There has been a lot of criticism leveled at sports games in recent years. Fans have become dissatisfied with what they see as a lack of innovation and new features between annual releases. And microtransaction-averse players have become agitated by modes like Ultimate Team.
This wasn’t always the case, though; sports games made great strides in the 2000s, yielding some of the industry’s most critically lauded and commercially successful titles. What are Metacritic’s top picks for sports video games?
Madden NFL 2004
94 out of 100 Madden NFL 2004 players give it a 10.
Three Madden games made the cut. And that’s saying a lot for Madden NFL 2004. EA owns the Madden series and is widely blamed for the decline in quality of sports video games despite releasing a slew of hit titles in the 2000s across the Madden, Tiger Woods PGA Tour, and FIFA series.
The ability to take on the role of a franchise owner was introduced in Madden NFL 2004 and has since become a mainstay of the series.
Madden NFL 2002
While Madden NFL 2002 didn’t add many new features to the series, it did make great strides in graphics and animation. The game was released at the same time as the GameCube and Xbox. Although it wasn’t the first PlayStation 2 game, it was the first to feel truly next-gen.
Naturally, Halo: Combat Evolved beat out Madden NFL 2002 for GameSpot’s Best Xbox Game award.
Sports game Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 4
Skating on a plank of wood in Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 4 (94).
Three entries in the Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater series have received high marks from critics. And joining the Madden series in this accolade.
Released in October 2002, Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 4 was the series’ final installment before 2015’s disastrous Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 5. Players now have unlimited time to explore each level in search of the perfect spot to pull off a trick, marking a major departure from previous games in the series.
ISS Pro Evolution – Hot Sports Games
The third installment of the ISS Pro series, ISS Pro Evolution was released in 1999 for the PlayStation 1. Konami, who would later create the Pro Evolution Soccer series, developed the game. Recently, Konami ditched Pro Evolution Soccer in favor of eFootbal. A series that may have trouble bouncing back after its PlayStation 5 debut received a dismal Metascore of just 29.
ISS Pro Evolution was a landmark release for Konami because it featured the series’ now-iconic Master League mode. This release unfortunately brings to light the problem of licensing in the sports genre. As the game is rife with intentionally misspelled team and player names.
Super Stickman Golf 3
For many reasons, Super Stickman Golf 3 stands out from the crowd as the best golf game on this list. And Super Stickman Golf 3 is an independent mobile game developed by Noodlecake Studios. Rather than a AAA release for home consoles developed by a major studio.
Super Stickman Golf 3, like its two predecessors, features easy controls like basket random. And deceptively addictive gameplay loop thanks to its well-crafted and varied level designs.
Sports Games Madden NFL 2003
This article concludes with Madden NFL 2003, the third and latest installment in the Madden series. The fact that all three titles came out in consecutive years is indicative of how well EA Sports performed in the aughts and why fans are dissatisfied with the company’s recent output.
Both EA Trax and Mini Camp made their debut in Madden NFL 2003.
Out of the Park Baseball 2007
Unlike the other highly-rated sports games on Metacritic, players in the Out of the Park Baseball series take on the role of a team’s general manager or manager rather than controlling the on-field action.
Those familiar with Sports Interactive’s Football Manager series will recognize many familiar elements in this text-based take on the management genre. And The partnership between Sports Interactive and OOTP Developments began in 2004, but it ended just two years later.
NFL 2K1 – Best Sports Games
NFL 2K1’s (97) nfl 2k gameplay is rated 3/10 by Metacritic. Super Mario Galaxy, Grand Theft Auto 5, and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild all have higher metascores than this game.
When the Dreamcast was released in September of 2000. Visual Concepts released their football simulation game NFL 2K1. After its initial release, the game received a slew of accolades, including GameSpot’s Dreamcast Game of the Year award.
Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 3
In October 2001, Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 3 was released for the PlayStation 1 and PlayStation 2. It eventually made its way to a wide variety of other systems in the months and years that followed.
A whopping Metascore of 97 was awarded to the PlayStation 2 version of the game, as Neversoft made excellent use of the PS2’s upgraded hardware to make the Pro Skater series feel like it had made the jump to the next generation. And The latest installment of the Pro Skater series, Pro Skater 4, introduced several innovative features, such as reverts and online play.
Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2
A 98 in Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2 Only Grand Theft Auto 4 and SoulCalibur have higher Metascores. Plus, only The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. Which has a perfect score of 99, comes close to matching this sports game.
The sequel to Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater builds on the solid foundations of the original game and adds a few new features, such as a level editor. And the best way to experience the original Pro Skater games is with the recent remake, Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2. More information can find at Blog Spinners.