Once again, there are many games in my past that I love to just nostalgically visit in my head and remember the fun and wonder I experienced from the first play of the game. I will talk about one of these games in each article, what the game is about, what was some of my favourite moments and what could be changed to fit the new generation of consoles we have today. Today’s game comes from one of my favourite things ever, next to long walks on the beach, parks, Munchies and my hatred towards Frozen. Maybe not the long walks. It’s all about wrestling for this one as today we are looking at WWE Smackdown! Here Comes The Pain. It’s going to be a slobber knocker!
“Flex it Hunter. FLEX IT!”
Let’s start with a quick rundown of the history of WWE Smackdown games, leading up to Here Comes The Pain. The first known one is obviously Smackdown and Smackdown 2, the former having a 2 player season mode. The rest following these games basically have a sub-heading taken from one of The Rock’s catchphrases, (Just Bring It and Shut Your Mouth.) But for the first time since the much-loved No Mercy we get a WWE game with a new face to champion it, and that face was the absolutely awesome BRRROCK LESNARRR! He is as of this moment the reigning and defending WWE Champion, but back then he was The Next Big Thing, he was a young upstart with a monstrous look and was pushed to the stars getting wins over Ric Flair, The Rock, Undertake and Hulk Hogan. So it made sense for him to be the face of the game and of the company.
Now onto the match ups on the main menu, you get the usual matches they have had in the past few games, Tag Team, Ladder Match etc. This time there are plenty of new matches that give the whole multiplayer experience with your mates a real shot in the arm. Some of the highlights are definitely Elimination Chamber, Hell In A Cell and Hardcore Matches, (that are in different locations) ,but the most infamous and creepiest match type was Bra and Panties. In an age where we now have a ton of female wrestling talent such as Paige, Charlotte, Bayley and Sara Del Ray to name a few, it seems prehistoric to have match types like these in the games. Sadly, it only gets worse, but that’s a story for another article.
My favourite of the new match types has to be Elimination Chamber, as it is something new and actually take a little to get used to especially as it is a different surrounding that perhaps to a cage or a cell. Also it has the entrance either being random or you can actually pick when you want to, my choice would be random as it makes it more of a surprise for you when your character enters or that they are already starting in the ring. My all-time favourite match type is however Royal Rumble, the first one I always play in every WWE game since this one, always fun and you don’t have to stop playing when you get eliminated. It’s also much more enjoyable when you play with your friends. You can tag with them until the end, or be an absolute bellend and eliminate them every time they try and come in. The latter is way too tempting to not try once.
That’s some Season Mode you’ve got there.
Would be a shame if someone saved over it…
Now we go on to the other mode which to me ate up a lot of my play time out of everything in the game, it’s the Season Mode of course. It all starts with a little vignette about how your chosen wrestler, (which again with this can be any superstar on the roster of talent.) Including such greats as Rodney Mack, Val Venis and Rico, but they aren’t the wrestlers we are at all interested in, we want to play as the big stars. It has a great roster available for you this time round to choose from, plenty of the greats and Hall of Famers, but that would be lost in the later games making the season mode only a few wrestlers or specific wrestler’s storylines. Not that there is anything wrong with that, it just defeats the whole “play as your favourite wrestler and build him up to be champion journey”, which is something I miss from the new games.
Anyway getting into season mode, there are many things when you first go into the Locker Room area that are a radical departure from previous games. One of the major ones is that you can’t walk around the backstage area and talk to other wrestlers like in the last game, Shut Your Mouth! This time a menu comes up telling you the certain places you can go and whether anyone is around that certain place, you also have the GM’s, these being Stephanie McMahon and Eric Bischoff to talk to about a show transfer, title shots or just checking your SP. I find that a little disheartening as I do love that feature on Shut Your Mouth and it seems a bit of a back step and would be something in older games. The reason behind it is probably because if you choose to fight with the wrestler in that certain location, you fight with them there and then go on to whatever else you would be doing that week. You can also go ahead and buy new things from the WWE Shop, some of those things are unlockable wrestlers, attires and move-sets for when you create a wrestler. The best unlockable wrestlers for me are Old School Undertaker, (the one with the tie and purple gloves) which is great contrast with American Badass ‘Taker, which you have in this game. Another one to unlock which is fun has to be The Road Warriors, every other one is pretty meh, you have Sgt. Slaughter and Jimmy Snuka, nothing really big like in the new games which feature Sting and Ultimate Warrior. Some attires include RVD, Triple H and *sigh* different Bra and Pants for the Divas. Fuck sake! It’s never going to leave.
