Wrestling video games were all the rage several years ago. You don’t have to look very far back to see the vast amount of different video game titles that would get tossed out into the market based around the sport. However, over time, that trend has died down. We’re seeing less wrestling titles release and it’s looking like we may have a period where we may not get much of anything in terms of wrestling games. While you might be used to seeing the WWE 2K series release yearly, WWE 2K20 may have changed things for the worse.
WWE 2K20 released with several bugs and glitches, some of which have crashed the game for players. There have been rumors circulating online that the WWE 2K games franchise has been put on ice for the next couple of years. This could open up the possibility of bringing out a new WWE game but at the moment nothing has been confirmed.
Furthermore, there is plenty of fans hoping that we’re going to see an AEW game come out into the market. Again there’s nothing confirmed to be in the works quite yet, but it does look like AEW will be keeping fans in the loop for a potential video game release. In the meantime, if you’re after something fun to play then maybe check into these video game titles that are available on current platforms.
#6 WWE Battlegrounds
WWE games for the past few years have been based around the simulation so it’s kind of a nice change-up in 2020 to receive a different style of video game. With WWE Battlegrounds, players are given essentially an arcade game that feels like some of the more classic brawler type wrestling games of the past. It’s a simplistic game from the cartoon visuals to the gameplay mechanics. However, at times being simplistic may not be what wrestling fans would really appreciate as you can see certain moves get copied and pasted on different character models.
If that doesn’t throw you off, WWE Battlegrounds may be for you. There’s a wide range of wrestlers both old and new to choose from and there’s also a campaign mode. The campaign mode is setup to appear like pages from a comic book where players are tossed into different matches. What’s on the line for these matches is usually different rewards such as maps and characters. There are some issues you’ll find in the game at least at the time of writing this, but it’s nothing that shouldn’t be fixed by updates. What likely won’t get updated out of the game is the microtransactions and there’s quite a few of them to swift through.
#5 WWE 2K16
WWE 2K16 is not the first title from the franchise to make its way onto current-generation console platforms. That particular game happens to be WWE 2K15 and spoiler alert, it’s a title that’s not featured in this list. There were plenty of improvements that developers Yuke’s could focus on with WWE 2K16 and thankfully this iteration was a big turnaround for the franchise. While being developed for both current and last generation consoles, WWE 2K16 was still able to deliver in a big way. The game might not feel as fluid as the latest releases from the series, but it’s nothing that would prevent players from having a fun time.
There are also some changes from WWE 2K15 such as a new submission type mini-game where you’re working the joystick around in a circle in a cat and mouse chase sort of feature rather than just button mashing. Likewise, there’s also a limited stock of reversals that you can pull off. It makes it a bit more strategic going forward on when you should trigger a reversal against your opponent. However, it’s worth pointing out that you can turn that feature off and play the game without having a limit.
Wrestlers are bountiful in this installment as well. You’re still going to find plenty of customization options where you can create your own wrestler, an entrance, moves, among other attributes. However, you’ll also find over a hundred different wrestlers to pick from within the roster. There are even several versions of different wrestlers to match a particular era for example you could find different yearly models of The Rock. Top it off, if you’re a Stone Cold fan the 2K Showcase gives fans a detailed career look on Steve Austin.
#4 WWE 2K17
WWE 2K17 offered fans plenty of fan service within the base game. It made some nice little improvements over WWE 2K16 though there may have been some fans that were not that pleased a Showcase mode was not featured initially. The game did get a DLC that brought in a Hall of Fame Showcase which featured some memorable matches and superstars but if you were looking to get something like the Stone Cold Steve Austin Showcase then you were out of luck. With that said, there is still a lot to love with this particular installment.
Without spending too much time within the game, there were some improvements made to the overall gameplay mechanics. Players can face against multiple opponents within a match and with a new manual targeting system, switching from opponent to opponent feels fluid. Reversals even received a few more tweaks giving players a bigger window to trigger something like a major reversal.
You can even find yourself taking the fight backstage which is a nice change of scenery. These backstage fights are bigger too, allowing players to go into different rooms to grab weapons. Developers also took a ton of time to deliver fans a lot of creative freedom though there is one area that seemed a bit half baked and that’s the Promo Performance. This is essentially a mini-game in which players attempt to hype up a crowd by selecting certain phrases within a time limit.
