It has been a big year for WWE with Sting making his début and the title run of Seth Rollins along with the rise of NXT. A lot of new superstars have begun to make appearances on the main show and this could even be the final year of the Undertaker. But will our WWE 2K16 Review reveal the end of our interest in this series or reignite our passion for WWE games?
WWE 2K16 is the annual game from the world of sports entertainment and a game series that is one of my guilty pleasures that I have been playing for over 15 years now and always ensuring I get the latest WWE game on release day.
The last few years of WWE games have not really met my expectations, last year’s outing was a big let-down but with this year’s instalment offering a wealth of new gameplay features, an impressive roster of well over 100 superstars & divas, with a improved career mode and with Showcase mode following the career of arguably the most entertaining superstar of all time, I am hoping for a lot this year.
Look & Feel
WWE games have not really changed in terms of their graphics and sounds for several years now, this time round is no different. Graphics are now looking outdated and old, with the PS4 version looking no better than a lot of games of the PS3. A lot of clipping problems with things such as hair and clothing sometimes going through characters and at times props such as belts not actually being held by superstars just kind of hovering there defying gravity.
Superstar and Diva models are a real mixed bag this year also. So much is recycled from last year’s game such as Paige, The Bella Twins, Jericho, Sting, Lex etc…. it really does look quite cheap with very few new models being used.
A lot of the superstars look really bad, particularly the legends who passed prior to the games release such as British Bulldog, Brian Pillman and Randy Savage while they can’t rely on facial scanning in these cases, they certainly should have made more effort to render them better without it.
While this is true of a number of the roster, certain stars do look great such as Randy Orton, Bret Hart and Stone Cold but the entire series does need a new makeover rather than just getting some of them right.
The soundtrack is excellent once again though, with voices being included in the game again and a lot of varied entrance themes available. Commentary can be bland and repetitive, a lot of bugs and glitches do effect this also with a lot of random comments being thrown in at times that are relevant to the superstars in the ring.
Atmosphere this year though has made a massive leap, with entrances being some of the best I have ever seen and load screens in-between entrances not cutting away to a generic match loading screen with it focusing on the superstar in the ring awaiting their opponent. It does really give that WWE experience and I was very impressed by this.
Game Modes & Gameplay
WWE 2k16 doesn’t really add any new gameplay modes this time round with it just telling the story of a different superstar this time round and enhancing some of the older modes.
Career mode is a lot better this time round and is less annoying, I am still not a fan of having to create a superstar to play this mode and would rather select someone from the 100+ roster but with the community creations available for download by the extremely creative and talented fan base of the series even those like myself who hate creating a superstar should be able to find someone to your taste.
So far I have seen a great Ronda Rousey from UFC, Harley Quinn from DC and Goldberg from WCW so the possibilities really are endless.
Universe mode is back with a tonne of new features, superstars and divas being able to appear on multiple shows this time rather than just being assigned to one. You can also set which superstars appear on minor shows so no more John Cena on Superstars, which enables you to play as more of the minor characters frequently.
Rivalries have improved with Superstars personalities being effected, for example if you set a rivalry between Rollins and Cena play as Rollins and win ever match, Cena’s personality will become aggressive and desperate trying to get a win so might end up with him cheating more to try and get more of a result.
This could lead to the AI controlled appointment walking out of the match if they don’t think they can win or even getting themselves DQ’d.
One complaint I have had over the years is lack of cut-scenes, this time round there are a few however one thing that still annoys me is the same cutscene being used at the same time over multiple active rivalries and I wish there was something in place to stop this happening.
Showcase is where this game does shine this year with it telling the story of the career of Stone Cold Steve Austin, telling the story of his career with WWE, parts from his time with ECW and part of the Hollywood Blondes with WCW. Some of the matches have been used before such as the Bret Hart match at Wrestlemania and the Shawn Michaels V Mike Tyson match a few years later which are frequently used in WWE games.
One nice thing is that it does focus on some on the smaller matches such as the NOD rivalry enabling you to unlock and play as such superstars such as Savio Vega, D’Lo Brown, Mikey Whipwreck who have not been in a WWE game for many years or ever. They also have a full move-set which is really cool as D’Lo does have a unique move-set had to be added exclusively for the character. It is a shame that Owen Hart is still not allowed to be in the game but they are using his image in archive footage so there is hope that sometime soon the legal issues will be over and fans will be allowed to play as one of the most underrated superstars of all time.
Showcase overall is one of the best in years and is a must for any WWE fan.
Some new gameplay features have been added this year including a new submission, pinfall and reversal system which does take time to get use to but works. The submission system is a bit random at first but there is a technique to it and is at times, easy to get a cheap win with.
My one major gripe this year is poor collision detection and the automatic targeting is awful. You will miss punches because your superstar will randomly be in the middle of a combo that will punch in the opposite direction its weird and really poor too see play out. Hopefully they can fix this with a patch but it is very annoying in places and breaks away from the Experience that this game tries to portray.
WWE 2k16 is a good addition to the series, the depth of the roster and improvements to gameplay are excellent. However this game is still plagued with bugs and common problems that did affect the overall quality of previous instalments. The servers are still extremely poor and you end up being kicked from online play more times than not and as previously mentioned the graphics have lived past their sell by date.
The WWE series does really require a new approach and could do with a completely new engine. I am hoping that next year will be a current gen exclusive so they can focus on improving the game more significantly and they could really do with a new creative and design time working on the series.
WWE 2K16 Review Format: PS4