The sports genre of video games has been under fire in recent years. Many people have grown tired of the repetitiveness of yearly series like FIFA and NBA 2K, and are unhappy at the ever-growing push of microtransaction-heavy modes like Ultimate Team. Another common aspect of modern sports games that has frustrated some people is the lack of fleshed-out single-player content.
Thankfully, there have been numerous sports games released over the years that have put plenty of time, effort, and care into creating compelling single-player experiences; be it through implementing a captivating story, ensuring that A.I. opponents are well balanced, or offering tantalizing unlockables for various offline tasks.
7 Skate 3
Skate 3 was released in May 2010 for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. Like its predecessor, Skate 3 puts players in a freely-explorable open-world that contains a range of events for them to complete to boost their brand’s profile. The game’s world was noticeably more vibrant than that of its predecessor, replacing Skate 2‘s gritty and grainy streets with a summery vibe.
Skate 3 was initially heavily criticised upon release, as the game was riddled with technical issues, particularly with its ragdoll physics. To EA’s credit, they soon rectified these problems in a reprint, ensuring that the game reached its high potential. Fans of the Skate series had been asking for a sequel or remake for years, and finally got their wish just over a decade after Skate 3‘s release, when a new Skate game was announced in 2020.
The Football Manager series started life in November 2004, following Sports Interactive’s departure from the Championship Manager franchise. Since then, the series has been a staple of single-player sports gaming, with each game letting players embark on a limitless career that can see some people progress into the 2030s, 2040s, 2050s, and beyond.
Unlike most titles that put gamers in control of the on-field players, the Football Manager games put them in a coaching role, unable to directly control anything happening on the pitch. That certainly doesn’t mean that gamers won’t have their hands full, however, as the game puts them in charge of training, player development, tactics, contracts, transfers, scouting, and much, much more.
5 SSX Tricky
SSX Tricky is a snowboarding game that was released in 2001 by EA Sports Big and is the sequel to the original SSX. As was the case with all games released by EA Sports Big, SSX Tricky prioritizes over-the-top moves and fun over realism, similar to the company’s FIFA Street and NBA Street games.
SSX Tricky has four separate game modes: World Circuit, Freeride, Single Event, and Practice. World Circuit is the main single-player mode, letting players compete in Race and Show-Off events to unlock new boards, characters, and outfits.
4 WWE SmackDown! vs. Raw 2006
It may surprise some people today, considering how poorly received the last two WWE games were, but there was once a time when pro-wrestling was a leading force in the sports genre, and even people who had no interest in the sport poured numerous hours into the games.
WWE SmackDown! vs. Raw 2006 is one of the series’ highlights, particularly for its single-player offerings. Along with the reappearing Season mode that let players challenge for the WWE Championship and World Heavyweight Championship over the course of two years, the game also introduced General Manager mode for the first time. The General Manager mode lets players take the role of booker, allowing them to create matches, storylines, and trade wrestlers with the rival brand.
3 Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2
As the name suggests, Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2 is a remaster of Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater and Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2 – two of the most critically-acclaimed sports games in the genre’s history.
Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2 offers a huge range of maps for players to ride in where they are given a short time limit to complete certain tasks. There are a wide range of tasks to complete in each stage, with most revolving around achieving high point scores with tricks or finding hidden items that are scattered around each map.
2 Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out!!
Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out!! is a boxing game that was first released all the way back in 1987. The game was released on the NES and in arcades, and soon became one of the decade’s most commercially successful and acclaimed gaming releases. The gameplay is incredibly simple, though it perfects the balance of “easy to play, impossible to master” with its difficulty balancing, as players must time their combos to perfection to beat some of the tougher opponents, essentially turning it into a rhythm game.
The campaign sees players progress by beating a series of opponents, beginning with one of gaming’s biggest pushovers, Glass Joe, and ending with the infamously difficult Mike Tyson fight.
1 Fight Night Round 4
Fight Night Round 4 is another release from sporting giants Electronic Arts. The game was headlined by the two most famous heavyweights of all time, Muhammed Ali and the aforementioned Mike Tyson, who both featured on the front cover.
The game replaces the previous game’s Career Mode with Legacy Mode. The mode begins with the player competing in amateur tournaments before progressing all the way up to the heights of championship glory and legendary status in the sport.
MORE: 2K Versus EA: Who Makes Better Sports Games?
Amouranth Returns to Twitch After 3 Day Ban
Twitch reverses its fifth ban against popular streamer Amouranth, allowing her back on the streaming platform after just three days.
About The Author
Jack Pursey (358 Articles Published)
A gamer since the age of 3, Jack is knowledgeable about virtually every genre of video game under the sun. He has a soft spot for platformers and collectathons though, and still hasn’t given up hope of them making a serious resurgence!