The best sports games tend to be new versions of series that are updated every year. In general, this format is better suited to games that deal with sports than most other types of games. But that doesn’t mean this list is only full of the most recent FIFA or Football Manager. Of course they’re in the top sports games, but for a good reason: they are the best at their job, and while making small changes to a long-running formula, enough of them each year keep them above the rest. The best sports games to cheer about from the stands in 2022 are here.
1. Super Mega Baseball 3
Baseball? Yup. Mega? Uh-uh. Super? Definitely. This third bat-swinging game from Metalhead Software is a real trip back in time, bringing retro gameplay to a high-definition world. The big heads and imaginary players make this game feel like a trip back in time.
Despite the fact that you can just pick up and play and hit home runs, the game’s franchise mode has a surprising amount of longevity. It’s easier than, say, MLB The Show 21 (which could still make it on this list later this year), but it still has just the right mix of player development and managerial strategy. Nintendo Switch, which has a lot of good things about it, doesn’t have a lot of top-notch sports games. A big swing and a huge hit.
2. FIFA 22
“Pay-to-win.” “Scripted.” “Broken.” FIFA wouldn’t be FIFA if people weren’t lined up to take shots at it, and Ultimate Team’s lootbox mechanics need to be made clearer. As a whole, there aren’t many sports games that give you so much for your money. Even games of any kind don’t come close.
Avoid spending money on FIFA Points and Ultimate Team, which can be very rewarding, especially with cards that are truly new. Career mode in FIFA 21 was a lot better because you could jump in and out of simulated games. That’s true again in FIFA 22. Volta is also a fun five-a-side game, and having every licence under the sun (except for Roma and Juventus) makes the game even better. When it’s bad, it’s very bad. When it’s good, it’s so good.
3. Fight Night Champion
Fight Night Champion is available on Xbox Series X thanks to Microsoft’s backwards compatibility programme. It’s the best way to play the sweet science. With its usual attention to fringe sports, EA adds precision controls and beautiful graphics that can still stop you in your tracks even today. In the other game, Fight Night Champion’s Champion Mode is called. Andre Bishop’s story was the start of a wave of fully-formed stories that would show up in sports games for the next decade.
But Fight Night isn’t worth anything without its “bell-to-bell” games. Because of this, the brutal action still packs a punch, and the game’s Legacy Mode still has a lot of fun to play. It’s a complete package that makes sure the Fight Night series, even though it’s in a state of uncertainty, is never truly out of the game.
4. F1 2020
People who follow Formula One will remember how disappointed they were when F1 2014 didn’t go as planned. This is good news: F1 2020 is one of the best racing games you can buy right now. When it comes to racing games like Forza Horizon 4, it’s very different from F1 2020. But if you’re into high-speed cars with a hair-raising engine sound, the F1 2020 experience can’t be beaten.
There are 10 teams, and you can either join one of them or start your own team to become the 11th driver on the grid. You can choose your teammate and become the first owner-driver since Graham Hill in 1975 when he raced for the Embassy Hill team. You can also compete online, race with a lot of classic cars, look at the F2 cars, and more. A novice to an experienced person can find a lot of different things to do here.
5. Out Of The Park Baseball 22
Football Manager has long been thought of as the only game in town when it comes to sports strategy games outside of the United States. But there’s a big game in that collective blind spot. Just like its soccerball counterpart, OOTP takes up a lot of time. You have to make trades, promote and demote charges between affiliate clubs, and enjoy stealing bases and smashing home runs as you play.
The new version of the game has 3D stadiums for all MLB teams, better AI for trading, and both online and offline play. But what makes the game great is that you can start the game in any year from 1871 to the present, with teams and player names that match the era. A giant in the world of sports who never loses his appeal.
6. Art of Rally
A shame that Art of Rally didn’t get the attention it needed when it came out in September 2020. It’s one of the most beautiful and stylish racing games ever made. This is an indie game that focuses on the “golden era” of rallying. It has a lot of classic cars, including a lot from the Group B class.
It doesn’t put you in the driver’s seat like Micro Machines. Instead, Art of Rally is a top-down game like Micro Machines, but don’t expect any power-ups! In spite of all the new things you can do in the game, it’s still hard to master. There are still a lot of tricks to learn, like counter-steering and the Scandinavian flick, as you play through 60 stages that range from Norway to Japan. One of 2020’s real surprise hits.
7. Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2
Not only does nostalgia play tricks on you, it’s also very bad for your health and well-being! Your memories of drinking Red Bull and listening to Goldfinger on repeat are likely to fade if you play the original Tony Hawk games on PlayStation. It’s messy, hard to work with, and doesn’t have as much fluidity as later THPS projects.
Vicarious Visions, on the other hand, was asked to do the impossible: make a classic TV show look like it did in your mind’s eye all those years ago. It doesn’t just work; it may even be better than one of the best sports teams ever made. All of the changes are smart and subtle. Later abilities, like reverts, are there to help improve the flow of the game, and online multiplayer recreates the bragging sessions that took place over a CRT TV all those years ago. This is the most important thing you can do with Tony Hawk. Nough said.
8. Football Manager 2022
Whether you played Championship Manager as a child or you’re a new fan of the Football Manager series, you’ll know how addictive and accurate the game is. It’s up to you to make transfers and offer new contracts, or you can let your staff do it. You can also let them handle things like training and interacting with the press. It’s not possible to play FM directly, but it’s a much better tactical simulation than anything else on the market.
Football Manager 2022 is the best game in the series so far. It takes everything that the series has been good at over the last decade and puts it all together in one game. To be a manager, you can work for a non-league team or a team that has won a trophy. You have a story to tell, and you can build your own legacy, so you can make the best choice for you. Deadline Day, a new feature in FM 2022, is both exciting and nerve-wracking at the same time.
9. Lonely Mountains Downhill
The best sports game you haven’t played yet? You should fix that as soon as possible. You run a cube-man biker through four mountains of difficult, gruelling courses while he dies in front of you.
Individually, each death is brutal, funny, and educational. As you improve your routes, you try to obliterate your best time rather than your kneecaps. There are a lot of unlockables and “just one more race” nights. The controls are simple but very good. All of a sudden it’s a bloody good idea.
10. Mutant Football League (PS4)
Mutant Football League is based on EA’s old SEGA Genesis game. It takes a look at gridiron in an apocalyptic way, where quaterbacks can be slaughtered when sacked. It’s not very good, but American football fans will enjoy the puns and the fast-paced arcade action.
11. EA Sports UFC 4 (PS4)
For the first time, EA Sports UFC 4 adds an arcade feel to the sport it’s based on. This should make the game more appealing to casual fans for the first time. A more accessible grappling game goes well with the ground gameplay from the previous game, and with a new single-player campaign mode, this is a great game for fans of mixed martial arts.