Sports videogames have a long history that dates all the way back to the early 1970s with titles like Atari’s Pong and Sega’s Grand Prix. Both titles are some of the earliest 8-bit takes on real-world sports competition. Fast forward to today and the sports genre has advanced by leaps and bounds with incredible graphics, authentic audio and detailed physics that closely emulate their real-life counterparts.
We’ll explore some of the best sports games out currently and take a look at what’s coming next. Let’s dive into the wild world of sports and find an experience that’s right for you!
Major league sports games
If you are a fan of professional sports leagues, they each have titles releasing annually. From basketball to pro golf all major leagues like FIFA soccer, the NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL and PGA all have games out now to help live out your pro sports fantasies.
Each year, sports games go through a refresh adding better graphics, new gameplay mechanics and features that continue to bring them closer to their real-life counterparts. If you are hitting the gridiron, hard court, ice or field all your favourite players and teams await. Here are some of the major pro league franchises developed by EA Sports and 2K Games:
The beautiful game returns on consoles with FIFA 21. The latest entry in the best-selling sports game adds co-operative gameplay to FUT and VOLTA. VOLTA lets you build your player, pick your gear, and grow your football legacy on the streets.
This year you can test your skills in “The Yard,” a 6 vs. 6 competitive mode and new addition to the series. For the first time in the franchise you can start your career as a high school quarterback and rise to the pros through your performance on the gridiron.
Master a new shooting technique and take your dribbling skills further using innovative thumb stick commands in NBA 2K21 for current and next-gen consoles.
Establish your legacy with the totally revamped Be A Pro mode or earn even more Ultimate Team rewards in HUT RUSH with NHL 21 from EA Sports.
PGA Tour 2K21
It’s a whole new era of Gold with an attitude, express yourself through your style and signature shots on the green. Golf with the pros and make a bid for the FedEx Cup or join an Online Society to challenge your real-life friends and more in PGA Tour.
Big league sports titles coming soon
MLB The Show 21
Release Date: Coming Soon – April 20, 2021
Baseball’s most authentic virtual experience awaits in MLB: The Show 21. Real players, teams and all new legends of the game hit the diamond this year. Game modes include Diamond Dynasty, Franchise, and March to October. Spring training has arrived on PS5, lace up those cleats!
Motorsports are one of the most fun and exciting parts of this genre. The depth and breadth in how you can take a checkered flag on a track are incredibly varied. From arcade racers like Mario Kart to the ultra-realistic Forza Motorsport and Gran Turismo simulators offer challenges to gamers of all skill levels. Let’s take a look at what each offer with some of the category’s best games:
If you are looking for a more accessible, action-packed experience arcade racing has plenty of fun and thrills in store. Born and bred in arcade cabinets, classics like Out Run, Daytona USA and Ridge Racer shaped the modern arcade racer experience we enjoy on home gaming consoles today.
These racers come in many different styles and settings from cartoony kart racers to out of this world sci-fi showdowns. They aren’t without their challenges, but if you are looking for over the top fun, here are some great titles:
If you are looking for a high-adrenaline, off-road experience Dirt 5 delivers. The game is packed with a variety of vehicles, tracks customization options and multiplayer modes. It straddles the line between arcade and sim racing to deliver a satisfying experience on the track.
Release Date: Available now on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One
Full Review | Overall Rating: 4.1/5 (83%)
If you prefer the more aggressive side to car racing Wreckfest offers pure mayhem. Throw the rules of etiquette out the window and get ready for high-octane destruction, a racing game with collisions & full-out calamity.
If you are looking for pure fun on the racetrack, give kart racing games a whirl. Kart racers streamline controls while adding in twists like out of this world tracks and even introduce combat mechanics. Careful how you use that purple shell in Mario Kart!
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe
Released back in 2017, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe still remains the undisputed champion of kart racers. This is the definitive version of the game featuring 42 characters, 48 courses, and 40 karts. This is the best Mario Kart out there and an instant classic. If you are a Nintendo Switch owner this is an absolute must play.
Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled
Rebuilt and remastered from the original 1999 release, this new and improved CTR will keep kart racing fans coming back for more. The game features 31 tracks, 26 playable characters, and a ton of content and modes that adds a lot of replay value. With online and local multiplayer modes, you’ll never race alone!
Open world racers
A relatively new genre, open world racers have quickly become the most interesting motorsport games in this category. These games let you hop in a vehicle and let you take it just about anywhere your heart desires. The freedom these games offer is extremely satisfying and gained a loyal following from both casual and hardcore racing fans.
Burnout Paradise Remastered
One of the best arcade racers of all time, don’t let Burnout Paradise pass you by. Get ready to head back to Paradise City, where you’ll wreak havoc in a rich, detailed open world. Buckle up, few racers have such a breakneck sense of speed and destruction.
Forza Horizon 4
The latest entry in the legendary Forza Horizon series takes to road in Great Britain. Explore the series most ambitious setting yet packed with races, challenges and a massive lineup of cars. The game also has one of my personalize favourite add-on content packs of all time, “LEGO Speed Champions Add-On.” That’s right, you get to race around tracks and cars completely built out of LEGO!
When it comes to simulation racing games, developers painstakingly work to deliver a real-world driving experience. These games feature realistic physics, and mechanical details right down to aerodynamics, tire tread wear, brakes and the ability to tune your car.
Release Date: Available now on Stadia, PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One
Full Review | Overall Rating: 4.2/5 (84%)
Race against the best drivers in the world in the most accessible and most comprehensive Formula 1 game yet, F1 2020. This year includes the addition of My Team mode and casual elements that gives both rookie and veteran drivers plenty to experience.
WRC 9: World Rally Championship
Release Date: Available now on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One
Full Review | Overall Rating: 4/5 (80%)
If you are looking for a technical racing challenge WRC 9 has it in spades. Career mode lets you manage your team from A – Z offerings hours of team planning and racing. The new track additions of Kenya, Japan, and New Zealand offer racers some new circuits to test their skill and will.
Extreme / Arcade Sports
Step into the wild side of sports where all the limits and boundaries are pushed by athletes who push themselves to the limit.
Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2
Full Review | Overall Rating: 4.5/5 (90%)
One of the most iconic sports titles of all time has made its return to next gen consoles. Pull off insane skateboard tricks from the comfort of your living room in Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2.
Challenge your friends and the rest of the world to see who can get the fastest time (or the most spectacular wipe out!) with Trials Rising.
Upcoming arcade sports games
Mario Golf: Super Rush
Release Date: Coming Soon – June 25, 2021
Get ready to hit the links with Mario and the rest of the gang! Play with up to 4 players locally or online in Standard Golf, Speed Golf, or RPG-like story mode. Shoot like a pro with the Joy Con controller and the adaptive shot gauge, meant to cater to both rookie and pro golfers.
Sports-based prize fighting
If you are a fan of boxing, MMA or wresting this is the sports subgenre for you. These games emulate sports with hand-to-hand combat delivering the thrills of the ring or octagon right to your gaming console. Get ready to rumble!
EA Sports UFC 4
Get your MMA fix with EA Sports UFC 4, featuring a deep career mode and immersive training and development elements.
WWE 2K Battlegrounds
WWE 2K Battlegrounds offers arcade style gameplay with over-the-top action. The game’s easy to pick up controls and addictive modes like campaign and King of the Battleground make it a fun arcade-style grappler.
High adrenaline action
The sports genre offers a wide range of experiences that look to light a competitive fire in you while playing. Whether you are a fan of big-league sports, racing, extreme competition or prize fighting this genre has something for you. I recommend trying a title from each category above and see which is the best fit for your gaming tastes.
Let us know what your favourite sports game is in the comments below!