- From FIFA to Super Mario, here are our favorite video games of the year.
As another addition to our Year-End lists, we asked three SI staffers share their favorite video game of the year. Here are their picks:
In America, FIFA is more than just a video game. It’s a vehicle of soccer culture, driven to attract those who never knew or were even interested in soccer in the first place. Thanks to FIFA, young people are getting more and more interested in the beautiful game and therefore recognize the beauty of the real life fútbol experience by learning from its virtual alternative.
FIFA’s influence, not just as a video game but as a voice for soccer fan, cannot be underestimated, and FIFA 18 is, in my opinion, the best yet. Aside from the closer attention to detail from a graphics perspective (player movement, stadiums, crowd reactions) I love how EA prioritized gameplay above all else. For example, the introduction of live substitution (you can sub in a player without needing to pause) makes it so much easier to keep the game rhythm when you’re playing against a friend.
My Ultimate Team is Aston Peruano (a combination of my two loves—Peru and Aston Villa) and the fact that this is the only place where I will only be able to see Jonathan Kodjia and Raul Ruidiaz together is why I love this game so much.
LONG LIVE FIFA! —Luis Miguel Echegaray
The sell for NBA2K is pretty simple: not only does LeBron James play it, he uses it to strategize. "I play a lot of 2K," he told reporters in December. "Seriously, I’ve said this before. I play a lot of NBA 2K, and it’s the most realistic game, basketball game, that you can ever play. I mix and match a lot of lineup changes, things of that nature, to see how we can be really good. It’s pretty good."
Along those lines, NBA2K18 is far and away the series’ best installment to date. Whether you’re hardcore on the X’s and O’s like LeBron, enjoy playing online in what amounts to an increasingly personalized basketball MMORPG experience, or spend hours playing general manager of your favorite team, the game has something for you.
The gameplay pops, the players feel unique, and the simulation has become so realistic that it can now border on fantasy. Take, for example, the MyGM mode, in which you can now approve massive league-wide rule changes, add up to six expansion franchises and learn the ins and outs of the collective bargaining agreement in practice, all at once. I’ll be the first to admit I’ve enjoyed the meticulous process of re-integrating the Seattle Sonics as the league’s 31st team, from the arena to the uniforms to the expansion draft.
2K18 holds appeal for gamers, basketball nerds and people who fall somewhere in the middle of the cross-section. It’s immersive without ever producing the same experience twice. Well, except that the Warriors are still winning the next three titles at minimum. —Jeremy Woo
SUPER MARIO ODYSSEY
My favorite game of the year didn’t involve sports.
While I played—and enjoyed—Madden NFL 18, NBA 2K18, FIFA 18 and MLB The Show 17, the two best games of the year were “The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild” and “Super Mario Odyssey”. And if I have to choose just one, it’d be Mario.
The genius of Mario is that it will feel familiar to anyone, whether you’re a Nintendo junkie or last played a video game in the ’80s. That accessibility allows anyone to jump right in and enjoy the wildly entertaining—and visually stunning—worlds of “Super Mario Odyssey”. And yet, Odyssey isn’t dumbed down. New wrinkles—like Cappy, Mario’s sidekick—and an open world packed with secrets/surprises make the game hours of fun for veterans and newbies alike. —Ben Eagle