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The best sports games on console

Whether it's on the court, pitch, or ice the best sports games to play on PlayStation, Xbox, Nintendo Switch, and PC will fill your days with competitive fun.

Best sports games: John Cena, Donovan Mitchell, and Lionel Messi standing side-by-side

What are the best sports games? The biggest names in sports gaming deliver new titles every year, but the best sports games options available to players also include some ongoing live service games, smaller franchises, and remastered classics that can’t be ignored. Whether you’re looking for a top sports game to tackle on PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, Nintendo Switch, or even PC, it can be overwhelming deciding where to turn your attention with so many on the market.

The sports game genre has continued to expand through the years. Different franchises can offer contrasting experiences when simulating the same real-world sport, and innovation has even brought with it games that invent an entirely novel virtual sport all of their own. Some of the best games around are all about sports – a testament to the craft. So, whether you’re looking for something to play alone, or one of the best multiplayer games to play with your pals, grab your best PS5 controller, best Switch controller, or best Xbox controller, and let’s dive in.

The best sports games are:

Best Sports Games: a baseball player can be seen holding a chain

1. MLB The Show 23

Kicking things off with arguably the best-crafted and most reliable massive sports gaming franchise around, MLB The Show 23 took the innovations of recent years and leveled them up with some of the cleanest gameplay around. As baseball simulations go, none are more visually stunning or more true to the full baseball game experience than what you’ll find in the game, as we mention in our MLB The Show 23 review.

While longstanding modes like Road to the Show, Diamond Dynasty, and Franchise delivered as they usually do, the biggest star of MLB The Show 23 is the new Storylines mode diving into the history of the Negro Leagues. This immersive documentary-style mode is littered with interviews, archival footage, and stories about eight of the most prolific players from the Negro Leagues era. No other sports game delivers on every level quite like MLB The Show 23. MLB The Show 23 is included in the Xbox Game Pass library for subscribers, and PlayStation Plus Premium members can take advantage of a free trial to test things out before buying.

Best Sports Games: Tony Hawk in the air getting hang time

2. Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2

Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2, a remaster of the critically acclaimed and widely adored originals, quickly outpaced two decades of games with the fastest first million units sold in franchise history just ten days after it launched. For players who remember the original Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater titles brought together for this game, they feel like a time capsule got a high-definition upgrade.

If you’ve never played the original releases, Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2 is far and away the best option to relive a cultural phenomenon for the modern age. The original Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2 is still one of the highest-rated games of all time on Metacritic with a near-perfect 98 out of 100, and the development team at Vicarious Visions stuck with what worked while polishing and cleaning things up even more. Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2 is not currently on Xbox Game Pass or PlayStation Plus, but discounts are common if you want to keep watch for them.

Best sports games: an Oklahoma City player wearing a white vest and shorts

3. NBA 2K24

There’s no cleaner basketball sim game on the market than NBA 2K24, which as noted in our NBA 2K24 review offers gameplay that mimics “the natural fluid progression of basketball”. This year’s game boasts a number of much-needed refinements to NBA 2K24 MyTEAM, while The Jordan Challenge has been replaced by Mamba Moments as a homage to the late icon Kobe Bryant.

While we note NBA 2K24’s “amazing visuals and presentation, brilliant gameplay,” and “wide variety of modes”, there are plenty of microtransactions that could tempt you into shelling out more of your hard-earned cash – be wary. With that said, you’ll still get the usual influx of NBA 2K24 locker codes throughout the year for those free dopamine hits.

Best Sports Games: John Cena waving his hand across his face

4. WWE 2K23

Another offering by 2K in a very different realm, WWE 2K23 is only the second release by Visual Concepts since the debacle that was WWE 2K20. While the franchise struggled in the past, WWE 2K22 and now WWE 2K23 have completely flipped the script with a reworked game engine and higher quality on all fronts. The single-player MyRISE career mode offers branching storylines and different paths for male or female superstars.

