Remember that glorious time when Electronic Arts took a big risk with its sports games? That wonderful period gave gamers more extreme takes on traditional sports and embraced outlandish concepts that supplied more excitement for those same activities. The indelible experiences that came from that special lineup fall under the EA Sports Big label, which first came into existence in the year 2000. Even though that brand has now been long deceased, fans still reminisce over the boisterous sports titles that were attached to it. If you still remember the classic EA Sports Big intro that played out before those same titles, then you're definitely going to appreciate this list of the 14 best EA Sports Big games.
EA Sports Big: The 14 Best Games
Best EA Big Games
The snowboarding genre didn't really have a lot of classics back in the day worth celebrating. Once the EA Sports Big label came into existence, we finally got a snow shredder worth being proud of. And that game is the very first SSX, which offers the type of genuine representation that the world of snowboarding recognizes as legit. The arcadey playstyle of this game is still highly addictive, the snowboarders on the roster all have their own magnetic personalities, and the stage layouts are reminiscent of roller coasters mixed in with snowy terrain. SSXis one of the best EA Sports Big games thanks to its perfect mix of fast-paced racing and outlandish tricks.
2. 'SSX Tricky'
Adding some Run DMC tunes to any sort of affair automatically makes everything a much cooler vibe. This upgraded expansion of the first game SSX got a new lease on life just by having the legendary rap group's track "It's Tricky" be at the heart of its catchy soundtrack. SSX Tricky upped the ante in the trick department by adding even wilder midair stunts called "Uber Tricks," which provided even more satisfaction for serious snowboarding fans. The clever rivalry system that earned you furious foes if you get too aggressive on the track and the wealth of other improvements make SSX Tricky one of the most satisfying sports gaming upgrades we've ever played.
3. 'SSX 3'
By the time we all reached the apex of SSX's third franchise installment, the stakes had been raised to an insane degree. SSX 3 offers the biggest expansion in scope and scale to date, but still managed to retain the fun-loving nature of it all. Instead of picking singular tracks to shred the snow on, this super-sized sequel throws players into a frosty open world that allows you to go wherever you please and tackle all types of fun objectives. Making your way from the very top of the mountain all the way to the bottom is one of the most rewarding experiences in the entire series. SSX 3 is just pure snowboarding bliss and a perfect example of properly implementing open-world mechanics into an extreme sports experience.
4. 'SSX on Tour'
The towering open mountain that made its debut in SSX 3 stayed intact for this quality follow-up that marks the last great SSX series entry. SSX on Tour is pretty much built upon all the well-regarded elements that make SSX 3 such a joy. And all of that entails surfing down a massive mountain, pulling off slick "Monster Tricks," and jamming out to some incredibly catchy licensed tracks all the while. The game's thematic usage of children's sketch-book drawings gives it a character all its own. And we also look back fondly on SSX On Tour's GameCube version, which allowed Mario, Luigi, and Princess Peach to get in on all the snowboarding fun for themselves. In our opinion, this is the last great hurrah for the now-dormant SSX franchise.
5. 'Sled Storm'
The 1999 original version of this intense snowmobile racer is great in its own right. But since we're acknowledging the best EA Sports Big games, the 2002 take on Sled Storm is obviously getting all the flowers it so richly deserves here. The uber-successful SSX formula fits this game like a glove - it's all about engaging in fast and furious races with fellow snowboarders for some extreme snow shredding. The game's "Rival Challenge" feature will forever stick out as Sled Storm's best and brightest feature as it allows you to go one-on-one with another snowmobile pro. Winning those races and adding their signature rides to your chosen character's roster of snowmobiles feels oh so damn good. Side note - we love the fact that SSX's Zoe and Psymon came along for the ride!
6. 'Shox: Rally Reinvented'
We'll always appreciate a down-and-dirty arcade rally racing game. The EA Sports Big label got slapped front and center onto one and thankfully, it ended up being a worthwhile addition to the ongoing extreme sports gaming movement. What we have here is an amazing arcade racer called Shox: Rally Reinvented, which focuses on thrilling races that take place across exceptional desert, jungle, and arctic locales. There's a good amount of licensed vehicles to hop into, which gives this game that extra air of authenticity in the beloved automobile-focused sport. We'll always have a soft spot in our hearts for Shox's slow-motion cinematics, bumping soundtrack, and nail-biting "Shox Zone/Wave" chases, too.
