If you’ve always fantasized about being a professional sports player, today’s realistic and accurate video games let you live out that very dream. Here are the top five sports video game franchises that turn video game players into sports players and put them in the center of the action.
1. MLB: The Show
When its first installment was released back in 2006, MLB: The Show became an instant hit among baseball fanatics and gamers. The franchise has grown more popular since, coming out with a new game annually and making improvements to the series every year. In fact, for the past eight years, the series has been named the highest rated sports video game franchise by Metacritic. So what’s all the hype about? The game’s over-the-top realism and the play-by-play given by commentators leaves players feeling like they’re watching a major league game on TV. And the smooth mechanics make it easy to play. Dominate the diamond in the newest installment to the series, MLB 14: The Show, available now on PS3 and PS Vita and set to be released May 2014 for PS4.
2. Madden NFL
One of the most reputable sports video game series of all time, Madden NFL began way back in 1988 and has gone on to become the best selling EA Sports series in the country. And the game has only improved with age. The newest installment to the franchise, Madden NFL 25, brings realism to the next level. The crowd and the sidelines come alive like never before, the motions are truer than ever, and the next-gen visuals are more than impressive. The franchise prides itself on its accuracy, making the series that much more attractive to diehard football fans. In fact, player stats and ratings are updated with every game release to reflect their current real-life stats. Even changes in players’ appearances, such as hairstyles and tattoos, are updated. Fans of the franchise can look forward to the release of Madden NFL 15 in 2014.
While soccer may not be a hugely popular sport in the U.S., this professional soccer video game series is highly-regarded in the gaming community. With challenging gameplay, great graphics, competitive online game modes, and improvements made every year with each new game release, players can truly appreciate the franchise whether they’re big soccer fans or not. The latest installment, FIFA 14, allows players to make swift and precise movements, put together their dream team, make quick, game-changing decisions, and more easily protect the ball from aggressive opponents.
All the action on the ice comes to life in EA’s NHL, the highly-acclaimed professional ice hockey video game series. The franchise has grown tremendously since its start in 1991 and the series’ 23rd installment, NHL 14, is continuing the series’ success. Major improvements have been made, including more realistic skating and collisions with other players, revamped online game modes, and even enhanced on-ice fist-fighting, a signature of the sport.
It may come as a surprise that a snowboarding game is included on this top five list. But the SSX video game series has offered such incredible and enjoyable gameplay over the years that even people who aren’t into snowboarding in real life have great fun hitting the slopes in-game. The characters are colorful, players can keep discovering new tricks, and the courses are replete with exciting twists, turns, and opportunities to get extreme air and perform insane stunts. And the best part of all is that you really don’t need to know anything about the sport to succeed in the game. With six games in the series so far and three mobile games, SSX fans can only hope another installment is in the works.