The Game Awards has a sports gaming category without MLB 15: The Show. What the hell?
Proving that even the mainstream gaming outlets still need to pretend to care about sports and sports games, The Game Awards 2015 has a category for the red-headed step child of video game categories. Fortunately, as GameSided is part of the FanSided sports and entertainment network, we take pride in having an understanding and appreciation of quality sports video games, even if baseball is supposedly so niche that Sony’s effort is left off the ballot.
Note that we are omitting “racing” from the Best Sports Game category, because racing is a sport.
Of all the sports games out there, perhaps the easiest to pick up and play would be from the FIFA series. EA Sports has built up an engine that allows for an exciting offering each year, complete with the most expansive roster of athletes, stadiums, football clubs, gameplay modes and kits. FIFA 16 took it one step further by implementing Women’s Football play into their package, including the likes of Canada’s Christine Sinclair and the United States of America’s Alex Morgan on Canada and America’s respective covers, alongside Messi.
While it doesn’t seem like a big deal at first glance, it brings legitimacy to the expansion and evolution that soccer has experienced in North America. Without stellar US wins and Canadian heartbreak via terrible calls made by US refs over the past few decades, the prevalence of the beautiful game might not be on the rise as it is today. FIFA 16 took a brilliant first step, and its willingness to add female athletes may be enough alone to incentivize critics to name it The Game Awards’ best sports game.
The biggest improvement Forza 6 made to its formula was to not give in as hard to its monetization schemes that Forza 5 was riddled with. That, alone, isn’t enough to give Forza 6 best sports game honors; for that, you would have to look to the game’s progression mechanics. Drivatars have been improved to better replicate human behavior, while more development time with the Xbox One has led Turn 10 Studios to produce a more graphically detailed racing experience. Plus, you can’t go wrong with having members of Britain’s Top Gun help provide a more engaged narrative experience!
What better way to incentivize the latest NBA game from 2K Sports than for two simultaneous streaks? The Golden State Warriors haven’t lost a game yet this season (as of press time), nor have the 76’ers won a game since last season. Proof that truth is sometimes stranger than fiction, you’re more likely to find a balanced gameplay output in NBA 2K16. Plus, with Spike Lee directing the game’s story campaign, no doubt you’re in for some crazily intricate (possibly specter-like) narrative to take place.
NBA 2K16 continues its tradition of being way and above the best basketball game on the market, and its that dominance that may lead to its win on Thursday night for best sports game at The Game Awards.
Pro Evolution Soccer 2016
Whereas FIFA concerns itself with adding more and more licenses each year, Konami will continue to pour into the one strength it has (and will have post-December 2015): the Fox Engine. Not only does it allow for a strong array of dynamic lighting, coloring and shadow options, but it allows for smarter AI to take over defensive schemes and aggressive measures, often contexutally to a match’s current scenario. When you play Pro Evolution Soccer 2016, it feels like you’re playing or controlling an actual soccer match, making its true-to-life aspects viable for this category at The Game Awards.
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While playing the least like a real sport in today’s society, Rocket League combines the objectives of soccer and the versatility of racing to provide an explosive new eSports category all in its own. Teams of up to four go head-to-head in an effort to drive the ball into an opponent’s net. Limited speed boosts, juggling mechanics, calculated front/back flips and jumps off the side of the wall all give the game a much needed breath of fresh air.
Rocket League is so addictive, yet it remains simple in its nature; a rectangular field with a giant ball and people ramming their cars into it at fast speeds. The easy to play, difficult to master mechanics make it so alluring as a game; it wants you to become a master of its mechanics. Because of that, we see that it’s in a strong position as a popular choice to win Best Sports Game at The Game Awards later this week.