The best sports and speed games of 2020

We chose the ten best simulators, racing games and sports adaptations of the year, among which there are several sagas that have taken a step forward.

It has been a difficult year for the world of sports. An unusual season. Games without an audience, bubbles, canceled tournaments, etc. But instead of taking its toll on sports and speed video games, the coronavirus has served as a spur. Some developers have taken it as if this year was more important than ever to offer us an adaptation to match. Partly to make the confinements more bearable and partly to compensate for the fact that we couldn’t practice any of its disciplines. The result is a 2020 loaded with sagas that have offered their best delivery in years. Games like F1 2020 and MotoGP 20, for example, have been a full stop for their franchises. A qualitative leap that we have been asking for for a long time. Today in FreeGameTips, after choosing our game of the year, and after reviewing the best platforms of the year and the best action games, it is the turn of sports and racing, simulation and speed games, among which we chose our 2020 favorites. Here are the ten most important releases of the genre during this course:

10. PGA Tour 2K21

  • Developer: HB Studios
  • Release Date: Aug 21, 2020
  • Platforms: PC, Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch and Google Stadia
  • FreeGameTips Reviews. Grade: 8

It has been a long time since a game of golf was last among the top sports games of the year. Electronic Arts got tired of Tiger Woods in 2013 and of golf itself in 2014, so it abandoned the PGA Tour license and condemned us to subsist for more than five years on alternative experiences, minor games and party games like Golf with Your Friends or What the Golf, yes, they are very fun, but golf, what is said golf, well they do not go. The closest thing to the classic installments that we have had in these years has been The Golf Club saga, by HB Studios, who may not have had too many resources behind, but showed passion for this sport and good work. Their effort has been so worthy and meritorious during the last three years that 2K Games itself, the person responsible for the official games of the NBA and WWE, has noticed them and has offered them the opportunity to work alongside them in the return from PGA Tour. And the result of this first collaboration is more than remarkable. PGA Tour 2K21 is like a new installment of The Golf Club, but with the production values ​​of 2K Games. A game that if you like golf or good simulators in general, guarantees long hours of fun, both alone and playing online with friends. Career mode, course creator, option to form online companies, realistic ball physics, interesting ideas such as custom nemesis in career mode … There is still things to improve for future installments, but right now there is no better simulator golf on the market. Serious golf is back.

9. NBA 2K21 (Next Gen)

  • Developer: Visual Concepts
  • Release Date: Nov 12, 2020
  • Platforms: PS5 and Xbox Series X / S
  • FreeGameTips Reviews. Grade: 8

Surely it is not more than an appetizer of what awaits us in the coming years, but the next gen versions of NBA 2K21 already include some features that advance the benefits of the new consoles and that make it worth taking them into account for our Christmas shopping. Starting with those very low load times, which show off the SSDs and allow us to jump onto the court in a matter of seconds, ending the waiting time and avoiding having to spend time with the mobile phone, or having to listen for the umpteenth time to the jokes of Saquille O’Neal and Kenny “The Jet” Smith. Added to the loading times are slight graphical improvements in the appearance of the players, and others much more sensitive in the pets, the commentators and the public (with more than 150 different designs and behaviors). The atmosphere has won whole. Not to mention that we have an option to 4K, 60 fps and ray tracing. These first steps on PS5 and Xbox Series X / S also demonstrate a true commitment to the WNBA and bring with them “the City”, the evolution of the Neighborhood mode, which is on another level and makes us feel part of a sports RPG of overwhelming dimensions . We still have our pluses and minuses with micropayments and MyTeam mode, somewhat stagnant, but the game sets a good bar for the future. NBA 2K21 is once again a delight for basketball fans (at times a guilty pleasure) and is one of the best advances of what PlayStation 5 and Series X are capable of.

8. MotoGP 20

  • Developer: Milestone
  • Release Date: April 23, 2020
  • Platforms: PC, Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch and Google Stadia
  • FreeGameTips Reviews. Grade: 8

