After the last instalment in the WWE2K series, which was quite the disappointment for fans, 2K Sports have turned things around and put a lot of work into making this year’s title the best it could be. They’ve brought to the table a wealth of options, unlockables, customisation and the largest roster ever featured in a wrestling game, ever! Things are certainly looking up for the series.
Greeted with a whole load of game options and modes I firstly delved into the My Career mode, where you start off as a self-created Superstar – or a downloaded popular community created Superstars – to take on the WWE with their roster of wrestlers. When creating your perfect wrestler you can upload photos of your face to the 2K website and then receive them on your console via the community communications page – there is also a face scan app which is coming soon. You can also upload logos and other images to use almost anywhere on your ring attire, you can even select the types of signs your fans hold. There’s a massive range of options for creating precisely the look you want, allowing you to modify and tweak body parts to be proportionate or go crazy and create an utterly ridiculous Superstar with a massive upper body, the smallest of legs and a head shaped like a watermelon; it provides brilliant scope.
Once you’ve gone through all of the customisation lists and set up your Superstar it’s time to get to training. You’ll be able to access your calendar to manage and join different shows so you can eventually compete for the different belts available: NXT, US Champ, Intercontinental, Tag Team and World Heavyweight. This year Albert will be your trainer and he’ll be showing you the ropes before you go in to any serious matches. You start off learning about Rest Holds, which helps to balance the pace of the match and to wear down your opponents, it also stops the game from being a full-on brawler so you need to think about your attacks more cerebrally. This mini-game is about grappling and works on the premise of rock, paper, scissors, where the winner will drain their opponents stamina whilst slowly regenerating their own. Next up you will learn about the new Submissions mini game, where the attacker will have to overlap the defenders blue bar with their red bar in order to make them tap out – it’s harder than it sounds – and then reversals.
Playing matches will earn you points which you are able to spend on anything from abilities and skills to gaining the support of a manager who can aid by cheering you on or distracting the referee to help you win matches. Matches are ranked on a five-star basis where variety, memorable moments and skills involved relay to a higher score, using the same move repeatedly will lose you points so finding a way to keep the show entertaining for the audience is key while still laying the smack-down on your opponent. After a match you will notice that other Superstar’s characteristics will change and they will either like or dislike you allowing for rivalries or potential tag team partners in the future. When another Superstar’s bar fills all the way up with red they will form a rivalry with you and potentially interfere in some of your matches and try to cost you victories, meanwhile having someone’s bar filled up in blue means a partnership can be formed and they can come to your aid, and visa versa when they are in trouble, or if you just feel like running in to their match and double teaming someone then that works too. You can now interfere with a rivals match with the ‘Run In’ feature, this lets you plan your attack quite specifically with different timings such as the entrance, beginning or end of a match as well as locations such as the stage, ramp, ring, etc.
Backstage interviews are also available in My Career which will give you the chance to respond to multiple choice questions, with each different answer given shaping the way your character is portrayed. Your answer will have an impact on whether you will be seen as a face or a heel and whether a rivalry or alliance will be created. It’s possible to get inducted to the WWE Hall of Fame in this mode by completing long-term career goals such as holding any title for one whole year, being a ten time title holder, or completing some of the easier sub-goal achievements.
There are so many unlockables to get in this game, 270 to be exact. They are broken down into 40 Superstars, 28 different arenas, seven Championship belts, 45 different ring attires and 150 extra bits from move-sets to showcases. There are so many options to create things, you can create your own arena, events, belts, characters, shows, experiences, the possibilities are bountiful. If you’re one of those people who prefers everything to be unlocked from the get go you can grab the Accelerator off the store for cheap, it’s also part of the Season Pass.
A nice addition is the commentary trio, adding JBL brings another dimension to the show with solid commentary skills. The roster for WWE2K16 is truly impressive, featuring over 120 Superstars and Divas not including the WWE era costumes. NXT has a small segment on the game which is sure to expand with future DLC, arenas, belts and great entrances are all represented by the few that are in 2K16. Community downloads are available for characters that are missing in action from throughout the WWE universe, whilst these aren’t official character releases they are definitely welcome. There are also some fantastic community creations to be found, with 100 save slots you are never short on space for character, although there is a daily download limit of 20. I found some real gems online, one of the greatest of all time the late Eddie Guerrero, Rey Mysterio, Taz, Kurt Angle and more, so many great memories.
With the WWE Showcase mode you follow the wrestling career of Stone Cold Steve Austin. From his debut in 1989 you follow in his footsteps and quickly become the anger fuelled rattlesnake we know today as he becomes one of the most recognised names in WWE history. This mode pits you with challenges and QTEs to complete within your matches, these include causing damage to your opponent in certain places in and around the ring. Well-made film grain filtered cut scenes will paint you a picture of what happened while being commentated by good old Jim Ross and Jerry ‘King’ Lawler. Additionally, before and after the matches you will see actual footage to show off Stone Cold Steve Austin’s life and what was happening at that very moment.
As always WWE games have a diverse soundtrack, this time only featuring 12 songs but when you can add any Superstars music to the list that bumps it up considerably. 2K16 runs and plays well, the animations are a lot smoother and cleaner than anything I’ve ever seen in a WWE game previously, especially during the entrance sequences and the replays, the character models also seem to have had an overhaul from last year.
WWE 2K16 is the best wrestling game to hit the market for a long while. Turning into a simulation has shaken things up a bit and breathed new life into the genre, the slower pace and balances force you to think about your attacks and defences more rather than an all-out five minute brawl. My Career and WWE Showcase both offer an insane amount of unlockables, characters, community supported downloads, story and experiences that you can relive again and again.
Thanks to 2K Sports for supplying TiX with a download code
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