MyGM, a resurrection of the long-beloved Franchise Mode challenge once seen in SmackDown vs. Raw as GM Mode, has truly come into its own, as we mentioned in our WWE 2K23 review and the game feels like it’s finally brimming with the features 2K has wanted to deliver for some time. The creation suite remains one of the most versatile around, and a massive Community Creations feature means that just about any wrestler, fictional character or historical figure you can think of has probably been created by someone else and is easily downloadable for you to use.

Best Sports Games: Multiple cars can be seen

5. Rocket League

A bit of an outlier in the sports gaming realm, Rocket League doesn’t just simulate a real-world sport but adapts a few of them into its own rocket-car-soccer concept that has only continued to accelerate in popularity through the last several years. Initially released back in 2015 and seeing a major spike in popularity when it went free-to-play, Rocket League has continued to grow and evolve with additional game modes and an extensive amount of customization options for the cars you play with.

While some titles can feel like a major timesink to jump into, Rocket League offers the benefit of relatively short games as standard matches are usually just five minutes long. Casual players can get tons of enjoyment out of even just playing against the computer, but those who dive into the Rocket League ranks will find their skills constantly pushed to improve as they learn more and more complex strategies. Unlike the other games on this list, Rocket League is completely free to play on all platforms, so there’s no reason not to dive in and give it a chance.

Best Sports Games: Multiple wrestlers can be seen

6. AEW Fight Forever

For years there was really only one major name in the wrestling game market, but AEW Fight Forever burst onto the scene earlier this year with nostalgic gameplay and a refreshing approach that sets it apart as one of the best sports games around. This is especially true if you’re looking for something to play with friends, as AEW Fight Forever tacked on over a dozen Mario Party-style minigames that can be enjoyed by up to four players, and more minigames are due in upcoming DLC releases.

AEW Fight Forever harkens back to the gameplay of WWF No Mercy or WWE SmackDown! Here Comes the Pain, and a blast of a career mode dubbed Road to Elite allows you to play as either a custom wrestler or someone already on the in-game roster. Additional content and DLC releases look to only make AEW Fight Forever better and more polished post-launch, but players looking for a different take on wrestling gaming in the modern age can get hours and hours of fun out of this release.

Best sports games: several football players sprinting forward and duking it out in Madden 24

7. Madden 24

Madden, Madden, Madden. EA’s football series may be the best around, but the bar is certainly lower than in other sports. Madden 24 is categorically the closest you’ll get to a true footballing experience, but it’s not without its issues.

As noted in our Madden 24 review, “despite some slight improvements to the FieldSENSE technology and Franchise mode, Madden 24 so far fails to deliver a consistent experience that football fans are looking for.” If you’re looking to get your yards in, then Madden 24 is available on PC, PlayStation, and Xbox.

Best sports games: a goaltender making a dramatic save in NHL 24

8. NHL 24

As with some of the other annualized options on this list, NHL 24 brings some extra flair to this year’s iteration of the hockey series, such as the new ‘total control’ control scheme, streamlining the input process of getting off those fancy dekes and dangles. The best change by far is you now have the ability to actually pick your passing target, rather than leaving it to the gods – or the sub-par predictive system from previous years.

However, EA appears to have botched some of the physics this time around, and the new checking system isn’t up to the job. As such, while NHL 24 is hit-and-miss for the most part, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better way to pilot the best players in the NHL 24 ratings to glory – be it on PlayStation or Xbox.

Best sports games: Rollerdrome player in a red jumpsuit shooting towards an explosion

9. Rollerdrome

This one’s a bit abstract compared to some of the other sports games on this list, but hear us out… Okay so imagine you’re down the skate park, rollerblades on, except the skate park is built into the side of a canyon, and there are bad guys trying to gun you down – say hello to Rollerdrome. As Jamie says in our Rollerdrome review, Roll7’s skater-shooter “has one of the most intoxicating and satisfying gameplay loops in recent memory.”

While it’s not quite as tight in the skating department as the Tony Hawk games, here you can actually do a 520 Pretzel Grab backflip while firing off a grenade launcher – so there’s that. It’s a gnarly experience, and categorically one of the best sports games around on PC and PlayStation. If you are looking to drop in, be sure to check out our Rollerdrome tips to get the most out of your experience.

