I am not sports en­ter­tained by WWE 2K17.

PC GAMER (UK) - - Review - By Phil Sav­age

WWE 2K17 of­fers a com­pe­tent com­bat sys­tem. You ini­ti­ate strikes and grap­ples through but­ton com­bos, and watch the an­i­ma­tions play out. The strat­egy of each match re­volves around re­ver­sals, mim­ick­ing the back-and-forth of pro­fes­sional wrestling. The slow pace is an ac­quired taste, and feels more suited to lum­ber­ing heavy­weights than the smaller, quicker end of WWE’s ros­ter. But it mostly works. I also quite like the new ri­val sys­tem, which can ex­tend over mul­ti­ple pay-per-views. My cus­tom Su­per­star got caught in a heated ri­valry with Bul­gar­ian beef­cake Ru­sev that nicely es­ca­lated in in­ten­sity over a cou­ple of months of the game’s cal­en­dar. Also, there’s a good char­ac­ter creator, al­ways wel­come.

That’s about the ex­tent of pos­i­tive things I have to say.

WWE 2K17 would be de­cent if all its core sys­tems worked as they should. But they don’t, and it isn’t.

It doesn’t look very good, thanks both to the out­dated, flat graph­ics, and the pal­lid, sickly in­ter­pre­ta­tions of the ros­ter. The con­trols and an­i­ma­tions feel sloppy. Con­text sen­si­tive ac­tions are mis­in­ter­preted. And if, dur­ing a su­plex or slam, your op­po­nent hits the ropes, both of you will be awk­wardly repo­si­tioned.

Other prob­lems in­clude the way in­ter­views and in-ring pro­mos are de­liv­ered silently, your char­ac­ter just word­lessly mouthing sub­ti­tles. Those pro­mos aren’t well writ­ten, ei­ther – more Ti­tus O’Neil than The Miz. There are bugs, too. I’ve ex­pe­ri­enced a few crashes to desk­top, and, in one in­stance, Neville’s en­trance mu­sic glitched out and wouldn’t stop play­ing, even when I quit to the main menu.

It also feels out of date. WWE’s past year has been dom­i­nated by the ‘brand split’ – the divi­sion of Raw and Smack­down into sep­a­rate ros­ters, each with their own cham­pi­onships. None of this is re­flected in WWE 2K17. The ros­ter is miss­ing some big names, too. You can only play as Raw’s cur­rent Tag Team Cham­pi­ons, for in­stance, by buy­ing the Fu­ture Stars DLC.

De­spite all of this, it’s tempt­ing to for­give WWE 2K17. It is, af­ter all, the only ma­jor wrestling game around. There are no other op­tions, and go­ing up against the big­gest stars in WWE is a com­pelling fan­tasy.

The prob­lem is that, even try­ing to meet it half­way, WWE 2K17 un­der­mines the fan­tasy. In one in­stance, I’m fight­ing an op­po­nent when a long-term ri­val in­vades the arena. They at­tack me di­rectly in sight of a ref­eree, which should mean a dis­qual­i­fi­ca­tion. It doesn’t, and I’m sud­denly in an awk­ward hand­i­cap match, where my op­po­nent and ri­val seem un­aware of each other – get­ting in each other’s way in their at­tempt to reach me. It might not sound like a big deal, but this is a li­censed game that doesn’t ad­here to the rules of the prod­uct it’s recre­at­ing.

Be­ing the only wrestling game around doesn’t au­to­mat­i­cally make WWE 2K17 good. Given the nu­mer­ous flaws, it doesn’t even make it ac­cept­able.

Even try­ing to meet it half­way, WWE 2K17 un­der­mines the fan­tasy

My fan­tasy book­ing: Neville wins ev­ery­thing.

NXT is present, but the ros­ter is out­dated.

It’s a ti­tle match, so of course Reigns is there.

We’ve got all the moves. Throw. Lit­tle throw. Big throw.

Pro­fes­sional chi­ro­practy is a sur­pris­ingly pop­u­lar sport.

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