The 8 Best PlayStation 4 Sports Games to Buy in 2018

Shop for the best sports games for the PlayStation 4

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The Rundown

  • Best Baseball Game: MLB ‘18 The Show at Amazon, “Has all the major players, smooth gameplay and excellent graphics you’d expect from a mainstay.”
  • Best Golf Game: Rory McIlroy PGA Tour '16 at Amazon, “Offers you a chance to play 18 holes that you never would be able to in the real world.”
  • Best Basketball Game: NBA 2K18 at Amazon, “Playing through a full season feels like the real thing, complete with injuries, hot streaks, and slumps.”
  • Best Football Game: Madden NFL ‘18 at Amazon, “The coolest new addition is “Draft Champions,” where your draft players from the past and present to form a new mega team.”
  • Best Hockey Game: NHL ‘18 at Amazon, “Incredibly fluid gameplay, works well for hardcore fans of the sport or those who don’t know what the heck icing is.”
  • Best Soccer Game: FIFA ‘18 at Amazon, “Defending and passing feel more realistic in this year’s version than in the past.”
  • Best Fighting Game: EA Sports UFC 2 at Amazon, “Players create their own character and go toe-to-toe with real-life fighters such as Ronda Rousey and Conor McGregor.”
  • Best Pinball Game: Pinball Arcade Season 2 at Amazon, “In addition to well-focused physics and painstaking attention to detail, this game includes some of pinball’s most classic tables.”


Our Top Picks

Best Baseball Game: MLB ‘18 The Show

As sports games have progressed over the years, it has become clearer and clearer which franchises are the flagships. Soccer’s got Fifa, football has Madden and, ostensibly, baseball’s console gaming champion is The Show. 

As expected, the 2018 installment has all the major players, smooth gameplay and excellent graphics you’d expect from a mainstay. The new game even rights the wrongs of its 2017 predecessor by introducing more accurate hitting movements from the league’s best sluggers. Another key upgrade is how the game handles “Legends”. In addition to the 0–100 player stats of all active roster positions, they’ve brought in legends (some of MLB's all-time greats) and given them rankings above 100 — a pretty elegant way to approach the scaling system. Take into consideration the card-based RPG aspect of the game that lets you act like a real team manager, and you’ve got a baseball game that really knocks it out of the park.

Best Golf Game: Rory McIlroy PGA Tour '16

Rory McIlroy PGA Tour '16
Courtesy of Amazon.com

There has yet to be a truly great golf game for the PS4 (we're still waiting for EA Sports to get it right or a rival studio steps up and takes a shot at the green). But the Rory McIlroy PGA Tour '16 is great because it offers a variety of play styles. If you’re a casual fan, you can use an arcade style that merely requires you to use the buttons to connect club to ball. If you’re more hardcore, you can up the difficulty and employ a style that turns the control stick into a club, gauging your control, accuracy and force in a different way. The courses are well-replicated, offering you a chance to play 18 holes that you never would be able to in the real world.

Take a peek at some of the other best golf games you can buy.

Best Basketball Game: NBA 2K18

When it comes to the physics of sports, which is really the engine that makes a sports game hum, nothing is better than the “2K” series from 2K Sports and Visual Concepts. ​There’s a fluidity and realism of movement in this franchise that’s unmatched even by juggernauts like “The Show” and “Madden.” The era of unrealistic slam dunks and animations against which it is impossible to defend is over. 2K Sports killed it. Playing through a full season in “NBA 2K18” feels like the real thing, complete with injuries, hot streaks and slumps. And the game has a fantastic My Career mode, directed by the legendary Spike Lee. If that’s not enough, it allows for a little history, letting you play classic teams like ’00-01 Lakers (think Shaq & Kobe) and the ’95-96 Bulls. It’s not just the best basketball game, it’s arguably the best sports game, period.

Best Football Game: Madden NFL '18

Madden NFL '17
Courtesy of Amazon.com

It’s a Madden World, we just live in it. The Madden franchise long ago transcended being just another video game series to become a cultural phenomenon. There’s a whole generation now that associates John Madden more with video games than actually playing football, coaching it or even being an announcer. And each iteration of “Madden” has been a little more refined than the one before. The latest reflects the real NFL’s emphasis on the QB-WR dynamic. It’s not a coincidence that Odell Beckham Jr. graces the cover. The coolest new addition to “Madden” in years is also in this version—something called “Draft Champions,” in which you do a quickie draft, fantasy style, of players from the past and present to form a new mega team. So, you can have John Elway throwing to Mike Evans. And then you take your dream team through a ladder of increasingly difficult opponents. Everything else is back as well, from quickie Online Play to deep Season Modes. There’s a reason “Madden” is the most popular sports franchise in the world. It’s not just a franchise, it’s a brand.

Best Hockey Game: NHL '18

NHL '17
Courtesy of Amazon.com

EA Sports has been making hockey games under the NHL banner for 25 years. By now, they know a thing or two about how to make a hockey simulation, and their latest release is arguably their best. It has incredibly fluid gameplay, and works well for hardcore fans of the sport or those who don’t know what the heck icing is in the first place. Like most EA titles, it’s also incredibly deep in terms of variety, allowing you to control an entire team, just a player, or even just the GM, dealing with the business of hockey, including salaries and negotiations. This one also has the Hockey Ultimate Team, a fantasy-sports simulation in which players collect cards of real-life athletes and build teams with them to play online. You can even form leagues of these imaginary teams, essentially creating your own imaginary hockey league.

Best Soccer Game: FIFA '18

And they say soccer will never be as popular in the United States as it is in the rest of the world. To be honest, it often feels like more people are playing EA Sports’ “FIFA” franchise than are watching the actual sport itself. And this one takes a leap forward in terms of equality, introducing female players to the franchise for the first time. Defending and passing feel more realistic in this year’s version as opposed to the past, enhanced by the capabilities of the PlayStation 4. More so than most sports, there actually is a bit of a competition here in that “Pro Evolution Soccer” from Konami has its defenders. They’re incredibly close in terms of quality, but “FIFA” is just more popular, and so you’ll find more friends and online players with whom to have a match, giving it the edge.

Best Fighting Game EA Sports UFC 2

With entrances and crowds that simulate the same experience of watching an actual UFC fight, EA Sports UFC 2 makes one of the best and most realistic PS4 fighting games to date. Players will be able to create their own character and go toe-to-toe to get their opportunity to sucker punch and kick real-life fighters such as Ronda Rousey and Conor McGregor.

EA Sports UFC 2 is designed with a realistic knock physics system that detects hit reaction and delivers visceral and lifelike KOs. It’s developed to be responsive to pick up and react to grappling and different strikes, with a slip and dodge system for character fluidity that gives gamers full control and a sense of autonomy with their character. Players will get to build and design their own characters with custom looks and martial arts moves as they face off into the MMA Octagon and work on different defense styles to block, parry and counterattack each and every opponent they face off with.

Best Pinball Game: Pinball Arcade Season 2

When it comes to digitally depicted pinball games, you often end up with a theme-oriented experience that does less homage-paying to the great pinball machines of the past and more to franchises of the future. While some of those takes can be great (looking at you, Marvel Pinball), we had to give the nod to the second installment of PS4’s classic pinball arcade. In addition to well-focused physics and painstaking attention-to-pixel detail, this game includes some of pinball’s most classic tables. We’re talking old school games like Centaur, Champion Pub, Cue Ball Wizard, El Dorado City of Gold, Arabian Nights and over a dozen more from storied pinball names like Williams, Bally and Gottlieb. Too bad you can’t shake and bump your PS4 to edge out the competition.