There’s just something captivating about wrestling. It’s a sport where you see people try to destroy each other in or even out of a ring, it’s like watching gladiators all over again minus the fatality but with much more technicality. However, it’s not as fun as it used to be especially back in the PS2 era where the chaos was so much more sweeter.
Platform Reviewed: PS4
Platforms Available: PS4, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, PC
Developer: Yuke’s, Visual Concepts
Publisher: 2K Games
Release Date: October 13, 2017
Disclaimer: This is my 1st WWE video game since WWE SmackDown vs. Raw 2008 which means I skipped an entire generation (PS3 and Xbox 360) or to be precise it’s been 10 years since I last played a wrestling game.
When I first started the game, I was amazed at how big the roster was. I love how many legends they added especially the obscure ones like the Ultimate Warrior and Mr. Perfect. They also added all of Mick Foley’s personas like Cactus Jack, Dude Love, and Mankind. They even added some of the more recent legends like Edge, Goldberg, JBL, and even Daniel Bryan to name a few and I really appreciate including the legends from the Divas like Trish Stratus and Lita. Just don’t forget that you need the in-game currency to unlock them but they aren’t all that expensive but there are a lot of them.
It was also nice to see many of the old titles be unlockable to use in title matches. Though I wish they could add the animation for wrestlers to have more than 1 title belt during their entrances which I have yet to see since I first started playing wrestling games. The music selection which apparently was catered by The Rock was great to listen to and many I believe were pretty old but still fresh especially “Soul Man” which just reminds me of Drake & Josh.
The matches of course feel significantly different compared to the game 10 years ago especially with the reversal system which makes the game very dynamic and much more fun, the ability to time when you’re going to kick out of a pinfall which can be difficult especially when you’re new to it, and the ability to have about 3 finishers stored up is quite useful.
However the complexity of the controls makes getting into the game quite hard and makes me think that the simplicity of the games 10 years ago was the ideal control setup. It could just be me though since many other people have probably gotten used to the control scheme especially considering I have a 10 year gap from the last game.
Apparently the carrying system is new to the game which is quite similar to the ultimate grapple system in WWE SmackDown vs. Raw 2007. While I trying out this carry move, the AIs almost always seem to counter me which makes the system quite hard to pull off unless I managed to have lowered their health enough for them to have a lapse in decisions.
I’m also unsure but the ring seems smaller compared to the games I played years ago although it could just be the fact that you are now able to have 8 players at a time in the ring which is quite a welcome improvement. It was also cool to see how many places I could go to in the backstage brawl match although I’m unsure what is the exact objective of how you win that match.
MyPlayer was quite lackluster in my opinion especially when it comes to the dialogue as it was all quite generic though I did like the ability to be able to walk around the backstage area and be able to converse with the people especially the other stars. It was also nice that I started from the bottom and didn’t go straight to be a WWE Rookie from the get go. My main gripes with the mode though is the grind I had to endure with trying to upgrade my superstars skillsets, and the promo system wherein I would talk in front of crowds using a series of multiple dialogue choices which basically defines my character at least to the crowds.
What I didn’t like about it is that you needed to pick your choices as fast as you can to have a better score, add in to the fact that you need to make it as cohesive to the original tone as you can to get an even better score thus making it all the more harder and it doesn’t help that the timer is really fast in ticking down. If I’m gonna define my character to millions of people around the world then I would appreciate to have the time to set it all up and not make my character an impromptu mess.
Another issue I had was that the AI was horrendous at certain times wherein they would put me in a helpless position only to just look at me suffering, it’s sadistic I guess but it just ruins the flow and adrenaline that the older games excelled at. There was also the problem with the targeting system in hell in a cell, in particular when you’re outside the ring and using a weapon, most of the time you would be trying to hit the air because for some reason you don’t target your actual target but from the opposite direction instead. I also found it quite ludicrous why it’s so difficult to get out of hell in a cell wherein the past games would just let you break the door in a very simple manner.
The game has so many things going for it however maybe there were just too many things which made it problematic in their individual parts. It’s ideas are great but execution leaves so much to be desired. Outside of the roster and the old championship titles, there isn’t much of an experience in the new WWE game. The game could’ve been the best in the series but even the WWE game in 2003 was a lot more fun and action pumping than this. It makes me just want to hook up my PS2 again and look for my old wrestling games.