WWE 2K15 is an interesting game. It is by far the prettiest WWE game we have ever seen and has a nice idea with the 2K Showcase but then there are also some decisions which leave you scratching your head. In some ways this game feels a bit more hollow than previous iterations almost as if 2K is going to use this game as the foundation and then add in more content over the course of this generation. That is all well and good as long as you don’t charge the full $60 for the game. There are missing match types, creation modes and more. The content that is in the game though seems to play pretty well with a few quirks.
As I stated up above, WWE 2K15 is a very pretty game. It is the most lifelike simulation we have to date of the real life WWE experience. Most of the characters are done really well and look just like their real world counterpart. Those character models that don’t look like their counterpart is a bit disturbing though. Summer Rae, for example, is an example of a poorly done character in the game. It is mainly her face that they screwed up somehow. It just doesn’t look very much like her, in my opinion. The crowd is lifelike and actually look like people and they’ll respond accordingly by booing a heel or cheering for a babyface. In certain instances you can really see how well done it is, such as when Daniel Bryan makes his entrance. The whole crowd participates in the “Yes!” chant over and over as Daniel extends his arms into the air and it looks really great.
The control system for WWE 2K15 works pretty well too. Grappling with your opponent can be a bit like paper, rock, scissors where if you “win” you will gain the advantage in the grapple and if you lose then you need to fight your way out. In this position you can either hit your opponent or continue to apply leverage against them as they try to escape. You can do this by rotating the right analog stick until you find the “sweet spot” and then holding it there until the circle fills up with red. If your opponent does that before you though then they are going to gain the advantage. It is an interesting idea that could work a bit better with some refinement but overall I didn’t have a problem with it. Much like in previous WWE titles, you have to work your way to your signature and finish moves. Stamina also plays a big part in the game which is both good and bad. It is good from the standpoint of being realistic but got kind of annoying from a gameplay perspective when I would hit a really amazing move on my opponent but my wrestler was to tired to crawl over in time to properly cover him for the three count. One thing I definitely do not like about the controls is the reversal system. It isn’t broken but it needs a lot of work. The way reversals work in this game is you’ll briefly see “RT” flash on the screen and in the moment you have to quickly hit that button to reverse a move. The problem is though that the timing is all off. There were times when it said I hit the button to early even though I didn’t hit “RT” until it flash on the screen while other times I hit it too late. It seems like you have half of a millisecond to hit it perfectly and even then it didn’t always register properly. I haven’t liked this system since they first implemented it and it just needs to go away. Find some other way for it to work because this isn’t it. As hard as it is for the user to reverse a move, the AI has no problem doing it. There were many times where it didn’t seem like it mattered what I would do because it would get reversed. I don’t mind the AI getting one over on me but to have it happen on a good portion of my attempts takes all of the fun out of the game.
WWE 2K15 is the first WWE game on the PS4 and it shows. It is strange how much content they have taken out. For starters there is a whole bunch of match types that are no longer here. Popular match types such as I Quit, 2 out of 3 Falls, Inferno match and much more are nowhere to be found. You can also no longer create a diva, a championship title, a finishing move or an arena. One of the popular features of previous versions was also the ability to use custom soundtracks but that too has been left out. The “next gen” version on PS4 and Xbox One also only supports 25 Create-a-wrestler slots as opposed to the 100 slots it normally had plus the game can only seem to handle six wrestlers in the ring at once…something that should definitely be higher with the powerful new hardware. You can still create your own wrestler and upload it for the community to see but you don’t have as many options as you did before. I will say though that you can import faces and such from Photoshop to try and get your created wrestler looking as realistic as possible which is definitely a very cool feature.
As for what actually is in the game, it all works pretty well. I have really enjoyed going through the 2K Showcase mode and the two different stories they told there. There is the “Hustle, Loyalty, Disrespect” story that goes over the rivalry between CM Punk and John Cena from between 2011-2013 as well as the “Best Friends, Bitter Enemies” story that goes over the feud between the Heartbreak Kid Shawn Michaels and HHH after Shawn came back from years off the road due to a back injury. The video packages that have been created for this mode are stellar as they are every year and it was a fantastic trip down memory lane as I remembered all of the events that were shown off in the videos. As you go through the matches you will have a main objective to complete as well as secondary, optional objectives. As long as you complete the main objective you are good to go but completely those secondary objectives will unlock more items for you in the game whether it be alternate attire or something else. Once you have seen a cinematic in this mode you can go back and watch it at any time which I also really appreciated.
