The Best Sports Games You Can Play in 2016
Play daily, but don’t play weakly.
Written by Jonathan Armour, edited by David Oxford
A new year beckons and new sporting challenges with it, as men and women strive for glory in feats of athletic prowess. But what about those of us who can’t be bothered to go outside, let alone do all that training and running around? Never fear, we can play some games that are a bit like those sports we’re not good enough to do in real life.
Let’s go through our best options.
The kicking of a ball, so popular in Europe and South America, has some fine video game adaptations. But when it comes down to it, you have two choices:
Pro Evolution Soccer 2016 is the purists’ choice. With fluid football and pleasing complexity, it rewards people who are willing to master its intricacies.
FIFA 16 on the other hand is glossy, exciting and wonderfully presented. The football is arguably a little more shallow and for some reason, despite the introduction of women’s soccer this year, several members of the Canadian national team were removed from the game.
Football is the turn-based strategists’ sport of choice, with its carefully executed plays and defensive counters. In gaming form, there’s one title that has always stood tall — Madden NFL 16.
With its air battles and precision passing, Madden is looking as good as ever, while building a franchise offers you hours of play. Whether you play with the New England Patriots (4/1 in the betting odds to win the Super Bowl when this article was produced) or the less successful Tennessee Titans, it promises non-stop thrills.
And what is there for those who prefer bouncing a ball on the floor instead of kicking or throwing or running around with it tucked in underneath our arm? Fear not! Basketball simulations are not in short supply. NBA 2K16 is particularly wonderful and, because there are less players on the court than inhabit football or soccer games, it looks fantastic, too, with players individually sweating.
Fighting refers to actual fighting like the UFC where you can see people pummeling each other into the ground, or wrestling where people pretend to pummel each other into the ground while also acting out a sort of spandex soap opera.
If UFC and brutal violence are you preferred spectacle, look no further than EA Sports UFC series. With dozens of fighters on offer, it is a comprehensive package that any UFC fan owes themselves to purchase. Bear in mind the next edition is just around the corner, with a March release in mind.
If it is wrestling you’re after, WWE 2K16 is a definite return to form for the series, combining great fighting with a sense of theatrics. Sadly there is no video game ready to tackle the awesome of Olympic Wrestling, which is a shame, cos Canadians are kinda good at it.
Now we’re talking: skating, fighting, smashing things with a big stick. This is a real sport.
NHL 16 captures ice hockey perfectly, with a variety of modes returning from previous installments that were sorely missed. Be a Pro mode returns along with the EASHL mode that was sorely missing from NHL 15, where you can join an online team as a single player and show those (other) nerds how to (theoretically) play hockey (without having to move).