Wrestling video games. Where do I begin? The good? The bad? Or perhaps with the new details and gameplay published by IGN?
Honestly, the first thing that comes to mind is WWE Smackdown vs. Raw 2007. It’s not the classics that many fans adore likeÂ No Mercy, but it is considered the last game in the series before a massive dip. It received an 81 overall from Metacritic for the Xbox 360 version(the one I played), but it’s successor,Â WWE Smackdown vs. Raw 2008, which saw an aggregated score of 71 from Metacritic.
It seems like most, if not all, wrestling games since that point have either been disappointing since. How can something so enjoyable likeÂ 2007 devolve into something so consistently bad? Even the latest edition,Â WWE 2K15, received a Metacritic score of 50. How does a huge corporation and media conglomerate like the WWE not improve their video games?
It breaks my heart. I stopped watching the WWE years ago, but there is an alive and loyal fanbase that sits through more than just bad video games. One might ask, “Why?” To be honest, there is no explaining it. Everyone has their reasons, but I think a lot of it boils down to the time invested. Once you’re heavily invested in a wrestler, it’s hard to breakaway.
But let’s get back to the reason why we’re even writing this love letter. The new gameplay and details, as seen in the link above, are pretty exciting. It seems like the gameplan for this year’s edition is to build off of the good qualities of ’15, and to better produce a game for the latest generation of consoles.
One of the biggest features is the massive roster. 120 different wrestlers will be available for choosing, which is insane. Legends and current wrestlers alike will be available, which means that you can create any type of matchup you want between anyone you want.
This isn’t necessarily new, but the massive roster is an improvement. In terms of gameplay features, improved systems and a new featureÂ that limits the number of reversals you can use over time are continuing to progress the game into a new era.
With these in mind, it seems like the developers,Â Visual Concepts and Yukes, may be appealing to fans of fighting games. Big changes that look like they’ll balance and create a more competitive, tactical game will appeal to fans of varying fighting games, although it remains to be seen how many fans it can draw over.
Personally, the thing that actually makes this game series interesting to me again is that they are adding career mode back. For some, career modes is too long-winded or too linear, but WWE’s is centered around winning and losing as well as taking sides, which can mean different paths and different ways to play.
Other features have been added in as well, like the various “Create” features. You can now create a Diva, an arena, a show and a “Championship”. The developers obviously understand that the fanbase they are catering to want to go wild with their imaginations, and adding back in a career mode and more creative options is a great new addition.
It’s hard to commit myself to anything WWE-related anymore, butÂ WWE 2K16Â looks genuinely exciting. It caters to all the different types of fans, but it also does a good job of being an open game that could possibly draw players who don’t even watch the WWE.
I’ll make no final judgments on it until I get my hands on it, but it’s hard not to be optimistic for the next release into the wrestling video game pantheon.