The first instalment of wrestling gaming on next gen consoles has hit the shelves in Australia, but did it lay the smackdown?
When video game publishing company THQ went bankrupt in late 2012, WWE gaming needed to find a new home to continue their video game series quick smart. Thankfully for wrestling fans all over the globe, Take-Two Interactive picked up the series soon after and got to work straight away on the WWE 2K14, which was the first title in the WWE 2K series. However, this game was created in the middle of the takeover, so many consider WWE 2K15 to be the first title to be solely under Take-Two’s supervision.
WWE 2K15 was released on previous generation consoles Xbox 360 and PS3 in late October while the next gen versions came several weeks later.
For the purpose of this article, I played WWE 2k15 on Sony Playstation 4.
One of the big talking points leading up to this game were the updated graphics, which were to be expected given the amount of smart technology in the new consoles. To an extent, the graphics lived up to its expectations, but it was really a hit or miss. The realism of the appearances of some of the superstars in the game was very lifelike and made you feel as if you were watching real programming as you played the game; the way the characters moved gave off a flowing, natural feel that added to the realism of the game.
However, not all of the character models in the game weren’t as convincing and made the graphics seem cheap. Some of the models had unrealistic facial features which in turn made them look quite scary – Brie Bella’s smile looked like it had been spread out and made her character model look like a female version of The Joker.
The gameplay was changed to make it more dynamic and realistic, and this too I found to be a hit or miss. On one hand, the change in gameplay did make it look like real wrestling, in particular the chain wrestling mini-game which makes the player really get into the game rather than sit back and go through the routine of winning a match. The physics of the game are also ten times better, as every strike and every grapple really connects with the opposing wrestler you are playing against.
On the other hand, however, the improvement in gameplay meant a vast slow down in the pace of game which kind of irritated me as a player. Executing a simple dropkick in the game – which would’ve taken about two seconds in previous games – now takes more than double the time. It kind of makes the game feel dragged out, and not in a pleasant way either.
There is also good and bad regarding the game modes featured in WWE 2K15. While I admire the idea behind the 2k Showcase mode, which lets the player re-live old historic rivalries such as CM Punk v John Cena, it felt like a recycled form of The 30 Years of Wrestlemania from WWE2K14 and Attitude Era mode in WWE 13, which made it instantly less appealing than I expected. MyCareer mode in WWE 2K15 is also a great idea in hindsight that wasn’t executed to its best. For most of the game, you spend your time playing pointless matches and building up your character until you are thrust in a storyline that lasts for a hiccup.
The freedom for a player was also heavily reduced, with a smaller roster of playable wrestlers available and less choices in the Creation Suite. Players are forced to create male wrestlers (as female wrestlers aren’t available), and the options to design your wrestler are very limited.
I think Take-Two had the right idea to make this game completely outstanding, however they missed the ball and we as players are left with a game that is slightly-above-average at best.
Rating: A solid 6/10. – Noah La’ulu
Top photo from felipe bascunan’s Flickr photostream.