What Makes Modern WWE Games Worth Playing?
WWE games have certainly come a long way over the last decade or so. Though it’s impossible to deny the massive flaws each game suffers from (especially recent installments), it’s evident that the developers are doing something right, because each entry of WWE SmackDown vs. Raw is still addictive and still enjoyable, despite the franchise’s stale state. What keeps wrestling fans entertained as they play the latest grapplers in the series? These are the top five elements in SmackDown vs. Raw that work so well they keep us coming back for more.
5. Authentic Wrestler Entrances
Make no bones about it, the presentation in today’s WWE games is pretty poor. Animations are questionable, the audience sounds dead, and the commentary is abysmal. But as bad as those aspects of the in-game presentation may be, one thing has been consistently solid: the wrestlers’ entrances. From the flashing lights to the licensed music, SmackDown vs. Raw creates a big fight feel with its impressive entrances for Superstars, Divas, and Legends.
4. The Attitude of Wrestling
It’s hard to take wrestling games as serious as actual wrestling, but WWE games have always tried to mimic the attitude of sports entertainment. From No Mercy on the Nintendo 64 all the way down to SmackDown vs. Raw 2011, the showmanship of wrestling has managed to shine through at least slightly. Sadly, more recent WWE games are a bit cheesy, but the writing in season mode is still funny and entertaining after all these years.
If there’s one thing recent WWE games suffer from, it’s lack of difficulty. Wrestlemania 2000 and No Mercy offered a great challenge when set to the highest difficulty settings over 10 years ago, but these days, it seems the AI is weak whether you’re playing the game on the lowest setting or the highest. Luckily, you can always play with a friend or group of friends, and learning the ropes is so easy that it shouldn’t take long before newcomers can hold their own against longtime players. Simple controls, quick actions, and inviting mechanics make SmackDown vs. Raw a great series to play with fellow wrestling fans, especially when you take into account just how dead the AI is.
2. Edit Modes
What’s better than creating your own Wrestlemania moment and ending Undertaker’s undefeated streak with CM Punk or Shawn Michaels? Creating your very own WWE Superstar and making the Dead Man tap out at the biggest spectacle in all of sports entertainment, that’s what! Though create-a-wrestler modes evolved significantly at first, recent entries in SmackDown vs. Raw haven’t changed the formula for creating grapplers all that much. Luckily, that’s not really an issue because today’s create-a-wrestler mode is so robust and easy to use that it’s hard to find fault in it. And now that you can create your very own storylines and finishers, WWE games offer hours of entertainment aside from the actual wrestling.
1. Abundance of Match Types
There was a time when wrestling games only allowed you to participate in standard, tag, cage, and hardcore matches. While it was OK pummeling your opponents over and over in these match types, it wasn’t until ladder, hell in a cell, and tables matches got introduced that gamers really got a chance to experiment with different strategies for each match type and mimic major main events from real life. These days, you can engage in six-man bouts, elimination tag matches, TLC matches, and more. Thankfully, SmackDown vs. Raw has yet to include the Punjabi Prison match. That was a horrible concept.
Five Reasons Wrestling Fans Play WWE Games
SmackDown vs. Raw is currently the main wrestling game franchise. It’s not without a handful of flaws, but overall, people play the games because they’re accessible, offer plenty of match variety, include all of the cool entrance themes of each wrestler, emit at least a fraction of the larger-than-life spectacle that is wrestling, and allow tons of creativity with their robust edit modes. It’s time for some changes, but these are five features that need to remain in future WWE games.