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Best Sports Game 2011

Fight Night Champion

Publisher: Electronic Arts

Developer: EA Canada

With most sports games, you usually just get the same thing every year, with a little spit and polish and a few new bells and whistles. Not exactly a $60 roster update, but pretty close to it at times. MLB: The Show does a good job of spicing up a new version every year, but in the end it’s still just 9 innings of baseball. Fight Night Round 4 felt quite a bit like Round 3, so Fight Night Champion surprised quite a few gamers.

Boxing games have never been known for original storylines – you could relive the ‘Rumble in the Jungle’ or the ‘Thrilla in Manilla’, but the stories were right out of the history books. Fight Night Champion not only gave us an original story, but it gave us a great original story. You were able to see inside the life of an up and coming boxer, and also see how the politics of boxing could keep him from rising to the top. You could feel the anger and despair of a young man whose life was stripped from him and consequently thrown behind bars. Innocence meant nothing. Seeing this life through the eyes of this boxer, and fighting his fights, created a sense of personal anger towards this crooked promoter, and gave you a sense of immersion you don’t normally get from most sports games.

Fight Night Champion set itself apart from all other sports titles by not only giving gamers what they expected from a Fight Night game, but also a compelling and immersive story.

Runners Up:

  • MLB 11: The Show
  • NBA 2K11
  • NHL 12
  • FIFA 12