With the current generation coming to a close – there will continue to be releases but they’ll no longer be the focus of development or marketing – it offers an opportunity to reflect on the continually shrinking sports genre and how things have developed in the last eight years. In order to find what the community determines to be the best sports game of the Xbox 360, PS3, and Wii generation is a tournament that will run over the next several weeks.
64 games were chosen to be part of the field based on a number of factors. Obviously not all of these games were great or even good but those included at the very least did something innovative that may have had some influence on the genre since. The max number of entries from a single series was limited to three.
Seeding was determined (1 vs 16, 8 vs 9, ect) however the numbering left off the brackets and ordering mixed up in order to avoid that tainting the voting in any way. Cast your vote in each pairing based on the game you got the most enjoyment out of, did the most to try and earn your money, or meant the most to the sports gaming genre.
The second region opens up for voting today. The other two will come later in the week. Continue on for the voting and feel free to leave your thoughts on the matchups and what games should advance in the comments!
Tiger Woods PGA Tour 12: The Masters vs Madden NFL 08
The debut of Augusta National in a golf video game made Tiger Woods 12 transcend its more typical limited appeal. Online Live Tournaments, Road to the Masters career mode, and caddies (to help make the game more accessible) were introduced. Madden 08 was the first solid entry for the series this generation. It returned many past-gen features like an Owner mode and fantasy drafts while adding weapon icons and expanding Superstar mode.
2010 FIFA World Cup vs Top Spin 4
This World Cup offering was lauded for its accessibility, fun factor, and turning even non-soccer fans into loyal FIFA gamers. It included every national team and South African stadium, incredible atmosphere, and the “World League Ladder” online – an early look at what would evolve into Online Seasons. Widely considered the best of the tennis series Top Spin 4 changed up the control scheme while adding more emotion, signature animations, and TV-style presentation.
UFC 2009 Undisputed vs FIFA Street
The debut of the UFC series from THQ was a smashing success both in terms of sales and critical response. The gameplay, differentiated fighter styles, roster, and graphics were all exceptional for a first entry with fights often exciting and rewarding. FIFA Street rebooted in 2012 successfully using the FIFA gameplay engine and EA Sports Football Club while offering a good amount of content for an arcade title.
Wii Sports vs UEFA EURO 2008
Packed in with every console Wii Sports was largely credited in making the Nintendo system a huge success. The game helped capture a new segment of more casual consumers with bowling the standout of the sports included. While many will remember the disaster of the UEFA EURO DLC release in 2012, the standalone edition in 2008 delivered all 53 licensed competing nations and the official stadiums, the “Captain Your Country” single-player mode, and online knockout draw 16 team tournaments.
NBA Live 10 vs Blitz: The League II
On par with the competition in 2009, and in the opinion of some the best basketball game that year, NBA Live 10 represents the last basketball game to release from EA Sports. Sim gameplay was coupled with what might still be the best atmosphere ever in a sports game. A strong feature set and excellent online play were notable. Blitz: The League II offered up a compelling story mode, strong voice over work, and gameplay that exceeded expectations. It also will always be remembered for the infamous “ruptured scrotum” injury scene.
WWE 13 vs UFC Undisputed 3
With a focus on the “Attitude Era” WWE 13 was able to tap into a rich history and and the nostalgia of wrestling fans. UFC Undisputed 3 goes out as the last edition from the now defunct THQ in strong fashion having taken advantage of an extended development cycle. It improved in accessibility, had good gameplay balance, and introduced Pride mode.
NHL 11 vs SSX
The big addition for EA’s NHL series was real-time physics. Be a Pro and EASHL were improved upon, Hockey Ultimate Team debuted, and the CHL first appeared. EA rebooted the popular SSX series with a fun offering rich with innovation, that offered engaging and crisp gameplay, and had superb post-release support.
MLB 2K8 vs FIFA 12
The much-maligned MLB 2K series innovated with right stick pitching that would pressure the competition to follow a few years later. Many still would prefer the gesture-based pitching that started with 2K8. With FIFA 12 EA Sports debuted the new physics engine which – while wonky at times – pushed the series forward. Online Seasons mode made its first appearance and Ultimate Team became part of the base product.