Reviewed on Xbox One
As an avid fan of the wrestling video game series, I was obviously excited to get into the game. My expectations going in were mixed to say the least. I’ve had a plethora of experiences both good and bad with it over the years. Like every game, not everything will be perfect. Developers only have a certain period of time in which they can work on the game in most cases, unless you’re an established company like Rockstar (Grand Theft Auto, Red Dead Redemption) or Bethesda (Elder Scrolls, Fallout). This is especially true when it comes to games labelled as yearly releases.
As with every release, nobody will like everything the game offers. Personally, I’ve seen people all over social media list a range of things they’ve enjoyed and disliked at the same time. Opinion matters and we do hope here at Wrestling Rumors that you let us know in the comments or on our social media what your own interpretations of the game are.
As you open the game, you are treated to what I would like to think is the best menu screen I can remember seeing from a WWE video game. It shows numerous themed matches you’d see on WWE TV with shots that feel like you’re in the action.
As you begin to check out the modes, there is a lot to go through. Beginning with the play mode, there is everything you’d expect from WWE 2K17 included, with additions like larger matches, the new Elimination Chamber that was first used earlier this year and the ability to make and save custom match types you’ve created. I also love that the Elimination Chamber finally supports entrances, which is something I’ve personally wanted for years.
Before moving onto other modes within the game, we need to talk about the actual matches themselves. That is the core of what a WWE or wrestling game in general is about. This game improves on the gameplay 2K17 had, but makes a few mistakes in the process.
One of the big new gameplay features this year that 2K seems to rely heavily on is the carry and drag system they implemented. This previously existed in older games and I am glad to finally have it back. I do find, though, that it is hard at times to even perform one as at least in my case, 75% of the time, my opponent would reverse the move, despite being at critical health. Even when the position works, it won’t be long before the opponent hits you. If you’re trying to set up a spot, you may need to attempt it multiple times to hit it, as I did myself.
Besides this, the gameplay to an extent is fluent and lifelike. Aside from a few small spots during the match that felt a bit off, I felt matches looked amazing and replicated how us fans would see them if we were watching an actual WWE show. Some of these spots that felt off included smaller guys being able to lift larger guys like Braun Strowman over their heads when reversing for big German Suplexes. In addition, movement can sometimes be unresponsive and weapons can be annoying to hit your opponent with at times. Finally, I notice that superstars will always climb to the middle or top turnbuckle and do a taunt for a big move or finisher, but then jump off and come stand next to my character who is groggily ready to take or reverse their move. This doesn’t feel right, almost as if it were a bug.
I think many fans have lost a certain amount of interest with the game series after 2K made the huge decision to go from an arcade style of gameplay to one more simulation based. Since they have the option to choose arcade style for weight detection, why is there no option to entirely switch gameplay between arcade and simulation to fit both play styles?
In terms of entrances, they are as incredible as ever. One of my personal favorite parts of the video game is the way the entrances look and evolve over the years. What I am very disappointed by was the fact that many of the entrances weren’t updated. The same can apply to many of the models in the game and the attires. Take Seth Rollins for example. He was the cover star and didn’t have the ‘Burn It Down’ phrase at the start of his music or the attire to go with it. Mahal is very outdated. The entrance to The Usos doesn’t have the lyrics. I highly doubt it takes that long to change one audio file.
One HUGE problem I have with 2K in general is the amount of framerate issues I encountered. Many times, I would find that when someone came running to the ring or performed a large move on me, the game would slow down. I can’t explain just how many matches I lost purely because I couldn’t follow what was happening due to issues in the framerate. While everyone was hitting me, completing their own objectives, I was aimlessly tapping buttons and not seeing my character hitting anybody.
I will say that graphically speaking, the models and lighting system looks incredible, lifelike even. That is something you can be sure of whenever you pick up a game in the series. You’ll always continuously see improved graphics and gameplay to make things more realistic. I will say though, that instead of focusing on that for WWE 2K19, they should be focusing more on other criticisms people have had with the game and ways they can increase replayability.
I should also point out the amount of virtual currency received after each match is significantly lower this year than it was last year for WWE 2K17. If you were unable to afford or didn’t want to purchase the Season Pass or the ability to unlock all these superstars, arenas and titles (I fortunately did), you will have to spend hours upon hours earning enough to unlock one character. That’s insane.
The creation suite is a huge part of the game. Every year 2K improves on this. I have found when creating my characters that everything flows and works well when creating superstars, movesets, entrances and more. In previous years I sometimes found it took a long time to switch from one item and material to the next. Now it flows brilliantly.
As for my problems with the creation suite, I’ll begin with the characters. I found that many names that I would expect to see included weren’t in the game. As an example, the game legitimately has Summer Rae as a playable character yet I couldn’t choose “Summer” in a created superstar’s name. There are many common names that would take seconds for JoJo to record, yet 2K didn’t include them. Why?
Entrances used to be much more fun for me to create. The past couple of games has made it very difficult and time consuming to create entrances, leading to me not wanting to spend the time to customize my entrances (which I often would update). The old system allowed for timing to be much more structured and didn’t take so long to edit by the second.
Finally, regarding the creation suite, I believe we were misled about what to expect with the free cam. Most people would want to use the cam and move it around during a moving shot, but it is locked into one place. How is this ‘free,’ 2K? It is limited.
