Between Cyber Monday and Black Friday, it’s usually a very good time to be a more “casual” sports gamer. A lot of sports games go on sale, so if you were not super interested in a game at launch, you get a second chance here to scope it out at a discounted price. The Cyber Monday sports game sales (mixed in with ongoing Black Friday sales) have been good to us once more this year, so we want to run through some recommendations (and also games we still think are not discounted enough) in case you’re shopping around.
Cyber Monday Sports Game Sales And Recommendations
It’s first worth mentioning that Xbox Game Pass Ultimate now comes with EA Play, and you can get the first month for $1. So that’s always going to be the best deal because you get a bunch of older EA Sports games, plus the ridiculous Game Pass library itself.
As for Madden 21, the best deal right now is $28 from Best Buy and Amazon. Every copy of Madden also includes the free upgrade to next gen. So if you have a PS5 or Xbox Series X, then you can get ready for this Friday when the next-gen versions are released.
Obviously, we’re not sure if the next-gen upgrades will be worth it as of yet, but we do have a lengthy hands-off preview of our impressions of that version. Overall, you’re not going to find much better deals for Madden until after the New Year, so this is the time to jump in if you want to get the game. At some point, Madden always does become “free” on EA Play, but that’s generally not until after the Super Bowl.
Bob likes the gameplay more this year than in the past, but the franchise mode went untouched and so I think this deal makes sense more for next-gen folks who don’t already own the game more than most others — it’s always fun to see the first version of a sports game on a new console, even if it’s hit or miss on quality.
2K21 is the first game on this list where I’m making a very clear distinction between current gen and next gen. I don’t think current-gen NBA 2K21 is a very good game. Joel felt the same way in our OS review, but we also agree that the next-gen version is much improved.
However, unlike FIFA and Madden, this is a not a “free” next-gen upgrade. In fact, NBA 2K21 on next-gen consoles costs $70. Amazon was selling 2K21 for $60 but people quickly hopped on that deal and it’s sold out. Amazon was allowing you to continue buying the game at that price for a bit even after the sell out, but that has come to an end for now. I would keep checking backing there, but as of now there is no next-gen deal. Even so, we really do recommend 2K21 if you want to have a next-gen sports game that pushes things forward. EA’s titles will be cheaper or “free” on next-gen consoles if you already own them on current gen, but EA is not trying to do as much as 2K did this year on next gen either.
As for current-gen NBA 2K21, you can find it for $28 at Target, Amazon and Best Buy. It’s not too hard to find people who like 2K21, but it’s still not a price I would recommend for folks if they’ve been playing 2K every year. If you have been out of the loop, then it’s easier to say check out this game for a deep franchise mode and Park experience, but the gameplay is not nearly as good as it is on next gen.
Much like Madden, this is a “free” upgrade on next-gen consoles if you buy the game on current-gen consoles. On top of that, FIFA 21 is $28 at various stores, just like Madden. The PC version goes for north of $30 (as does Madden). We did not get as deep a look at the next-gen version of FIFA as we did Madden, so we have even less to go on in terms of recommending it before launch, but KG did do a write up here of what we know.
KG did not love the gameplay in current-gen FIFA 21, so that makes this a little trickier from a recommendation standpoint. You can see his latest thoughts on the game after some major patches as well. Sliders can get you somewhat close to a good experience, but there’s a couple issues that just can’t be fixed by sliders (that’s detailed in the review and the sliders link). That being said, if you want a beautiful game with a deeper career mode this year, then FIFA 21 at $28 is not the worst deal out there.
eFootball PES 2021 Season Update
KG is relatively high on the “season update” of PES this year. You can find it right now on PSN and Xbox for $20, so digital is the best option here right now. Gameplay would be the first reason to snag PES over FIFA, but it does lag FIFA in the modes department in just about every way. So here it really comes down to what you want out of your soccer game this year. It’s also slightly easier to recommend on Sony consoles because it’s much easier to get fan-made edits into the game for your rosters/kits on PlayStation.
Continuing the trend for EA Sports, you can find NHL 21 for $28 at Amazon and Best Buy. Ryan thinks there have been some clear improvements this year, and the career mode did finally get some worthwhile updates so now franchise mode and career mode are at least worth checking out. In addition, the World of Chel continues to be a great change of pace, so this is one of the better NHL titles in years.
However, if you’re waiting for the NHL season to begin, you may be able to wait until just after the New Year and find an even better deal. It’s not guaranteed, but if you’re still on the fence — and maybe hoping the NHL 94 Rewind also becomes part of the package again — it might be worth waiting a little longer.
