With the NFL season in full swing, the World Series coming to a close and the NHL and NBA seasons kicking off, I found it only appropriate to review my favorite sports games. Out of all the genres of video games, sports games are without a doubt one of my favorites. Every year sports video game franchises have put out new updated editions of their respective sports game and they have always been a must have.

As a massive sports fan, I always saw playing sports video games as a way to get even closer to my favorite sports. Here are my top three sports games and tips on team selection, use of features and other aspects of these games to get you ready to take the field.

As the video game that covers the most popular sport in the world, soccer, the game of FIFA is a national phenomenon that has become one of the most popular games in the country. As a college student who allocates plenty of time to video games, I consider FIFA a must-have, as tournaments are taking place as we speak across the country. My favorite thing about this game is the variety of players and teams you can use, as FIFA contains nearly every player, national team and club team on the planet. Like most sports games you can choose any team in the game to play against another player (either in person or online) or you can play season mode, allowing you to play through a team’s entire season while managing and controlling the franchise.

With some of the most notorious ankle breakers and goal scorers in the world, like Lionel Messi (Spain), Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal), Wayne Rooney (UK) and Zlatan Ibrahimović (Sweden) at your disposal, you as the player have the ability to play with them on their respective national club team, with each player having their own attributes and styles. If you are going to play as a club team you should know the best club leagues with the best crop of squads to choose from. There are a litany of leagues to choose from, but I personally feel the best club leagues in FIFA are the Barclay’s British Premiere League (UK) and La Liga BBVA (Spain).

Sarah Morrison / Equinox Staff

Sarah Morrison / Equinox Staff

Just like these players, each team has their own strengths and weaknesses. So as you play, you can better associated how you play with a certain team and find out who you are better with. For example, if you love the fast break style, bombing the ball deep to fly behind defenders and set up one-on-one shots on the goalkeeper, faster teams like Spain, Brazil and the Netherland’s national teams would fit you just fine. Also, I would consider teams such as Chelsea (UK), Paris St. Germain (France) and Real Madrid (Spain) as teams with rosters full of burners.

On the other hand, if you play more like me, which is the more methodical, old-school, slowed-down style of play, national teams such as Germany, Italy and France are more your speed. Club teams that I would consider play in this style are Liverpool (UK), Manchester City (UK) and FC Barcelona (Spain), which is widely regarded as the best team in the entire game. Seriously, with Barcelona having Lionel Messi (considered the best player in the world) and Neymar, who is close to the same caliber, they pair up to make an unstoppable duo. With this game being one of the most, if not the most, detailed games requiring the most skill and finesse, I am not too good at this game but still find it enjoyable none-the-less.

As far as controls go, button sensitivity is crucial, as a hard tap on either the pass or shoot button can send a shot miles over the goalkeeper’s head or send a rocket pass to a player on the other team which could be catastrophic. With the incredible graphics, realism and an entertaining narration of your game, FIFA is an unbelievably entertaining and competitive game all sports lovers should enjoy.

NBA 2k15 is easily one of my favorite video games due to the simple fact that I find myself crushing my friends at this game on a regular basis. Yes people, I’m just plain good and will take on all challengers who don’t mind getting embarrassed for a friendly four quarters. When it comes to my personal team selection it depends on whether or not I am playing casually with another person or in association mode (a game mode in which you choose a team and play out their season). In this mode you can make pivotal roster moves like free agent signing, selecting draft picks and multi-team trades that can change the face of your squad. I am always the Boston Celtics in association mode because I have been bleeding green for my entire life and find bringing the C’s another world championship in the digital world almost as satisfying as the real thing (key word being almost).

On the other hand, when I am duking it out with friends for bragging rights I have a heavy Western Conference bias, as that is by far the deepest conference of the two teams. If you’re playing with deep rosters like the Oklahoma City Thunder’s with Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, the Houston Rockets with Dwight Howard and James Harden or the world champion Golden State Warriors with Klay Thompson and defending league MVP Steph Curry, you always have a good chance to win. I’m a big fan of using the San Antonio Spurs who also have a loaded roster and have been a model of consistency for nearly two decades now: Tony Parker, Manu Ginobli and the big fundamental Tim Duncan. Their precise passing, lights out shooting and tough defense translated to the game in a realistic fashion making the Spurs a great go-to 2K team.

That said, there are some finicky parts of these games such as lagging gameplay, causing players to move unnaturally with bad timing and making the ball bounce in odd directions that don’t make sense. This doesn’t happen too often but enough to make these freak incidents noticeable. For those familiar with the 2K basketball franchise, the controls are basically the same with one alteration to how players shoot. Along with having to hold the shoot button and then releasing it in tune with the layers natural release. Under each player there is a colored meter that changes colors to show how accurate your release is. Red means a miss, green means the shot is going in and yellow means there’s a varied chance depending on how close you are to red or green. This timing system is pretty difficult to get the hang of but, once you do, you’ll find yourself putting up big numbers.

My favorite thing to do in 2K is to find a team that ranks from average to awful in comparison to the rest of the league, but has one extremely talented player (preferably a point guard) and try to dominate the game with him. The example I use the most is Damian Lillard with the Portland Trail Blazers, who is no stranger to a 30-point night. It’s important to make sure you have a strong point guard on the team that you choose because that is the player that will dominate the ball most of the time and energize your offense.

NBA 2K15 is a great game that I suggest to all basketball fans who haven’t already tried it. However, there are flaws in how the game is played and, because of this, it does not rank highly for me in comparison to 2K basketball games of the past.

For me, as a die-hard football fan and devoted gamer, Madden is easily the greatest sports franchise of all time. With the always impressive graphics and consistent game play with a game that covers the most popular sport in America, there’s no wonder Madden has been a cultural gaming sensation, maintaining its popularity for nearly three decades. With each year providing more realistic player movement, graphics and updated roster, Madden is always a must-buy.

Just like the point guard position in NBA 2K15, the do all and end all for anyone in Madden is how good your quarterback is. The incomparable Tom Brady of the New England Patriots and Aaron Rodgers of the Green Bay Packers are the obvious upper echelon choices, as they are both world-class most likely future hall of famers. Without a doubt they are both the best quarterbacks in the NFL and will go down in history as two of the greatest players in the game.

But most teams don’t all have a practical super hero behind the center slinging touchdown passes for them. If you dare to branch out and test yourself as a player, using a team with an average to below average quarterback, be sure of two things. For one, make sure he can run. Lower echelon passers such as Tyrod Taylor (Buffalo Bills) and Colin Kaepernick (San Francisco 49ers) can compensate for their lack of arm talent with their ability to scramble and make plays with their legs. There are few things more devastating than a running quarterback in Madden, the prime example being Michael Vick since 2004. If you’re using a QB that isn’t mobile, make sure you have a running game to balance out your offense and a defense that can keep the game close.

When it comes to controls, above all else, be careful with the hit stick. The hit stick has been a popular feature that has been around for the majority of Madden’s existence. When playing defense, instead of tackling normally with X (Xbox) or Square (Playstation), can flick the right joint stick and deliver a harder, more punishing hit that can force fumbles and make for a great highlight reel. The problem is with the hit stick comes with a more likely risk of missing the tackle entirely, leading to a big play for the other team.

Madden will always be a juggernaut in the world of sports games and I cannot wait to get my hands on the ’16 copy.

Nick Tocco can be contacted at ntocco@kscequinox.com

Share and Enjoy !