The 8 Best PlayStation 4 Sports Games to Buy in 2018

Shop for the best sports games for the PlayStation 4

Summer is nearly upon us and most of the country is now warm enough that people are getting outside to play real sports, but sometimes it’s more fun to stay on the couch and play virtual ones instead. With a couple years of product released for the PS4, it can be a little overwhelming when you’re trying to decide which sports game to pick up and play. Let us help you choose which games to master with the following list of eight of the best titles on the market (from basketball, to baseball, to soccer and even WWE).

Easy to pick up and starting playing, Super Mega Baseball is a simplistic and cartoony baseball game that focuses solely on having fun. The approachable and simple-to-learn game carries with it multiple player moves and methods that give players a diverse setup of different tactics. If you love the glory days of baseball games like Ken Griffey Junior Baseball for the N64 or Little League Championship on the NES, then you’ll find this to be the modern equivalent.

As much as Super Mega Baseball looks unrealistic, its developed with a solid simulation of baseball with accurate physics, realistic statistical outcomes and full tracking of batting and pitching. Players get to customize the names, look and skills of their team and its players, giving them a kind of sense of ownership, and carrying it through exhilarating campaign modes. It comes with an offline local multiplayer of up to four players, too, so you can play with your friends on the couch like the good old days.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

For wannabe athletes who haven’t been to the gym in a while, pinball can be its own kind of workout. OK, maybe it’s not as much of a sports game as “Madden” or “NBA 2K,” but Zen Studios pinball simulator is one of the best games you can buy for the PS4, of any type, sports or not. It’s just a fun, pick-up-and-play addiction, especially now that they’ve licensed tons of franchises, allowing for gamers to play pinball tables based on “Star Wars,” Marvel, “The Walking Dead,” “Archer,” “Family Guy,” “South Park,” and more! It’s an addictive blast.

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