For what the mode is, it is enjoyable. I much prefer GM Mode personally, though I’ve already discussed ideas 2K could use in creating GM Mode again, which you can find here.
I love the ability to play every match on every show and alter the way the storylines continue and the repercussions of your actions within the matches. The promo engine is a severe letdown, though. This also applies, obviously, to the MyCareer version as it is the same. If this was improved, it would do well. I love having portions of the show devoted to promos as it emulates what we’d see on WWE TV.
As a side note before I continue, I want to point out to those people saying you can’t skip show intros for Universe Mode, there is an option to have it automatically do that. Just look and it’s easy to see!
Moving on, MyCareer does appear to be unskippable when it comes to the show intros. If there is a way, I couldn’t see it. Spending time and interacting with superstars backstage is a new element to the game, yet it severely lacks.
I feel that this aspect of the game was added as an element to wow the audience into thinking it is more special than it is. While the ability to do what 2K claimed was possible sounded amazing, the dialogue is repetitive by the wrestlers and they always look like they are crying. One week Kassius Ohno hates me and wants nothing to do with me, the next week he is my friend.
Even simply jumping into the game was weird. After taking the tutorial, you face Baron Corbin and he absolutely crushes you. This is to teach you that it is ok to lose. Despite this, the game gives you objectives forcing you to win every match, which defeats the purpose.
I also dislike that just as soon as I arrived on the brand, I somehow had started a feud with Bobby Roode who came in and attacked me, despite he and I having a friendly conversation before the show.
The game forced me to move up to the main roster, not allowing me the chance to legitimately drop my NXT Championship, which I had won from Roode within the first couple of weeks of my story.
If 2K aimed for a realistic experience here, they should’ve been much more dynamic in the way they did it. I was plagued with framerate issues, bad lines, lack of progress and beyond too many loading screens to want to progress past the first few weeks of ‘Raw’ in the game. I’m sure I’ll continue eventually, but it was just too repetitive and without enough repercussions for the decisions I made to warrant any attachment.
As for online, the big introduction was with the announcement of Road to Glory, which we previously covered the goals of. For me personally, I was unable to even play online. For others, I’ve heard the online is just as bad as it was last year. Unless you have a really good internet connection, this mode is pointless. Next year I’ve heard 2K mention they are looking to add dedicated servers, which would rectify this so I look forward to that.
MyPlayer for me personally is a great idea and hub for continuing on to MyCareer or Road to Glory. I love that you start off with relatively nothing and as you progress you get more and more options and abilities unlocked. That said, I have seen a lot of legitimate criticism since people would like the option to set everything up from the beginning. I’m talking a full proper attire, entrance and even abilities and stats. There should have been an option to start using the wizard that is available or create a full character. I also know that others wanted to use a pre-existing wrestler such as Brian Kendrick, Noam Dar or Braun Strowman for their MyCareer. While this was available last year, it isn’t this time around and it should’ve been kept in.
The soundtrack to the game can at times be enjoyable but for me personally, I didn’t enjoy 90% of the tracks chosen by The Rock. Everyone has their own taste. I’ve seen more criticism for the soundtrack than love for it. Personally, I’ve seen many people say they’d rather tracks like that of WWE Smackdown vs. Raw 2007-2009. I myself agree with that. Again, it goes back to your personal preference in music. After I had played the game just two or three days, I turned off all music including selected entrance themes as I found only a few of them repeating and not the thirty-odd I’d chosen to have in the jukebox.
Despite all the negative things against the game I’ve said, I did really enjoy WWE 2K18 and I will continue to play and enjoy the game. It is much easier to define what is bad about something than it is to describe what is good about it.
Finally, while the DLC hasn’t been released yet, besides what was available on launch, I do feel that in comparison to previous years, the fans are being ripped off with the amount they are paying for the characters they are getting. A few extra characters would’ve done wonders. Where is Ellsworth, Almas, Lorcan, Heavy Machinery, Bate, Dunne and most other Cruiserweights?
There was a lot to love, from the new characters to the way matches unfold to the ongoing changes in gameplay, the creation suite options and graphics.
In conclusion, I would rate this a 2.9/5. It was good, but it wasn’t great. There was a lot that could have been improved. From the superstars themselves (entrance, attire months out of date), DLC, online and MyCareer letdowns, let this game hopefully serve as a wake-up call to the developers to reach out and search for what the community wants.
To reiterate what I said at the start of this review, there is no such thing as a perfect game. 2K18 certainly has it’s mix of ups and downs. There was a lot to love, but a lot to frustrate you at the same time. There was no Showcase or GM Mode to provide some sort of replayability and I am still frustrated Story Mode isn’t back in the creation suite yet. People love that!
I love 2K and I love the game series. On behalf of every fan that felt any sense of frustration with this game, I hope next year they can work on making the game more customizable and replayable in any way they can.
Here is the trailer for WWE 2K18. If you are interested in giving it a watch, we think you’d love this amazing looking video!
What did you think of this game? What have you personally enjoyed and disliked about the game? Let us know in the comments below or over on our Facebook page or Twitter account. Additionally, you can find me on Twitter at @SOSNH1995. We also want to remind you that we have a Newsletter you can sign up to. This will allow us to send you the best news in one place via an email. We also have the Wrestling Rumors app that we encourage you all to download to get updates faster than they release on our various pages. It is available on Android and iOS devices.