Feature Article
Next-Gen Sports Game of the Year

The entirety of 2013 built up to the launch of both the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.

While expectations for launch games were probably a bit high considering the historical performances of launch titles, we still got several very solid games out of the next-generation lineup of games. While there were several contenders, at the end of the day the Staff’s pick for next-gen Sports Game of the Year was really all about one game.

Madden NFL 25 was one title we considered for the Next-Gen Sports Game of the Year award. The game featured a solid list of features and gameplay which was solidly improved over the current-generation of Madden.

The approach Madden had into launching next-gen was a simple approach: don’t mess things up like the last generational leap.

Madden’s gameplay saw solid improvement on the lines, with defender AI, and with animations. The game is still not perfect, with some legacy issues still intact and several basic strategic issues which need cleaning up. At the end of the day, the flaws in Madden were too much for us to elevate it over our other two choices.

Second in our consideration was NBA 2K14. The on-court gameplay is an extremely good experience and the visuals are among the best out of any next-gen launch game.

But that’s only the surface level stuff.

The problem with NBA 2K14 is that it combines the three things gamers hate most, and then it decided to really do them poorly: Always online, egregious micro transactions, and severs which cannot stay online.

Mix those problems with the save file issues and crashes and there was just no way, despite the on-court gameplay which is phenomenal, for us to consider NBA 2K14 the Next-Gen Sports Game of the Year.

So for the second straight year, FIFA Soccer is winning a Game of the Year crown from the staff here at Operation Sports.

FIFA Soccer 14 has everything you would want in a launch title. A seamless port onto next-gen, improved gameplay and visuals but a very well done and solid experience off the pitch. It almost seems like FIFA won the title by default, but there’s a lot going on under the hood that makes FIFA a game which is incredibly enjoyable to play.

First off, the crowds are more alive than ever, which enhances the experience and build to scoring a goal in the game. Secondly, the gameplay’s subtle improvements allow for more variety on the pitch. There are still stylistic issues the game struggles with, and teams still don’t have unique identifies just yet — but there is no reason to not expect something like that to come along soon in the series.

For this year, it’s hard to find a game which is better as a complete package than FIFA Soccer 14. Its choice as our Sports Game of the Year was nearly unanimous amongst the staff.

OS Staff 2013 Next-Gen Sports Game of the Year: FIFA Soccer 14

Honorable Mentions: Madden NFL 25, Powerstar Golf, NBA 2K14

Readers Choice

While we were not forgiving to 2K Sports for their (now quite large list) of gaffes and mishaps, the OS readers were more than willing to give NBA 2K14 their Next-Gen Sports Game of the Year nod, with 2K14 getting over 50% of the vote.

FIFA Soccer 14 did get a bit of consideration from many OS’ers for Sports Game of the Year — with FIFA 14 getting 25% of the vote. Madden was a distant third at 12% of the vote.

OS Readers’ 2013 Next-Gen Sports Game of the Year: NBA 2K14

FIFA Soccer 14 Videos
Member Comments
# 1 ZoneBlitz @ 01/01/14 07:17 PM
While not usually an EA fan, I must agree that, all things considered, Next-Gen game of the year is FIFA. NBA 2k does some key things right, but many important things wrong.

I find myself drawn more to FIFA than NBA 2k and Madden. NBA 2k is still a great game, however 2k is starting to go the way of EA as it is mixing a toxic combination of arrogance and glaring quality problems.

I find FIFA to be a well-balanced game. The graphics are pretty good - not great, the game play seems really good, and all the modes work. (I can't believe I am actually paying compliments to an EA game!) The game is fun. If they can bump up the visuals to NBA 2k levels and increase the gameplay to PES caliber team identity play, it will be a definite toss-up between NBA 2k and FIFA.

One thing I can't stand about FIFA and Madden is what seems to be EA's commitment to eternally be in foundation-building mode. They're always talking about building some foundation for a point they never seem to reach. I think their development approach is far too slow-paced. Thank God they have PES breathing down their neck on FIFA. I am convinced that if there was no PES, FIFA would be even more further behind than it is now.

