Game Of The Year 2016 – Best Racing Game & Best Sports Game – TheSixthAxis

Game Of The Year 2016 – Best Racing Game & Best Sports Game

Some genres have far less room for innovation than others, and both sports and racing games can often find themselves getting caught up in chasing after a semblance of accuracy, leaning on licenses and the real world for more than just inspiration.

Racing games of recent years have definitely hewn more towards the simulation side of racing than the excesses of arcade racers, and its led to some truly excellent games, from Codemasters’ return to their roots with Dirt Rally, to replicating the feel of a race weekend in F1 2016, or the purist simulation approach of Assetto Corsa. Of course, there’s always a place for the sheer arcade brilliance of Trackmania Turbo, but some of the best racing games of recent times have straddled the divide between simulation and arcade.

Forza Horizon 3

The original Forza Horizon set out its stall as the brash, extreme sports-loving sibling to Turn 10’s meticulous Forza Motorsport, and while the mainline series remains an unequivocal highlight of the simulation racing genre, Horizon, now in it’s third outing, can probably carry the flag as the most entertaining driving experience of this generation.

Playground Games’ have worked tirelessly to evolve their own handling model so that no matter which of the 300+ cars you’re careening across the Australian countryside in, they each feel unique, lively, and just down right fun. That Southern Hemisphere setting also provides plenty of opportunity for a range of landscapes to speed across, from gorgeous sandy beaches through to palm tree-laden cityscapes.

It’s just so well put together, with breathtaking visuals, perfectly tuned handling, and a range of steadily unlocking challenges and races that will keep you engaged for many, many hours. Despite all of the different tasks, it’s so easy to find yourself simply driving from one side of the map to the other, or taking the time to hunt for decrepit classics hidden in barns, and it’s in these quieter moments that Horizon 3 really shines. Now, with the addition of the Blizzard Mountain DLC it’s become even more expansive, and if you’ve got the display technology for it, it will output a stunning HDR picture to boot.

Runners up in alphabetical order:

  • Assetto Corsa
  • Dirt Rally
  • F1 2016
  • Trackmania Turbo

It’s all too easy to dismiss sports games out of hand as not making big enough steps forward from one year to the next, yet developers are always looking and planning for those improvements. It could be a new game engine, a complete overhaul of ball physics, new AI, or simply getting one step closer to how the sport looks on TV, there’s always something.

Then there’s also the brand new entries from left field. RIGS isn’t just the PlayStation VR’s premier shooter, it’s also given all the trappings of a sports game, with league tables, baying crowds and futuristic takes on sports. Touchdown might be a variation on Capture the Flag, but it’s only one or two steps removed from being American Football or Rugby with guns and giant mechs.

FIFA 17

With the transition to the Frostbit Engine, FIFA 17 was a major undertaking for one of the biggest and longest running sports franchises, but the game went beyond that with the addition of a story mode in the form of The Journey. While other sports titles have had story modes within them, namely 2K’s NBA series and EA’s own Fight Night Champion, it’s FIFA’s that has managed to meld together a proper narrative with a smoother light RPG experience for increasing Alex Hunter’s attributes.

The Journey may only last one season but it manages to build up relationships between Hunter, his family, friends, and rivals, as well as give a glimpse as to what a young footballer may experience when signing for a big club. Partner that with FIFA’s Ultimate Team, which still has no real rival, the rest of its online modes like Seasons, as well as some very good play on the pitch, and you get the best sports package released this year.

Runners up in alphabetical order:

  • Madden NFL 17
  • Pro Evolution Soccer 17
  • RIGS: Mechanized Combat League

Written by
TSA's Reviews Editor - a hoarder of headsets who regularly argues that the Sega Saturn was the best console ever released.

9 Comments

  1. Seperate racing and sports categories? You’re really spoiling us this year! ;P

    • Time to break the seal on the ambassadors ferrero roche :P

  2. I’d have gone for Dirt Rally and PES 17.

    Dirt Rally was a once in a generation type of racer and truly unlike anything else available, not all that accessible though due to the difficulty.

    FIFA, while solid, I felt took a step back in the core gameplay from last years version while PES improved dramatically. Presentation-wise FIFA is obviously leaps and bounds ahead.

  3. I half expected Coffin Dodgers :D

    Actually I’d probably prefer Coffin Dodgers to any of these other games. Not my genre.

  4. I’ve got horizon 3 with my xbox bundle, which is still waiting in its box to be set-up. I’ve also got project cars still in its wrapper on ps4. Which one should I play 1st? Who am I kidding? I’ll probably just stick Driveclub on again ;p

  5. Considering Forza didn’t have much of a competition, it was already written in the stars lol.

    FIFA 17 really over PES 17. One game improves every year while the other re-harsh the same formula just new engine, that Alex hunter did nothing to refresh gameplay

  6. Horizon is great but Fifa over Pes is a shocker, it might have shinier trimmings but the core gameplay isn’t close.

  7. Was there even that many to pick from? I mean, that genre is very slim pickings. Kinda forgot Rigs was a think. Literally can only remember three games. WWE 2k17, FIFA 17 and whatever’s left of the corpse that is PES because of Konami stuff being Konami stuff.

    Unsurprising that Fifa won as well, it actually had new features! EA, you’re doing it wrong! You’re supposed to copy and paste the same game every year! Bloody 2016! :P

  8. Yay FH3, I’m still playing it, what with the seasonally appropriate Blizzard mountain expansion. I must have sunk 50 hours into it now, which is rare for me to do with a single game. F1 2016 great aswell.

    I like FIFA17 quite alot compared to previous years. Initially I hated it because it’s a bit hard, but I find it really satisying when I score now, I don’t know why though!

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