However, the real gem here is once again the detailed creation tools that you can make a unique wrestler along with editing custom promo videos. We can’t forget to mention the Universe Mode either as it gives you more control over the different shows that will play out from the Superstars that appear, championships, and even the PPVs they may wrestle within. It’s within this little mode that you can spend a ton of time creating some shows that you would personally love to see play out.
#3 WWE 2K18
Here’s the thing if you liked WWE 2K17 then you’re going to get more of the same with WWE 2K18. It has the same feel and features brought over. With that said, you’re not going to find the Showcase mode making a return, instead, the developers still hoped that fans would take up with the likes of the Career or Universe mode. Overall, the game feels relatively the same and it just edges WWE 2K17 out by a hair in my opinion. While the game mechanics when facing opponents have been mainly untouched, there is a new feature that was added in that the past few installments were missing and it’s the ability to pick up an opponent with up to four different positions, walk around the ring, and then being able to slam them on the ground. It’s a small feature, but one that we’re sure fans were delighted to see brought into this installment.
You still have the Universe mode as mentioned which allow players to control with different custom shows. With that said, the Promo Performance makes a return, and it’s still a half baked feature, but there is a small overhaul in the Career mode. Now players can walk around in the training areas and speak with different wrestlers to get a feel of the character, get tips, change your outfit, take some promotional photos, among other little features.
There’s also a ton of different wrestlers packed into this roster as well. However, if you’re not keen on picking out of the roster of over 170 wrestlers you can take up with the character creation. We’ve seen all kinds of custom wrestlers from realistic creations of real-life individuals to some wacky fictional characters.
#2 Fire Pro Wrestling World
We know, you might be getting a little tired of hearing about WWE 2K series back-to-back, but hey there’s just not a ton of variety when it comes to wrestling focused video games at the moment. However, there is a different game we can add here that has received quite a warm reception from fans and that’s Fire Pro Wrestling World. It wouldn’t be all that surprising if you were not aware of this series, it was more or less a Japanese exclusive that’s been around since 1989 but in 2002 it finally saw a launch within North America with the release of Fire Pro Wrestling 2. Currently, the latest installment is Fire Pro Wrestling World which came out in 2017 for the PC and PlayStation 4 platforms.
Now, this is a big change-up compared to the WWE 2K series and it’s going to take some time to get adjusted to the gameplay if you’re a newcomer. Not only is the title drastically different compared to the detailed visuals from a big-budget WWE 2K series title but the gameplay is also distinctive as well. If you hope this is the arcade-style wrestling game you may have been keen to play years ago then you’re sadly out of luck again. Instead, the gameplay in Fire Pro Wrestling World is far more strategic. It’s all about knowing when to strike, grapple, and the placement of your character.
Wrestlers may not pop out and have the lore or appeal to the likes of what WWE generates, but there’s a variety of characters to pick through. If you don’t find one that you enjoy then you can create your own character despite the simplistic visuals the game provides. Likewise, outside of the various exhibition matches, there is a campaign mode that generates the typical story you would expect. Players take the role of a young wrestler looking to make a big name and the story helps trek you through the different matches.
#1 WWE 2K19
Lastly, we have WWE 2K19. This game is a combination of the past WWE 2K video game installment and there’s some improvements, a few different tweaks but overall, the same type of experience. For those that enjoy the previous games then you’re probably going to have a great time with this installment. You still have a variety of wrestlers to pick through and the customization mode to craft your own characters out. Like we said in the past, we’ve seen quite a few unique and incredible characters created through these games.
While the game mechanics feel fluid, there is a change up with the Payback System. Players will be able to unlock certain abilities or attributes with this system such as getting a buff in speed, recovery, or even striking power. Much like previous iterations you have both Universe and My Career modes, the latter of which feels a whole lot better this time around. The writing team behind this game delivers in a fun storyline in which players take the role of an amateur wrestler on the indie level and eventually work their way up to the big leagues.
You’ll even find some tower modes to go through where you’ll have to face against select wrestlers or go through matches with a certain set of rules. With that said, we’re glad to see Showcase make a return. It’s been a missed feature and finally, after a few years, the developers decided to bring it back. This time around the Showcase is about Daniel Bryan, and it goes over a highlight of his career along with his most significant matches.