Top Sports Games of 2010By Mike D'Alonzo - Posted Nov 19, 2010
Hey, sports fans! This time it's all about you, and the people in your life you want to give the gift of sports gaming to. First, we're going to take a look at X-Play's take on this year's sports games, and then, there will be a more in-depth article, from your friend and mine, Mike D'Alonzo. Here we go.
It's that time of year again. Time to think about what games to buy the sports fan in your life for the holiday season. Just as no two snowflakes are the same, so too with sports fans. Don't worry, though. 2010 was a good year for sports gaming in lots of different categories, which is why this handy list of some of the best of the year should serve as a good jumping-off point, even if you're among those who aren't inclined to play them yourself. Who knows? You might even find something for yourself here. So, let's get it started.
NBA 2K11 (Multiplatform)
In my opinion, NBA 2K11 is the best sports game of the year, and, as I wrote in my review, a strong contender for Game of the Year, overall. The first game made with the full cooperation of one Mr. Michael Jordan, 2K11 is the kind of game that will keep roundball fans playing and engaged for months. It's that deep. Whether you're playing out the Jordan Challenge, in which you will take control of important moments from Jordan's career, or the incredibly robust franchise mode, the game is as fun and as detail-oriented as a sports game can possibly be. There's also a 3 point shooting contest and a dunk contest, which allows you to match His Airness against current superstars like Kobe Bryant. The presentation is brilliant and beautiful, and fun to watch.
FIFA 11 (Multiplatform)
If you knew me, you'd know that the idea of me suggesting a soccer game is a lot like James Carville endorsing Sarah Palin for president. Yet, FIFA 11 is a really fun time, full stop. So much fun, in fact, that you wish that watching real futbol games were even half this exciting. Play as a monster soccer power like Manchester United or Real Madrid, or dip deep into the obscure, and try and win as a team like West Ham. Either way, you're going to be dazzled by the really good game mechanics and the gorgeous graphics. Rumble down the field in the over-the-shoulder camera view and thrill as the tension mounts, then try and time your shot perfectly. It's rad.
Madden NFL 11 (Multiplatform)
Well, duh. When you're talking about sports games, about 90% of the time, you're talking Madden. It's been kind of the gold standard for years, now, and doesn't look to be slowing down any time soon. Since the holidays coincide pretty neatly with the nitty gritty of football season, and provided your sports fan doesn't already have it, it's a really good gift idea. Plus, if the gift receiver in question has always been averse to playing Madden because of the complexity of play calling, this year's addition of GameFlow makes the game quicker and more exciting than ever before.
Kinect Sports (Xbox 360/Kinect)
Are you looking for a game that you can play with your kids? One that immerses you in the experience, without controllers to accidentally throw across the room, destroying your expensive entertainment center? One that's so simple that (presumably, if commercials are to be believed) even a hamburger can do it? Well, then, holiday buyer, Kinect Sports seems like just the thing for you. Volleyball, bowling, ping pong, track and field, and even boxing are all included to make the experience more fulfilling. Bundle this with a new Kinect for the intended recipient, and you're looking at a very sweet gift package, indeed.
NHL 11 (Multiplatform)
Ever since we watched Vince Vaughn and his friends game-planning for a night out while playing videogame hockey in 'Swingers,' and since Blades of Steel dazzled us on the original NES, hockey games have been a pretty prominent part of the landscape. Electronic Arts have topped themselves with this year's edition, and NHL 11 makes for a really fun experience that takes some getting used to, but, in the end, becomes a more intuitive hockey game than ever before.
NBA JAM (Nintendo Wii)
Who doesn't want to spend Christmas morning hearing 'Boom Shaka-Laka!' over and over again? The arcade roundball fiesta known as NBA Jam gets a next-generation update, adding new players to the game, as well as surprise political and pop culture unlockable players, just for fun. Played on the Wii, you'll be shaking along and enjoying death-defying dunks all day long. Plus, if you're a fan of games that feature really funny real people with big heads, you're going to enjoy this to the fullest.
EA Sports Active 2.0 (Multiplatform)
Is your intended gift recipient an agoraphobic who's put on a couple of extra pounds over the past year? Or have they expressed a desire to workout without having to go to the gym and put themselves out there with all of the muscleheads and fitness freaks that comes with that scene? Well, then, I suggest EA Sports Active 2.0, which will allow them to workout in the privacy of their own home, all while being monitored by some pretty sophisticated wireless equipment along the way. WARNING: If the person you're planning on giving this to has not, in some way, indicated that they are looking to get in shape, this gift will be seen as more an insult than anything else. Plan accordingly.
WWE SmackDown vs. Raw 2011 (Multiplatform)
Wrestling fans are legion, and they deserve some love this Holiday season, as well, don't you think? Well, I certainly do. That's why I recommend WWE SmackDown vs. Raw 2011 for the hardcore wrestling fan in your crew. It's fun if for nothing else than the idea that you can create finishing moves to try out on each other all day long, which is a whole lot more fun than watching "A Christmas Story" for the eight millionth time, don't you think? Try the WWE Universe mode, which will provide weeks of fun throwing a chaos effect into the world of the WWE.
Cabela's Dangerous Hunts 2011 (Multiplatform)
First of all, any gift that comes with the word "dangerous" in the title is automatically the kind of gift that I not only want to give, but receive, as well. Second, when you're given a gun as part of the experience, you're naturally going to be grateful (See: "A Christmas Story" above). It's Cabela's Dangerous Hunts 2011! You're in the wild! You're hunting! Nothing actually dies! It's kill or be killed. Obviously, you're not actually going to be killed, but a little life or death will remind you of what the holidays are all about. Bonus: You can pretend the ham or beef you're eating at the holiday feast is something you just killed in the virtual wilderness. How great is that?
Sports Champions (PS 3/PlayStation MOVE)
Let's just say you got Sony's motion control system, the PlayStation MOVE, for the holidays. What will you do with it? You could do a lot worse than playing Sports Champions with it. I mean, at the very least, you can indulge your inner gladiator and fight with the colored lollipop, trying to vanquish your enemy/parent in the process. Plus, where else are you going to be able to play bocce when it's cold and snowy outside? Nowhere, that's where.