Pro-wrestling has fans around the world. Millions grew up watching their favorite wrestlers duke it out in the squared ring.
WWE, in particular, has had a lasting impact on popular culture. It is the most successful franchise in sports entertainment across multiple decades. Its popularity is evident even in the world of video games.
There is a wide variety of wrestling video games for players to choose from. Listed below are some of the best ones from the last decade.
Note: This article is subjective and solely reflects the opinions of the writer
WWE 2K19, WWE 2K Battlegrounds and 3 other amazing wrestling video games in the last decade
1) WWE 2K14
Released in 2013 by 2K Sports, WWE 2K14 is the first game in the 2K series of WWE games.
THQ was the WWE games’ publishing company since its inception in 1999. However, after its bankruptcy filing in 2013, Take-Two Interactive gained the license.
With The Rock as its cover star, WWE 2K14 is considered to be one of the best WWE games of all time.
2K refined elements from previous games to create a more engaging experience. Gameplay mechanics and animations were improved to provide a realistic feel to the game while also keeping it entertaining.
Improvements were made to the menu navigation system and the ‘Create a Superstar’ mode, allowing for more customization options. The game also featured multiple storyline options, such as 30 Years of WrestleMania and The Streak.
Additionally, the WWE Universe made a return, with more in-depth customization options than any of its predecessors.
platforms: PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Windows
2) WWE 2K19
The latest WWE video games in the modern generation of consoles have left a lot to be desired. WWE 2K19 was the last game in the franchise that could be fondly remembered before it returned into a mess full of glitches and poorly executed ideas.
With AJ Styles on the cover, WWE 2K19 would be the last game in a long line of WWE video games developed by Yuke’s, with Visual Concepts taking over in 2019. Instead of the simulation-based approach of its predecessors, the game focused on faster and more arcade-like gameplay.
WWE 2K19 also featured multiple new game modes, such as 2K Showcase, which depicted the career and journey of Daniel Bryan, a fan favorite. Two new tower modes were also introduced, which involved players fighting a series of wrestlers in a gauntlet with added stipulations.
Additionally, The Road to Glory mode was improved, with eight factions available for players to join.
platforms: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Windows
3) WWE 2K Battlegrounds
Released in 2020 by 2K Sports, WWE 2K Battlegrounds is a unique take on the genre of wrestling games. It is extremely similar to WWE All Stars, which was released in 2011.
What makes the two games comparable is the similarity in gameplay. Both rely on a more arcade-like fighting experience, with unrealistic over-the-top moves and animations as well as cartoonish player models.
However, WWE 2K Battlegrounds has improved graphics and co-op game modes. The game was released as a filler title to make up for the absence of WWE 2K21, which was canceled.
Despite receiving criticism due to the abundance of microtransactions, the game earned praise from critics and fans for its art style and refreshing gameplay.
WWE 2K Battlegrounds featured several lesser-known legends of the wrestling world, such as Doink the Clown, Earthquake and Typhoon.
platforms: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Windows, Nintendo Switch, Stadia
4) Action Arcade Wrestling
Action Arcade Wrestling (AAW) is the first game on this list that isn’t affiliated with WWE.
Released in 2019, it was a welcome change from the modern generation of wrestling games as it took the genre back to its old-school roots.
The art style and gameplay in AAW were fashioned after the classic wrestling games of the ’90s. It featured a multitude of original wrestlers with unique abilities, as well as a customization suite that allowed players to create their own wrestlers and arenas.
The appeal of the game lies in its retro feel as well as its supernatural approach to combat. It’s commendable that VICO Game Studio tried to offer something different in a genre dominated by WWE.
platforms: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, Windows
5) Wrestling Revolution 3D
Developed by Mdickie, Wrestling Revolution 3D might visually seem like an extremely dated game from the ’90s. However, the features it offers are far ahead of its time.
The game allows players to role-play as wrestlers as well as the management running the show behind the scenes. Players can match-make and organize shows, taking control of every aspect involved in managing a promotion.
The mechanics and animations, though archaic and old-school, offer a great deal of freedom for players to get creative with their move sets.
Overall, Wrestling Revolution 3D is one of the most fun and innovative games in the genre.
platforms: Android, iOS, Windows, Nintendo Switch, Mac OS