This 2020 there have been two sports licenses that have taken a huge leap in terms of quality and depth. On the one hand there has been Formula 1 (with F1 2020, which we will talk about later in this same list) and on the other MotoGP, where Milestone has taken MotoGP 20 from his sleeve, a very important step in his search for the definitive simulator on the world of motorcycling. Because for the first time in years, this installment takes care of what happens off the asphalt with a remarkable trajectory mode. In it, figures have been omitted so far, such as the representative, the chief engineer and the telemetrist, with whom we will have to relate and work correctly to advance in our career. With the representative we will have to attend to contracts, objectives and bonuses, for example, while with the other two we will have to coordinate to improve our motorcycle. An investment in R&D that is divided into engine, electronics, chassis and aerodynamics, sections between which you have to establish priorities and distribute efforts. Come on, now there is much more fabric to cut. But they have not been satisfied with that and as far as gameplay is concerned they have made other equally important improvements. It’s over to touch an adversary without penalties and welcome is the fuel and tire track management. Milestone has taken good account of the feedback received and has hit the right keys. Perhaps his greatest achievement has to do with artificial intelligence, whose improvement makes racing infinitely more fun. The MotoGP, Moto2, Moto3, MotoE and Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup licenses have this year a worthy adaptation that is on the way to turning the IP into a full-fledged simulator.

7. Pacer

  • Developer: R8 Games
  • Release Date: October 20, 2020
  • Platforms: PC, Xbox One and PlayStation 4
  • FreeGameTips Reviews. Grade: 8

If Pacer is not called WipEout it is only because Sony has not wanted it (or from R8 Games, which you never know). At the moment of truth, the game could well go through a new installment of the saga. Its proposal, concept and audiovisual display are identical to those that characterized the work of Psygnosis. Even more so with the collaboration of CoLD SToRAGE and The Designers Republic, who, the first from the sound and the second from the artistic, represent a good injection of nostalgia and great memories. This resemblance to the work of Studio Liverpool has its good things … and its bad things. The good news, that Pacer is a remarkable speed arcade that demands patience and skill at the controls. A pinpoint precision technical title that boasts exquisite control and a sensation of splendid speed. The bad news is that, next to WipEout, there are sections that do not reach the level of excellence of the saga, such as the AI, the difficulty and the amount of content. But none of this has prevented Pacer from becoming one of the most interesting and personal experiences of the year, and especially thankful for a genre in which this type of arcade is not abundant. The game has come a long way since it was launched back in 2015, when it came out in an early access version under the name Formula Fusion. After the crash of that one, at R8 Games they did not give up and continued working in silence so that this second christening was up to the task. And boy has it been. Alongside Formula Fusion, Pacer has gained fluidity and stability; significantly increasing the number of tracks, modes and settings; and achieving important hits in his campaign mode. Hopefully it is the starting point of a new franchise. If you like the genre, you are already taking a long time to give it a try. And if you like the WipEout series, run fools.

6. Dirt 5

  • Developer: Codemasters
  • Release Date: Nov 6, 2020
  • Platforms: PC, Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch
  • FreeGameTips Reviews. Grade: 8

They say that who covers a lot, little squeezes, and if not that they tell the Dirt saga. For a long time he has tried to satisfy all audiences, to mix water and oil, bacon with speed, or the arcade genre with simulation, which is the same for that matter. However, the appearance of Dirt Rally, its own “spin off saga”, has allowed Codemasters to satisfy lovers of realism and free the numbered installments of their responsibilities. Dirt 5 is the best example of this desmelene. A more arcade game, more thug and badass. Challenging, but also balanced. Above all, Dirt 5 is very yours. Because he is clear about his identity and cares little about market trends. Here we do not find open worlds, nor strange experiments. It is the formula of all life. A traditional structure of phases and levels, with short tests of all kinds: races, time trials, one against one, descents on special routes … and so on. We select the one we want and drive. Above is plenty of content, with a trajectory mode that exceeds 20 hours easily and to which we would later have to add several complementary modes and a track editor that allows real crazy online. Perhaps what will finish spicing up the package is its technical section, with a dynamic climate, a great set design and a really nice color palette. It even tries to take advantage of the new generation of consoles, with several graphic modes designed for them (120 fps included). In short, Dirt 5 is not a benchmark, it does not invent anything, and its apparent lack of ambition can be excessive. As if it were more of the same, or a game from another time. But with so many games trying to imitate “the Forza Horizon 4 formula”, we have almost run out of titles that do what Dirt 5 does. And it also shines in its greatest objective, that of fun, which is why it has a deserved position among the highlights of the year.

5. Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit Remastered

  • Developer: Criterion Games
  • Release Date: Aug 21, 2020
  • Platforms: PC, Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch and Google Stadia
  • FreeGameTips Reviews. Score: 8.2

Criterion Games is synonymous with many things, but if you had to reduce them to two, these would be quality and speed. For history there will be games like Burnout 3: Takedown, Burnout Paradise or the one that concerns us today, Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit, which for many is the best installment of the EA saga. So when we learn of the existence of this remastering, all we ask of you is maximum respect for the original title. We trusted that the rest would be put by the quality of that one. We believed it would continue to work more than a decade later … and it has. Playing cops and robbers on the roads of Seacrest County is still as satisfying as the first day. Everything is still there. Cars, blows, takedowns. The tests of little more than three minutes; the five vehicle levels (Sports, High Performance, Supercars, Exotics and Hypercars); the progression system (with ranks like Agent Supreme and Most Wanted). That difficulty that did not allow a failure and did not offer mercy, or rewinds. Its soundtrack. That asynchronous multiplayer, the autolog, that made us bite with other online players not yet playing online. Yes, everything is definitely in place. The game has aged beautifully and continues to feel like a brilliant speed arcade. Stellar Entertainment, the creators of the remaster, could not make a better decision than to limit themselves to a facelift. Higher resolution and framerate, some textures retouched here and there, nuances in the lighting and a significant cut in the duration of load times. Sometimes the most difficult thing about this type of reissue is knowing what to play and to what extent. Stellar has even respected the HUD and the interface, its contributions being discreet and elegant, punctual. No more was needed. Criterion’s work hides the formula of eternal youth. Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit is back as a slap from hell and fun. Only now it is also presentable on modern TVs and is at a reduced price. How could it not be on such a list?

4. MLB The Show 20

  • Developer: Sony San Diego Studios
  • Release Date: March 17, 2020
  • Platform: PS4
  • FreeGameTips Reviews. Score: 8.5

The MLB The Show saga usually goes unnoticed due to the low popularity of baseball in Spain, but it is a shame, and more so in the case of this installment, because MLB The Show 20 is the saga’s goodbye to its status as a PlayStation 4 exclusive A farewell through the front door with a very complete video game that will convince fans of the discipline and that should serve as an example to other sports sagas. Because all the game changes from MLB The Show 19 are for the better. It’s the “best and most” on this list. A title that echoes your strengths and adds a ton of content to it. San Diego Studio is one of those that perfectly understands what fans mean by “more content.” More content is not more cards and more envelopes in which to spend the virtual currency of the game (or but, real money), but more challenges, more challenges, more activities … In short, more ways to have fun with a video game, than finally And after all, it’s what it’s all about. (Hello, NBA 2K). What to say about ideas such as the presence of a “dynamic difficulty” that changes according to our dominance of the games and personalizes the game throughout the season without having to change the menu parameters. It’s such a good proposition that you’d expect other sports titles to copy it. As if FIFA self-regulates its sliders as we play (and improve) to make the experience fair and real at all times. MLB The Show is full of details and ideas like that, of changes that are not a 180 degree turn, but there are so many and they were so necessary, that the experience is much richer than before. This installment is crowned by reinventing the Franchise mode, which was stagnant, and avoiding fans having to create and import the actual minor league squads, now included as standard. The content of Diamond Dinasty, its version of FUT, is once again immeasurable, and we even have new modes, such as Showdown, with tests such as facing in a consecutive series of hits some of the best pitchers in the competition: Justin Verlander, Chris Sale, Max Scherzer … MLB The Show 20 once again claims the saga as one of the best sports adaptations on the market. A superb game whose success does not measure up to its quality.

3. Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2

  • Developer: Vicarious Visions
  • Release Date: September 4, 2020
  • Platforms: PC, Xbox One and PlayStation 4
  • FreeGameTips Reviews. Score: 8.5

Legend has it that it was the Romans who invented the term “classical” to refer to Greek art and sculpture. And they did not do it to mark it as old or antique, but for them, “classical art” meant “an art that will never go out of style.” Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2 fits that concept perfectly. This remastering includes two great classics. Two games for which time does not pass. Two titles that we grew up with more than twenty years ago, but that continue to feel exalted today thanks to the best remastering of the year. Vicarious Visions has greased the wheels of the skateboard and fixed the board. Not only has he brought back the Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater with a technical section to match, but he has added several improvements that have not been splashed or influenced by current market trends, where we often face uncomfortable exercises design (and above for fundraising purposes). There have been no cuts here, and no micropayments have been implemented. Nor has it been tried to modernize anything, or to follow in the wake of the best-selling games of the year. Both installments are as they were then, and their improvements are perfect. From the increase in the degree of customization of the characters to their very slight approach to the role, through that new online classifications mode or those 37 extra songs that have been added to the original soundtrack. No addition out of tune. Rather, they fit together seamlessly and add to the fine-tuning of physics, animations, and the force of gravity. Because the rest is still in place. The combos, the letters of the word SKATE hidden around the stage, the impossible jumping platforms, the scenarios that seemed just like our wildest dreams. Even the skill and cheat controls are what they were in their day. The content of both games is as we kept them in our memory. And considering that we had idealized them in this one, it has a lot of merit. The hours will pass without realizing it.

