Fans of Wrestling haven’t had much choice when it comes to gaming, the one lasting big name game series has been the WWE games in one form or another.
I grew up with some of the better games like Raw, Smackdown Vs Raw ‘06 and ‘09. Around that time there were so many iconic names in wrestling and having never bothered with the over dramatic stage shows that the WWE puts on seeing the wrestlers interact in the Career Mode was awesome. Undertaker used to scare me a bit because of how they used him.
In those older games there were some different types of matches that we don’t see in the games anymore. Buried Alive, Inferno, the massively inappropriate bra and panties diva matches and backstage brawls with many interactive objects to name a few. This gave the games something different (and stupid) to just give players an extra bit of fun alongside the more serious Royal Rumbles and basic match types.
I’m not certain exactly when or even why but sometime around 2010 I stopped playing wrestling games. It could be because of stripped back features, different control schemes or just changing rosters, I might have even changed as a person but whatever it was it meant the WWE games weren’t for me anymore.
At one point Xbox gave away WWE 2K16 with Xbox Live Gold and although the Gold games aren’t always the best I was happy to have a chance with an old favourite without it costing too much. I waited hours for it to download and it took minutes for me to uninstall it again. The controls were nothing like what I remembered, I was willing to battle through and learn but every match I went for the computer put me in some awful mini game and it just made me not want to adapt. The old games were good because they were as simple as bashing buttons and advance in learning rules. 2K16 wasn’t a good point to return.
One day when I was looking for something to watch on TV I started flicking through YouTube VODs from channels I don’t mind. There was a series on the 2K19 Career Mode that made it look quite good. The YouTuber also put on a Royal Rumble with player created characters and commentated it himself which was pretty funny seeing how enthusiastic he was. So I bought another wrestling game.
WWE 2K20. I had read reviews, watched clips of how broken it was at launch but I was committed. I think it was supposed to be around £85 but I got it for roughly £20 as a digital deluxe version or something. I liked it; it had a good control scheme with buttons being a large focus, the pin minigame is a bit unfair and relies too much on reaction times; the submission minigame can be changed to button bashing in the options; and although quite a few bits of it are quite bare with many things hidden behind randomised loot boxes I didn’t find the game unplayable. Although this one isn’t up among the old games that I’ll fondly remember, it is good for when I’ve got a download on.
If I really want to see the old favourite wrestlers now, I’m better off watching movies. Batista joined Marvel, Cena’s DC, The Rock is everywhere, I’m fairly certain Triple H has done some stuff.
Rey Mysterio (the jumpy little guy was always my go to character) seems to have a big feature in the upcoming 2K22. WWE games hit my nostalgia more than any other games because although they always change and it has been a bumpy road for wrestling fans, thankfully the core of these games always stays the same.
If I get far enough with my WWE games then I could expand on this in future.
If anyone has any tips or wants a discussion feel free to comment below.