For nearly as long as professional wrestling continues to be a steady part of pop culture, its relationship with gaming has appreciated a rather, shall we say, bumpy ride. Over time, wrestling games have lasted innumerable highs and lows in the very first days of wallet-emptying arcade hijinks to the current super hi tech, bajillion-pixel smackdowns.
With the hoopla and discussion encompassing WWE 2K17 arriving fresh into perspective, what better time to look back over wrestling the illustrious history of gaming and pick out the ten best titles ever? In the end, for every Here Comes The Pain, there is a Backstage Assault, so let us count our list of the greatest wrestling games ever down and get to it.
- WWF Attitude (N64/Playstation, 1999)
Released at the peak of the generation-defining age of the exact same name in summer 1999, Outlook picked up where the interesting but absurdly hard Warzone left off.
A simpler gameplay system enabling finishers to be without needing to do a bazillion button mixes potential, made the entire experience a much more pleasurable one, while pleasure profession styles and the strong roll offered more than pick up-and-victim-your-partners worth. Sure, it’d shortly get set in its area (see later in this list), but because of its time it was a strong piece of work.
Clearly, we are referring to the Playstation and N64 versions here. The Gameboy Colour one sucked butt. Sorry Gameboy.
- WWE 2K16 (PS4/XBox One, 2015)
While it is in no way perfect (critically, the entire comment matter killed us, men), last year’s inclusion to 2K’s still-baby run with WWE is not only a colossal improvement on its predecessor (all right, not difficult): it is eventually brought an end to a years-long run of wrestling games only, essentially, being a bit naff.
The roll is, to be honest, freakin’ huge, if peppered with some glaring omissions (Emma but no Sasha Banks? The Stone Cold narrative mode is great fun, needless to say, and the career mode is an enormous jump ahead of anything a WWE title has supplied in periods.
Finally, while we’re able to still do with a much better creation manner and it’d have been fine to have a storyline way where you are not simply reliving past WWE/F glories (WE GET IT, MEN, THE ATTITUDE ERA WAS COOL), it was a vastly rewarding improvement to the fold and places in 2013’s match a high bar to reach.
- Def Jam Vendetta (Playstation 2/GameCube, 2003)
What, you thought this was gonna be WCW things and all WWE? After the terrible WCW: Backstage Assault had been fairly rightly panned three years earlier, something somewhat different attempted for its next wrestling title, combining the music genre to create among the brainlessly interesting wrestling titles of the age.
Boasting appearances and a killer soundtrack from the likes of Redman, DMX, Absurd and Ghostface Killah, Def Jam Vendetta mightn’t have been the conventional wrestling game available on the market, but innovative demo, its outstanding gameplay and interesting storyline made it a victor.
It stays among the most exceptional and shamelessly entertaining wrestling games while it hurts compared to the competing Smackdown titles of the time.
- Virtual Pro Wrestling 64 (N64, 1997)
A vastly underrated title that was only available in Japan or, if you asked your dodgy mate Dave nicely, through a rip, Virtual Pro Wrestling used a retweaked version of THQ’s solid WCW vs nWo: World Tour game engine, mashing together various WCW wrestlers with generic versions of stars from New Japan and All Japan Pro Wrestling.
- WWF Wrestlefest (Arcade, 1991)
The undisputed father of arcade wrestling games, Techns’ iconic ’91 title has such high nostalgia value for lovers of a particular classic that THQ released a revamped, iOS variation of the game in 2012, featuring modern day celebrities mixing it up with renowned Hall Of Famers.
For arcade wrestling, it does not get better than this, although given what would come after, this really is quite definitely a product of its time.
- WCW/nWo: Payback (N64, 1998)
Ok, now we are in the business end of proceeding.
Essentially, Payback was a colossal success going to outsell every other console game in North America, and ruled, readily placing its WWF counterparts at the time in the shade. Its heritage that is actual, however, would be its influence on what was once programmer THQ purchased the rights to make games for the WWF to come. The Monday Night Game Wars at that point, nevertheless, WCW was undoubtedly winning.
- WWE Smackdown vs Raw 2006 (Playstation 2, 2005)
With the show stuttering during the past few years after, it is easy to forget how great some of those early to mid-2000s Smackdown titles were. When the show changed in 2004 to the moniker of Smackdown vs Raw, some nuances that were intriguing were added, including the inclusion of dirty and clean approaches, minigames within voiceovers and matches from WWE talent that was actual.
Finally, SvR 2006 nailed everything it tried its hand at, with just having less variation within said narrative mode to what was an impeccable and entertaining as hell add-on to the fold functioning as a small downpoint.
- WWF Wrestlemania 2000 (N64,1999)
After WWF found the stampeding success of THQ’s WCW/nWo Revenge title, the firm dumped Acclaim to choose THQ on for themselves, and the result was an extremely entertaining game that utilised many of the characteristics that had made Vengeance this kind of resounding knockout in the first place.
If boasting a stacked roll that represented WWE’s growing star power at the time was not enough, Wrestlemania 2000 additionally built on the editable wrestler apparel function that Retaliation introduced, adding bonus slots for created wrestlers that meant there were lots of different blends and characters to finally pick from.
Throwing in buff favourite match kinds like cage and First Blood matches, together with offering the greatest entries seen on a wrestling game during those times, added more depth to an engine that has been already a tried and examined triumph, making this among the finest fighting games of its generation simply overshadowed, actually, by an unique sequel, which we’ll get to in just a minute…
- WWE Smackdown: Here Comes The Pain (Playstation 2)
The fourth and undisputedly finest match in the first Smackdown series was already strengthened by the business boasting the most stacked roll in its history and it reveals.
Needless to say, it would mean nothing if the game itself did not measure up, and oh boy, did it deliver. Here Comes The Pain combined the series’ hallmark actions that is quick using an additional degree of nuance that is practical, introducing essential elements like weight and enhancing grappling mechanisms entry metres and discovery, damage show that made for a near-perfect gaming experience.
You could elbow drop individuals
- WWF No Mercy (N64, 2000)
As if there could be any other option. While Here Comes The Pain perfected the entire structure, for pure, unbridled, balls-out fun, the second WWF title of THQ stays the best wrestling game ever made.