Sports Games have always been very popular among gamers ever since the early days of gaming. Fast forward to today, and we have multiple sports franchises coming out annually or even more often with numerous other sports-related titles sprinkled in every now and again, so let’s take a look at some of the sports games awaiting us in 2021.
- RetroMania Wrestling
- RBI Baseball 21
- Ultimate Fishing Simulator
- Riders Republic
- MLB The Show 21
RetroMania Wrestling is the official sequel to the 1991 WWF WrestleFest game developed by Retrosoft Studio. Released on March 30th, 2021, RetroMania Wrestling manages to capture the exciting gameplay of its predecessor while at the same managing to improve them by giving them a more modern twist.
Instead of focusing on button mashing and performing long combos, Retromania Wrestling’s gameplay revolves around reaction mechanics and numerous combinations of timed inputs from the players. It is further enhanced by players not being able to perform the ultimate moves over and over, but instead having to build up momentum by performing weaker attacks, and gradually progress towards stronger combinations.
When it comes to the character select roster, players are able to pick from sixteen different unique characters, each having their own backstory and character traits. Wrestling fans may recognize some of the names on it, but overall, the roster is definitely a place with room for expansion and upgrades. Venues on the other hand greatly diverse in style and offer a lot of variety and customization.
Another aspect where the game truly shines is the graphics as they are very reminiscent of its predecessor, but modernized to feature high detailed 2D sprites while at the same time keeping that nostalgic retro look. All of this is accompanied by the soundtrack that appropriately features heavy guitar riffs, perfectly fit for smashing your opponent’s face.
In terms of gameplay modes, there is the standard story mode which has the player take the role of the previously injured wrestler who is ready to get back in the game, as well as multiple exhibition modes that can feature up to eight players against each other in a single match, however, multiplayer is currently only limited to couch-coop due to the game not supporting online play. This can change, however, as numerous DLCs and updates are planned for the game in the future.
RBI Baseball 21
RBI Baseball 21 is the latest installment of the RBI Baseball series and was developed and published by MLB Advanced Media. Released on March 16th, 2021, the game does a good job of combining the realistic look of the players and the environments while at the same time, managing to keep the arcaded style gameplay.
RBI Baseball 21, comes with the standard four different modes, however, what, this time around, it allows the player to create their own unique character in the Franchise mode which is a welcoming addition to the game.
Gameplaywise, sadly RBI Baseball 21 is a mixed bag and while it does feature some good pitching mechanics and responsive hitting, the game suffers from a wide variety of glitches and bugs that many would consider game-breaking.
Animation glitches, players gliding across the field, the ball making sharp turns, and appearing in random places are just to name a few. The player models are well done, but the AI is for the lack of a better word, terrible and random throws into nothingness are a common thing.
The game also suffers from audio issues which make it seem that the commentary on the field has been randomly spliced together with random line breaks and pauses mid sentences which break the immersion of the game. One thing that the immersion has going for it is the day and night cycle which is beautifully done.
Sadly, the good aspects of RBI Baseball 21 simply do not outweigh the bad ones, which is a shame considering that the MLB themselves are behind this game.
Ultimate Fishing Simulator 2
The Ultimate Fishing Simulator 2 is the upcoming sequel to the Ultimate Fishing Simulator game released in 2017. It is scheduled to be released in May 2021 but is available on Steam as a Demo version at the time of writing this.
Not much is yet known about this game, but its predecessor is known to have had a few issues, the main one being the graphics. While graphics shouldn’t generally be a dealbreaker when it comes to video games, in a case such as this one, the rules are a bit different.
Since the Ultimate Fishing Simulator is a simulation game, immersion should be one of its top priorities, however, with graphics looking extremely dated with low details, low polygon counts, and only basic shapes for the environment, the immersion was simply non-existent.
Fortunately, the sequel has improved in that regard, and while still somewhat lacking the realistic look of modern video games, the environment, the tress, the equipment, and most importantly, the water does feature better textures, higher polygon models, and better reflections.
The gameplay aspect of the Ultimate Fishing Simulator 2 seems to be somewhat mediocre like its predecessor’s. It is not bad by any means, but it is not good either. The gameplay revolves around you traveling to different lakes, rivers, ice holes, and other environments and trying to catch fish by using the gear that you have on you. Once you are done, you can sell your catch for cash which you can then spend on other rods, fishing licenses, and other equipment upgrades.
It is generally a solid progression system; however, the game just lacks fun and excitement. But then again, fishing is supposed to be about relaxing and waiting patiently, so in terms of this game being a simulator, it is doing a decent job.
Riders Republic is an extreme sports video game that is currently in development at the Ubisoft NSC studio that was originally planned to be released on February 25th. However, the game was delayed to an indefinite date of 2021, and not much new information about its release has been made public ever since.
The game is supposed to feature five different extreme sports including Mountain Biking, Snowboarding, and Wingsuit Flying, as well as Skiing and Rocket Wing Suiting. The game was announced as an MMO sports game with the main idea being that fifty players (twenty on last-generation consoles) would be competing against each other in an open world environment which is supposed to consist of different American National Parks meshed together.
Riders Republic will be featuring a basic career mode as well as multiple competitive modes including the one in which players in teams of six compete against each other by performing tricks to score points.
During your playthrough, you will be able to unlock numerous sports gear, outfits and other cosmetics which you can equip and the game planned to have additional content passes available.
MLB The Show 21
MLB The Show 21 is the second baseball game on our list, but unlike our previous entry, this one is a pure baseball simulation. Released on April 16th, 2021, MLB The Show 21 features three different difficulty modes, but its biggest and brightest feature is the stadium creator.
As the name implies, the stadium creator allows the player to create their own custom stadium and gives them the option to customize the location, seats, buildings around it, and pretty much everything else that you can think of.
While this is an excellent addition to the game, it does come with some drawbacks but they are minor with one of them being the UI that is somewhat difficult to get a hold of and not very user friendly.
When it comes to gameplay, the game comes with all the modes from the previous installments but does offer a lot more customization for each of them. One key difference is that in the Career mode, your character now starts as both a pitcher and a hitter and the player can later opt to pursue one of these options.
Another interesting addition to the game is that the players on your team now are directly affected by your performance so the better you perform on the field, the higher their morale and therefore performance will be.
When it comes to graphics, the game is admittedly somewhat lacking when compared to other modern games, however, the biggest drawback here is the animations and other assets.
Overall, MLB The Show 21 provides the player with a challenging simulation experience.
All of the games listed so far are just the tip of the iceberg of sports games that are awaiting us in 2021, so stick around for more sports games and other gaming content alike.