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OS Staff Selects Our 2016 Sports Game of the Year

Operation Sports

OS Staff Selects Our 2016 Sports Game of the Year

The Staff Sports Game of the Year has been handed out for over a decade now here at Operation Sports. The process for how we decide the sports game of the year is simple for our staff voting: We simply have everyone send their top three sports games of the year and assign them points in a reverse manner (3 points for 1st, 2 for 2nd, 1 for 3rd).

We do it this way because we want to be able to award the top three sports games as voted on by the staff, so we allow the staff to vote on three total games on their list.

Over the past several seasons, NBA 2K has dominated this list, winning the last several years thanks to a lot of innovation and a polished presentation and gameplay product.

Did NBA 2K17 hold onto the crown? Let’s make the jump and find out!

3. Madden NFL 17

The staff was pretty high on Madden this year. It received a couple of first-place votes but a lot of second-place love. In fact, it was voted in second place by our staff writers more than any other game by quite a big margin.

Why was Madden successful this year?

It would seem the biggest aspects were the improved gameplay, which is probably the best ever in a football game along with improved commentary, and thus, a better overall presentation package. The franchise mode saw some big improvements too with the new game planning and big moments options.

The Play the Moments feature was a welcomed addition as well. In short: Madden did a lot right this year and cracking the top three means the game had a rather good year.

2. NBA 2K17

Well, there you have it. Just like Alabama was dethroned as the king of college football by Clemson on Monday night, so to has NBA 2K17 been dethroned.

But the fact that the series didn’t win the gold speaks to the quality of the sports games this year more than NBA 2K17 taking a step back. The game still has a lot of really great experiences within it.

The new expansion teams feature in MyGM is a fantastically fun addition — not to mention the depth introduced into the mode with new CBA agreements and even random rules changes going into effect for future years. MyGM throws everything PLUS the kitchen sink into it.

The presentation in 2K17 is phenomenal as well, and probably unmatched in sports gaming. From the pregame and postgame shows to the in-game commentary, camera cuts, crowd reactions and so much more: NBA 2K17’s presentation is the best in our genre.

Where 2K17 tripped up a bit this year — at least with the staff — had to do with the gameplay and the MyCareer mode. The on-court action is still solid, but some legacy issues within the gameplay along with some newer issues really tripped up some folks this year. The game is still one of the best playing sports games, but at OS gameplay is king and when the perception is you took a small step backwards, some are going to react negatively to that.

1. MLB The Show 16

MLB The Show 16 has the most authentic gameplay in the sports genre, according to the staff. From the batter/pitcher interactions to adjusting your defense, to making the right substitutions at the right time: no game in our genre captures the feel of playing the actual sport quite like MLB The Show 16.

And if that’s all The Show 16 did, it would still be in competition to win this award. But The Show 16 did so much more.

First, the franchise mode menu system was improved. In addition, items like being able to play an entire series without exiting through loading screens and coming back in were also added in this season. If you don’t think that’s a big deal, just ask any time-crunched gamer who wants to play through a full 162-game season or six.

Second, Road to The Show saw some big upgrades, including the new Scouting Day and the ability to play entire series without exiting the mode. Again, that’s huge for a time-crunched gamer.

Showtime also debuted, and while most OS’ers didn’t care for the feature that much, it did allow for a few cool moments if you gave it a chance. The fantastic Battle Royale and Conquest modes debuted to great fanfare, and Diamond Dynasty was back and better than ever with some big tweaks to make the mode more enjoyable.

Simply put, MLB The Show 16 was an achievement of what can be done by doing a bunch of little things to have them add up to a package that’s a whole lot better, especially when backed by the best gameplay in the business.


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  1. I would have put PES over Madden just because of how good the gameplay is. I feel like it's becoming the MLB of soccer games. NBA 2k deserves to be here because it is definitely the fullest package. I just hope they get rid of the legacy issues and revert the career node to what it onc was. There are plenty of ways without using a story to add immersion to the mode. This story stuff can exist, but not at the expense of the traditional career mode. That's something FIFA understood. A lot of the times when these studios say they base effort put into modes based on user usage %, it's really a half-assed way of allocating time. If modes don't change sufficiently from year to year, of course less people will play them. This doesn't mean you abandon the mode, no, you fix it, actually innovate w/in the mode.
    Excuse the rant lol Just tired of seeing traditional career and franchise modes getting the ridiculously short-end of the stick.
    I can agree with these I own an Xbox so have no recent dealing with the show. I agree with bxphenom7 franchise mode needs to be brought to the forefront with these gaming companies. Everyone is talking about Ultimate Team, but to me that mode is a side dish. It is like going to a restaurant and that restaurant only takes time fixing up the salad completely ignoring the fact that folks are tired of the steak. Nothing wrong with Ultimate Team, but franchise has been and will always be the backbone of the game. Innovate that mode I am a gamer for over 30 years the only reason I play is to be own realistic GM. Not a fantasy player what do we see sports news talking about real team transactions. Sure we have fantasy segments, but one again just a side bar. Come gaming companies put some innovation into franchise. MLB and NBA have, time for others to step up.
    No Pro Evolution Soccer? As much as I love NBA 2K, it would have been 3rd on my list, barely.
    1. PES 2017
    2. MLB The Show
    3. NBA 2K17
    Just my opinion, of course.
    Sent from my SM-N910V using Operation Sports mobile app

