Sports games combine two of the biggest passions around—playing sports and playing video games. They can be a great way to tap into your competitive spirit and show off your knowledge in a particular field. Whether it’s racing, football, basketball, or golf, the best sports games are able to keep gamers engaged while simulating a real-world activity.
Here, we will be highlighting the best sports experiences available to play in 2019. Make sure to check back as we will be updating this list in the future with new entries. If you would like to receive more gaming recommendations, consider reading through our other curated lists:
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Madden NFL 20
There aren’t many sports games with a legacy as recognizable and impressive as Madden NFL’s, as the series continues to improve every year. Madden NFL 20 sees the return of the American football/management sim’s dynamic gameplay along with a bunch of new game-changing features that make it stand out from previous entries.
A brand-new QB1 story mode allows you to create your own quarterback to dominate the College Football Playoff before getting drafted into the NFL where you’ll have to make tough calls on and off the field that will affect your athletic career. Fans of fantasy football can explore Ultimate Team Missions, which see you taking on unique challenges using crafted teams of players. Lastly, over 50 players have been given new Superstar X-Factor Zone abilities, providing you with more opportunities to destroy the competition.
The PES games are known for being obsessed with authenticity when it comes to simulating every aspect of football. PES 2020 takes things a step further and presents players with the most polished entry to date; included are gameplay changes such as a more realistic portrayal of player errors during matches along with several new first-touch techniques.
The football sim has greatly benefited from Konami’s high performance 3D scanning technology, allowing players and stadiums to be rendered nearly identical to their real-world counterparts. However, the biggest increase in quality can be found in the game’s player animations, which now appear more fluid and respond better to controls.
Some consider the NHL games to be the ugly step-child of EA’s licensed sports series, often getting neglected in favor of bigger cash cows like FIFA or Madden NFL. However, NHL 20 somewhat changes that narrative as the game feature’s many of the amenities you’d expect in a AAA sports game along with a bevy of QoL improvements.
The new Superstar abilities from Madden NFL 20 have been borrowed and converted into Superstar Signature Shots, allowing players to pull off signature maneuvers with their favorite athletes. Additionally, Hockey Ultimate Team debuts as a new mode where players can earn rewards by defeating featured squads assembled by NHL players and other professional athletes.
UFC 3 plays like no other MMA sports game before, featuring over 5,000 new fighting animations powered by EA SPORTS’ proprietary RPM technology. This makes matches feel more fluid and realistic; an absolute must for a sport as robust and technical as MMA. However, the improvements don’t stop there, with UFC 3 introducing its own version of Ultimate Team and letting players compete as real, customizable UFC fighters with an arsenal of signature moves.
G.O.A.T Mode allows you to craft your own UFC story by creating an original fighter and embarking on an adventure to dominate the sport both in and out of the octagon. Here, you’ll learn all the ins and outs of becoming a top fighter as you gain new fans, build hype before matches, earn cash from big contracts, and defeat the UFC’s most challenging opponents.
MLB The Show 19
MLB The Show 19 comes packed with an abundance of game modes that are sure to keep even the biggest of baseball fans busy. This includes a new Moments mode in which players can recreate and even alter the greatest moments in baseball history as they control iconic athletes like Willie Mays, Lou Gehrig, and Ty Cobb.
Although getting a chance to step into the cleats of baseball legends may sound like a dream come true, we’d be remiss not to mention Road to the Show—a career mode that see’s you creating an original athlete with dreams of becoming baseball’s next big superstar. Here, players can expect rich RPG elements that will set your character up for success both on and off the field.
TGC 2019 featuring PGA Tour
TGC 2019 stands as a shining example of what a good golf game should look and play like without any of the monotonous fluff the sport is prone to. The game presents an authentic golfing sim with intuitive controls, sleek user interface, robust creation tools, and realistic physics along with a plethora of single-player and online modes.
Whether you enjoy designing challenging and interesting courses, taking players’ hard-earned virtual currency in Skins wager matches, or rising through the ranks in the new PGA Tour Career mode, TGC 2019 has something to offer for every golf aficionado.
F1 2019 is a racing/sports management sim that has you exploring the world of Formula 1 both on and off the track in demanding motor racing championship events where you’ll face some of the toughest drivers F1 has to offer. The game features all the official teams, drivers and 21 circuits from the 2019 season along with F2 racers from the previous year.
Players can experience a brand-new career mode that sees you building up your reputation and competing with rivals. If you’re looking for an immersive experience then F1 2019 has you covered with improvements like refined lighting effects and official F1-branded cars, bringing you one step closer to a 1:1 simulation.