“BY GOD KING, I THINK HE MAY BE BROKEN IN HALF!”
On to some of the other things you can do on Season Mode, mainly the story lines you can get put into as you trail through your career, playing as whoever you may choose. One of the main ones that is taken from actual Raw story lines is the inclusion of the Evolution faction story line that you have to go through, but you basically have your own faction consisting of whoever you may choose, but it’s basically ripped from Evolution. I remember having such a random bunch of wrestlers that I like be in a faction, I think Goldust was in there somewhere…obviously. In that story you get, (in my version) Rikishi coming up to you and asking to join the faction and if you choose not to include him into the faction he brings out his own faction to go to war with you. This was a really fun story line and you get to see how the rest of the team are doing, in my case not very well. But it all comes down to your match and whether you can beat their leader.
Another notable story line is basically winning the affections of a Diva from the clutches of an evil superstar, who wants to keep her all to himself as his slave. Really shitty bloke, that you need to beat the snot out of and win her back, but sadly your character can’t because you have to play as the actual Diva to beat the big bulky male superstar. I’m not trying to sound sexist, but why would anyone want to see that! A little bit messed up if you ask me, especially in the time we are in now with WWE. Seriously though, this will all be addressed soon…
There is even a few little things you complete on the way like a small feud on the UK Tour and “Raw Roulette”, which is basically the general manager spins a wheel and whatever stipulation it lands on you will have to wrestle a match with that stipulation. That is a nice little edition to give the whole season mode a little more to it and keep you busy with a lot of it.
Here Comes The Pain vs WWE 2K15
In the past few weeks I have been playing WWE 2K15, the newest game from the WWE franchise, and I have to say whilst it does have flaws I still am quite enjoying it. The MyCareer mode seems to be pretty good so far although my only gripe is that it is taking AGES to actually move up to Raw and Smackdown and you are usually stuck with loads of matches to get there. So far there are a few things that keeps it from being repetitive. Your created character has a little interaction with Regal and my friend’s created wrestler wanted to feud, I kicked his ass by the way, so it’s all good. One thing that really has improved is the create-a-wrestler over the years, it has gotten stronger and give you much more of a pick as to what to create. This time around though it seems fairly limited compared to previous versions, which is a shame and hopefully it gets full expanded on in the future games. Another thing that is missing that I was hoping for was more backstage interaction with fellow wrestlers, or hell higher ups in the office like Triple H or Stephanie McMahon would have been nice.
The WWE Universe Mode is always a laugh when you try and build up which ever superstar you want into winning whichever title you want. Currently Bray Wyatt is champion in my game which is nice, reckon he deserves it right now and I’m also building up my own version of Tyler Breeze, which is also awesome. That is one thing that WWE 2K15 has over HCTP and that is that it has much more replay value to it than it’s predecessor, we will see how long it last into next year with other big games coming out. Although, it seems that as the games have become more advanced there seems to be much more glitches, seriously all you have to do is search it on Youtube and you will see loads of videos of pretty bad glitches, like really bad.
At the end of the day it’s not about which ones better it’s more about looking back at how simple yet in some ways superior to the later games. Don’t get me wrong, there are some things like the recently done “Rivalry Mode”, which shows two pretty big and iconic rivalries in HBK vs HHH and Cena vs Punk, that is rather interesting and has kept me going back to it. But it all comes back to whether I could be playing it in the next 6 months, at this point I am unsure. Only time will tell.
Well as a wrestling fan this is one of my favourites of the WWE franchise, (not played No Mercy, apologies) it got me playing it for a long, long time before I gorged myself on the first of many Smackdown vs Raw during Christmas time in Kent. Whilst it may be lacking in features and modes that has propelled the franchise into much broader horizons, it still gives me a warm fuzzy feeling that you don’t get with some of the other WWE games out there. I hope in the future to see a fully complete and non buggy game from the WWE franchise that everyone from a novice to a veteran of the franchise can truly love. Thanks for reading everyone and to anyone out there who in anyway likes Crush Hour…
Have a Very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. BANG! BANG!