With the next season and generation of sports video games on the horizon, it seems a good time to take a look at which franchises really get it right. Here, we rank some of our favorite sports video game franchises:
9 – Wii Sports
Far from a traditional take on the sports game genre, it takes the cake for fun. Released by Nintendo for the original Wii, most have fond memories of the mini game style of gameplay brought to the table in this release. Whether playing the fan favorite Bowling game mode, or the less polished Boxing mode, the game brings enough fun to rival the best on this list.
8 – WWE 2K
A change of developer leading to a rough latest outing pushes WWE 2K games down the list. However, the franchise has a history of enjoyable games, despite them often being a bit unpolished. If Visual Concepts can fix the slew of broken parts to last year’s release, it might earn back a higher spot.
7 – NHL
The often forgotten EA sports franchise doesn’t quite hold the same weight as its bigger siblings. That doesn’t stop EA Vancouver from putting their all into the sport they obviously love. Besides, who can argue with a sports game that lets you start a brawl?
6 – Madden NFL
One of the most iconic franchises in the United States, Madden has been the only NFL simulation game since 2004. It has a history of rich (and fun) NFL experiences. While the franchise is seeing something of a rough patch, with ‘#FixMaddenFranchise’ becoming the top trending hashtag in the United States for a period of time, there is some hope on the horizon. With Executive Producer Seann Graddy promising to fix Franchise mode in Madden 21 and moving forward, many view this as a first step back to glory.
5 – NCAA Football
NCAA found its peak with NCAA Football 14, but then the franchise disappeared. A deep experience in it’s prime, NCAA had begun to make a spot for itself as the best football game on the market. Much of this was due to its franchise mode, which came with an interesting recruiting system. With EA bringing college football to Madden, the hope is that we will see a return to the franchise soon.
4 – ESPN NFL 2K
The last American Football game to make the list is arguably the best. The 2K football title has been lost to time thanks to the NFL’s agreement with EA. However, ESPN NFL 2K5 is still to this day considered one of the best football games ever made. Whether it’s the depth of its franchise mode, or the physics based gameplay, this franchise holds up over a decade later.
3 – NBA 2K
NBA 2K is a deep, gorgeous, feature-heavy game that ultimately is weighed down by one massive flaw: Micro-transactions. The NBA 2K series has long been a contender for the best sports games on the market. With an impressive career mode and presentation, the micro-transactions have been riddled throughout every mode 2K can squeeze them into. In fact, it has been announced that the next issue of 2K will be billed at $10 higher than usual.
2 – FIFA
Regarded as the most popular sports game in the world, FIFA has long been atop the mountain of great sports titles. There just isn’t much that can beat the most solid release on an annual basis. It shows what EA Sports can really do when they put in the work. The innovation has slowed down in recent years, but you can’t argue with a great game year-to-year.
1 – MLB The Show
Another franchise with a great release each year has led to a series that’s hitting its stride at the perfect time. With The Show 20 introducing real minor league rosters, it continues to improve a slew of varied game modes. This comes while not forcing the consumer to feel the need to spend more than the initial $60 price tag. While the game has been locked to Sony’s PlayStation consoles, it will be available on other platforms beginning next year.