A new WWE game launches each year, aiming to be more authentic in comparison to the real thing. Critics and displeased fans often argue the annual launch stifles creativity and innovation. Despite that, every few years developers release a true gem in the wrestling genre. These gems tend to offer more in innovation, gameplay and authenticity then its predecessor. In addition, they offer tend to offer replay value well beyond the genre’s standard game lifespan. In honor of what could the greatest WWE game to date, here’s a list of my top five WWE games of all time.
Top Five WWE Games
5. WWF No Mercy
By modern standards, the game may seem lacking in visual quality. However, WWF No Mercy set the precedent for some of the best game modes in the wrestling genre. It was the first to have a story mode that feature branching storylines. The UI in No Mercy is on par with current gen games like WWE 2K17.
Furthermore, WWF No Mercy succeeds in capturing the essence and atmosphere of the era it portrays. In addition, it features all the key superstars, match types and gameplay mechanics capable of embodying the hard-hitting edgy action of WWE Attitude Era. In the end, WWF No Mercy was just plain fun.
4. WWE RAW 2
To right the wrong of WWE RAW, THQ teamed with Anchor Inc. to deliver WWE RAW 2. Although largely forgotten, WWE RAW 2 innovated a lot of key features we see in the latest WWE games. This includes mechanics like the weapon physics re-introduced in Smackdown! vs RAW 2011. Like all great sequels, RAW 2 expanded upon previous features and added newer details like escaping through the bottom rope during a Royal Rumble.
However, the mainstay was the season mode. Season mode allowed players to control the WWE, its superstars and its stories. Despite its better graphics and innovations, WWE RAW 2 largely went underappreciated, had an underwhelming launch and eventually became overshadowed by Smackdown! Here Comes the Pain, a game that revitalized the series in its own right.
3. Smackdown! vs. Raw 2007
Smackdown! vs Raw 2007 was a culmination of several annual releases experimenting with different game modes and directions. When it launched late 2006, THQ and Yuke’s partnership paid off once more with a franchise classic that brought branching storylines, polished mechanics and intuitive controls to the forefront. SvR 2007 introduced ultimate-control grapples. This allowed players to control the direction of their moves making actions like putting opponents through tables simple and fun. Smackdown! vs Raw 2007 sold well enough to be remastered and ported to next generation consoles, Xbox 360 and PS3. With its expansion on the best features from previous titles, it became the stepping stone to the robust creation suite and universe mode we see in the latest releases.
2. WWE ’12
Hoping to revitalize the franchise and the company, THQ released what became the “bigger, badder, better” experience in WWE ’12. At launch, WWE ‘12 delivered on its promises offering the largest roster to date, smoother animations, and new modes. In addition, it offerscover 80 match types and for the first time Create-an-Arena. WWE ‘12 presented the most authentic WWE television experience at the time. All of its glory was powered by THQ’s new Predator Technology. The new engine featured powerful visual capabilities that made WWE ‘12 look and feel like a television presentation.
There was no HUD and 80 percent of the gameplay cues, like character damage, were built diegetically into the presentation. WWE ‘12 was unprecedented and revamped a control scheme that had been in place for nearly eight years. Although some felt parts of the game were unfinished, WWE ‘12 embodied WWE television, redefined the WWE games brand and laid the framework for arguably the greatest WWE gaming experience.
1. WWE 2K17
Possibly the most refined and authentic wrestling game developed, WWE 2K17 is the latest release by Take-Two Interactive. 2K17 takes features from all the greatest hits, adds a few of its own and just does them right. Despite complaints about DLCs and season passes, WWE 2K17 portrays modern wrestling to the near fullest extent. 2K17 focuses on match pacing by limiting reversals, creating realistic A.I. traits and using the stamina system to dictate what characters can and can’t do.
Although it takes a step back in diegetic presentation, 2K17 excels in making each playable character feel significantly different and making each skill attribute matter. Stripped of its needless features, WWE 2K17 applied those resources into making the popular elements shine brighter than ever before. Mo-capping, body scans and the inclusion of wrestling styles beyond the WWE are only a few things in a long list of details that make WWE 2K17 one of the most authentic video game wrestling experiences ever released.
Don’t like my list? Think Smackdown! Here Comes The Pain should be number one? Want to talk sports and/or games with the fastest growing community in gaming? Join the conversation in the comment section below as well as on our Twitter and Facebook pages.