Who didn’t like wrestling as a kid? I will always remember the buzz I got from the Attitude Era, the excitement of talking about the previous night’s PPV at school– recorded on VHS using VideoPlus.
That love of wrestling melded well with my passion for video games and the WWE games have been a mainstay in my collection since I got my copy of WWF Smackdown 2 – Know Your Role.
I thought id put together a list of my top 5 WWE games, This list is purely opinion and I hope it brings back some memories for you.
5. WWE Smackdown vs. Raw 2007
2006 | Yuke’s | PS2, PSP, X360
The 2007 edition of Smackdown vs. Raw is a game which i spent a long time on, It took a turn away from the arcade oriented action of previous S vs. R titles and geared towards more of a simulation– a mandatory stamina bar was added which required players to take breaks after several big moves. That actually didn’t take away from the fun though, as this version also added the ability to take matches into the crowd for some hardcore action. While the gameplay has its fans and critics, it’s hard to argue with the quality of the roster in this edition. It’s the last WWE game to date to feature Kurt Angle, and it’s probably the last WWE game that will ever feature Chris Benoit.
The soundtrack was pretty good, with tracks from Rise Against, Three Days Grace and Godsmack there were some solid alternative tunes on there.
4. WWE Smackdown! Here Comes the Pain
2003 | Yuke’s | PS2
Probably the best wrasslin’ game on a 7th generation console, This was the first title to include both the Elimination Chamber match and the Bra & Panties match– before the WWE’s PG image had shown its face. It was also the last to feature the SmackDown name alone.
In Here Comes the Pain, you could actually throw your opponent off a building, hitch a ride on a helicopter, and then perform an elbow drop off of the helicopter. It’s the type of ridiculousness that fans love and I spent a great deal of time just seeing what I could get away with.
The roster is strong, its the last game until WWE ’12 to feature cover star Brock Lesnar– there are also a number of unlockable legends including Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka, Classic Undertaker and Rowdy Roddy Piper.
3. WWF Smackdown! 2: Know Your Role
2000 | Yuke’s | PlayStation
Sentiment goes a long way, this was my first WWF game so it makes it into my top 5– Playstation 1 WWF games were just about having a good time. Smackdown! 2 featured arcade like gameplay and emphasized multiple finishers to put your opponents down. The matches might not look anything like what the WWF put on TV every week, but dammit if they weren’t fun.
One thing which grated on me at the time was the Hell in a Cell and how it didn’t touch the floor to allow the player to walk around the ring– minor niggle.
There were plenty of backstage areas to trash and as its from my favourite era of wrasslin’ I love the roster to bits– Stone Cold Steve Austin and Shawn Michaels were amongst the unlockables.
The graphics are pretty dated now (as pretty much all PS1 games are), but it’s still easy to see from this early title why the Smackdown games had such a successful tenure.
2. WWE 2K14
2013 | Yuke’s | PS3, X360
This was an awesome game. The series had almost achieved perfection with WWE 2K14 which made it very difficult for titles after this to hit the same heights– The story mode included over 40 of the greatest WrestleMania matches in history. That meant the inclusion of superstars like Diesel, Razor Ramon, Hulk Hogan, Andre the Giant and a selection of retro costumes for current superstars made the roster seriously good.
Even most of the major members of the NWO were available via DLC. Add in gameplay that was smoother than ever and a Streak mode that lets you either conquer or defend the Undertaker’s legendary WrestleMania streak, and you easily have one of the best wrestling games in years.
Coupled with this, the soundtrack was also impressive, songs from Disturbed, Fall Out Boy and Living Colour made scrolling the menu’s a pleasure.
1. WWF No Mercy
2000 | AKI Corporation | N64
17 years later and there still hasn’t been a wrestling game that betters No Mercy– I played this game at every possible opportunity at my N64 owning friends house back when we were kids.
AKI crafted a perfectly paced and accessible game with depth that fans are still mastering. There are tons of mods out there for players looking to include current WWE and NXT superstars on the roster. But even without those mods, No Mercy remains infinitely replayable.
With a huge roster, tons of match types, and the deepest create-a-wrestler mode ever made. It’s hard to pin down any one thing that makes No Mercy the best wrestling game ever made, but the developers at Yuke’s would be well-advised to spend some time with it while working on the next WWE game.
The game offers a much copied but never better grapple system which was simple yet effective, with multiple backstage areas, weapons and match types, the game fully deserves its place at number 1.
Do you agree with our list? leave us a comment below and let us know your top 5 WWE games!
Don’t forget to follow us on social media for more news, reviews and content.