Metascore
85

Generally favorable reviews - based on 27 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 25 out of 27
  2. Negative: 0 out of 27
Buy On
  1. A superb blend of traditional and wrestling-specific fight mechanics, and there's so much variety here that it wouldn't be an exaggeration to say you could play this one from now until the next SmackDown without getting bored or running out of things to do.
  2. 80
    Jaded grapple-fans will find much to love about Here Comes The Pain. It restores some much-needed faith in THQ’s franchise and stands out as a great game in its own right.
  3. New match types such as the elimination chamber, and a revised control system, mean that unlike other WWE titles appearing on other formats, this one can stand up in its own right as an accomplished game - and one that people outside of its hardcore fanbase should have some fun with.
  4. The vast number of improvements to gameplay and the addition of legendary characters, new modes like Elimination Chamber and Bra and Panties matches and a better season mode makes this game the king of the world.
  5. Overall, this is the most complete Smackdown game yet, with changes and improvements everywhere you care to mention and a fighting system that's such fun, knowledge of the WWE isn't even necessary to enjoy it.
  6. netjak
    94
    As far was wrestling games go, it gets no better than this. With the new additions to the roster and the modified gameplay, fans of the series will not be disappointed, so don’t believe HCTP is the just the same old song and dance, because simply put, this is where it’s at.
  7. Bar none, the best WWE wrestling game of the series and one that will leave fans more than satisfied.
  8. 91
    One of the best wrestling games we've ever played...With its ultra-improved gameplay mechanics, enhanced visual engine, smarter career mode, and established create-a-character feature, Yukes and THQ are definitely the track to success.
  9. What the game lacks in innovation, however, is more than made up for in sheer playability.
  10. A severe, albeit pleasant, shock to system. The game has grabbed me in a way that only “No Mercy” has ever topped.
  11. Easily the best Smackdown game of them all. And it right up there with best wrestling games for any of the three big game systems.
  12. 89
    Here Comes the Pain will give you hundreds of hours of gameplay in Career mode, and plenty more in Exhibition mode and with your friends.
  13. Probably the best wrestling game to come out since "No Mercy" on the N64. Yukes seems to have finally combined what was great in the AKI games on N64 and what was great in the Smackdown games.
  14. It emulates the ruthless aggression of WWE better than anything before. [Dec 2003, p.138]
  15. 85
    It's a triumph for THQ and vindication for Yukes. This is best of the series, and one of the best wrestling games to hit a console.
  16. 80
    The total package is solid, and while it's not the holy grail fans have hoped for since the N64's "No Mercy," it's light-years beyond what THQ used to try and sell under the SmackDown! name.
  17. 80
    How about a Bra & Panties mode where WWE Divas rip off each other’s clothes? It’s the raunchiest Teen-rated action you’ll find anywhere.
  18. 80
    As the wrestling game with the most depth, great playability, impressive visuals, and slick presentation, SmackDown! Here Comes the Pain delivers in all the categories WWE fans hold in high regard.
  19. 100
    The best wrestling game on the market for any platform.
  20. The lighting effects and polygonal detail has been kicked up a few notches, and for those of you who don't like your grapplers dipped in corn oil, HCTP has the best looking character models on the market - more realistic in motion, musculature and personal detail than Raw 2's sweaty oafs.
  21. PSM Magazine
    90
    An absolutely awesome wrestling experience...Thanks to features like improved graphics, more match types, and an overhauled grappling system, it's definitely the most realistic and rewarding WWE game on the market. [Dec 2003, p.56]
  22. GMR Magazine
    80
    Submission moves finally makes sense, thanks to a logical location-based damage system, and wrestlers' weights are accurately presented. [Jan 2004, p.92]
  23. Electronic Gaming Monthly
    75
    Thanks to its incredibly deep Season mode, Pain is easily the best wrasslin' title since the days of the Nintendo 64. [Jan 2004, p.140]
  24. Play Magazine
    91
    If they fix the play balance and are able to add that last bit of audio polish (and adjust that Steph model...she was hot in the preview build), the next iteration could be perfection. [Dec 2003, p.101]
  25. GameNow
    83
    The best of the three THQ wrestling games released this year. [Jan 2004, p.57]

Awards & Rankings

#3 Most Discussed PS2 Game of 2003
#1 Most Shared PS2 Game of 2003
User Score
8.9

Generally favorable reviews- based on 177 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 89 out of 98
  2. Negative: 6 out of 98
  1. Aug 28, 2010
    10
    Wow,lets get right to it and I have to tell you that it's August 2010 and I have yet to find a wrestling game or fighting game as good as thisWow,lets get right to it and I have to tell you that it's August 2010 and I have yet to find a wrestling game or fighting game as good as this game.I have wwe smackdown vs. raw 2010 and that game is amazing but this game's game play is mind blowing.Especially for how old this game is.The lack of commentary is the only reason I'm knocking off a 1/2 of a point,even though the commentary in all the wrestling games is terrible and the games weakest point,but to this day I play it and love it the best of all my wresling games,I give it a 9.5 Full Review »
  2. May 25, 2016
    8
    WWE SmackDown Here Comes the Pain is the best wrestling game on PS2, not to mention WWE SmackDown VS Raw 2011 . Not really good graphics, butWWE SmackDown Here Comes the Pain is the best wrestling game on PS2, not to mention WWE SmackDown VS Raw 2011 . Not really good graphics, but many different wrestlers and one ofthe best gameplay in WWF/WWE Series . This is first WWE Games (WWF not to mention) . On Cover for this game Brock Lesnar . Amazing wrestling game . Full Review »
  3. May 5, 2016
    10
    All hail Season Mode, the ONE thing that made wrestling games GOOD and
    amplified an endless amount of replay value.
    Furthermore, if you're
    All hail Season Mode, the ONE thing that made wrestling games GOOD and
    amplified an endless amount of replay value.

    Furthermore, if you're a huge fan of the Brand Extension, RAW and
    SmackDown!, and the Ruthless Aggression Era (like myself), especially during its early start of 2002-03? Then this is by far the most enjoyable wrestling game that you will ever come by.

    With the biggest roster in WWE's history, emerging superstars were the
    likes of Attitude Era stars, e.g. Stone Cold Steve Austin, The Rock,
    Triple H and The Undertaker. WCW stars, e.g. Booker T, Kevin Nash,
    Scott Steiner and Goldberg. As well as fresh new talents who would go
    on to become some of the greatest superstars, e.g. Brock Lesnar, John Cena, Randy Orton and Batista.

    And not counting out its predecessor, Shut Your Mouth. But Here Comes
    the Pain improved massively on its gameplay.
    Full Review »