they purchase the game, as every Madden game features three main game modes: Franchise mode, Face of the Franchise mode and Madden Ultimate Team.
Face of the Franchise allows players to create their own player, guiding them from an amateur league to the pros with a multi-layered story blended in.
Franchise mode let’s the player choose any existing franchise to become the GM of, controlling all of their front office activities including trading players, hiring and firing coaching staff members, and much more.
Madden’s Ultimate Team experience is almost identical to FIFA’s. Players looking to sink some real hours into this game should start with Face of the Franchise or Ultimate Team, as both modes are quite re-playable and engaging.
A central and valid criticism of the franchise is that mostly all of the games are the same, simply with updated graphics and rosters. For this reason, Madden places a bit lower on my list.
4. MLB The Show
Perhaps the most unique of the traditional sports video games, MLB The Show has crafted success based on its niche gameplay and imaginative modes.
The patented Road to The Show mode is back, allowing players to create their own baseball superstar. In the role playing mode, players will manage relationships with their coaches, fellow players and families that contributes to their players personality on and off the field.
The new gamemode called Showdown coming to the newest titration of the game, MLB The Show 20, is sure to turn some heads. In Showdown, players will participate in a 10-round draft allowing you to pick star players, challenges and attribute boosts to build the strongest team. The players then play with that team online, competing in a playoff to see who crafted the best fantasy team.
Additionally, MLB The Show 20 offers the long-anticipated option for players to create their own leagues in the mode custom leagues. The player is given all the power right off the bat, as they decide the number of teams, playoff participants, games in a postseason series, number of innings, designated hitter rules and much more.
The Show is much less popular than its counterparts on this list, landing it toward the back end of this list.
3. NBA 2K
What is there to say about NBA 2K games that hasn’t already been said? 2K is an absolute staple of gaming and since it took the basketball-video game crown from Electronic Art (EA) rival NBA Live, they haven't looked back.
2K’s most popular mode is called myTeam. The mode is almost a carbon copy of FIFA’s Ultimate Team, allowing players to play with a starting five full of current players and legends like Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, Magic Johnson and more.
Besides myTeam, the game also offers myGM, allowing players to become the general manager of the team of their choice, guiding them toward a championship.
A unique mode to 2K is its myLeague mode, which allows players to create a league on or offline, also letting them add new expansion teams to the NBA entirely designed by the player.
Despite the positive features on the game, 2K often shoots themselves in the feet with their game design. NBA 2K21 has a plethora of unique flaws, including a botched shooting mechanic, questionable ratings and statistics for players, and unreliable servers for online play.
Despite all of this, the game is still extremely entertaining to play (my personal favorite mode is Blacktop).
2. Skate 3
An undeniable cult classic, Skate 3 has a level of sustained success that is highly uncommon in gaming. Despite being released over 10 years ago, the game still pulls millions of players per month, according to gaming data tracking site gamstat.com.
The requests for a sequel to the coveted series had become an internet meme, that is, before that request was actually honored earlier this year.
“You commented this into existence,” creative director of the Skate series Cuz Perry said. "We've got a long way to go, we've been waiting years to make the game at the right time.”
Although not much more information was given, we can assume that Skate 4 will arrive sometime after the release of next-generation consoles. Through backwards compatibility, Skate 3 can still be played on Xbox One and Playstation 4.
The game is remarkably addicting, as the free skate/career mode gives the player reign to skate all over Port Carverton. With online modes like Hall of Meat and Spot Battles, Skate 3 can keep a player entertained for hours on end.
The FIFA franchise had humble beginnings in 1994 as a 16-bit arcade style game. Since then, the franchise has become on the top selling video game franchises of all time, trailing only Call of Duty, Grand Theft Auto, Pokemon, Tetris and Mario games.
FIFA offers a plethora of online and offline game modes for players to sink their teeth into. From player and manager career modes to Volta street-style football, FIFA offers the player hours-upon-hours of unique gameplay.
The crown jewel of FIFA games has to be the Ultimate Team mode. The mode allows players to build the team of their dreams, using current players and past legends. With the draft mode and weekly squad building challenges, Ultimate Team can be intoxicatingly time-consuming.
With its wide-variety of modes and the constant evolution of Ultimate Team, FIFA is easily the best sports video game on the market.