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 third region opens up for voting today. The final one will do so tomorrow. Make sure to vote in Region A and Region B! Continue on for the voting and feel free to leave your thoughts on the matchups and what games should advance in the comments!
Fight Night Round 3 vs Grand Slam Tennis
As the first sports game to wow the masses by showing off the power of the Xbox 360 and later the PS3, Fight Night Round 3 impressed both visually and with its gameplay. Grand Slam Tennis was a Wii exclusive that resonated well with both sim and casual players by utilizing MotionPlus, featuring all the Grand Slam tournaments, and bringing in greats from the past for the roster.
Skate vs College Hoops 2K7
Adapting an analog control scheme and implementing a physics system made Skate a revolutionary product in 2007 that (along with the two sequels that followed) took over the skateboarding genre that had long been Tony Hawk’s. At the time the College Hoops series was widely considered the most “sim” of the basketball products on the market. 2K7 – the first release for the series on PS3 but 360′s second – featured the debut of the shot stick, team chemistry, and enhanced atmosphere.
NBA 2K13 vs 3-on-3 NHL Arcade
NBA 2K13 continued the streak of strong releases for the franchise by excelling in most areas including content, gameplay, presentation, commentary, and career mode while improving its online play. The discount downloadable 3-on-3 NHL Arcade brought with it fun factor and some interesting ideas while implementing good strategy and balance for an arcade game.
NCAA Football 11 vs Fight Night Round 4
By implementing a player locomotion system and ESPN branded presentation NCAA Football 11 improved dramatically both on the field and off. Online play and post-release support from EA were excellent. Continuing what the series was known for Fight Night Round 4 looked great and played well. From a technical standpoint it brought in a new physics engine while featuring a new career mode and attempting to better differentiate boxer styles.
NCAA Football 09 vs Rockstar Table Tennis
One of the biggest innovations in sports gaming came with the debut of Online Dynasty in NCAA Football 09. Other games would follow with their own cooperative franchise type modes changing the way many consumers played sports games. “Wide-open gameplay” was touted to better represent college football and differentiate from the pro game. NCAA 09 also introduced the EA Locker which allowed consumers to share named roster files seamlessly. Table Tennis was an exceptionally fun and addictive game early in the Xbox 360′s life cycle. Online play was reliable and it even featured a spectator mode.
FIFA 10 vs NHL 07
At the time the strongest FIFA effort to that point improved by focusing on core gameplay AI and enhancing the dribbling system. NHL’s debut on next-gen introduced the Skill Stick. That innovation was largely responsible for how the series would surpass its rival in quality and sales never to look back.
WWE All-Stars vs MLB 09: The Show
Less a wrestling game than it was a fighting game, WWE All-Stars had high fun factor coupled with smart design decisions. MLB 09 offered up excellent gameplay, authenticity, and graphics – those things that have been staples of the series for the whole generation.
NHL 2K7 vs Madden NFL 13
The second effort for the NHL 2K series on next-gen introduced “Cinemotion” to enhance the presentation and drama with the rest of the improvements being directed at gameplay. Madden NFL 13 rolled out Connected Careers in an attempt to revolutionize the franchise mode in sports games that had become somewhat stale. The “Infinity Engine” physics were first implemented and many legacy issues with gameplay addressed. Post-release support including adding in a bunch of requested features that were initially left out for free.