Rocket League has come a long way since its 2015 release, going on to become one of the most popular esports of today. As one of the few games with cross-play support across all major platforms, the vehicular soccer game has amassed a large playerbase that developer Psyonix is committed to keeping.
This is evident by their decision to remove randomized lootboxes from the game by the end of 2019 as well as adding in 80+ challenges for players to tackle each season. If you’re looking for a unique sports experience that combines the best parts of racing and soccer, Rocket League is an excellent choice with simple controls and straightforward objectives that still allow for more advanced techniques.
Everybody’s Golf, as its name implies, is a golf game designed for every kind of player. It’s the latest entry in the sports franchise formerly known as Hot Shots Golf in North America and for the first time in the series’ history features character customization, online play, and the ability to free-roam around golf courses.
Additionally, the game includes a host of QoL improvements and refinements to the precise, satisfying golf mechanics the series is known for. A plethora of tranquil courses and game modes designed for both competitive and casual play makes this a versatile golf sim that can appeal to a variety of gamers.
Ever since the collapse of THPS and EA’s Skate, the skateboarding game scene has been pretty dead. However, Crea-ture Studios is looking to resurrect it from the dead with Session, an Xbox-exclusive skateboarding sim with a 90s aesthetic that’s also in Early Access on Steam.
Unlike some of its predecessors, Session is more focused on technical skill rather than arcade-style gameplay. This is evident in its unique control scheme and realistic physics, which can make pulling off tricks extremely challenging but also satisfying once you manage to land one. Its learning curve may be relatively steep, however, put in enough hours and you’ll be grinding rails like a pro.
In the thrilling world of extreme snow sports, things are a lot more complicated than arcade games like SSX made them appear. There are many environmental and technical logistics involved with landing a trick or even cruising down a hill on a snowboard or pair of skis. Steep is a sports game that embraces the challenges that come with designing intuitive control schemes for snowboarding, skiing, paragliding, and even wingsuit gliding.
Steep is much more than your typical sports game, boasting a massive open-world packed with landmarks and competitive events for players to explore at their own pace. If racing down winding mountains and frosty caverns at breakneck speeds sound too intense for you, trick competitions provide an opportunity to show off the game’s unique trick system which sees you skillfully chaining together impressive feats as you build up your score.
Mario Tennis Aces
You can always count on Mario-themed sports games to deliver a satisfying yet approachable experience suitable for just about any gamer. Mario Tennis Aces is no different, offering easy-to-learn, challenging-to-master controls and mechanics in addition to a variety of single-player and multiplayer game modes.
Included are staples such as singles and doubles matches with you and a teammate facing off against other AI/human players along with Adventure mode, which sees you completing missions and boss battles in order to unlock new courts and characters. As a Switch exclusive, Mario Tennis Aces allows you to use motion controls and HD rumble for a more immersive gameplay experience.
Super Mega Baseball 2
The Super Mega Baseball games are well-regarded for offering a finely-tuned baseball sim with convincing physics designed for die-hard fanatics while also appealing to newcomers with accessible controls and multiple difficulty settings. This same flexibility extends to the game’s customization options, with players able to design their own team logo, uniform, player appearance, league, and more.
Although Super Mega Baseball 2 may not have the most realistic presentation, play for even one game and you’ll notice how visceral gameplay feels, with hitting, pitching, and catching all having a high degree of responsiveness you wouldn’t expect to find in a baseball game with cartoonish visuals.
OlliOlli 2: Welcome to Olliwood
OlliOlli 2 marks the return of the original’s addicting gameplay accompanied by enhanced visuals and a wide selection of new vibrant locations to skate through. The game sees you going from the streets to the big screen as you explore levels themed around Hollywood film sets, including a satisfying grind down the infamous “Olliwood” sign.
A new ramp and hill types provide opportunities to catch insane amounts of air and pull off exciting new tricks that have been added for the sequel. OlliOlli 2’s combo system has been expanded to now support manuals, reverts, revert manuals, grind switching, 540 shove-its, anti-Casper flips, and darkslides, giving players more control over how they rack up points.
Mutant Football League
Mutant Football League is a spiritual successor to the now-classic Sega Genesis sports game of the same name. In it, you play a much more violent, over-the-top version of American football inspired by NFL Blitz. Teams consist of seven players of varying mutant species including zombies, Orcs, demons, werewolves, and aliens to name a few.
What makes MFL stand out most are its unique modifiers, which take the traditional American football rules and smash them into tiny, unrecognizable pieces. Labeled “Dirty Tricks,” these game-breaking perks afford players all sorts of whacky perks such as bribing the ref, knocking out the opposing team with bombs, and equipping shotguns and chainsaws to shred your enemies to bits. Like many of the game’s bizarre features, Dirty Tricks can be switched off at any time.