So wrestling games, should be brilliant, but generally tend to let you down. It’s been a really long time since a WWE game has made me want to play it forever, we’re talking back in the Playstation 2 days of Smackdown and Smackdown 2. I stopped playing them for a long time, partly because I lost interest in the WWE but partly because the game just weren’t great.
WWE 2K16 was ok, I enjoyed playing through the Stone Cold Steve Austin memories but the controls were just too fiddly and it was too easy to lose despite being well on top of most matches. I wanted WWE 2K17 to be good,it’s slightly better, but not by much.
One of our big frustrations from last year was the control scheme, the B button was used for too many options and cause no end of problems when playing in matches with more than two people, but thankfully this year things have been moved around and things feel much more intuitive. Apart from the subtle improvements nothing much has changed with the way the wrestlers fight each other, the Right Trigger is the button you’ll be using most as you constantly try to reverse your opponents moves, while combinations of the A button with the right stick dicates your attacks.
Matches are still frustrating unfortunately, despite me laying the smackdown with two Rock Bottom’s and Stunners, my opponent somehow raises their shoulder just before the three count, when all of a sudden I find myself laid out falling to a three count thanks to once finisher. It doesn’t happen every time but when it does it makes you want to dismantle your controller and never play again. Thankfully going into the options and adjusting the AI’s sliders to make things more fair is a good way to go.
WWE 2K17 seems to want to please wrestling fans by bringing you as much authentic wrestling action to your home as possible and despite boasting a huge range of superstars to play with still lets us down. Yes, you have all the pyrotechnics, entrance moves and musi and great looking stages, but then the commentators come in with the limited script which feels so robotic.
This year, WWE 2K17 features a new MyCareer mode, replacing the showcase mode from previous titles. Your new star begins life as an NXT trainee with the dream of becoming the next big superstar in the WWE. Once you have worked your way around the Creation Centre, customising all manner of things to create a fictional character your journey can begin. You’ll learn some of the basic in terms of fighting before learning about the other side of the WWE, the promos.
During certain shows you’ll get the opportunity to address your fans, or your haters, by choosing one of four options you’ll move between between the heel and the face, it’s completely up to you which way you decide to go. Not only that, but you will alter your relationship with other WWE superstars, eventually giving you the chance to form tag teams or even become part of a stable. It’s a great system but again let down by some very odd choices. My biggest issue is the lack of vocals, not only for your superstar, but for all superstars. Considering how much effort 2K have put into to the NBA series you think the same values would translate across their whole sports series, but it isn’t the case.
I really enjoyed playing though the WWE Universe mode, where essentially you take complete control of the WWE and run it just how you like, it’s fantastic. You can customise pretty much everything about the WWE from TV Schedules to what matches take place and where you can even produce your own show intros. Eagle eyed WWE fans will quickly notice that the recent changes to split in brand haven’t been incorporated which let’s things down slightly. As well all of that you can play through every match type available, share your creations around the world through the Community section and also play against your pals online which always runs really well.
I had fun with WWE 2K17, it’s got lots of room for improvement, thankfully since release there are a lot less random glitches, it’s just a shame that it doesn’t feel like the game has moved on that much. Is it time for a new developer to take on the reigns? Possibly, what I am certain of is that we’re still crying out for the best wrestling game around.
and that’s the bottom line! (sorry)