WWE 2K16 is worse than last year’s game, an utter disappointment. Here’s why...
When I reviewed WWE 2K15 last year, I did so on the Xbox 360 console, forgiving the game for a lot of its graphical shortcomings. This year’s different, though. It’s a new game, which I reviewed on the PS4 and sadly, I have little to nothing good to say about WWE 2K16. It’s like one of my friends said, it seems WWE games just never seem to work. Considering the last few games, I can see where he’s coming from. WWE 2K16 takes a game that was already wailing under its shortcomings and makes it worse, actually much worse. I’ll start with the 2K Showcase mode.
Last year’s 2K Showcase mode focused on rivalries, while this year it’s about Stone Cold Steve Austin’s career. What this means though is that you have only one thing to do in the showcase mode, while everything else will be a DLC. As it was last year, it’s meant for the fans. The Texas Rattlesnake’s career is one of the more iconic careers in the history of pro-wrestling and for fans like me, it makes for a few hours of memorable moments, cutscenes, all of which I enjoyed playing, despite the issues with graphics and sub-par gameplay.
Onto what I didn’t like then, and there’s a lot that’s not to like. With last year’s WWE 2K15 I had two problems – the sudden difficulty spikes and too many reversals. Neither has changed. In fact, the developers have added a finite number of reversals per game. It’s easy to discern what Yuke’s trying to do here – allow lesser reversals throughout the game. In WWE 2K15, your moves would be reversed too often, irrespective of whether you were playing against the AI or a human player. In WWE 2K16 though, this new system doesn’t work. For example, when you’re playing a Royal Rumble or the Handicap match between Shane Mcmahon, Vince Mcmahon and StoneCold in the 2K Showcase mode, you’re often out of reversals while two or more characters pile up on you. It can be really frustrating, especially when the difficulty spikes suddenly.
When I was playing the game, all Shane Mcmahon would do was punch, while I was tending to Vince and the lack of finishers would give the two an opening to hit me. The time taken for reversals to recharge is often all that is need for you to lose the match. Another problem with the reversals, which was present in the earlier version also, was that the time given to counter moves was too small. That persists in WWE 2K16. While you have ample time to counter some moves, in many, blink and you miss it. It adds some realism to the game, but combined with the finite reversals, it’s not a good addition. Also, your player will often not hit when you expect them to. For example, when the opponent is lying near the ropes, ground based grapple moves often refuse to work and your character just remains standing.
The Career mode in the game reminds me of Smackdown 2, that game I used to love, except that what was acceptable then isn’t so now. While starting off as a rookie can be fun, with well known WWE wrestler Albert (also known as Prince Albert, A-Train and Lord Tensai) training you. You’ll realise that there are a set of fixed questions that are being asked of you during interviews that decide your career path. This is similar to what happened in Smackdown 2, a long long time ago. It’s the equivalent of button mashing in the story mode if there ever was one. There are also changes in how submissions moves are deal with and I’ve not yet figured out a concrete way to ensure that I can get out of submissions every time. It seems really arbitrary.
|Developer: Yuke’s, Visual Concepts
Publishers: Take-Two Interactive
Genre: Sports, Wrestling, Fighting
Platform: PS (3/4), Xbox (360/One)
Last but not the least, the graphics are disappointing for a game being played on the PS4. Arenas look empty, but that’s something that may have been done intentionally. The arenas in this game seem designed after old school WWE and while more attention has been paid to clothes fans wear, the arenas are more like the old school, empty-ish and without impact. The same can be said about the entrances. The biggest disappointment though is something that has again been prevalent in WWE games, the characters themselves. Undertakers eyes are so big that they look like they’ll fall out of their sockets at any time, while Bret Hart Hit Man seems to be a wax figure walking to the ring. Kane’s entrance seems more like gas being blow out instead of fire and Vince Mcmahon’s angry walk to the ring is more like an extremely funny dance. Some characters, like Wade Barret, do look good, but only some.
The most surprising element of this game though is how disconnected the commentary is. While hearing Jim Ross’ voice during commentary is something any pro-wrestling fan will appreciate, multiple times during the 2K Showcase mode, I heard JR and King talking about Austin’s moves when he was actually being beaten up. It’s understandable when something like that happens in the Exhibition mode, since the matches can’t be pre-scripted there, but not in the Showcase mode with its fixed story line.
To buy or not to buy
Austin 3:16 says you’d be better off not buying this game. I said this last year and I’ll say it again, WWE 2K14 is still a much better buy than either this or its predecessor, simply because of the 30 years of Wrestlemania mode. WWE 2K16 has many more characters that 2K15, but that’s about all it has going for it. The 2K Showcase mode is enjoyable simply because nothing else really is. The game is in a lot of ways reminiscent of the current state of WWE. It depends on the fact that you can play with old legends, the same way WWE often has appearances from the greats to keep fans happy.
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