The 5 Best PlayStation 4 Sports Games of 2019

Run, throw, and tackle your way to the best sports games on the PlayStation 4

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The Rundown

  • Best Baseball Game: MLB The Show 19 at Walmart, "MLB The Show 19 delivers a silky-smooth ballpark experience."
  • Best Soccer Game: FIFA 19 at Amazon, "FIFA 19 brings with it a plethora of new content including new kickoff modes, improved physics, and refined tactics."
  • Best Football Game: Madden NFL 19 at Amazon, "One of the most unique additions to the EA Sports stable."
  • Best Hockey Game: NHL 19 at Amazon, “A dramatic overhaul in both graphical and performance departments.”
  • 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 The Show 19

MLB The Show 19

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.

Also check out our picks for the best PS4 golf games.

Best Soccer Game: FIFA 19

FIFA 19

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.

Best Football Game: Madden NFL 19

Madden NFL 19

At this point, the Madden 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.

Best Hockey Game: NHL 19

NHL 19

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.

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.

Also check out our picks for the best two-player PS4 games.

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.

Want more games? Our experts did the research and found the best PlayStation 4 games on the market this year.

What to Look for in a PlayStation 4 Sports Game

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.