Best sports games: Two Roller Champions players duke it out in the air

10. Roller Champions

Before you skate off into the sunset, we have Roller Champions. While it might not have the skate-’n’-gun action of Rollerdrome, it’s a stylish sports game in its own right. Its gameplay loop is simple: two teams of three carry and steal the ball off of one another in an oval arena, trying to make it through consecutive checkpoints that will eventually open up the goal for you to score through.

As Echo notes in our Roller Champions review, it’s “a fun and engaging team-based multiplayer game that might become your new casual multiplayer addiction.” However, that’s not to say that things won’t get competitive quickly if you’re playing with pals.

Roller Champions is available for free on PC, PlayStation, or Xbox.

Best sports games: a sleek yellow car in Forza Motorsport

11. Forza Motorsport

Kicking off our motorsport section we have the official leader of the pack of best racing games, Forza Motorsport. Turn 10 Studios’ eighth addition to the iconic series has proven a grand slam with players and critics alike, picking up the gong for best sports/racing game at The Game Awards 2023. Over on Metacritic, it’s sitting at a ‘Generally Favorable’ score, further cementing its status as one of the best sports games.

Featuring more cars and tracks to zoom around than ever before, there are few racers grounded in realism that can hold a candle to what Motorsport brings to the table. Additionally, thanks to its litany of accessibility options, it’s the perfect racer for all ability levels – something it was also recognized for at TGA 2023.

Forza Motorsport – one of the best Xbox exclusives – is available on Xbox Series X|S and PC – you can also strap in on Game Pass.

Best sports games: a Red Bull car in F1 23

12. F1 23

The rise of Formula 1 in the States in recent years cannot be understated and now is the perfect time to jump into the F1 videogame franchise if you fancy yourself the next Max Verstappen (sorry, Lewis).

Hailed by Kyle as “probably Codemasters’ best racing game ever” in our F1 23 review, everything from the core racing to car customization – an element of F1 that has helped draw many to it from other motorsports – has been fine-tuned to near-perfection this time around. There’s a reason we scored it 9/10, after all.

If you’re a Drive to Survive fan then you’re also in luck, as the Braking Point story mode has returned to inject tantalizing drama into your racing endeavors. If you want to have a more personal experience, though, there’s a separate career mode that’ll let you work your way up from the F2 circuit to the very top.

F1 23 is available on PlayStation, Xbox, and PC.

Best sports games: a sleek yellow car in Gran Turismo 7

13. Gran Turismo 7

If you’re looking for a true racing sim over on PlayStation then look no further than Gran Turismo 7. Team Green may have snagged the best sports game title with Forza Motorsport at The Game Awards 2023, but GT7 got the gong at 2022’s show.

In our Gran Turismo 7 review Jamie hails the racing as “a five-star game” in itself, stating that “it sets the benchmark for on-track action” – high praise. As one of the top PS5 exclusives, expect plenty of support for 3D audio, DualSense haptics, and performance driven by that speedy PS5 SSD.

Gran Turismo 7 is available only on PlayStation.

Best sports games: Erling Haaland in FC 24

14. FC 24

You may be wondering ‘Where’s FIFA?’ Well, tada! While EA Sports’ iconic soccer franchise may not carry the FIFA moniker anymore, FC is here to stay. As one of the best soccer games out there – arguably the best of them all – FC 24 “retains everything that’s kept people coming back to EA’s soccer series for the past 30 years”, as Aaron notes in their FC 24 review.

However, there’s some solid innovation in this latest installment, including a revamped traits system, FC 24 PlayStyles, which makes the top players in the FC 24 ratings play even more like their real-world counterparts. Additionally, the introduction of FC 24 Evolutions – a system that allows you to upgrade FC 24 Ultimate Team players – provides more meta diversity than ever before.

FC 24 is available on all major platforms.

So if you’re looking to score last-minute screamers or smack some home runs without leaving your lounge, these are the best sports games for you. If you’re looking to maximize your immersion, then be sure to check out the best PS5 accessories and best Xbox accessories that you can amp up your setup with right now. See you out there.