WWE 2K17

Brock Les­nar? Crock Les­nar, more like

XBox: The Official Magazine - - START - Andi Hamilton

Wrestling games are weird. Out­side of the Japanese clas­sics, like Fire Pro and King Of Colos­seum, they never re­ally cap­ture the feel of the ‘Sports En­ter­tain­ment’ they’re try­ing to em­u­late. Sure, they cap­ture the look – and never has the se­ries aped the vis­ual style of WWE tele­vi­sion as ac­cu­rately as this – but the in-ring con­tent still falls short af­ter all these years.

This is 2K’s fifth bite at the WWE ap­ple, since it ac­quired the rights from THQ, and it def­i­nitely is bet­ter than last year’s re­lease. There’s no doubt about that. The vi­su­als are bet­ter, the menus are slicker and more user-friendly, the MyCa­reer and Uni­verse modes are im­proved and full of ex­tra con­tent, but the wrestling is still a bit of a mess.

It’s a prob­lem that has plagued games like this for years. Wrestling is ac­tu­ally more of a dance than a fight. Com­peti­tors work to­gether to put on a show that, at its best, takes you on a roller­coaster of emo­tions. But wrestling games are all about the com­pe­ti­tion. You’re try­ing to win, re­gard­less of your per­for­mance or how en­ter­tain­ing it is. In a real match, wrestlers al­ways go for pin­fall at­tempts be­cause they’re try­ing to build drama. In the WWE games, you’ll only go for one when you pretty much know you’re go­ing to win.

There are so many con­tex­tual mo­ments in the game that it’s a bit over­whelm­ing at first. In the ring. Out­side the ring. On the turn­buckle. Be­ing pinned. In a sub­mis­sion hold. Climb­ing a lad­der. The list is end­less. For the most part, the core con­trol sys­tem al­lows you to jump be­tween these dif­fer­ent as­pects of a match and still have an idea as to what you can do at any one time. How­ever, there are a few oc­ca­sions where you have to take part in a mini-game, and not one of them is sat­is­fy­ing. The sub­mis­sion one, es­pe­cially, as it is so easy to break out of, gen­uinely hin­ders wrestlers who have sub­mis­sion-hold fin­ish­ers.

Reck­less rum­ble

MyCa­reer mode is the high­light, where 2K pulls back the cur­tain and gives you the op­por­tu­nity to take a cus­tom wrestler from the train­ing room all the way to Wrestle­ma­nia. There’s more flex­i­bil­ity this year, al­low­ing you to con­trol what your wrestler says on the mic to shape their char­ac­ter.

Other modes im­press less than they should. The Uni­verse mode con­tin­ues to tease its true po­ten­tial but Vince McMa­hon mode, which should be bril­liant, is again rid­dled with some baf­fling over­sights. Sadly, it still re­quires you to ac­tu­ally play the matches to get the re­sult you need for your sto­ry­line, which is hugely time-con­sum­ing, or you have to rely on the CPU sim­u­lat­ing the match, with a ran­dom roll po­ten­tially scup­per­ing the big ti­tle win for a wrestler you’ve been build­ing up for ages.

Ul­ti­mately, we’re left won­der­ing what ex­actly 2K plans to do with this se­ries in the fu­ture. Since the stu­dio took it over, it has done lit­tle more than bolt on ex­tra bits and pieces to an in­creas­ingly mouldy core. Un­like FIFA, which has Pro Evo ev­ery year to keep it hon­est, these games are tread­ing wa­ter. WWE 2K’s great­est sim­i­lar­ity to the real-life prod­uct is that it con­tin­ues to be mas­sively pop­u­lar with no real com­pe­ti­tion. A re­work­ing might be costly, but this is a se­ries in dire need of one.

“It apes the vis­ual style of WWE but the wrestling it­self is a bit of a mess”

right WWE 2K17 boasts a mas­sive ros­ter, and mas­sive mus­cles.

Bel ow WWE Diva Char­lotte Flair and the ‘Four Horse­women’ are avail­able for the first time.

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