The Best Xbox Sports Games

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Released in 2001, the Xbox was Microsoft’s foray into the console gaming market. After supporting the release of some iconic games on the PC, they took their technology to the home console world to create one of the best and most user-friendly gaming experiences out there. The console itself is named after the gaming API, DirectX, which Microsoft ported to home console format. Many features that have become standard in the industry originated with the Xbox, such as dedicated hardware for online access, subscriptions for online service use, and the iconic controller which has been a fan-favorite since. The Xbox has created one of the most dedicated fanbases in gaming and it deserves every bit of its praise.

Since the Xbox was targeted more at American audiences, it received a lot of support for American-centric sports titles. Many iconic sports franchises released some of their best entries on the Xbox, and with the inclusion of online-play, players could now face off as their favorite teams against their buddies in awesome online match-ups. The library of sports titles on the Xbox was massive, delivering players plenty of games to play, even if their favorite sport was in the off-season. The upgraded hardware of the Xbox also provided players with the most immersive experience possible at the time, which blew fans away.

Top Spin

Tennis is a game of skill, and that is exactly what Top Spin encapsulates in this beautiful package. This title contains 16 of the best players of the era, allowing players to experience the sport through the eyes of a champion. The controls are easy to learn, but difficult to master, requiring a lot of skill and precision in order to take down tougher opponents.

There is also a character creation mode in which players can create their own pro and take them online through Xbox LIVE to take down other pros. Top Spin is a beautiful homage to the sport of tennis.


Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 3

The third entry into the critically acclaimed skating series, Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 3 improves upon everything that makes this series awesome. One of the main improvements made is making the environments more vibrant and visually appealing. With the power of the Xbox’s hardware, levels will contain plenty of foot-traffic, swaying trees, and plenty of new interactive elements to toy around with.

Players will notice the game feels a lot smoother as well, making this title easily the best to play without taking away any of the fun that the original introduced players to. Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 3 is sure to make every fan happy.


Madden NFL 2003

Madden has never looked as good as it does on the Xbox - football fans have received yet another great way to experience their favorite sport. EA has taken to completely improving every environment, player, and speck of astroturf in the game, making this the most beautiful Madden yet.

Players and coaches are more reactive and the camera is a lot more cinematic. The gameplay has been kept largely the same so fans will feel right at home with Madden 2003 with some nice quality of life improvements to keep fans hooked. Madden NFL 2003 is the best Madden yet without a doubt.


SSX 3

Get ready for some awesome, high-speed snowboarding action with the third entry into this awesome series of sick tricks. This title delivers some of the best graphics and physics possible on the original Xbox making an amazing, immersive experience for players.

SSX 3 takes a page out of Tony Hawk’s book, allowing the player to use the environment to their benefit and pull off the coolest tricks. As players complete challenges in the game, they will be able to unlock new slopes which provide even more ways to pull off crazy tricks. The slopes in this title are definitely a highlight, bringing players some of the best environments seen in a snowboarding game. SSX 3 is, altogether, a must-play snowboarding game.


Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2004

EA brings the best golf game yet to the Xbox with the most recognizable player in the sport teeing off first. Along with Woods, some of the biggest and the best stars of the sport are also present such as Daly, Furyk, and Singh. Players will also be able to play on the most recognizable courses in golf history, some new ones, and even create their own in this awesome title.

Along with course customization options, players are also able to create their own pro so they can put themselves or some creation, handsome or horrific, of their own on the course. Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2004 is easily the best golf title on the Xbox.


MVP Baseball 2004

MVP Baseball 2004 is easily the most immersive baseball title on the Xbox, allowing players to control every aspect of the game with ease. Every minute detail of baseball has been recreated as realistically as possible. Players can aim their hits easily, control each of their players on the diamond, and control pitches like never before.

Every MLB team is here, along with the appearance of minor league teams, giving players more representation than any other baseball title. The Dynasty Mode has been refined to create an even better experience for fans, earning this game a well-deserved 90/100 by Metacritic.


World Soccer: Winning Eleven 8 International

Also known as Pro Evolution Soccer 4 by long-time fans, World Soccer: Winning Eleven 8 International is the most immersive soccer title, from team management and growing players into world class stars. Everything in this title has been updated to provide even more content for players, which is saying something for this series.

There are 72 teams to play as in the Master League and over 200 club and national teams available in the other modes. There are new environmental changes adding to the immersion such as wear and tear on player uniforms and reactive referees which is a first for the series. This title received amazing reviews, and for good reason, giving players the best Soccer simulator on the Xbox.


NHL 2002

Another hockey title from developers at EA, NHL 2002 brings many updates to the franchise that fans had been pining for the past few years. This title features a break away camera which allows for a more inclusive view of the action. EA also included the EA GameStory feature which rewards players for great performance during gameplay.

There are six different game modes featured in NHL 2002, each offering different ways to play this adrenaline pumping game, from managing teams to quick play matches. Don Taylor also provides color commentary for this game, making every game feel like real-life and ensuring this is the best hockey title on the Xbox.


NBA 2K2

The first NBA 2K title to be featured on the Xbox, NBA 2K2 is easily the best basketball title on the Xbox. This title features some of the most immersive gameplay, environments, and animations possible on the system. The AI in this game is also nothing like players have seen before, making defenders more formidable and teammates even more helpful.

Every play is available at the press of a button, creating a nice flow of gameplay and also makes the game accessible to new players. Players can also take control of legendary players like Jordan or Bird for some classic matchups. NBA 2K2 is a must-play for basketball fans.


Ultimate Fighting Championship: Tapout

UFC: Tapout offers the awesome fights of the UFC while giving players control of some of the biggest names in the sport. Some of the fighters featured in this title include Matt Hughes, Chuck Liddell, Mark Coleman, Frank Shamrock, and Tito Ortiz, providing the game with an all-star lineup. Each of these fighters come with their own dramatic entrances and signature moves. Players can even unlock Ice-T as a playable fighter.

The gameplay in this title is fluid as well, providing players with an visceral fighting experience. UFC: Tapout is a must-play on the Xbox for fans of the sport or newcomers.


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  • Updated September 18, 2020
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