Sporting News's Reviews
With gorgeous sound and visuals, immersive and expansive modes for single players, captivating multiplayer options, a rewarding economy, and a staggering amount of cars and tracks, Forza Motorsport 6 delivers a powerful racing experience. It single-handedly makes the Xbox One console appealing, and is a no-brainer “gotta have it” title for those that have Microsoft’s gaming machine in their homes.
Three years into the reboot of the R.B.I. Baseball series and it's still a completely uninspired mobile-quality game being sold for four times as much on consoles. It's a shame that Xbox owners have now gone several years without a having a legitimate MLB game but it's been even longer since a quality one was released for a Microsoft system.
"Madden NFL 17" mostly avoids gimmicks in favor of addressing long-running areas of deficiency in the series. The developers stuck with the progress they made in recent years — aspects hardcore football fans appreciate like penalties and accuracy mattering for quarterbacks — while adding an element of unpredictability that makes the game feel much more like the actual sport.
While the game offers online capability, all attempts to play have failed in the days since release. It's unclear whether online matchmaking is broken or whether there simply aren't others searching to play online. Either scenario essentially negates online as a feature, which is unfortunate because it would likely be chaotic fun and would extend the longevity of the title.
The pure-simulation route for non-traditional sports seems best suited for those meant to be more serene than extreme. There just isn't much fun to be had with "Infinite Air" because of a steep learning-curve that isn't overcome in a reasonable amount of time.
The Blizzard Mountain expansion is a no-brainer for those who are already deep into Forza Horizon 3. Developer Playground Games has delivered a challenging experience that both broadens and compliments the world of Forza. Given that Blizzard Mountain can't be accessed until having played many hours into the game, however, those who are just starting or haven't reached the point at which it would unlock should wait and see first whether they get there and are still engaged with the game before buying.
While "3on3 Freestyle" is lacking in many ways, it's still a unique entry on the market that is worth trying out. Given that the game is free, there's really no reason for anyone who may have interest not to do so. There is the potential that new modes, courts and characters through post-release support could make the game more appealing, but the core gameplay may not be good enough for those with current-day expectations of traditional sports games to give it much time to improve.
"Disc Jam" has the right formula to become the next big breakout indie game and possibly even succeed as an eSport. The matchmaking will need to improve and new content delivered regularly to prevent it from becoming just a passing fad, but with a high fun factor and strategic nature, despite simplicity and accessibility, "Disc Jam" delivers.
Whether it's laying out big hits or scoring satisfying goals there's some fun to be had with "Old Time Hockey." It just takes too long to get to a place of enjoyment, and even then doesn't negate the underlying issues and otherwise lack of content despite a reasonable $12 price point.
It's difficult to reconcile how great the core gameplay is in "MLB The Show 17" with how it can literally waste your time by not recording the results. Should the servers stabilize and become reliable, there isn't a better pure gameplay experience in the genre, and there's also a lot of content and value to be found in the traditional modes as well as its live services. Like the real baseball season, it may be a long grind to get there but the payoff will almost certainly be worth it.
Were it not for "Longshot" and MUT Squads, many veterans of the "Madden" franchise might have had a difficult time discerning last year's edition from this one. Thankfully, those two new modes pay off, making all the effort devoted to them worthwhile. They're joined by subtle but valuable improvements to gameplay that become apparent the more "Madden NFL 18" is played.
"NBA Live 18" is closer to being a really good game than many would have anticipated, even after a year off for the series. It offers refreshingly simplified and genuinely fun gameplay with an excellent career mode. Deficiencies in other areas of the game hamper its appeal as a total package, making it difficult to recommend as more than an alternative to its competition, but it's still important to recognize this may finally be the turnaround year that "NBA Live" has been seeking since the current console generation began.
It may be surprising that it would take an "arcade" mode to round out a simulation-based product, but NHL Threes does just that for "NHL 18." While the series is still lacking in some aspects of gameplay and presentation this year, "NHL" achieved something important, by becoming the most appealing edition of the series for an audience that extends beyond just the fanatics of the sport in a very long time.
It's a testament to the the compelling nature of "NBA 2K18" that there's any such concern over time being wasted, time that could instead be spent playing more of such an exceptional game in any number of satisfying ways. "NBA 2K18" shines in the areas that matter most to basketball fanatics, through excellent gameplay and presentation, a variety of modes all with considerable depth and its celebration of the league's history.