We’ve been playing WWE video games since back in the late 1980’s. For a company with such a simple product – they’ve certainly tried their hands at many different styles. From outright simulations to the craziest of spin-offs – the company has never been afraid to try its hand at something new.
These are the times where that “something new” ultimately meant “something rubbish” – the WWE video games that hurt fans more than entertain them.
10. WWE Wrestlemania X8 (Gamecube)
After their disastrous Royal Rumble outing – Yukes were handed the development reigns over on the Nintendo side of things – which probably explains why Wrestlemania X8 plays like garbage.
No seriously, the controls in this game were so bogglingly bad that I ended up returning it the next day out of sheer boredom. Not that I was missing much – the game only allows two wrestlers in the ring at once. The trade-off is that you can chase up to 50 championship belts – but because so many of them are just exhibition towers there’s little incentive for gamers to stay the course.
WWE video games come in many packages – but boring was the only thing this game managed to be was incredibly painful to play.
9. WWE 2K18
With a few years under their belt, you’d imagine 2K would have sorted out the issues with their WWE bank of games. Turns out that isn’t the case.
2K18 is simply a chore to experience. A lackluster affair punctuated by slow wrestling matches, poorly thought out additions and so many bugs and glitches that the game was unplayable for a month. The addition of loot boxes into the games creation modes doesn’t bode well for the future, while the online modes remain as lacking as ever.
2K18 is the height of lazy for the series. It’s a testament to just how poor the series current direction is and why fans are increasingly skipping 2K’s line of games.
8. WWE ’15
2K dropped the ball big time as the WWE video games went next-gen. The game looks amazing but falls down in almost every other aspect – as the games lacked any of the customization options that fans had come to love.
Custom Arenas. Custom Finishers. Custom Championships. Custom divas were all left on the shelf as the WWE franchise streamlined to squeeze into its release date. It’s a horrible state of affairs that extends even into the new stuff. The much-touted career mode was laughable short – ending abruptly and offering no real closure.
Quite why this game had to be in this state is anybody’s guess – but it was a terrible decision to rush it out the door.
7. Legends of Wrestlemania (Xbox 360/PS3)
Legends of Wrestlemania is what happens when WWE and THQ get greedy for money. Having removed the entire Legends roster from SvR2009, they all magically turned up in this full priced retail game.
Sadly this doesn’t play anywhere nearly as well as that game, instead opting for a bizarre throwback to the earlier PS1 style games. Button commands are heavily simplified while the Wrestlemania Highlights see you playing through some of the companies most storied moments and trying not to mess up the quick-time button prompts. The single player exhibitions are nice, but demand you follow a tedious series of events to complete. It’s just no fun when watching the matches is a better option.
I’d like to say this game was worth hunting down – but I’d be lying incredibly.
6. WWE Smackdown vs. Raw 2008 (Xbox 360/PS3)
The bottom fell out of the Smackdown vs. Raw series here, with some incredibly poor additions to the franchise weighing it down like a Big Show main event. The most pressing of these was the introduction of wrestling styles – a decision that fundamentally changed the way the game operated.
Yukes also decided to experiment with a new grappling system – although going off the results it wasn’t a very successful experiment. The introduction of 24/7 mode will either excite or bore you to death while the General Manager Mode is suffocated beneath horrible UI. A sign of how poorly thought out this game was – it was the first of the WWE video games to feature the new ECW brand.
Yet for some reason, Yukes only decided to put 3 ECW wrestlers in the game. Awkward.
5. Raw 2 (Xbox)
Anchor’s final stab at a WWE game would also prove to be their worst. The game looked amazing but played like two slabs of meat bumping into each other.
The game’s engine was a car-crash from the word go, causing issues and glitches galore as the game struggled to gain momentum. In this game, you could win Championships by DQ. In this game, your wrestler could be swallowed whole by the ring if you tried to tax the engine too much. In this game, you could stand outside during the Royal Rumble and run in at 30 to bag the victory. The game is a ride through the very worst of WWE video games, showcasing how little they cared about the Xbox line of games.
So many bad decisions, so little attention to detail. It’s no wonder that Anchor was booted from the WWE videogames license after this game. Tragically bad.
4. WWF: In Your House (PS1)
Attempting to cash in on the popularity of the Mortal Kombat franchise – Acclaim opted to turn the wrestling experience into a more beat-em-up offering.
The big problem with this, however, is that it isn’t nearly as good as that game; instead of coming off like a pretender. The game tries to compensate for this by offering some wacky over-the-top moves (Undertakers fireball being a highlight) but the reality is this wasn’t one of the stronger WWE video games from this period.
It doesn’t help that the game has all the depth of a paddling pool. The single player is non-existent and while in multiplayer it has potential, it’s hard to enjoy the package on offer here.
3. WWE Wrestlemania 21 (Xbox)
Perhaps the most bizarre of the “serious” WWE games. Development was handed off to Studio Gigante who opted to refresh everything with a new engine – it was a terrible idea.
The game chugs along like watching two rocks fall on top of each other – with plenty of bugs and glitches to keep gamers amused. There was a huge selection of match types on offer but half of them were too awkward to experience thanks to a camera that was too interested in pointing at the crowd.
The game also came boasting online gameplay – although this was limited to single-player matches. Overall a terrible ending to the original Xbox’s terrible run of terrible WWE games.
2. WWF Royal Rumble (Dreamcast)
Let’s talk about WWF Royal Rumble for a second – the game that Yukes (Current developers of the WWE game) decided would be the way to celebrate Sega’s new gaming machine.
To the game’s credit, it looked amazing back in the day, way ahead of the PS1 and N64 offerings elsewhere. You could also have up to 9 wrestlers in the ring at any one time – a feat not repeated by the franchise since. Sadly this is where the good news ends – the game played like ass and came packing a whopping two game modes (Exhibition and Royal Rumble).
On top of this the total roster measured in at around 20 wrestlers – effectively ruining the Royal Rumble. It was a tragically poor effort by all involved.
1. WWE Presents Rockpocalypse (Mobile)
WWE spent years tempting Rock back into the squared circle but this game plays like it was rushed out in an afternoon.
Rockpocalypse is a cataclysmic mess of awful parts, clunky combat an some of the lamest gameplay you can imagine. If the repetitive music doesn’t drive you insane, Dwayne Johnson’s almost laughably poor quips will send you screaming.
The game plays like a Streets of Rage clone. Sounds potentially fun, but the touchscreen controls strangle any potential, as the N64 level graphics make you yearn for WWF No Mercy. A shockingly poor entry into the library of WWE video games – and one that frankly deserves none of your time.