Madden is, well, Madden - and that's a bad thing. It is a lackluster effort with some spots of positivity.
# 2 thedream2k13 @ 01/01/14 07:55 PM
MADDEN 25 is the only real canidate
# 3 statum71 @ 01/01/14 08:05 PM
Leaving out modes should've eliminated FIFA. That's the very problem we complained about with last gen launches.
# 4 YoungBuck3 @ 01/02/14 12:15 AM
You've used "solid" or "solidly" 5 times just in this small article, mix it up a bit guys lol.
# 5 elprez98 @ 01/02/14 01:19 AM
FIFA is the same game on current gen. I don't understand how it gets the nod.
# 6 Dazraz @ 01/02/14 05:07 AM
Madden NFL 25 for me was the only game that made the transition without stripping out features. That makes it number 1 for me. It may not have made the visual jump of NBA 2K14 or FIFA 14 but it improved on the Current Gen model without any sacrifices in content.
# 7 HunterK13 @ 01/02/14 11:06 AM
The readers' poll is a joke. FIFA is a way better game. Minimal micro transactions, great gameplay, minimal server issues, a ratings system that makes sense, and far more tactical adjustments that actually effect the gameplay. Obviously the readers avoided FIFA.
# 8 asu666 @ 01/02/14 11:10 AM
The reader's poll was a joke. I'm happy to see Operation Sports get it right. Potential is nothing without execution. FIFA 14 executed. NBA 2K14 reached for the stars and forgot who it was along the way.
# 9 acidraindrops08 @ 01/02/14 01:27 PM
Gameplay was, Madden was the most impressive to me. First time I've enjoyed a football game this much in 8 years. Actually excited to see what they do next year.
# 10 asu666 @ 01/02/14 02:43 PM
Originally Posted by Jetpac
I agree with FIFA being the best net gen sports title. But I don't understand how MADDEN gets consideration at all? That game is a buggy mess and the most UNATHENTIC representation of NFL Football ever.
I have to agree. I enjoy playing my PS4 version sometimes, but there's so many other better sports games. Even NCAA 14 on current gen systems is better imo.
# 11 asu666 @ 01/02/14 02:45 PM
Originally Posted by acidraindrops08
Gameplay was, Madden was the most impressive to me. First time I've enjoyed a football game this much in 8 years. Actually excited to see what they do next year.
I love the new line interaction and some of the gameplay enhancements too. Madden's tagline is seems to be suck on "Maybe next year" though.
# 12 bwright25 @ 01/02/14 03:26 PM
Madden greatly improved gameplay. Fifa made the crowd look cool.
# 13 bwright25 @ 01/02/14 03:32 PM
I guess you had to play a lot of Fifa the past 2 years to understand how bad the gameplay is this year.
# 14 YoungBuck3 @ 01/02/14 09:08 PM
Originally Posted by bwright25
I guess you had to play a lot of Fifa the past 2 years to understand how bad the gameplay is this year.
I've played thousands of games of FIFA and I, and everyone I play with for that matter, think the gameplay is the best yet.
# 15 HenryClay1844 @ 01/02/14 09:13 PM
Fifa getting the nod, shows just how weak the next gen games have been. Unlike most people here, this has been the number one game I play for years, and it's my favorite sport. But I am just getting bored with FIFA and next gen, wasn't enough of a step up for me. Changes very subtle. Leaving out modes inexcusable. Commentary and presentation well bellow NBA2k. Although there appear to be few bugs, which is nice for once.
# 16 DruMoMo @ 01/03/14 02:42 PM
From a gameplay standpoint, NBA 2k14 is the best sports game ever made. But....the online issues are just too much to ignore. Outdated rosters for online games, poor connectivity, not being able to play friends(you can try but good luck), old NBA today clips, not being able to access all the modes when said servers go down. Gives me a headache. But as I said before, once you get into the on court action, the game is a beauty.
# 17 JBiggy @ 01/03/14 07:28 PM
In my opinion, you can lump gamers into 2 categories, CASUAL and HARDCORE. As a HARDCORE gamer, I feel I need to weigh in here. Madden didn't really mess with their chemistry, BUT it has been a while since Madden has really transcended sports gaming. EA doesn't risk much and probably shouldn't be rewarded much either. I haven't played a FIFA game for a number of years, but I hear good things. I will leave it to better minds to comment on that game (THE HARDCORE FIFA PLAYERS). I have been a loyal NBA2K fan since the Dreamcast days and, in all honesty, this is the worst 2K released. There are CASUAL 2K gamers. They talk about graphics and gameplay. They play it every once in a while, set it for 5 minute quarters, play a quick game as their favorite team and that's it. For that scenario, 2K is probably fine. With that said, any HARDCORE 2K gamer has been spending a lot of time in 2K's forums the past 6 weeks. This game stinks. Where is the create a player? Where is couch co-op in MyGM? Why is every mode built around VC? Why do all the MyPlayers look like designers? Why are people losing their files and their characters? Why can't we connect online? Most importantly, WHY DOES 2K REFUSE TO ACKNOWLEDGE IT??? On a surface level, you can give 2K a nod. They made it look pretty in order to sell it to the CASUAL 2K gamer. The game as a whole shouldn't have even cracked the top 3.
# 18 ANDROMADA 1 @ 01/03/14 10:51 PM
I've only played next gen madden, its okay. I'm not interested in soccer or basketball. I say don't give the award to anybody. To me game of the year must be spectacular. Maybe next year there will be a great product to choose from. Till then they can keep trying.
# 19 Mos1ted @ 01/04/14 06:10 PM
As long as I've been a member of OS (10+ years), the past year or so is probably the least amount of time I've spent on this site. That was due to a couple of things: my boredom with current gen sports games and my lack of optimism for any innovations on the horizon that would re-ignite my interest. Then the PS4 came out, and I bit the bullet and decided to buy one along with NBA 2K14 and Madden 25. NBA 2K14 was a no brainer for me given 2K's track record, but I took a huge leap of faith buying Madden 25 after disliking every Madden released in the past 9 years.

NBA 2K14 was the game I played first obviously, and like others, I was impressed with the visuals and gameplay. I'm not one that played modes outside of Association and NBA Today on current gen, so I was forgiving in the lack of options and game modes. However, after putting in Madden and seeing how "full" it was compared to 2K, I came away thinking that Madden was the better value.

No, it's not a true representation of NFL football the way most of us want it to be, but one cannot discount the subtle gameplay improvements made for the NG version over the CG version. The majority of the issues I had with the CG version, and the reason why I disliked every version that came out, were fixed, or at least addressed, in the NG version. That only makes me optimistic that Madden 15 (or whatever they plan on calling it) will be closer to dethroning NFL 2K5 as the greatest football game of all time. In fact, I would argue that if Madden 25 NG just added the presentation elements present in 2K5, it would have supplanted or at least been ranked along side of it -- finally.

I plan on getting FIFA in the next couple of days even though I don't follow soccer or know the sport that well. However, the fact that all three games have the one feature that was missing in current gen (player weight and momentum) makes me interesting in playing sports games again.
# 20 DESIGNATEDxiLLZ @ 01/04/14 08:51 PM
NICE! I think so too

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