Platforms: Xbox One, PS4,PS3, Xbox 360
Reviewed on: PS4
Developer: 2K Sports
Publisher: Megarom Interactive
Release Date: 30 October 2015
The WWE franchise has been on the forefront of wresting entertainment for decades, and the games have followed suit with their unique blend of customisation, and authentic wresting feel. WWE 2K16 is the second title in the series to be developed by 2K Sports, since the franchise was bought out from the now liquidated, THQ.
I have not played a wresting game in a few years, since WWE 14, so the jump into a WWE 2K16 was quite intimidating. So much has changed, there are new ways to wrestle, control schemes, and of course the MyCareer mode that has been re-skinned from NBA 2K16. No matter how hard it was to grasp the game’s new features, one thing if for sure, WWEK 2K16 is the flashiest and most authentic wrestling experience on the market.
I did not play WWE 2K15, but I was quite aware of the issues that the game faced when it came to its clunky wrestling movements, and other bugs that plagued the game. I can confidently say that 2K16 is a smooth ride all-round and looks and plays great.
First off it is important to note that WWE 2K16’s Showcase is all about Stone Cold Steve Austin, and the showcase is great. During the matches you are shown off some of the most iconic moments in his career, and if you have been a fan of his, then you will remember most of these. I used to be a hardcore WWE fan so this brought back some classic memories of Wresltemania and other pay-per-views.
While playing through the showcase you are given a set amount of objectives that you need to complete, these are all tied into actual events that took place during actual matches in history. This makes for an incredibly enjoyable experience and lets you re-live events that actually happened. This is all backed up by the classic commentators too, so their voices will sound somewhat familiar throughout the Showcase.
There are some combat features that make a typical match so much more strategic, and this leads to a better flow in gameplay. The Reversal system allows each superstar to preform a set amount of reversals that recharge over time, it keeps you on your toes as you need to keep in mind that once you have used it, you will have to wait for it to recharge, and using it at the wrong time, will result in a later consequence. Preforming moves and attacks is pretty easy too, and finishing moves are activated by a press of a button. When you are pinned down you then need to tap a button at the right time to get out of the lock, miss it three times and you will lose the match. This is all weighed up on how much “stamina” you have, as the less you have, the smaller the gap to get out of a move would be.
This all becomes a rather exciting task as you always need to make sure you can withstand an attack or a reversal from your opponent at any given time. So jumping into a move knowing that your opponent can reverse it, will not go down well if you are low on stamina. Then again, if you are confident that you can preform it successfully, then you can go ahead with it.
It all boils down to stamina, and once you are low on it, you will slowly begin to feel weak, and at times your wrester will even fall to the floor from exhaustion. When you get grappled and dropped to the floor, you will battle to get up, and this would be your opponents opportunity to pin you down. The system works the same for you opponent’s stamina bar and getting it down with attacks and moves is your key to victory.
For the first time in a wrestling game, I was able to experience MyCareer (seeing as I skipped last year’s release). It goes about the same way that NBA 2K16 went about, as you create a character and slowly guide them through the wrestling ranks to becoming a legend. You start at the bottom, attending training in a small gym and competing in a small stadium in NXT fights, but as you make your way through the career, it gets a whole lot more exciting. Saying that, it still somehow manages to show off the same faults that NBA did, like those interviews that have silent awkward moments, and character and facial animations jumping into place
As you progress through the MyCareer mode you will earn points that will be used to upgrade your wrestlers attributes. These points are earned for completing matches, fighting well, and even showing off a bit in the match. In the end the MyCareer mode is definitely a great experience, eve with its hiccups and questionable points system. Unlike NBA, it makes you feel like you are part of the game and you actually feel proud of your character and accomplishments after a good day in the ring.
Other than the MyCareer mode and Showcase, there is also the main modes that you can just jump right into. Think of them as the classic arcade mode, but this time with over 120 playable fighters, which is the biggest in any WWE game to date. To jump into a one on one match with a friend still feels as great as it used to back on the PS2 days, and there is no doubt that 2K did no compromise on keeping the traditional modes, traditional. You can even create your own show by adding intro effects, logos, and other flashy WWE styled items into the mix. You can then take all that, throw in a bunch of ladders, and have at it with a bunch of friends. It is really enjoyable.
Unfortunately the same cannot be said for the online mode as it still has a few inconstancies. Lag is present most of the time making it next to unplayable. This is not a train smash as the game has enough content to play with friends locally, that once you try and play an online match, you will be over it the first time it disconnects.
In the end WWE 2K16 is a really enjoyable entry into the franchise. Sure it could use a bit more spit and polish in certain aspects, but the main part of it, the wrestling, is top notch. It is just what every WWE fan would want from life, a full WWE experience with a massive roster of players, and WWE 2K16 delivers just that.