    PES got a push from certain portions of the staff, don't think it had as much wide appeal as the other 3 is all. PES is fabulous in either case.
    No Pro Evolution Soccer? As much as I love NBA 2K, it would have been 3rd on my list, barely.
    1. PES 2017
    2. MLB The Show
    3. NBA 2K17
    Just my opinion, of course.
    Sent from my SM-N910V using Operation Sports mobile app

    Right there with you on top 3, although hard to say what order 1-3 as they're all fantanstic!
    For me, NBA and MLB are 1a & 1b, over everything else. The fact that I am actively playing MLB the show currently - well after the season being over is a testament to the game. I play NBA2K regularly and own Madden, but dont play it nearly enough to make my list personally. For me, all of the games on the list are great.
    For me:-
    NBA 2K17 is number 1...
    MLB The Show 16 a close 2nd.
    But if there's an award for the Most Imoroved Player then Madden 17 hands down. This game isn't perfect by any stretch, especially when compared to my top 2, but this is the most enjoyable the franchise has been since 05. I just hope & pray EA don't get lazy this year & push on & make this the game it deserves to be.
    NBA 2k17 is the best game of the year. I buy every NBA Madden and Show every year.
    NBA did in an incredible job. Easily the best.

    Agreed. MLB The Show is not at the same level. I would vote The Show to be second best, if we're speaking about console only games. OOTP is still the best baseball game on the market overall though.
    1. PES 2017
    2. NBA 2K17
    3. MLB The Show
    Pro Evo 2017 is unbelievably good this year. Replicates its respective sport (the uniqueness of different players/teams) almost to the tee. It gets #1 imo.
    My son is a soccer fanatic and in the vancouver white caps farm system and had me playing fifa over christmas and i didn't enjoy it that much but im only a casual fan of the sport at best. I have EA access so i end up playing a bit of FIFA every year but other than looking darn pretty it does little else to garner my attention and i assumed it was because of my casual interest in the sport.
    ...........then out of boredom and apparently money burning a hole in my pocket i purchased PES 17. I hadn't played a konami soccer game since one of the winning eleven on ps2 and had reserved expectations. Wow is all i can really say. The gameplay is unbelievable and i honestly feel like the only thing keeping it from being #1 on the list is that its soccer. I asked my son why he doesn't play PES and he said hed heard the gameplay was good but the lack of liscences had stopped him from giving it a chance. I pretty much blew his mind when i showed him what the community has done with the option files.
    i think you got the top 2 right...but i would have put fifa 3rd.....really maddon and fifa added nothing new worth paying attention to...but fifa is a smoother playing game
    1. NBA 2K17
    1. PES 2017
    1. MLB the Show 16
    4. Madden 17
    I agree with a lot of the comments. I've gone back and forth with all the games this year as to what was the best. The expansion/relocation addition to NBA 2K17 was fantastic. I would love to see this feature added to all sports games.
    I love the game play on Madden but One BIG disappointment was commentary. Initially, I loved the newness but it has quickly become repetitive again. Extremely disappointed, after I won the AFC Championship game, in how the commentary didn't bring up that my team was going to the Super Bowl but rather focused on how cold it was.
    Maybe someday the NHL series will crack the top 3...
    I did not pick up Madden this year cause it is usually an every-other year or every 3rd year buy for me unless I find a super cheap used copy well after the real NFL season is over. And even then I'm usually disappointed that the game play feels mostly the same as it has for years. But I may at least give it a rental and see what the hub-bub is about.
    Can't go wrong with MLB The Show, it is excellent and it is the one sports game I buy every year.. And I'm really enjoying NBA 2K this year, the series has been really good the past few years, good enough that I've bought it 3 years in a row now.
    Madden is by far the most improved. But to receive any votes over The Show or 2k.... not quite.
    I think as long as madden puts in the effort and improvements it did this last year, it can compete with the other two. But it still has a lot of catching up.

Executive Editor.

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