We recently had the opportunity to try out WWE 2K19 and honestly we weren’t expecting much. Like with most titles in the series, we expected a game almost identical to the previous one in the series with maybe slightly improved graphics and a new game mode maybe. WWE 2K19 left us pleasantly surprised. While there are still factors that could use some polishing, ultimately, what we can say is that 2K19 is definitely taking steps in the right direction. Here are our first impressions, for WWE 2K19.
Starting things off
Right off the bat, we noticed that the game’s UI has been changed. It’s very minimalistic now and looks clean. Some might have preferred the older UI, but we personally thought this was not bad. The superstars featured in each the menus have a water-paint like aesthetic to them, crumbling away (think Thanos snapping his fingers) when you switch to another menu. It looked pretty rad. Do people still use rad? Whatever, it was rad.
There wasn’t any noticeably large improvement in the graphics department in WWE 2K19 over WWE 2K18. The water-paint like aesthetic we spoke about in the UI seemed to have been there in the actual game itself as well. So superstars appeared slightly blurred. Basically, it wasn’t crisp. However, while some characters didn’t look too accurate, or appeared blurry, others looked fairly accurate and sharp. It wasn’t consistent at all times. However, these may be further optimized by the time the game actually comes out.
While improvements in graphics are nice, what we truly wanted to see was an improvement in the gameplay. And it looks like we actually have that in WWE 2K19. 2K have said that they’ve made controls more responsive and the matches more fluid. And we actually felt it (of-sorts). The feeling of just missing a counter by a few seconds was still there, but it didn’t feel like the button just didn’t respond when you pressed it, it felt like you missed. Basically, you can’t blame the game now if you suck. Transitions are also smoother, wrestlers react better to and interact better with the environment. Ropes actually feel like they exist, even though they behave hilariously at times.
They’ve reworked the Steel Cage and Hell in a Cell matches to better represent what the actual matches are like, and they’ve also completely changed movesets when you’re outside the ring in one of these matches, to provide more options for players to react with their environment, i.e., the cage itself, the stairs etc. It might take some getting used to though.
The biggest gameplay change comes in the form of what is called the “Payback system”. The Payback system consists of a bunch of “powers” of sorts which you can activate or use during a match. There’s two categories, one which you can use frequently, and one that’s limited. These Payback abilities are capable of turning the match in your favor, making it somewhat easier for someone who’s behind to try and make a comeback. The various payback abilities are tailored to champions, based on how they actually wrestle, however, players are free to choose whichever ones they want at the start of the match. You chose your paybacks when you’re deciding on which WWE Superstar to play as. Certain paybacks allow you to shrug off attacks and instantly recover for a counter attack, others will speed you up to put in a flurry of strikes. There’s some interesting ones, like a poison punch? of sorts but they do add more variety to matches. There’s also paybacks like the low-blow, which you have to be careful when using, because if the ref sees you, you get DQed.
The big head mode, which was a hidden feature in 2K18, is now easily accessible in 2K19 and can be turned on in the match settings for “te luls”.
Game modes – What’s new and what’s improved
2K have said that they’ve addressed the issues the MyCareer mode had, which they introduced in 2K18. While the concept was nice, it suffered from poor writing and the lack of any voice-overs. So cutting promos was basically your character moving his or her mouth with no sounds coming out. Now, they’ve apparently got 26 Superstars who’ve lent their voice to the game and there are supposedly over 1000 voice over lines in the game. They’ve also apparently put more effort into the script itself with an improved storyline with plot twists and everything. We unfortunately did not have the time to take a look at the new MyCareer, but we definitely will for the review.
2K19 is introducing a new game mode called 2K Towers, in an effort to offer more content for those who aren’t interesting in online or multiplayer. There will be 20 towers when the game releases, with additional ones releasing over time. The towers follow a storyline arc of sorts from the TV series and will reward you for completing them. There are two types of towers, Gauntlet and Step. With Gauntlet requiring you to finish the entire tower in one sitting and Step allowing you to save your progress after a match and continuing where you left off later on.
The WWE 2K games have pretty massive rosters, and the size only keeps increasing. This time around there are over 200 playable superstars, including legends and different iterations of superstars. The pre-order bonus this time includes two bonus Superstars and not one, in “Rowdy” Ronda Rousey and Rey Mysterio. There’s also a “Wooo” edition, which is limited to 30,000 units worldwide and comes with a piece of Rick Flairs’ iconic coat. Or jacket. Or Robe?
The Showcase mode, which we had last in 2K16 is also making a comeback. This time it will feature Daniel Bryan, who is arguably one of the most popular wrestlers in the world right now. The Showcase features clips of the Bryan himself talking about his journey, his start, his retirement and his comeback and features key matches of his career. This was a good addition in our opinion and something fans wanted to see more of.
MyUniverse mode has also seen some improvements, the number of active belt slots has been increased from four to six.
On a final note, they’ve also improved the custom creation and added more customisation options than ever. Including some silly and gimmicky ones for the ones who want to fool around.
WWE 2K19 preview verdict
There were more changes than we expected in WWE 2K19, and we were pleasantly surprised. Most of the changes are welcome ones. We’ll let you know our thoughts in the review once the game is out officially. WWE 2K19 releases on October 5, 2018.
Manish "Trigger-Happy" Rajesh
If he's not gaming, he's... no wait he's always gaming.