eGamer Awards 2012: Best Sports Game
This year saw a strong lineup of fantastic sports titles being released, and we were entirely happy with what was on offer. There was more than enough reason to be excited in this genre, but now is the time to handpick the top nominees and attempt to choose the best of them all. Read on down below to see our rundown, detailing the nature of the award, as well as our full list of nominees.
In general, this particular award is as difficult, if not more challenging, to hand out than the prize for the Best Fighting game. Of course, more so than almost any other genre, personal preference plays a massive role here, purely because you’ll usually be interested in or take a liking to the game that relates to the sport you’re passionate about. That is why there are many factors to take into account when handing out this award, one of which would be the game’s content and online functionality, but even then sports games come with certain limiters. However, one true constant factor that can always be taken into consideration is how well the title will keep you occupied until the next one arrives, and if it provides enough justification for you to hand over your money on an annual basis. In the end though, opinion will naturally always play a part here, and that is perhaps too difficult to overlook.
Pro Evolution Soccer 2013
This year Pro Evolution Soccer really managed to impress us, as it delivered what is easily the best PES title to emerge from this series in recent history. It was not only a refined and technically fantastic gameplay experience, but also one that was both captivating and engaging due to its free-flowing and dynamic nature. It was a wonderful return to form for the series, and the radical changes made to the gameplay paid off really well, making PES 2013 extremely enjoyable. It’s been a long time coming, but with this year’s iteration PES is finally worthy of a great deal more recognition and admiration, and hopefully this momentum continues in the series’ future. It definitely made an impression on us.
SSX may have been rebooted with its latest iteration, but it certainly didn’t lose its roots. Fans of the series would have found plenty to love here, and even newcomers will get something great out of this one. The game was simply incredibly well done, and awesome to experience. Overall it was a near perfect package of snowboarding action, with only the strange omission of split-screen play bringing it down. SSX brought with it some of the most exhilarating and addictive sports action you could find, and was really a pedigree in the extreme sports genre. SSX returned in complete glory, and it was undoubtedly prettier, better, faster, harder and crazier than ever, making it well worth the wait.
FIFA 13 stepped up confidently to the stage to build further on its success, and in a very unsurprising turn of events it managed to do just that. Offering what is perhaps the most refined and accomplished title in the series, with some impressive improvements to the gameplay specifically with its player AI, FIFA 13 delivered an excellent game once again that is as addictive as ever. The game felt more realistic and the new technical enhancements ensured that it also felt more organic and dynamic. It might not have been a massive leap from FIFA 12, but it improved upon its predecessor in just about all the right ways. The experience was better than ever this year, and smooth as silk to experience. FIFA is still going strong, and the latest iteration in the series proved that its reign is far from over.
UFC Undisputed 3
UFC Undisputed 3 once again delivered the goods as it rose to the top of the MMA charts. It was a fantastic fighting game experience that was more refined and polished than its predecessor, and its many improvements with regards to gameplay and content made it arguably the best title in the series. It also deserved a fair amount of praise for the way it increased its level of accessibility, broadening its audience without compromising veterans. In the end, it succeeded in raising the bar for MMA fighting, and was an all-round awesome game with plenty to offer. Fans rightfully loved this one.
FIFA Street was a great surprise, and you really couldn’t go wrong with playing it. It was a fantastic game filled with tons of variety and plenty to enjoy. At times it was even as addictive as its big brother, FIFA 13. Overall, it served as a great springboard for which the series can now progress from, and it was a solid game in its entirety. It looked good, played well and was simple enough to allow players to get the hang of it quickly, while offering some depth in its skill system for advanced players to learn. There was ultimately little to fault it for, save for its unfortunate online failings, and it was a welcome revival for the series, as well as a fun and very different diversion from other football games.
It wasn’t Pro Evolution Soccer 2013, because as much as we appreciated and loved it, sadly it still has quite a bit of catching up to do to get where FIFA 13 is right now. It does look to be on the right track.
The winner wasn’t FIFA Street either, because while it was a great game and a welcome revival for its series, the novelty did wear off after a while and we found ourselves gravitating back towards FIFA, and its online failings also let it down. Furthermore, it feels like more can still be done with this title, so hopefully the future will show that.
UFC Undisputed 3 didn’t take it either, and that only comes down to the fact that we considered two of our other nominees above it.
Lastly, it was an extremely close battle, but in the end SSX didn’t win, and similarly to UFC Undisputed 3, we just considered our winner above it, and that’s because it just kept us playing it longer, kept us coming back to it, and ensured that we left most other sports titles behind.
In what will most likely come as no surprise to anyone, FIFA 13 is our winner in this category. As much as we considered SSX, this is the game that we kept coming back to, the game that we kept playing, the game that kept us away from all other sports titles and still has us hooked. FIFA 13 may not have been a gigantic leap forward from its predecessor, but notable refinement and excellent gameplay additions did a lot to enhance the playing experience, and we feel that if this is not the best game in the series to date, then it certainly is the most refined. FIFA continues to go from strength to strength, and it has us addicted in a way that no other sports title can replicate. Whether it’s predictable or expected by now, it doesn’t change what FIFA 13 does for us, and it’s our choice for the best sports game of 2012.