*At the time of getting this article out, the share function on my PS4 was not working, so couldn’t upload pictures. Unfortunately mobile phone photos are all I could get in time*
After falling for all the false hype of WWE2k15 last year, I was cautious about getting into the hype of this year’s iteration of the game. Last year while the game looked impressive on the new consoles, the end result was barebones and from what I’d heard and read, it was a bit of a disaster to play. I’d like to add I only played it incredibly briefly at EGX in 2014. Other than that I never played it so cannot pass judgement on it. But from the complaints it seems like I made a good call not buying it.
This year’s instalment in the yearly WWE franchise got my attention once the roster updates started to flow. Boasting the largest roster in a WWE game ever featuring a plethora of legends, the upcoming talent from the incredible NXT roster and your main event players from the main shows. So far so good. The next thing that seemed a plus from last year is the number of match types available had increased. Still sounding good as one thing I loved to do with friends was partake in local multiplayer mayhem in a Hell in a Cell or a TLC match.
It was enough to convince me to part ways with my cash for my first wrestling experience on my PS4.
First up I played some exhibition matches to get to grips with the controls as again I’d read that 2K15 and 2K16 had completely revamped controls from the last game I played 2K14. It took me a while to figure out how to win collar and elbow tie ups. It also took me a while to work out the pacing of matches to ensure I wasn’t constantly attacking as this would deplete my stamina bar too fast resulting in a tough end stint to any match I was in.
After a few matches I’d figured I’d got to grips with everything but the submissions, so I went out of my way to pick an exhibition match with wrestlers that have submission moves in their attack list and attempted to master them. Once again it took some time, but when you get familiar with it, it becomes easy enough to get. Same for the targeting system in matches with multiple wrestlers in the ring. The manual targeting isn’t that bad once you figure it out properly.
So far so good. Visually the game is incredibly impressive and the limited reversals, the stamina bar, the lock ups and submission methods make the matches seem more realistic and thought out rather than the all-out reversal after reversal affairs from 2K14.
With the exhibitions out-of-the-way I started onto the Showcase mode. This year’s featured showcase is about the rise of the toughest S.O.B to star in WWE. The Rattlesnake, Stone Cold Steve Austin. I love Austin and think this is an awesome idea for showcase, but I have to admit I did prefer previous showcase modes such as the Attitude Era and Wrestlemania ones from previous games. Maybe that’s because they weren’t focused on one particular wrestler. But still it’s pretty entertaining to re-enact Austin’s career in wrestling and his biggest rivalries throughout WWE. So far I’m into the feud with The Heartbreak Kid, Shawn Michaels. I don’t know how far or long this showcase mode will go but it’s kept me entertained so far and my current completion of the mode is at 24%. There are plenty of unlockables to attain for the OCD gamers that want to get everything. Plenty of different attires for Stone Cold Steve Austin to unlock.
It’s a shame that they cannot reference WWF in the game, as during the scenes that are re-enacted with in-game graphics, they mute the speech any time the F or World Wrestling Federation is mentioned. It kind of kills the immersion a bit. Also not quite right replaying all these great matches and seeing the WW logo rather than the WWF logo. Little nit-picks that unfortunately the company can do nothing about though.
I next moved onto the MyCareer mode. I loved the career mode in the NBA2K games, so was keen to try it for wrestling especially after opting to miss out last year’s WWE title. First up was creating my wrestler. I’m one for trying to re-create myself in games like this. Be it in FIFA be a pro, or NBA Career, I’ll try to make myself or as close as I can. Seeing as this is a wrestling game, there was one exception to the rule, while I tried to make myself look true to form with hair, skin tone, facial hair etc… I had to make myself bigger as I’m not the tallest or most muscular chap you’ll see out and about. So with almost a life-like representation tattoos and all I was ready to start my career.
First up in I’m NXT and wrestling in un-televised matches at the performance centre in front of Matt Bloom (AKA Albert or Tensai). There is a lot to the career mode. Plenty of ways to improve your wrestler’s abilities, stats and traits. After 2 matches at the performance centre I was thrust onto NXT TV in a tag match against NXT’s 2 biggest stars Finn Balor and Hideo Itami. I won the match with my partner Baron Corbin which put me as a heel straight off.
The back stage interviews with Rene Young are some of the most cringe worthy moments in any game I’ve ever played. It’s often unbearable to watch. Last night when playing the career on my own in the living room, I found myself turning the TV down when interview segments were starting as to avoid listening to both Rene and my superstar talk. But they are also important in developing your characters traits and which direction your wrestler will go with the fans.
I was thrown into a rivalry with Tyler Breeze which spanned for the remainder of the tutorial mode in NXT. Throughout this you’re shown how to interfere with matches and view your rivalries and alliances. Your goal is to attain the NXT championship by climbing the rankings ladder. To do this you need to put on entertaining matches that win fans over. Victories aren’t important all the time, just the spectacle that you put on for the fans. So far I’m yet to 5 star a match, but tend to get 4 to 4.5 stars most of the times. Also yet to lose a match, but I’m sure that’ll come.
My time with career mode so far is up to completing my rivalry with Tyler, so I’m now free to feud with who I like and align myself with who I like. I can see me spending a lot of time on this mode.
Unfortunately I’ve yet to touch the Universe mode as ideally I want to have all the roster unlocked before creating my own WWE Universe. So I’ll plow through the showcase mode to get some more unlocked and even potentially wait for the season pass to kick in as I think the career mode could hold my interest for quite a while.
One thing that got many people’s attention was the number of downloadable slots there are for created characters that you can add to your game. Some people spend a lot of time updating the roster by creating the wrestlers that are missing and uploading them to the servers for everyone to download. This is a great feature as WWE2k16 is already out of date as the current US Champion on TV isn’t in the game, and The Wyatt family’s newest member on TV also isn’t in the game. So the community are working on this updating it with as close to life created wrestlers. I’ve downloaded a lot that didn’t make the cut (like the 4 horsewomen from NXT) as well as some older wrestlers that didn’t make the roster like Goldberg and RVD. One highlight was finding the majority of the Lucha Underground roster which look absolutely fantastic. So they’ve been added to my roster. I’m now on the hunt some roster members from New Japan Pro Wrestling.
Finally the multiplayer. So far I’ve only delved into local with my friends, but from what we did play it was good fun. Not had any massive glitches yet which the WWE games on multiplayer are famous for. But had some absolutely epic spectacles for the fans with underdog victories, bloody beatings and plenty of epic spots involving tables and ladders.
The real fun for us came when we decided to start putting titles on the line. Our first being a fatal 4 way putting the NXT title on the line. We had the CPU play as Finn Balor the defending champion and had Zayn, Itami and Corbin battle it out. Zayn (me) walked out victorious. It was a short reign however as I lost it at elimination chamber to Kevin Owens (who was CPU). That match was absolutely incredible also featuring Balor, Itami, Breeze and Corbin. I think we’ll be putting titles on the line more often as it just increased the levels of each match and made them a lot more intense and made them more enjoyable and epic. The close kick outs were all that more exciting and submissions became more enthralling knowing you could be seconds away from losing or winning the title. Good fun was had by all.
I’m glad I picked the game up this year. Once you get to grips with the mechanics which genuinely make the matches more entertaining and enthralling it’s a good fun game to play.