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If you’re still riding high on the thrill of April’s WrestleMania XXX, it might be time to get your hands on a great pro wrestling video game. The colorful casts, surprising plot twists, and flashy signature moves are a natural fit for gaming entertainment.
Here are four great games that let you step into the ring, and wallop every challenger between you and glory!
WWE 2K14 (Xbox 360, PS3)
The latest yearly entry in the WWE franchise may not be available on the newest gaming hardware yet, but it’s still a polished, full-featured game well worth any wrestling fan’s attention. If you’ve been watching wrestling for decades, you’re sure to appreciate the 30 Years of WrestleMania mode. It lets you replay the greatest fights in WrestleMania history. Recreate some of the exact moves and conditions of the real life match, and you’ll be rewarded with unlockable content for your trouble.
The real star here though is the game’s customizability. Want to create your own wrestler or arena from scratch? Do it. Ready to build the dramatic tale of your dreams with branching story sequences in and out of the ring that you can script? Dig in. Eager to try some of the endless hours of other players’ custom creations? Everything players can make or tweak is sharable. Maybe you’ll come up with an idea as entertaining as Bazza87’s Video Game Championship Wrestling, which pits famous characters from gaming history against one another in the ring!
WWE 2K14 isn’t available digitally, so check your local game stores for a copy.
WWE All-Stars (PS2, PS3, PSP, Xbox 360, Wii, 3DS)
It’s tough to see wrestling through the eyes of a child again once you’re all grown up. When you watch it as a kid, everything happening in that ring is wildly larger than life, and every rivalry is taken deadly seriously.
You might not be able to reclaim that feeling by watching wrestling anymore, but WWE All-Stars might rekindle your sense of wonder. It’s filled with exaggerated, colorful wrestlers, and special moves that send characters soaring up to light fixtures above the ring in slow motion. Its roster features both classic wrestlers in their prime and current favorites, and it pits those groups against one another as the cornerstone of its single-player experience. If you’ve got young wrestling fans in your house, it’s a great way to share your 80s and 90s heroes alongside characters they’ll recognize.
Only the PSP version of WWE All-Stars is available digitally for $19.99. For other platforms, check your favorite used game retailer.
Fire Pro Wrestling Returns (PS2, PS3)
The WWE may corner most of the market when it comes to televised wrestling, but it isn’t your only option among wrestling video games. Japan’s long running Fire Pro Wrestling series has only seen a few releases in the west, but its high precision, mastery-demanding gameplay could be exactly the change of pace you’re looking for.
Fire Pro Wrestling Returns features a massive roster of hundreds of wrestlers, including similarly named lookalikes for many famous WWE stars. If you can’t find a character you want to play, the robust character editor should give you plenty of ways to craft a look to your liking. You’re welcome to play normal style wrestling matches, but you’ll be missing out if you don’t try some of the more bizarre concoctions. You haven’t really wrestled until you’ve done it surrounded by electrified exploding barbed wire. And yes, that really is a thing.
And if you think that’s weird, wait until you see Japan’s game shows.
You can hunt down a used copy of Fire Pro Wrestling Returns for PS2, or grab it digitally on PS3 for $9.99.
Def Jam Vendetta (PS2, GameCube)
At first glance you might assume this mash up of hip hop culture and underground wrestling was built just to cash in on hot trends, but you’d be wrong. EA put Japanese wrestling game developer AKI Corporation to work on making Def Jam Vendetta, and the result is a wild wrestler that’s stylish, brutal, and fun. You’ll play a up-and-coming young fighter, eager to make your name in the underground ring. Take down enough opponents, and you’ll face Def Jam Records artists like DMX and Ludacris.
Though the game suffers from its small variety of modes, it’s an absolute champion in every other way. The fighting has depth and rewards you for working particular limbs on your opponent. The music (though edited for language) consists of tracks by Def Jam artists, who also provide voice samples for their characters. The animations are exaggerated to make every blow look painful. If you’re looking for wrestling with a little more attitude than you see in the pro ring, look no further.
Def Jam Vendetta isn’t available digitally, so used game retailers are your best bet for finding it.
As you can see, you’ve got a variety of wrestling options on platforms both new and old. Find the one that fits your attitude and slam your way to victory.
Prefer standard fighting games over wrestling ones? Read on for some cool options.
Do you have a great wrestling game recommendation that didn’t get on the list? Tell our community in the comments!