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
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