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By and large, FIFA loyalists will snap up annual sequels even when few improvements have been made. Deviating from the norm, however, the latest entry in the franchise isn't guilty of stagnation. FIFA 19 brings with it a plethora of new content including new kickoff modes, improved physics, and refined tactics. These new additions make assembling a powerhouse soccer team feel much more enjoyable, and the gameplay is more realistic than ever before.
Curated daily and weekly challenges from EA Sports offer plenty of replay value as well as a community to play against. Career Mode is just as thorough as it's been in previous entries, and the cinematic storyline The Journey is arguably more engaging than in years past. Instead of playing as Alex Hunter alone, players step into the cleats of several family members, thereby painting a more complete portrait of his legacy. It's one of the most unique additions to the EA Sports stable, and it may even convince non-soccer fans to start paying attention. FIFA is one yearly franchise unafraid to take risks, and it's all the better for it.
For some time, Sony's MLB The Show franchise has been the crowning jewel of baseball games — mostly because there aren't that many to choose from, but also because of its high production value, high-quality graphics, and exciting gameplay. Although it's usually prone to delivering a similar slate of content year after year, MLB The Show 19 introduces new March to October and Moments modes to mix things up a bit.
As always, the technical aspects of managing a baseball team are still in place for hardcore fans hoping to sink their teeth into more than a pack of Big League Chew. Franchise mode lets you follow a single team throughout various seasons, while Home Run Derby serves as a compelling diversion from the more granular elements of baseball. With slick graphics, stylish presentation, and top-notch mechanics, MLB The Show 19 delivers a silky-smooth ballpark experience. It may be the only field in town, but it's really all you need.
At this point, the Madden football games are more than a household name — they're something of a cultural phenomenon. But that hasn't kept EA from trying to elevate it even further. While Madden NFL 19 doesn't take a massive step forward from its predecessor, there's no need to reinvent the wheel when you're the best in your class. It packs all of its standard modes like Exhibition, Franchise, and Madden Ultimate Team into a sleek package that allows you to feel as if you're consistently making progress through the game.
Despite its familiar mechanics, tackles and passes feel more tactile than before. Thanks to the Real Player Motion (RPM) system, players move so realistically it's easy to forget you're playing a video game rather than a live broadcast. Coupled with an excellent presentation, it's almost like sitting back and catching a game on a lazy Sunday afternoon, right down to the commentary. Madden didn't become the most popular sports franchise in the world by accident, after all – it's just that good.
Year after year, EA Sports somehow outdoes itself, putting out the finest hockey simulation video game the PS4 has to offer. With NHL 19, it has expanded and improved upon its already wide repertoire of tricks, from allowing players to compete with and against over 200 legendary hockey players to the introduction of a sprawling game hub meant to help players fine-tune their own custom characters.
This particular installment isn't just a new coat of paint, as it's been treated to a dramatic overhaul in both graphical and performance departments as well. The introduction of Real Player Motion (RPM) technology brings fluid skating and improved responsiveness to all players as soon as they hit the ice. As a result, the gameplay feels realistic for hockey legends and custom newbies alike. For veteran hockey fanatics, not to mention zealous newcomers itching to learn more about the sport, NHL 19 is deep, incredibly robust, and well worth the buy, even if you've been plunking down the cash for it year after year.
After 20 years of distinct NBA 2K games on an annual basis, you would think the folks over at Visual Concepts would have long ago hit a stopping block in finding new, exciting ways to keep the series fresh. But through a variety of new modes and presentation changes, NBA 2K19 very much keeps the series as a vital one for sports games on the Xbox One.
A handful of new improvements to the game’s core mechanics tighten up the in-game action — from a more advanced, faster learning AI to a newly revamped, easier-to-use ball stealing system. The game also makes further strides in refining the unique “Streetball” moves that let you taunt and humiliate your opponents on the court. Throw in a completely new soundtrack curated by rapper Travis Scott and featuring artists like Marshmellow, Three Days Grace, and Bruno Mars, and it becomes quite clear with NBA 2K19 that some old dogs can, in fact, learn new tricks.
If you’ve ever dreamed of living the life of a professional golfer, The Golf Club 2019 is the game for you. Not only is it the best pure golf game available on the Playstation 4, but it’s also one of the most feature-rich titles ever made. Jam-packed with content, The Golf Club 2019 doesn’t just have you work on your putting or practice your short game. By competing in real-world tournaments like The PGA Tour, The FedEx Cup, and more, it wants to make you feel like a golfer in every possible measure
You can also design your very own golfer character from scratch, and even customize different courses for them to play in. All of this is possible through the main PGA Tour Career Mode. However, if you're interested in playing with friends, The Golf Club 2019 has you covered as well, with two different online modes: Skins, in which you bet your virtual currency on the results of the round, and Alt-shots, in which you compete against other teams to get the highest score possible. No matter how you swing it, The Golf Club 2019 has something for every type of putt enthusiast out there.
Though the Playstation 4 is not left wanting for a wide variety of fighting games, only EA Sports UFC 3 offers you the ability to participate in the real-life, widely practiced sport of mixed martial arts, or MMA. Created in partnership with the UFC, EA Sports UFC 3 continues the series' commitment to accuracy. A robust physics engine makes every punch and kick land, and the visceral sound effects put you in the ring unlike any other fighting game out there.
And like the UFC itself, fighting occurs as much out of the ring as it does inside it. Through the new in-game social media feature, you can directly challenge and taunt the famous UFC athletes featured in the game, creating your own persona and fierce rivalries to bring your fighting experience to life. And if you want to beef with actual human players, online play is available through either swift, pick-up-and-play “knockout” matches, or more in-depth and lengthier tournament play. No matter how you slice it, the sport of fighting is no better represented on the Playstation 4 than with EA Sports UFC 3.
Golf simulators are nothing new, what with the relatively immobile sport being the perfect fit for virtual play. But though golf simulators were once merely the domain of rich businessmen or the political elite, the robust Playstation VR system has opened up the world of golf simulation to pretty much everyone. And by far the greatest offering on that end is Everybody’s Golf VR.
A spin-off of the mega-popular Japanese golfing game franchise, Everybody’s Golf VR allows you the opportunity to use either your Dualshock 4 or Playstation Move controller to simulate the movements of an actual golf club. Using a Playstation VR headset, you can play through three fully formed courses as you improve your golf game, stroking and swinging to add a whole new level of immersion. And if you would prefer a more limited approach, you can even utilize the game’s virtual driving range. When it comes to getting the most immersive golf experience on the Playstation 4, nothing else will make for a better tee time than Everybody’s Golf VR.
Online multiplayer - It doesn’t matter what sport you’re into, the best thing about PlayStation 4 sports games is competing against other people. If you have a PS Plus subscription, make sure to look for sports games that have online multiplayer and a big enough fan base to keep your matches popping.
Local multiplayer - If you have a buddy, or a group of buddies, that also like sports games, then you need to look for titles that support local multiplayer. Couch co-op is fun, but sports games with local multiplayer let you go head-to-head against your friends.
4K and HDR - If you have the hardware to support it, look for sports games that include PlayStation 4 Pro enhancements. You’ll need a 4K (4K resolution) television with HDR (high dynamic range) to see graphical benefits, but some games also have performance boosts.