With WWE’s gigantic showcase event – WrestleMania 35 taking place this coming weekend, I decided to take this advantage as both a wrestling fan and a gamer to take a look back at all the great pro wrestling games that have been released over the years and rank them in what is my top 10 wrestling video games of all time! So let’s not waste any more time and get straight into it.
Please note before we get started that I am only going to be including games that I have played so if your favourite isn’t on the list then it might just be that it passed me by…or it’s terrible.
10. WWE 2K14
Squeezing into the tenth spot on this list comes WWE 2K14, the first game in the current 2K series and the last WWE game released on PS3 and Xbox 360. Knowing how well 2K Sports had done with the NBA games, I was thrilled when I heard they’d be taking over the WWE titles following the closure of THQ. With that being said, I was cautious with this being their first attempt at a wrestling game and to a point I was right to be as this wasn’t perfect with a few gameplay issues. Though what it did do was bring us ‘30 Years of Wrestlemania’ which to this day is still one of my favourite game modes of all time. It gives the player a chance to play through some of the biggest moments in Wrestlemania history which included 45 matches and let you play through the early years of Wrestlemania as the Immortal (and some what racist) Hulk Hogan through to the rise of Shawn Michaels and Bret Hart. By the time the game mode has gotten to the Attitude Era with the likes of Stone Cold and The Rock and the Ruthless Aggression era that introduces John Cena and Batista, you realise just how giant the roster is here and how much WWE 2K14 was made for true wrestling fans that love their wrestling history. Cracking start 2K!
9. WWE All Stars
Larger than life, over the top, flamboyant and full of energy are all phrases that perfectly describe professional wrestling and also perfectly describes WWE All Stars. Released in 2011 by THQ on PS3, PS2, Xbox 360, Nintendo 3DS (the only WWE game to be released on the device) and the PSP, All Stars went out of its way to be completely different to other wrestling games on the market. Where as for years, most wrestling games were designed with realism in mind, this went in the complete opposite direction making it stand out as an all time favourite. It’s a goofy and wacky arcade game that I found myself enjoying with friends way more than I expected to and was a nice break from the super realistic titles that were released around it. The only problem holding this game back from being higher in the list for me is the lack of game modes outside of just messing about with friends, with only the Fantasy Warfare mode available here which just had the player play through fantasy matches that they could just select do to in exhibition mode anyway.
8. WWF Attitude
Okay admittedly this one gets its spot mostly through outright nostalgia. Released in 1999 by Acclaim on N64 and PS1, WWF Attitude was released at the height of wrestling’s popularity and had a roster that would impress any fan even to this day. Unlike a lot of games on this list, if you were to pick up and play Attitude now, you would likely throw the controller across the room in frustration as you struggle to get to grips with the overly complicated controls and general slow nature of this game. Though as a 12 year old kid with nothing else to do with my time but to learn every combination of buttons for every move to beat my friends, I loved it. Add to that the fond memories of wrestlers having full entrances and cool little phrases before they started their match and it’s easy to see why I remember the good over the bad when thinking of this classic. Unfortunately it would be somewhat overshadowed by a certain game released a year later, more on that later..
7. Fire Pro Wrestling World
The latest addition in the Fire Pro Wrestling series, this game could easily be considered as a cult favourite with previous iterations mostly played on PC by gamers who were just as interested at modding the game as they were playing it. But last year this version was released not just to PC but also on the PS4 by developer Spike Chunsoft with the aim of getting more casual players interested and I would say that has been a successful mission! Teaming up with Japanese juggernauts – New Japan Pro Wrestling, Fire Pro was always guaranteed success in the east but over the past year it seems more and more westerners are discovering this hidden gem. With it’s trademark look of yesteryear, it has appealed to old school wrestling fans that don’t necessarily want the most modern wrestling simulator provided by 2K Sports and would prefer something that reassembles the games they grew up playing, more specifically games that used the famous AKI game engine. Fire Pro does an incredible job achieving this and gives players the most freedom when it comes to custom content, meaning somebody like me can lose hours upon hours just creating and downloading different wrestlers, arenas and more to create their perfect fantasy wrestling world.
6. WWE 2K19
2K19 is obviously the latest addition to the long running WWE 2K series and although it may not be the most revolutionary of games, I find myself having to include it just as an example of how a game developer can build upon what is essentially the same game year on year and end up with something that to a newcomer, will be mightily impressive! Sure, 2K19 could be criticised for not taking a big enough leap from 2K18 but I don’t think many people can argue that out of all the games in this current series, the latest is the best. It’s just about the best looking wrestling game on the market by default of being the latest and the developers have also fine tuned all it’s game modes by this point to almost perfection. Universe mode – although still flawed – is probably the biggest it has ever been and for someone like me, is a hell of a lot of fun when you begin to include all the non-WWE wrestlers that are available to download from the creation suite and can be thrown into the universe mode. Say what you want but I personally still lose hours upon hours to the latest addition of these titles due to the deep creation suite and realistic graphics that other wrestling titles cannot provide.
And that’s it for now, I’m going to make you wait for my top 5! I know right, first big heel turn of the weekend. Stick around to see the rest of my list real soon.