Another year, and it’s another WWE video game. Last year I was extremely disappointed with the WWE debut on current gen consoles. The possibilities were endless for a WWE game on current gen consoles, yet what we got was a lacking downgrade compared to the last gen WWE games. With WWE 2K16, 2K were looking to bring WWE games back up after the disastrous debut last year. I’m happy to say they have managed to make a much better WWE game this time round, but it does come with problems which I will get to later in this review.
Last year, one of the biggest complaints about WWE 2K15 on PS4/Xbox One was the missing creative features that WWE 2K14 had on PS3/Xbox 360. Gone was Create an arena, championship, story, and even creating diva’s. This year however, 2K has brought back most of the missed modes like arena and championship with some major improvements.
Create an arena for example is now pretty much fully customizable. Rather than using templates and adding logos to a pre-made arena, you can now edit parts of the stage individually. So for example, you can pick the current RAW stage template, and you can edit parts of that stage to make it unique and different. With all these options there are so many choices and custom arenas/stages that can be made. Even minor additions like being able to edit the steel steps for the first time is something that makes the mode that much better, as arenas don’t need to stick to the same old silver steps any more and classic arenas that used black or blue steps can be made with more accuracy.
Create a championship allows you to create and also edit current championship belts to your liking. You can customize the main plate, the side plates, the strap shape and material, add logos, and change colors of the plates. The only issue I had with this mode is that there is a major lack of original front plate designs, with most of them being old WWE belt designs, so it’s hard to create belts that fully unique with such a low amount of plate designs to choose from.
Creative modes will always be the modes that will bring back the fans, other modes will sell the game but the creative modes keep this game fresh for the full year before the next new game. That’s why WWE 2K15 was such a huge let down because the creative modes was so sparse, there was almost no re-playability in that game. WWE 2K16 because of these re-additions will end up being a game that will be played all year long once again, and 2K can now boast one of the best creative suites in a sports game once again.
You know what else 2K can boast about having in a sports game? The worst commentary voice overs in a sports game. The commentary has always been awful in WWE games, but with the addition of JBL to the commentary team it managed to get worse. The lines cut off, one commentator doesn’t react to what another ones question, repetitive lines, and a lot of reused lines that I’ve heard since 2010. It’s just bad, and it looks like it will never get any better.
Showcase mode returns once again, and it features the career of the best WWE superstar of all time (You ain’t convincing me otherwise!) Stone Cold Steve Austin. You relive some of his biggest matches in WWE history from 1996-2003, with some WCW/ECW matches thrown in as a bonus. As usual with this mode there is a great deal of attention to detail to try and capture the matches as they were on TV. The goal of this mode is to try a fully complete a checklist of objectives that recaptures moments from the classic matches. I enjoyed replaying through these matches, and I feel 2K did a great job capturing the moments as if they were actually the ones on TV, also the commentary is much better in this mode.
Lets talk gameplay now, and there has been a lot of gameplay improvements. One of the biggest additions to the gameplay is the breakout feature. The breakout features means you can now attack your opponent before the match by clicking a button at any time during their entrance. It’s similar to the interference option on the RAW games except this time you can choose to attack at any time rather than a set point. There was a lot of fun to be had with the breakout option, it’s just a shame the AI can’t breakout against you which would give each entrance a suspense feeling of will they attack me or not before each match. Still though, it’s a great feature that I hope is improved and added too each year.
These next changes are ones that are actually in the ring during the match. 2K16 introduces a new pin and submission system, and they are both awful to be honest. The pin system is now a mini-game were you have to stop the meter in the correct position to kick out. A lot of times the meter wouldn’t show up until the 2 count which meant I only had once chance to kick out, and I was getting pinned way too early when I shouldn’t have been.
The submission system was causing the same issues too, I was getting submitted way to early because the system is so bad. It’s a much worse version of the EA UFC’s submission system, were you have 2 icons and the one who is performing the submission gets more of their meter filled by over lapping your icon, while you have to get out of the way of their icon to shrink the meter enough to escape. The controls for this mini-game are horrible and frustrating with their being almost no control of your meter, which means you just have to keep spinning the analogue stick and hope for the best in most cases.
Another addition to the gameplay is that now reversals have a limit, so gone are the days were you can reverse every move that your opponent throws at you (Well unless you turn them off). This means you have to be more tactical with your choice of reversals, which also means you will have to let your opponent do moves against you or you will have no reversals left. Reversals once used up can be restored during the match. I like this addition to the gameplay as it improves the sim aspect that 2K is looking for in the WWE 2K series. You don’t see a match on WWE TV were so many moves are reversed, and in previous WWE games there would be hundreds of reversals in one match.
MyCareer mode has gone from must needed changes. The inaugural MyCareer mode of WWE 2K15, was filled with issues and lack of direction. This time however there is much more freedom and direction, with the option to choose a tag partner and go up the tag ranks. You can also choose to interfere in matches to create rivalries, and also make it clear if you are a heel or face with your post match interviews. Another great thing about MyCareer in WWE 2K16 is that it doesn’t end right after winning the WWE championship which was one of the dumbest things I’ve ever seen in a WWE game, now you can reach the Hall Of Fame with career goals given to you to help boost your chances of being inducted.
The Final Verdict
WWE 2K16 is definitely a step up from WWE 2K16, the creative modes were sorely missed in WWE 2K15 and with the improvements added also made them the most definite versions of create an arena and championship to date. Presentation is also fantastic in WWE 2K16 with the audio improvements and no loading screens between entrances with a very smooth transition from one entrance to the other taking the loading screens place. It’s awesome how much playability there is to have in WWE 2K16. Although the game has it’s share of bugs, a terrible commentary voice over, and missing modes, there is still a lot of fun to be had with this game. 2K aren’t there just yet, but they are starting to find a rhythm.
+Amount of content
-Missing match modes