DAR Games: Discussing Sports Games Of 2017
As 2017 comes to a quick end, I thought it was only right to look back at the sports games that made this year interesting, and that would include the following: NBA Live 2018, MLB: The Show 17, NBA 2K18, Madden 18, FIFA 18, and WWE 2K18. There are some others, but I'll leave those out for focus on the biggest sports releases. How do these games stack up? Which is the best? Is 2K still king over Live? Did Madden actually improve? Let's take a look at the sports games of 2017.
*NBA Live 18
-I was skeptical of this game going into it. I hadn't played a NBA Live game in some years, and my interest was very minimal despite some interesting commercials promoting. One of the biggest selling points of this game to me came from the fact that it felt like EA Sports had actually gone to great lengths to make something happen. When I first cut this game on, I can't lie, my expectations were low. However, the selling points for the game, like utilizing the Drew League, or a new Story mode that allows you to play street ball or in the league, or even the opportunity to actually use WNBA teams is honestly a showcase that EA Sports wants to compete with 2K. As far as the gameplay goes, I can't lie, this game is actually pretty good. There are still issues and the mechanics can be a pain in the ass sometimes, but for the most part, I think the gameplay is as solid as it can be (considering), and a big improvement over the last three or four editions. The story mode is fun, though a bit repetitive, as you are christened The Comeback Kid, and are working to come back from a disastrous injury to get into the league. While that story isn't as good as you would hope, playing in the Drew League and advancing your character to the league is fun. That's essentially all I can say about this game is that it's fun. For the first time in years, NBA Live is fun again. Let's see how long EA keeps this up.
-I played this game a few times and never got the real chance to delve into it like I wanted to, for a number of reasons. The main reason? The game, as always, was a bit glitchy. I would play a few matches, like a TLC or even a Hell In A Cell, and after hitting a high impact move, the game would experience a glitch. Either Brock Lesnar would get stuck in the air, AJ Styles would freeze up, or Cedric Alexander would hit a mean blood bounce as he was trying to get to the Lumbar Check. That aside, the game is fun, though the mechanics are a bit annoying at times. The game modes are fun, and of course, the Universe mode is a highlight. For me, the best part of the game is the roster, which is the most stacked it has ever been. There are old WCW arenas alongside that stacked roster, giving the game a nostalgic feel for sure. Overall, I think WWE 2K18 is far from a perfect wrestling game and probably isn't one of the best overall, but it's more than enough fun to enjoy and I think that the more 2K puts effort into a well rounded gaming experience, the better the games will be in the future. 2K18 is a glimpse of what can be and what could be, but visually the graphics are absolutely amazing and probably the greatest thing about it, along with the entrances. Here's hoping that 2K19 can rival the greatness of a Here Comes The Pain or a No Mercy.
*MLB: The Show 17
-I have never been the biggest baseball fan, but I do appreciate what their video games bring to the table, and as always, MLB The Show is the premier baseball game. Nothing has changed in the more recent edition of the game, as the same smooth gameplay carries over from years prior, but with an updated twist. The visuals and the overall presentation of the game is top notch, and despite a few minor game bugs, it's probably the most fluid of all the choices you'll find on this list. With some minor additions to game modes like Franchise and Diamond Dynasty, along with the story in the Road To The Show mode titled "Pave Your Path", which allows you to choose the different routes for a player's career, MLB The Show provides hours of content that keeps even the most casual baseball fan engaged and intrigued. My favorite element of the game personally is Diamond Dynasty, but for the most part, you can't go wrong with anything on this particular game.
-With another edition of 2K released, you would expect some changes and improvements and essentially, we get a few. The thing is, I don't find this game to be as entertaining as I expected, minus the usage of the classic teams, which is a huge reason why I even play the game in the first place. That's an underrated selling point for the game, playing with the legendary Bulls, Celtics, Lakers teams and all the legends that were involved in the runs. The regular edition has Kyrie Irving on the cover, while the deluxe and legend edition focused on Shaq. The game also included All Time Teams that make up the history of a single team and their players. The best of the best are featured here and it is a joy to play the All Time Teams. The newest feature is The Neighborhood, and I'm stuck. I have an appreciation somewhat for what 2K attempted to pull off, but admittedly, it just didn't work like I think they expected. It's nice to have an open world to explore in your story mode, but overall, The Neighborhood feels like it tries a little too hard. Still, overall, NBA 2K18 is the usual fun you would expect with an updated roster, new jerseys, and new classic teams to have some great back and forth games.
-The usual yearly game from EA Sports actually steps it up this year to my surprise. While I've always been a fan of Madden, in recent years, the game hasn't changed much about itself or the pacing. While there isn't much of an adjustment here, I will say the gameplay is a bit more enjoyable than prior years. However, what sets the game apart is the Longshot mode which allows you to go through the path and journey of Devin Wade, a future draft pick with seemingly high potential. Some circumstances occur that alter Devin's path and throughout the mode, we see varying situations and problems, with antagonists off the field being the biggest conflict. Still, the learning process that is given to the character and the fundamentals of being the leader of a team (the QB) make this one engaging story that actually does something that you wouldn't expect: it leaves the door open for a possible continuation and sequel to this story, which is completely rare in sports games. If EA decides to continue the story, it will become a huge selling point of the next game. In terms of overall gameplay, this game has what you expect, and the fun factor never loses its luster, so it you haven't given Madden a shot yet, I suggest you do so for the Longshot mode. It's worth it.
-I am not a big soccer fan. I barely watch soccer in general, so I was a bit surprised when friends decided to recommend the game to me, but then even more surprised when I finally played it. I didn't get to delve as deep into the game as I wanted to initially, but from just a few games, I could tell this was definitely a quality release. The graphics are beyond amazing and the gameplay and mechanics are honestly as fluid as they come. Playing inside the stadiums and feeling the energy of what it must be like to take part in a FIFA game was actually exhilarating, and it actually gave me more of an appreciation for the sport. The most important piece of this game comes from the story mode of The Journey, which is a continuation of the story from FIFA 17. Following the story of 18 year old Alex Hunter, you pick up where you left off on FIFA 17, and if you didn't buy FIFA 17, it'll allow you to see important plot points before going into the story. All in all, FIFA 18 is a great play, and actually surpassed my expectations, making it better than a number of the games that I discussed on the list, which comes a surprise. Every year we get sports games, and some years the releases are stronger than others. This year, the stronger releases were actually surprises and not the suspected choices of usual. All in all, I'll say it was a solid year for sports games, but also shows that some franchises need to step outside the box.