The best sports games tend to be iterations of series that are updated every year. This format applies more to sports-related video games than most other genres, but that doesn’t mean this list is exclusively filled with the latest FIFA or Football Manager. They’re among the best sports games, sure, but for a reason: they really are the best at what they do, and while making subtle changes to the long-running formula, enough changes from year to year year to keep them above the rest. Read on for the best sports games worth singing about from the stands in 2022.
The best sports games
10. Super Mega Baseball 3
Baseball? Yeah. Mega? Uh-uh. Great? Definitively. Bigheads and fictional players make this third effort from Metalhead Software a true back-to-the-future experience, delivering retro mechanics in an HD world.
While the pick-up-and-play of home runs brings accessibility, it’s an expansive franchise mode that offers surprising longevity: simpler than, say, MLB The Show 21 (which might just be on this list later in the year), it still strikes the right balance between player profession and management strategy. It’s especially fun on Nintendo Switch, a machine that – for all its might – lacks high-level sporting endeavors. A great swing and a ginormous shot.
9. FIFA 22
“Pay to win.” “Scripted”. “Broken.” FIFA wouldn’t be FIFA without players queuing up to take hits, and the lootbox mechanics of opening packs in Ultimate Team definitely need some extra transparency. Still, taken as a package, there are few sports games – or indeed games of any genre – that give you so much back for your money.
Avoid spending money on FIFA Points and Ultimate Team is extremely rewarding, especially with truly innovative card types. Career mode has been significantly improved by the ability to drop in and out of simulated matches in FIFA 21, and still does in FIFA 22. Volta is also a neat five-man distraction, and having all licenses under the sun (other than Roma and Juventus) reinforces the action on the pitch. When it’s bad, it’s very bad – but when it’s good, it’s so good.
8. Fight Night Champion
Available on Xbox Series X through Microsoft’s backward compatibility program, Fight Night Champion is the perfect recreation of sweet science. In a corner, EA marries its usual superb treatment of fringe sports with precision controls and graphics that even today are likely to stop you in your tracks. In the other, the champion mode of Fight Night Champion. Heralding a wave of full-fledged narratives that punctuated the sports games of the next decade, the story of André Bishop has never been better.
But Fight Night is nothing without its bell-to-bell gameplay. Thankfully, the killer action still packs a punch, and climbing the ladder from punching bag to boxer in the game’s Legacy mode remains compelling. It’s a complete package that ensures that the Fight Night series, while still in limbo, is never truly out of place.
7. F1 2020
The official Formula 1 franchise has been through a tumultuous time over the past decade, and fans of the series will remember the disappointment of F1 2014. Thankfully, it’s back in top form now and F1 2020 is one of the best racing games you can buy. today. It offers a very different racing experience to a game like Forza Horizon 4, but if you like super-fast cars with that hair-raising engine sound ripping through the 22 unique circuits, the F1 2020 experience is second to none.
If you fancy a solo career, you can either replace an existing driver in one of the 10 teams (goodbye Latifi) or create your own brand new team to be 11th on the grid, select your teammate and become the first owner-driver since Graham Hill with the Embassy Hill team in 1975. You can also compete online, race a number of classic cars, explore F2 vehicles… there’s breadth and depth , from novice to veteran.
6. Baseball out of the park 22
Outside of the US, Football Manager has long been considered the only game in town where sports strategy games are concerned – but there’s a humdinger of a dugout sim tucked away in that collective blind spot. OOTP is just as deep as its soccer counterpart, gobbling up hours as you negotiate trades, promote and demote fees between affiliate clubs, and revel in stealing bases and breaking circuits.
The latest appearance in the series features 3D baseball fields for all MLB clubs, improved trading AI, and online and offline play, but it’s the long-running staples that make it so great – like stepping back in time. to rewrite history by starting the game in any year from 1871, with teams and player names accurate to the time. A sporty colossus whose appeal is undeniable.
5. The art of the rally
It’s such a shame that Art of Rally didn’t quite get the attention it deserved when it launched in September 2020, as it’s one of the most stylistic and gorgeous racing games out there. nowadays. This is an indie game that focuses on the “golden age” of rallying, featuring many classic cars, including a number from the infamous Group B category.
Instead of putting you behind the wheel, Art of Rally plays from a top-down view, similar to Micro Machines, but don’t expect any power-ups. It’s still a tough game to master with plenty of tricks to learn like counter-steering and Scandinavian film, as you explore 60 stages from Norway to Japan. One of the true dormant hits of 2020.
4. Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1+2
Nostalgia has a bad habit of playing tricks on you. Fire up the original Tony Hawk series on PlayStation and your rose-tinted memories of drinking Red Bull and listening to Goldfinger on repeat may fade. It’s muddy, tedious, and lacks some of the smoothness of future THPS endeavors.
Vicarious Visions was therefore tasked with the impossible: to recreate a classic series as your mind perceived it all those years ago. It doesn’t just succeed; it arguably enhances one of the most beloved sports franchises ever created. The tweaks are smart, but subtle: later capabilities, such as feedback, are included to help improve the flow, while online multiplayer recreates the bragging rights sessions crammed onto a CRT TV all those years ago. . This is Tony Hawk’s essential experience. ‘Nuff said.
Whether you grew up playing Championship Manager or have recently adopted the Football Manager franchise, you’ll know how addictive and accurate the simulation is, mirroring real football. Everything from negotiating transfers and offering new contracts to day-to-day training and interacting with the press is up to you – or not, if you’d rather have the staff handle it. Although FM does not allow you to directly control players on the field, it is a much more complete tactical simulation than anything on the market.
Football Manager 2022 takes everything the series has excelled at over the past decade and combines it into one package, resulting in the best FM game yet. Take charge of your local non-league club or replace one of the all-time greats in a trophy-winning team; the choice is yours because you have a story to tell and a legacy to forge. Deadline Day, the new feature installed in FM 2022, is as exciting as it is unnerving.
2. Descent from the Lonely Mountains
The best sports game you’ve ever played – fix that ASAP. Juxtaposing gruesome deaths with jaw-dropping landscapes, you steer a cube-man biker through four mountains of challenging and enduring courses.
Each disappearance is brutal, hilarious and informative: a one-on-one learning experience as you constantly refine your routes, seeking to erase your best time rather than your kneecaps. The controls are simple but deft, the unlockables generous, the nights spent at “just one more run” plentiful. It is, in every way, damn brilliant.
1. Rocket League
Some ideas are so wonderfully simple that it’s impossible to imagine a world without them. Rocket League is an example. Bursting onto the scene (and, memorably, free with PS Plus) in 2015, Rocket League sees teams of up to four bumpers locked in what is essentially “soccer with cars”.
Rocket League’s greatest strength is its accessibility. There is a button each for driving, jumping and boosting. The rest – including the seemingly endless meta-skill ceiling involving flips, floating jumps, and seal-like precision with the ball – is up to you. The fact that it retained its stamina says a lot about developer Psyonix’s talent for tweaking the addictive formula. New cars, celebrations, and variations on the classic format ensure this will be a game we’ll likely be talking about throughout the 2020s.