In the virtual world, as in real life, when we think of “sport”, football often comes out on top. The proof : FIFA 20 is the second best-selling game of 2019, behind the untouchable GTA V. A reference in the eyes of the general public, FIFA is no longer as sovereign: "In sales, it is still far ahead. But as a game, its lifelong opponent, Pro Evolution Soccer (PES), has returned to the race for three years"assures Thao "Izokay" Coubrun. The expert at jeuxvideo.com goes even further: "This year, I will recommend PES 2020 rather than FIFA, which is struggling to renew itself"Even if the strength of FIFA remains its community and therefore, its online multiplayer modes. So much for simulation games."For those looking for fun via arcade games, it remains the timeless Mario Stricker Charged Football. It is still as good, almost 13 years after its release"advises Thao. A good excuse to bring the Wii out of the attic.
Less known in Europe than that of the round ball, the franchise NBA2K (published by 2K Games) is nevertheless THE benchmark in terms of sports simulation. It's all there: game quality, graphics and game mode. "It is so complete that there has been no competition since that of 2016. NBA Live from EA Sports (editor of FIFA, editor's note), has not been released this year ", Thao testifies. Long difficult to take in hand for novices, the franchise has even opened in recent years to this new audience, simplifying its playability. "The best thing to do when you're new is to compete with friends. We learn better than in front of the computer " ensures the expert jeuxvideo.com, before slipping: "Otherwise in the arcade, there is NBA 2K playgrounds, released a few years ago, which is pretty cool”.
Difficult to take a look at the world of sport without going through the athletics tracks. And yet, it’s hard to find a video game worthy of interest in this discipline. "This segment is deserted, there really is no simulation game" confesses Thao, helpless. The only games available are those of the Olympic Games, "but they didn't release one for Tokyo"Ensures the journalist of jeuxvideo.com. On the other hand, arcade level, Nintendo continued its series Mario and Sonic at the Olympic Games with an opus signed Tokyo 2020, after those of Beijing 2008, London 2012 and Rio 2016. Not the most successful of the series, but the only one to offer an Olympic 100m, including Usain Bolt is of course Sonic.
Again, difficult to miss the reference sagas: Gran Turismo and Forza Motorsport. Thao Coubrun develops: "These are very advanced simulation games, made both for experts and for novices. But the best remains for me Forza Horizon 4 ". For fans of Formula 1, the latest installment F1 2019 "remains the best in the series " according to the specialist in sports video games, who also advises rally games Dirt and WRC8, or MXGP 2019 for motocross. But in this category, difficult for simulation games to weigh against the king of arcade games: Mario Kart. "The Deluxe version on Nintendo Switch is not far from perfect in terms of handling, fun and even competitions, since it has become one of the most played games in esport " explains Thao. In addition, in terms of carbon footprint, Mario's karts, powered by mushrooms, are untouchable.
All cycling races are canceled, and the Tour de France is only in July: do not panic, pedal buffs will be able to get enough with two games for two types of players. "First, there is Pro Cycling manager, for experts, which is the equivalent of Football Manager ", says Thao, a very advanced management game. "For those looking for more action, there is Tour de France 2019, which is closer to Fifa, with good playability, modular " Thao shade. He pursues : "Both games have a lot of flaws, but they’re pretty complete, even if the modeling isn’t amazing ". This can be explained by the catalog of races offered. Thus, in Tour de France, beyond the big loop you can gauge yourself on the cobblestones of Paris-Roubaix, Paris-Nice or even the Criterium du Dauphiné. So in the saddle!
We still don't know if it was really better before, but in the world of tennis video games, no doubt: it was. "Today, we are not very spoiled, regret thao, the only drinking game is AO Tennis 2, the game of the Australian Open. But he has a lot of flaws ". For the expert jeuxvideo.com, no possible doubt: "Safe values remain Virtua Tennis 2 (released in 2001 on Playstation 2) and Top Spin 4 (2011, PS3 and Xbox 360) ". Two more good reasons to go up to the attic to bring out your old consoles. Note: like its cousin of the round ball, the little yellow ball has a fairly successful arcade version: Mario Tennis on Switch. A kind of Wii Sport doped with Nintendo madness.
Wii Sport, precisely, remains the most accessible boxing game, and the most ridiculous for the player, seen from the outside. Without entering into the list of arcade fighting games (Smash Bros, Street fighter …), there are several sports simulations of fighting. "Recent EA Sports UFC are not bad, despite flaws. They are very good for simulation oriented fighting games " says Thao Coubrun. However, the latest wrestling games WWE are no longer at the level according to the expert jeuxvideo.com: "A few years ago, they were really good. But this year's game is just catastrophic ".
To discover … or to avoid
In the range of sports video games, there are, however, a few mistakes not to make. Thus, simulations of handball and rugby are to be avoided, according to Izokay: “It's not unplayable, but there are huge flaws that spoil your overall atmosphere and playability. I strongly recommend”. Same for the last Tony Hawk pro skate 5 : "It's a disaster. Please don't play this version " implores Thao, who justifies: "It's badly modeled, multiplayer is badly calibrated, there are lots of bugs …". Conversely, Izokay highly recommends American sports games: "For US football, the Madden are excellent, as are NHL for hockey ". History to finally understand what a Touchdown is, or to watch an ad-free Superbowl.
Bonus: THE containment game
Tired of breathing the air in your apartment? Do you dream of venturing into large spaces? Good news, there is a sports video game that meets all these criteria: Steep. An enigmatic name behind which hides a nugget signed Ubisoft: a freeride ski and snowboard game, in which you can also make wingsuit on the largest massifs in the world, reconstructed with a rather stunning sense of detail. "When it came out, the game was average. But in two years, the teams have made big updates and it is now a real success in terms of sensations, escapes, decor " Izokay analysis. Add to that an extremely quick grip and an impression of total freedom, and you probably hold the ideal game for containment. On track !