Now allow us to show our adoration for EA Sports Big's premiere motocross racer, Freekstyle. What we have here is one of the most exciting and bombastic extreme sports titles gamers have ever laid eyes on. The stages combine all sorts of rambunctious stage layouts, eye-popping sights, and big dirt ramps that let your racers take flight to pull off some immaculate stunts. It's pretty dope that Freekstyle includes some real-world pros from the worlds of freestyle and professional motocross, such as Mike Metzger, Jessica Patterson, Brian Deegan, and more. Hitting maximum speeds and going up as high as possible for some slick tricks is the name of the game here for one of the best EA Sports Big Games we've ever played.
8. 'NBA Street'
To this day, old head ballers still request the grand return of the NBA Street series. This is the game that started it all and provided a great alternative to the usual array of basketball simulators. This three-on-three street basketball arcade experience offered an amalgamation of real-world players from NBA teams, fictional street ballers, sick tricks you can pull off on the hard paint to trip up the competition, and wild dunks that always turn into jaw-dropping affairs. Pulling off a game-winning "Gamebreaker" always managed to satisfy the person on the winning end of those extra flashy scoring maneuvers. The OG NBA Street is goated!
9. 'NBA Street Vol. 2'
NBA Street Vol. 2 maximized the greatness of its predecessor in every single way. The visuals got an uptick in brightness, which fed right into the game's colorful flavor and 80s/90s street ball themes. The on-court action stayed great, plus the addition of playable NBA legends like Larry Bird and Julius Erving created even more fun fantasy matchups. The original street legends made their comeback, which is an element from the first game that gives the NBA Street one of its best mechanics. Shout out to this game's soundtrack, by the way - it feels so right to land sick Gamebreakers to the sounds of Nelly, Erick Sermon, Black Sheep, and more.
10. 'NBA Street V3'
And then there were three! The third installment in the NBA Street series kept the good time rolling and even improved upon the graphics even more than before. The biggest feature worth speaking of here from this sequel is the ability to pull off mid-air trick motions or pass the ball to your teammates while in the middle of landing a Gamebreaker dunk. The wildest feature to come from NBA Street V3 is the inclusion of a Nintendo All-Star team consisting of Mario, Luigi, and Princess Peach. Making the other team break their legs via a Luigi crossover will never grow old in our eyes!
11. 'NBA Street Showdown'
You have to hand it to the PlayStation Portable - Sony's first handheld console did an immaculate job when it came to offering portal spinoffs of great console games. In the case of the NBA Street series, NBA Street Showdown emerged as the perfect concoction of NBA Street Vol. 2's gameplay mechanics and NBA Street V3's overall aesthetic. To see the series make the perfect transition over to a device that fits right in the palm of your hands is still an amazing feat worth celebrating. NBA Street Showdown kept the formula going in the best way possible in miniature form.
12. 'NBA Street Homecourt'
When Carmelo Anthony was at the height of his NBA superstardom, he graced the cover of one of the best EA Sports Big games and the fourth mainline official entry in the NBA Street franchise. NBA Street Homecourt is the debut of the series on PS3 and Xbox 360 and it definitely shows due to how much crisper the visuals look here. Now, pulling off a double dunk with your preferred NBA pro player of choice felt that much more impactful due to how even more lifelike it looks. NBA Street Homecourt is the very definition of "if it ain't broke, don't fix it." As the final game in the now (sadly...) dormant series, it reached its peak and delivered a street basketball swansong that we can't help but adore.
13. 'NFL Street'
It took a while to get in on some digital street-based gridiron action. But once it finally became a thing, everyone rejoiced over just how fun it turned out to be. NFL Street took the sport of football out of the football stadium and placed them within your local neighborhood fields for some arcadey NFL Blitz-like action. No one ever gets injured in this game, even though the tackles look, sound, and feel extremely severe. Pulling off a Gamebreaker in NFL Street feels just as gratifying as it does as the ones featured in the NBA Street games. It's always a hype moment when both sides activate their Gamebreakers to cancel each other out, too. This game's cover still goes so hard - Barry Sanders, Shannon Sharpe, and Ricky Williams are forever the GOATs!
14. 'Def Jam Vendetta'
You can't speak on the best EA Sports Big Games and not mention one of the greatest wrestling games of all time. What makes this digital grappler such a bonafide gem is the fact that it features world-renowned hip-hop icons throwing hands and landing bodyslams in the middle of the ring. Def Jam Vendetta still gets hours of playtime out of us and plenty of other rap/wrestling fans thanks to its masterful grappling system via AKI Corporation. It's still wild to take a look at this game's roster and realize you can play with the likes of Method Man, DMX, Scarface, etc. Def Jam Vendetta is a rap fanatics' dream scenario come true. The best way to settle your beef is by hopping into the ring!
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