MLB The Show 20
The Show has been consistent all generation, and that continued with MLB The Show 20. So being able to recommend the game for $10 is easy for us (you can find that deal on Best Buy or PSN). Diamond Dynasty is a whole game in and of itself at this point with all the content you could keep yourself busy with until MLB The Show 21, and the game runs as good as it ever has if you want to play it on next-gen consoles.
The Show is starting to feel outdated as it relates to franchise mode, but the gameplay is still great. Plus, you can always carry over your franchise mode saves between versions of the game, and there are a lot of fun custom rosters out there if you want to try out a different experience rather than play with rosters that feel outdated as we wait for the next MLB season to begin.
Super Mega Baseball 3
Metalhead has the best indie franchise going today with Super Mega Baseball. All three versions are on sale right now on Steam, and we recommend any of the three. SMB 3 is the best and has the most depth, but it’s $34 so you maybe want to make sure you like the franchise first by scoping out the original game for $8. Regardless, SMB 3 is great and worth that price, and it has online leagues and a host of other modes to keep you busy.
UFC 4 is back at a price we’ve seen it at before, which is $30. This is usually about as low as UFC gets for quite a bit. It will eventually end up on EA Play, but since UFC is not a yearly franchise and EA tries to provide DLC and patches throughout its life, it takes longer to get to true bargain bin prices. It’s hard to get a consensus on how people feel about UFC 4, and our review is more of the same in that regard. If you’re really on the fence, an EA Play subscription to check out UFC 3 isn’t the worst option, but if you want to play online, then UFC 4 makes more sense.
All in all, I will go with the “safe” answer here and say only check this out at $30 if you’re a fan of the sport.
PGA Tour 2K21
PGA Tour 2K21 is $28 on all consoles right now at Best Buy and Amazon. If you like playing online, this is an easy recommendation. PGA 2K does not have a ton of PGA pros so far, so it hurts the experience a bit for career mode, but overall there’s a lot still to like here with this series. Kevin really likes this year’s version as well, so I know he would say this is a good deal. At worst, some people have been a little letdown by the DLC, but the base game for newcomers is still solid.
Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2
One of my favorite titles this year, Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2 can be found for $20 on GameFly. If you don’t want the slightly used version, you can get it for $25 at Target. This remake is a great blueprint for any other sports games that maybe come back from the dead (SSX, Street games, etc.) because it updates the game mechanics in logical ways, tweaks the music here and there, and adds new characters on top of the updated graphics.
Still, it’s the game you still remember in your childhood brain, only it now rules all over again in the modern era. Elliott feels the same way, and that’s why he was effusive with his praise in the review.
Out Of The Park Baseball 21
Being able to snag OOTP 21 for $9.99 on Steam is one of the easier recommendations to make. Yes, we’ll be getting a new version in a couple months, but the beauty of OOTP is you can buy it every year and be happy, or just chill with a version from a prior year and still be fulfilled if you aren’t following the series year to year anyway.
Franchise Hockey Manager 6
The cheapest game on here is FHM 6. If you want a Football Manager or OOTP equivalent for hockey, this is as close as it gets. It does not quite reach those levels, but it’s also only $2. Speaking of other text sims, we’re stopping here, but you might be able to find other deals.
Football Manager has its newest version coming out soon so that’s why it’s not here, but last year’s version was also free on the Epic Games Store not too long ago.
WWE 2K Battlegrounds
You can find Battlegrounds for $12.74 (discount at checkout) right now at Amazon. There’s no regular WWE 2K title this year, so if you want a new wrestling game this is your option. WWE 2K20 you can find for about $15 on PC if you want to go that more “simulation” route, but there’s no obvious deal that will beat this Battlegrounds one. Phil mostly liked Battlegrounds in his review, and thinks it will be a hit with the younger demographic. In general, we don’t consider Battlegrounds a special arcade wrestling game like WWE All-Stars, but it’s a good deal.
All in all, everything not named NBA 2K21 next gen has a discounted version right now that at least puts it into the category of being intriguing. If you still don’t want to take the plunge today, a lot of these deals will return in the weeks ahead. On top of that, EA Sports games all eventually end up on EA Play if you just want to play them at some point even after the real seasons have ended. The only thing to remind you about once more is that the next-gen versions of FIFA and Madden can be had for current-gen prices due to the free upgrades. Everything else fits into the usual buckets of being on sale during the holiday season.