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Sports Game of the Year Roundtable

Sports Gaming

Sports Game of the Year Roundtable

It was a truly interesting year for sports games and at the end of the day, a couple of serious contenders emerged amongst the staff. Here’s how we voted, and why.

TJ Henderson

Is there a sports game with a more solid year-to-year foundation than The Show? PlayStation’s exclusive baseball simulation continues to improve on a title that is always a pure joy to experience. The visuals continue to improve, game modes like Diamond Dynasty and RttS continue to dominate my time, and the developers are still adding fantastic touches like the batting stance creator. This game has made baseball not only enjoyable, but addicting. Let the magic continue under the bright lights.

Joe Doyle

MLB The Show is the most polished sports game on the market right now. San Diego Studios has done a tremendous job pumping out new content for users to dabble with in Diamond Dynasty for almost 10 months now, and have shown no signs of slowing, even though MLB The Show 19 is set to launch in just two months. Whether playing out a career on Road to the Show, controlling an organization top to bottom with franchise mode, or working your way up the ranks in the super addicting Diamond Dynasty mode, MLB The Show has something for everyone.

Josh Houtz

Year after year, MLB The Show is one of the best sports games, and to be honest, it’s not particularly close. The focus on realism is second to none, and the gameplay is just about flawless. This year’s game takes the sounds and visuals of America’s Pastime to the next level. It truly is a home run, and that is why MLB The Show is my Sports Game of the Year.

Matt Llewellyn

As much as I love MLB The Show, to me, NBA 2K19 is by far the most bang for the buck in sports games. While it deservedly catches some flak for its microtransaction-heavy MyCareer mode, it still has every and anything else a sports gamer could want. MyGM mode? Check. Card collecting mode? Check. Historic teams? Check. Finally, MyLeague is the deepest and best franchise mode in all of sports. This was an easy choice for me despite the flaws.

Joel Smith

There are only two things holding NBA 2K back from virtual perfection as a sports gaming title:

1) The servers, which have needed a serious overhaul for some years now.

2) An overtly greedy microtransaction system that almost forces you to spend a good chunk of your own money to feel and enjoy success.

NBA 2K19, despite these issues, still holds the crown for Sports Game of the Year. Depth, modes and completeness, the game really gives you the best of everything and has something that appeals to everyone. If they can manage to sort out servers (because they’ll never stray away from the cash cow that is microtransactions) within the next cycle or two, there’s a very high chance that the respective version of the game that brings everything together could be known as one of best sports gaming titles ever. All other sports gaming titles need to take a serious look at NBA 2K and figure out how to step up and create a truly immersive, in-depth experience for fans to enjoy.

Phil Varckette

Let me explain what is sure to be a polarizing reaction to my choice. When deciding what, in my opinion is the best sports game of the year, I have to look at what I enjoy and play the most. For whatever reason WWE 2K19 keeps pulling me back in. A fantastic MyCareer mode, and the sheer number of wrestlers to play as makes me want to try every possible combination of wrestlers and matches. Plus, the fact that I can turn on the game, play one match and be satisfied for the evening is great for me as it’s become harder for me to devote my attention to one game for a long period of time. I also feel like the gameplay has improved to the point where it feels like the matches are finally realistic enough to satisfy WWE fans.

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  1. MLB the Show?  Do you guys even play other games?  MLB has been trending downhill the last 3 years and this edition was the worst.  NHL and FIFA offer the best gameplay and NBA offers the  best franchise in sports games.  This round table is terrible.
    Respectfully you guys are tripping with your praise for the show. I’ve never seen a more blatant repackaging year after year. Gameplay is almost identical in the last three years. Ball physics are a joke and don’t get me started on the tragedy that is franchise mode... it’s the only mlb game So I’ll support but these guys make it super hard to continue.... oh and lemme not forget to mention the fielding sucks and the players have ni weight to them whatsoever .... games floaty.
    Seriously this is painful to read.  The gameplay in the Show this year was downright horrendous and abhorrent.  I implore you to take a look on YouTube of gameplay videos from the previous ten iterations of the Show and name the improvements.  I can EASILY name more regression points than improvements.  The fact that the reviewers of this website are praising the Show is concerning to say the least.  A GOOD reviewer is someone who sees the faults as well as the pros.  And the Show has been regressing for the greater part of a decade now.
    The Show removed online leagues this year. To me that’s a regression. But like NBA 2K you can forgive most things simply because both these games have a level of immersion and simulation that all of EA’s games lack.  I guess that’s why these 2 games continue to be the ‘gold standard’ of sports games year on year even if it feels like they’re treading water. Until EA understands how presentation and authenticity of gameplay are the key drivers in giving users the self made stories of teams and players throughout the season they’ll never ever meet that ‘live the life’ tagline they tried to bamboozal us with at the start of this gen.
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