Ah, sports games. If there’s one thing we can be sure of, it’s that we’re never going to have a shortage for this category in any given year- given that sports games are, by definition, annual. That kind of thing can actually make sports games seem commonplace, and take the shine away from them a bit- but this year was a major year for the genre. Almost every major franchise saw a dramatic upheaval with its new installments, and several ended up delivering their best games in years. Picking the best sports game this year? That was actually harder than you might think.
Madden NFL 17
For a while there, Madden kind of sucked- but over the last few years, EA Sports have been steadily working on a recovery, and Madden this year, while not as ostentatiously ambitious or stuffed to the brims with content as, say, FIFA, was as good an outing as any the series has had. American Football fans, you owe it to yourself to pick this year’s Madden up.
FIFA long ago mastered its art, and became the perfect mix of accessibility and depth for most football fans to appreciate. Throw in the integration with the larger football ‘ecosystem,’ the staggering wealth of modes, and content like Ultimate Team, and what’s left for FIFA to do? Why, a full fledged story mode, complete with dialog choices, that’s what. FIFA 17 was hugely ambitious, and overall, it delivered one of the most progressive sports games we have ever had.
While FIFA went for content and style this year, PES focused on the essentials, fine tuning its mechanics and playability, and delivering what is, hands down, the best playing football game ever. Yes, it lacks the licenses and authenticity that make FIFA so great, but if you just want the perfect translation of football into a videogame, PES 2017 is it.
EA Sports took the base that NHL 16 provided them, and went HAM with it, stuffing the game with so much ridiculous content that just listing it all out would take up this entire video. But with their excellent gameplay mechanics and wealth of content, NHL 17 stands as one of the best sports games of the year.
Basketball fans were treated to another incredible game this year courtesy of 2K Sports delivering NBA 2K17. Pitch perfect gameplay unlike anything in any other sports game on the market, a variety of game modes, incredible authenticity and graphics, and a vast community- what more could a sports game fan ask for?
After last year’s disappointments, Codemasters came roaring back with style with F1 2016– a hugely ambitious, authentic, fine tuned and well playing racing game that flat out stands as one of the best racing games of the year.
Really, there’s nothing left to say here that hasn’t been said already. NBA 2K17 is essentially the perfect sports game- it gets everything right, from the sheer amount of modes it has to the authenticity and licenses, from the perfect translation of the sport to the video game to just how ambitious and progressive it is, from how great it looks to how vast the community around it is. NBA 2K17 is GamingBolt’s Sports Game of 2017.
Note: GamingBolt’s Game of the Year categories, nominations and awards are selected via an internal nomination, voting and debate process. You can check the rest of categories and the respective winners here.