2. F1 2020

  • Developer: Codemasters
  • Release Date: July 10, 2020
  • Platforms: PC, Xbox One and PlayStation 4
  • FreeGameTips Reviews. Note: 9

It’s as if having Michael Schumacher on the cover motivated Codemasters to make a game worthy of the Kaiser’s legacy. Because this F1 2020, the farewell of the saga to the current generation of consoles, is the most solid delivery of it in the last decade, almost since Codemasters itself collected the license from the cold inert arms of Studio Liverpool. The game has surprised everyone with a spectacular My Team mode that, without turning everything into a management title, achieves the perfect balance between driving and what happens after the motorhome. This time we will not only have to become the best driver on the grid, but we will also adopt the role of manager in a team. As if it were an RPG, we will have to attend to all kinds of questions, such as the choice of engine or pilot, counting these with their own attributes and abilities (price and reliability, among other things, in the case of engines, and reflexes, experience, skill, rhythm and prestige in that of the pilots). From there it will be time to work to reach the top of the constructors’ world championship, with total control over the activities that the team carries out on days off (simulator session? Rest?) And over which R&D sections D get more resources to develop advantages, although that may demotivate those who are seen in the background. But be careful because the piloting has not been neglected, with a new ERS system finally identical to the one in real life, where the team manages and we use the energy by pressing only one button. Our racing career also has goals, sponsorship issues, a salary to spend on passive activities (like having more question turns and therefore more reputation … etc.). And outside of team mode we find a tremendous tribute to the figure of the Kaiser, with the inclusion of cars such as the Ferrari F1-2000, the 1995 Benetton B195 and its predecessor, the green tiger B194, or the sophisticated Jordan 191, the car that I would see the legend born. Its exhibition mode completes the additions and allows us to review the history that these 70 years of Formula 1 have left us. The excessive ambition of Codemasters, a leap forward in many ways, more than we would have imagined, has been one of the great surprises of the year when it comes to speed games. A memorable delivery, the kind that marks a before and after.

1. Microsoft Flight Simulator

  • Developer: Asobo Studios
  • Release Date: Aug 18, 2020
  • Platform: PC
  • FreeGameTips Reviews. Note: 9.3

Planet Earth at your fingertips. The top of the genre. We had been without a new installment of Microsoft Flight Simulator since 2006, but the wait has been worth it. Microsoft’s longest-running saga has returned in style with a project in the offing. A civil aviation simulator that offers an unparalleled number of functions and possibilities. That you are a newbie and it is your first time with a flight simulator? No problem. There are so many support options that you can make piloting a plane as easy as driving a car in Forza Motorsport. On the contrary, you are an aspiring pilot in real life and you want a real experience? Also perfect. You are facing a game in whose cockpit you can interact with all the buttons on all the panels that are in it. Even the smallest detail has interaction and real functions. What do you move between the first and the second? Great. The grayscale that you can customize is infinite. How to take off by yourself and leave the landing in the hands of the AI. Microsoft Flight Simulator is an unprecedented madness looking for a sickly level of realism. Thanks to Metoblue we can see the real weather conditions that exist in the world at the time we play and fly with them with a degree of millimeter precision. Or see the actual air traffic around the globe. Not to mention the nearly 37,000 runways at our disposal, or the Bing satellite maps that allow us to recognize cities and towns from miles up. The game even integrates a store that allows access to additional content prepared by both the studio and third party developers, or by real flight companies, increasing the number of aircraft models in a crazy way. And it remains to talk about the visual section, the first real look at what the new generation will bring us. Unrivaled lighting changes, with a natural transition that has not been seen until now. The climatic effects or the nocturnal routes, in which we can be guided by the light radiation of the cities, take away the hiccups. Microsoft Flight Simulator is more than just a game. It is the sublimation of the word simulator and a technical feat that is without a doubt the ultimate flight platform for the next 10 years. Being able to visit the entire planet with our plane and doing it with this degree of quality is a dream. Asobo Studio takes the deserved top spot on this list with one of the best video games of 2020.

About author

Chris Watson is a gaming expert and writer. He has loved video games since childhood and has been writing about them for over 15 years. Chris has worked for major gaming magazines where he reviewed new games and wrote strategy guides. He started his own gaming website to share insider tips and in-depth commentary about his favorite games. When he's not gaming or writing, Chris enjoys travel and hiking. His passion is helping other gamers master new games.

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