Everybody’s Golf has been largely the same game for decades, but with its inaugural PS4 instalment, Clap-Hanz elevated the formula by adding in plenty of customisation options and open world courses. It makes the game feel much more alive than its predecessors, and with buggies to drive and daily competitions to compete in, there’s much more to engage with than ever before. Perhaps most importantly, the underlying click-click-click gameplay remains easy to execute but challenging to master.
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Gran Turismo Sport may have divided franchise fans with its online focus, but there’s simply no question that its e-sports emphasis has pushed the simulation racing genre to the next level. With a focus on etiquette, online races feel both realistic and competitive – and the whole process of qualifying for events gives a sense of occasion to each and every multiplayer match.
We debated it, and there’s no doubt that Rocket League is a sports game. The vehicular-based soccer sim sees you flinging nitro-powered cars around colourful arenas, attempting to steer an oversized ball into the back of your opponent’s net. Utterly superb in multiplayer, Psyonix’s smash hit is one of the highlights of the generation – and a mainstay on our hard-drives. It only doesn’t top this list because it doesn’t necessarily fit the mould of what a traditional sports game is – i.e. it’s not actually simulating something that we play in the real-world. More’s the pity.
It’s one of the best-selling franchises in gaming full-stop for a reason, and FIFA 19 is the best version yet. While its gameplay lags behind Konami’s less-popular Pro Evolution Soccer in some departments, it makes up for any shortcomings with its overall wealth of content and sheer presentational panache. Packing the Champions League for the first time in its illustrious history, this is the most complete that FIFA has ever been. And as its card collecting Ultimate Team mode goes from strength-to-strength, EA Sports has even put an emphasis on local multiplayer in this edition, offering a slew of clever Kick Off modes that are perfect for pre-pub warm ups.
There’s just nothing quite like MLB The Show 19 when it comes to presentation and gameplay. We’d argue that Sony San Diego has mastered the sport of baseball, but this series still somehow improves every year. Road to the Show is a brilliant campaign mode, which transforms a relatively simple sport into a fully-fledged role-playing game, while March to October truncates the lengthy MLB season into a series of pivotal moments. It’s the card collecting Diamond Dynasty mode that pulls everything together, though – an outrageously addictive squad building offering that will consume your life. And when you’re out on the field? Well, it’s simply sublime.