Sports games are often yearly releases. As such, you see the same names time and time again, and it takes a big upset or a huge triumph to influence the pecking order. The 2018/19 season of sports games didn’t bring about any major revolutions. What it did offer is more of the same, but better. FIFA 19, for example, brought us improved Journey and Ultimate Team modes and smoother gameplay, while NHL 19’s fast-paced action picked up momentum with casual gamers.

Here we take a look at a handful of the top console sports games of the season. They are in no particular order, and the list isn’t comprehensive. Madden NFL is an awesome and surprisingly accessible game, but not quite popular enough yet to take up station with NBA 2K. Let’s delve in.

FIFA 19

FIFA is a game that needs very little introduction. The series has been around since 1993, and since then has gathered a massive following of football and gaming fans that come back year after year. There’s plenty of criticism out there, and a healthy rivalry with PES, but there’s so much that FIFA does right that it is still number one.

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In FIFA 19, Journey mode steps up a gear, telling the story of Alex Hunter as he progresses through his career. Ultimate Team mode (FUT) is where it’s at! Players build their own teams and compete both online and offline to earn coins, which they can then trade in to get better players. The gameplay has also improved this year, and is more fluid than ever.

The reason PES 2019 couldn’t make it into the list this year is due to inferior games modes and a lack of one player narrative content. PES is still an incredible game, and many fans believe it to be the greatest. The debate rages on.

NHL 19

Perhaps the biggest surprise of the 2018/19 season is NHL 19, well received in general and regarded by some critics as the greatest sports game of the year. Released in September 2018, this is the 28th instalment in the series, and this time the developers have got it right, with fun and exciting gameplay that is suitable for casual gamers.

Praised for its smooth gameplay and high level of customization, this year’s title offers several new features and game modes, including outdoor matches and “Ones”, 1 v 1 v 1 mode. NHL 19 has licensing with the NHL (though it is not exclusive), so you can play as Stanley Cup favourites Tampa Bay Lightning or Vegas Golden Knights if you choose.

The Be A Pro create a player mode is given an extra boost with the addition of the World of CHEL, where you can take your player through several online and offline game modes while keeping the same character progression.

NBA 2K19

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Photo by Keith Allison

NBA 2K19 has to be the best looking sports video game out there right now. Though it comes under fire for its clunky user-interfaces and complexity, there’s no denying this is a top quality selection with exceptional gameplay. The online co-op mode is a lot of fun, though the career mode lacks bite this year.

Close behind is rival NBA Live 19. The series fell behind badly with a few disappointing titles released recently, and NBA 2K took over by a long way, with sales of over 68 million on the 2K18 title. This year, NBA Live has made a comeback, at least in terms of quality if not in terms of popularity. Casual gamers may prefer this choice.

WWE 2K19

You don’t have to be a fan of wrestling to love wrestling games. It helps, but WWE 2K19 is great as a fighting game infused with drama both in and out of the ring. The 2018 title seemed to deteriorate with every update, but 2K19 brings a completely new and brilliant career mode, and a “Universe” mode with monthly PPV action.

This year, the series have moved away from its roots as a simulation game, with faster and more arcade-like gameplay. It has been well received by fans. UFC3 is the other fighting game worth mentioning, and again takes a more arcade approach

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