Reader Column: What Makes A Great Wrestling Game?

WrestleZone

WZ reader Sam Utz submitted the following editorial:

As I sit here in front of my Nintendo Wii, I contemplate video games. Which leads me to contemplate wrestling video games.

What makes a wrestling game great? Graphics? They probably have something to do with it. Rosters? Sure, we all want to play as our favorite wrestlers, and sometimes it is the small things and lesser known wrestlers that make the game fun to play. What about features? Gimmick matches are always fun and provide for more replay value. And an in depth season mode is nice too.

Despite all of the innovations in wrestling games throughout the past 10 years, I still find myself going back to the same damned wrestling game any time I want to play. And that game is WWF No Mercy.

What makes No Mercy great? The graphics are nice but only by the standards that were in place when it was released. Realism? Not so much… but again, in its time it was fairly realistic, particularly compared to the genre.

There are two things that make No Mercy fun, and they are customization and gameplay.

I have gone and created realistic examples of just about every wrestler who has come since No Mercy was released. I’ve also created bizzare versions of my friends and family, and made myself into a facepaint-wearing patriot with a pelvic thrust.

Now, some might argue "the customization in the newer games is WAYYYY more in depth!" And they would be right… which is exactly why it is less fun. No one wants to spend 45 minutes trying to create themselves. There is a fine line between features and doing the damned programming of the game yourself!

As far as gameplay goes… the same principle applies. Depth without confusion. There are a billion moves and it doesn’t take rocket science to figure out how to do an Asai Moonsault. Yet, at the same time, the season mode is PLENTY difficult, despite these "limitations" in comparison to newer games.

So, to wrap it all up…

I’m sure I’ll continue to try new wrestling games. Some of them will be fun, and some will be… Legends of Wrestling. But until someone captures the perfect balance that No Mercy has achieved, I won’t be sold on any other game as my favorite.

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