Best Sports Games of 2018 to Gift and Our Sports Game of the Year

By: Louis Edwards
 

For gamers that love sports games, 2018 has seen some top quality titles that have raised the bar for graphics and animations. If you are trying to shop for one of these gamers, read on to find out what games we think should be at the top of their wishlist and what we think is the Sports Game of the Year.

 

Sports games are usually an annual tradition for the major sports genres and 2018 saw entries for all of them. From MLB to the NBA, these titles are spread across the sports spectrum with a couple of genres having more than one game to choose from. We will look at each sport individually and tell you which game we think is your best bet within that genre, and then tell you which game we think is the best overall.

Major League Baseball

The MLB started off with Spring Training back in February and as far as video games go, there aren’t too many titles to choose from. The perennial favorite, if you own a PlayStation has always been MLB The Show but with it being exclusive to PlayStation, Xbox and Nintendo owners are stuck in the dugout watching folks play it on YouTube. MLB The Show 18 continued to improve on the franchise and is clearly the best option for PS4 owners. Xbox and Nintendo do have one baseball title they can play, RBI Baseball 18, it’s just not quite on the same level as The Show. While it’s not the best MLB game on the market, RBI Baseball 18 is a valid alternative to those outside the PlayStation universe.

National Football League

When it comes to the NFL, or just football in general anymore, EA Sports Madden NFL 19 is the only player in the game. They could rest on their laurels, spit out a copy of the previous year’s title with updated rosters, and rake in the dough without even trying. Luckily for us sports gamer, that’s not what they do. EA Sports continues to improve upon their franchise even without competition. EA Sports took a leap forward with an all new real motion tech for Madden NFL 19 that takes player animations to a whole new level.

Even being late in the season, the development team continues to add more things to do in Madden Ultimate Team, giving the gamer more options to build a very impressive online team. They continue to add new solo challenges, with seasonal events for Thanksgiving and Christmas that can net you some pretty awesome players from the NFL’s past and present. If you gamer is a football fan, you can’t go wrong giving them a copy of Madden, and if they already have it, look for a Madden Points gift card online. You can read our full review of Madden NFL 19 here.

UFC/Boxing

When it comes to real world fighting games, you are once again limited in your choices. EA Sports has the monopoly currently on the UFC scene, but luckily they did an excellent job with UFC 3 and it’s more than capable of giving any UFC fan a gaming equivalent to play. We reviewed it back in January and really enjoyed it. While not exactly a boxing game, it does have a stand-and-bang mode that has you going toe-to-toe with other fighters with no grappling.

Boxing fans only had one game released this year, Creed: Rise to Glory, but it was exclusively for VR so could only be played on the PC or PlayStation VR system. It is a fun game that gives one helluva workout, but the only fighters available are ones from the movies it is tied to, Creed and Creed II. We reviewed it prior to release and found it to be a great example of VR done right. If you have VR available to you, or are looking for a gift for a boxing fan that owns a PS4, the Creed PSVR bundle is a valid option.

NBA

NBA video games are where the competition finally heats up. On one side of the court you have 2K Games’ NBA 2K19 and on the other you have EA Sports’ NBA Live 19. Go back 3 or 4 years and the 2K series wins hands down, but fast forward to 2018 and it’s a whole new ballgame. The NBA Live series hit major speed bumps in 2013 and 2014 and have had a huge hill to climb to reach the bar that the 2K series had set, but 2K hasn’t tried to improve much on their own title and left the door open for EA Sports. EA has continued to improve on their franchise and reached new heights with NBA Live 19 and we found that the two are on par with each other as far as animations, graphics, and gameplay.

NBA 2K19

EA Sports used their knowledge from Madden Ultimate Team and created an Live Ultimate Team system that makes that aspect work better than the 2K MyTeam system. Both are similar and allow you to play using players from the NBA past and present, but NBA Live 19 has a lot more experience in this area thanks to Madden, and it shows. You can read our full review of NBA Live 19 here. If you have an NBA gamer fan on your list, you can’t go wrong with either one of these titles, as they are both top notch games, but our choice for this year is NBA Live 19. We are really hoping that 2K Games takes this to heart and steps up their game next year, or it’s possible that EA Sports will leave them in their dust.

NBA LIVE 19

WWE Wrestling

The WWE2K wrestling franchise is one of those niche titles that appeal to a somewhat small but rabid fanbase. Not that there aren’t enough fans to warrant an annual game release, because obviously there is. 2K has the market cornered here and that development team doesn’t take the lack of competition for granted. They continue to grow the franchise, and take fan feedback seriously enough to make changes accordingly. WWE2K19 is a solid title that expanded on the previous titles and improved in several areas. If you have a WWE fan on your shopping list, get them this game on their console of choice as it’s well worth the money.

Soccer/Futball

There have been a couple of soccer/futball games released this year but we are a US based website and have no real fans of that sport on staff. It really wouldn’t be fair for us to try to compare the FIFA and PES games, and honestly it wouldn’t be fair to the developers of those games for us to pick one over the other. We will have to stick to what we know and apologize for not having any soccer fans on staff. Maybe next year.

Sports game of the Year

This was a very eventful year for sports games and as you can see, they covered just about every sport imaginable. If you have a sports fan in the hose, and they have a console they love, deciding which game to give them might be a conundrum. For us, out of all of the titles we covered, the one that we feel rose above them all in graphics, animation, sound, and content was EA Sports Madden NFL 19.

Congrats to EA Sports for a job well done!