6 | Madden NFL 12 | Xbox 360, PS3, Wii
EA's premier franchise continues to reign supreme as the sports genres sales king; but bugs and a general lack of polish have taken away some of its luster. Nevertheless, Madden 12 is a solid sports game that makes big strides in defensive AI and tackling physics. And despite representing one of the toughest sports to develop for, the online play continues to be a strong suit.
So while it's not quite up to the level of polish and quality of NBA 2K12 or MLB The Show, Madden 12 is one of the franchise's better games. Assuming that this is the beginning of a trend, Madden NFL may soon be ready to return to the upper echelon of sports games.
5 | NHL 12 | Xbox 360, PS3
NHL holds the distinction of being GamePro's favorite office sports game for a reason: it's the best and most consistent EA Sports title this side of FIFA 12. And NHL 12 is particularly strong, sporting big improvements to the physics and the presentation. Finally, it's possible to achieve your dream of getting into a fight with a goalie.
Thanks to the physics engine, the puck ricochets around the rink more realistically than ever before, with little touches including the ability to knock the net off its moorings. It's an exceptionally smooth and entertaining sports game with one of the best franchise modes in the genre, and certainly deserving of your attention.
4 | Skate 3 | Xbox 360, PS3
There was a time when it didn't seem like any game could unseat Tony Hawk as the de facto skateboard game, but that's exactly what Skate did. Trading in the more arcadey style of that series for a nuanced, realistic approach, the Skate series now sits as the best of the best for skate sims.
Further refining the formula that made the previous games so good, Skate 3 adds even more venues, new difficulty modes (to make the game harder or easier, your choice), and a more expansive tutorial than ever before. If you ever wanted to thrash like those kids you see in the parking lot, but you don't want to suffer the major head trauma you get from wiping out, Skate 3 is the game to play.