Often overlooked is the fact that the PlayStation 4 has (to its credit) a number of really great sports titles. One would expect this of course, as the token athletic game here and there is certainly not without precedent, but 2014 saw the release of some really great titles. Whether you’re a fan of basketball, soccer (football), golfing, cycling, hockey or American football, there’s a game out there for you on Sony’s new platform. So, instead of wasting time, let’s dive in and take a detailed look at the best PS4 sports games of 2014…
You’re going to be hard-pressed to find a better-looking, more feature-laden basketball game than NBA 2K15. Initially lambasted by critics due to multiplayer server issues, 2K15 is now running at full steam and things are pretty sweet. To put it simply, this is currently “where it’s at” if you’re looking at basketball simulators, with extremely lifelike characters, player movements as well as environments (replete with dramatic fans and commentary). It caters well to more casual players as well as those who would love to dip into the game’s “My Career” mode, which offers a lengthier and more involved experience. Additionally, all the little player-specific details are an incredibly nice touch and add an extra dimension to the onscreen action.
Volumes have been written about the FIFA franchise…largely because the series itself has produced well, volumes of content. Quite recently, of course, FIFA 15 has emerged, summarily integrating all the previous developments / elements into one potent stew of enhanced gameplay. Hardcore fans have already noted that there aren’t too many differences apart from its predecessor (14), but that’s just the way this particular series conducts its business. Each year they roll out a number of exciting new additions / alterations which end up enhancing some aspect of presentation and/or gameplay and certainly 2014 was no exception to that rule. This edition brings with it even better graphics as well as improved A.I.; somehow they’ve managed to reinvent the wheel here, improving upon it as required. In short, there’s a reason that FIFA stands tall as the #1 name in football simulators (that’s soccer for the Americans) – it’s the best out there.
If you love football (soccer) then this year you've got just the typical two offerings, which are FIFA and PES. If you aren't familiar with the two then you should note that EA’s FIFA game franchise instantly has the advantage because it holds the official license with FIFA. What does this mean? It means your team, stadium and kit will all reflect how they are in reality, however, PES has to alter all of these factors which takes away much of the realism. Nonetheless, PES is mechanically great and offers plenty of enjoyment. Konami have done a brilliant job with PES 15 and as always have offered soccer fans a great alternative to EA’s juggernaut FIFA game franchise.
We’re not nearly done listing EA games yet… Standing tall and proud in their inventory, Madden NFL 15 is definitely THE game to get if you’re into football. Aside from its spectacular graphics and ultra-slick presentation, there were multiple awesome improvements added with this year’s iteration of the seemingly perpetual franchise. Visually, it’s spectacular of course, possessing an insane level of detail, in fact, even the broadcasting element as been ramped up with features seemingly stolen from real-life games. The dramatic improvements with regards to player sense, defense and tackling are particularly noteworthy.
There really haven’t been that many noteworthy billiards games released in the last few years; this fact alone makes “Pure Pool” worth checking out. While it might be a stretch to call it the ultimate pool title, it certainly does its best to immerse you in the experience. Every facet of its design, from the way you move around the table to its excellent career mode, reinforces the feeling that you’re actually playing the game yourself. Graphically it holds up to par with other sports titles too.
While not particularly popular all over the world, hockey has a fairly large fanbase of very serious and devoted individuals who consider the sport to be nothing less than a way of life. Not surprisingly, to carry the title of “best hockey game for 8th generation consoles”, you have to produce something that really captures the look and feel of action on the ice. Needless to say, EA has done exactly that with NHL 15. If you only took its grahics and gameplay into consideration this title would be a clear winner, but it should also be noted that it is a ton of fun. Fans of the series have noted that a lack of extended modes might remove a few points from the ultimate total, but all in all, this is state of the art gaming all the way.
For diversity’s sake, we add “Tour de France 2014” to this list, not only because it allows us to partake in an oft-neglected sporting activity, but also due to the fact that it is a dynamite cycling game in its own right. Getting the hang of it might take some time, of course, and not everyone will enjoy the deliberately paced action, but for true fans of cycles (not to mention the Tour de France event itself) will certainly get a big kick out of this game.
Creating a really great golfing game might seem like a fairly easy thing to do, but up until the release of “The Golf Club” we hadn’t really seen anything incredibly noteworthy. Well, calling this title “exciting” isn’t exactly accurate because the point of the game itself seems to centered on immersing the gamer and calming them with solitude. Technically speaking, The Golf Club really goes out of its way to treat you. Its graphics are great, the basic gameplay is smooth and sensible and it even includes a random course generator (which allows you to actually create maps and share them too). Add to that options for tournaments and tours as well as lots of great multiplayer action online and you have an extremely social game that really does an excellent job of simulating the sport of golfing.
Rounding out our list of 2014 sports games we have “MLB 14: The Show”, which is a really solid and graphically realistic baseball simulator. Every aspect of this title, from pitching and defense to hitting and offense is pretty fantastic. Naturally, the presentation is spot on and the visuals certainly do it justice, but perhaps the coolest part of MLB 14: The Show remains its impressive list of refinements (found here) and the ability to create player made scenarios.