In addition to the 2K Showcase mode is the My Career mode. This is where you use a created wrestler and work your way up through the WWE to the ultimate goal of one day winning the WWE Championship and/or competing at WrestleMania. You start off at the very bottom, hoping to be signed to WWE by working out at their brand new Performance Center. Once you get past that you will get sent to NXT where it will be time to hone your craft in front of a live audience. You will have to win a variety of matches, get over with the crowd by developing a social media presence and more. If and when they feel you are ready you will then eventually be called up to the main roster so that you can appear on the main shows such as Raw and Smackdown and, hopefully, get on some pay per views as well. As you progress in the story you will earn story points which can be used to develop your character. These skill points can be used to increase your grapple speed, the durability of your body, your agility and much more. You will also earn a form of virtual currency (appropriately titled VC) where you can buy different abilities and skills, such as the ability to do a double finisher (such as Big Show chokeslamming two people at once) or being the King of Swing like Cesaro and swinging your opponent around until they are too dizzy to do anything. You can also use these VC credits to purchase training sessions with WWE Superstars such as Brock Lesnar, Bray Wyatt, CM Punk, Randy Orton or Stone Cold Steve Austin. Interestingly enough you can’t seem to purchase a training session from John Cena though. You can also hire a manager such as Brie Bella, Naomi, Ricardo Rodriguez and Zeb Colter just to name a few. The My Career mode works really well and does a pretty good job and while I’m not a WWE Superstar I think it does a pretty good job of showing you some of what they actually have to go through to make it to the WWE in real life.
The WWE Universe mode is back as well and this is pretty much the sandbox portion of the game. In the Universe mode you can act like a GM and book several matches per show as well as develop rivalries and even schedule title defenses. If you are someone who thinks they can do better than the current WWE product then this is your chance to prove it, sort of. There can be automatic booking as well and it can be downright lousy at times with the same wrestler being booked on multiple occasions. The interface really isn’t all it is cracked up to me and should be simplified a bit. I also didn’t see the option to add or reduce matches in a show as well as not being able to add any in between segments or anything. It is still a really fun mode but is hampered by many of the things that have been left out of this year’s version as I mentioned up above.
The online for WWE 2K15 seems to work fairly well during my time with it. I didn’t notice any major lag and the controls seemed to be responsive. As soon as you select this mode you are given your info which tells you what rank you are, your win ratio, how many times you have been disqualified and things like that. You can set up your background matchmaking preferences as well as look at leaderboards and set up matches.
It should go without saying that wrestling fans are going to probably buy this game and as such it needs to be as authentic as possible. For the most part, WWE 2K15 really nails it. There are some head scratching moments though where I was left feeling a bit annoyed. The Usos tag team entrance, for example, looks amazing visually but the announcing is done wrong. Instead of being announced like they are on television as the Usos the announcer doesn’t even really acknowledge they are a team. They are simply announced as “Jimmy Uso…………..and Jey Uso.” I went into the options to see if I could change that but the Usos weren’t even listed on the list of tag teams that could be announced! This is inexcusable considering the Usos were the WWE Tag Team Champions for a good portion of 2014. It isn’t like they are a new team that just made it on to the main roster. The entrance with the Wyatt family also looks a bit weird. When the camera is focused on the three members of the Wyatt family walking to the ring it almost looks like they are just walking alone in a dark room, it is very strange. When the camera pulls out though and you see all of the cell phones lit up in the audience and you can see everything as a whole, then it looks pretty amazing. There are other instances as well but I’m aware the majority of people probably won’t notice. Most of the people that play this game probably won’t notice anything is amiss here, however, when you have big wrestling fans playing these games they will notice little screw ups like that. The commentary in the game isn’t done all that well either. It tends to be generic and if you don’t have a relatively quick match against your opponent you will hear lines repeated over and over again. There were even times where the commentary was representative of the action that was going on in the ring which just left me shaking my head.
WWE 2K15 looks like it is a solid foundation for 2K Sports, Visual Concepts and Yukes to build off of but the problem is that they are asking people to pay full price for this year’s version. With the amount of missing content in this game it should should have probably only been $40 or $50. That being said though the content that is in the game generally works really well. I really enjoyed the 2K Showcase mode and WWE Universe seems to work pretty well despite not having a lot to work with due to the missing content. If you are a wrestling fan then I would definitely give this game a try. You might want to rent it first to see if you like what is on offer but it is definitely worth spending some time with. WWE 2K15 looks phenomenal and I am hopeful that future iterations of the game can return what is missing here. At that point perhaps the fans can begin chanting “Welcome back!” like they do whenever a wrestler appears after a long absence and being away for a while.
Originally posted on Gaming Target