wwe 2K19

Sum­mer­slam si­lence trig­gers Kane-sized ques­tions ahead of this year’s big show

XBox: The Official Magazine - - START - Ben Wil­son

Pub­lisheR Yuke’s / Vis­ual Con­cepts De­vel­oper 2K For­mat Xbox One ETA 9 Oc­to­ber

WrestleMa­nia in April is the most im­por­tant date on the cal­en­dar for ‘real’ WWE – but in videogame terms, it’s usu­ally Au­gust’s Sum­mer­slam event which gar­ners most in­ter­est. That’s be­cause it’s the week­end where jour­nal­ists first go hands-on with each year’s game, pub­lisher 2K re­veals which su­per­stars have made the ros­ter, and the com­mu­nity whips it­self into a frenzy over po­ten­tial im­prove­ments and down­grades. This Au­gust, how­ever: none of the above.

This deaf­en­ing si­lence just six weeks be­fore 2K19’ s street date is es­pe­cially cu­ri­ous be­cause de­tails re­leased un­til that point seemed – and re­main – en­cour­ag­ing. Pick of the bunch is the re­turn of show­case mode. A se­ries favourite upon its in­tro­duc­tion in 2K15 but later re­tired, it sees you mim­ick­ing great WWE mo­ments of the past via a mix of archive-footage videos, in­ter­ac­tive cut-scenes and ac­tual matches. Per­form spe­cific tasks en route and you un­lock new wrestlers or gear. Sim­ple, retro, ef­fec­tive.

Show­case re­turns here to com­mem­o­rate a sim­i­larly longde­sired come­back: that of Daniel Bryan, who re­tired through in­jury in 2016 but was sur­pris­ingly cleared for in-ring ac­tion last March. The mode re­vis­its his tag-team with Kane and mem­o­rable clashes against Triple H, Batista and Randy Or­ton, with an as­ton­ish­ing 11 at­tires for Bryan to un­lock. It’s an em­phatic re­sponse to com­plaints about his char­ac­ter model not be­ing up­dated post-re­tire­ment, and if there’s a place for his in­fa­mous 18-sec­ond loss to Shea­mus at WrestleMa­nia 28 – fan back­lash to which set him on the road to su­per star­dom – we’ll be very happy in­deed.

The in­clu­sion of that par­tic­u­lar match is ques­tion­able as it in­volved AJ Lee. She’s re­port­edly been on dif­fi­cult terms with WWE since leav­ing in 2015, not least be­cause of her mar­riage to CM Punk – who suc­cess­fully sued com­pany doc­tor Chris Amann fol­low­ing his WWE exit. She’s un­likely to make the ros­ter, then, but one old-school star who does is Rey Mys­te­rio, al­beit as a pre-or­der char­ac­ter. Ronda show­room 2K is bank­ing on get­ting your money be­fore re­lease to play as the big­gest new name of all: Ronda Rousey. The former UFC champ and ‘bad­dest woman on the planet’ made her WWE de­but at WrestleMa­nia, and took less than five months to be crowned Raw Women’s Cham­pion. Her like­ness is spot-on, but fear not if you don’t wish to pre-or­der; both Rousey and Mys­te­rio are sure to be re­leased as stand­alone DLC be­fore the year is out.

As re­gards the on-disc ros­ter, while Sum­mer­slam was quiet, cer­tain names have been con­firmed via the Daniel Bryan show­case and new ‘Tower’ mode. (In which you must over­come a suc­ces­sion of op­po­nents in a row). Long­stand­ing main even­ters like Brock Les­nar and Randy Or­ton hardly need men­tion­ing; more ex­cit­ing is Smack­down lady Lana be­ing playable for the first time, and wrestlers who were DLC in 2K18 get­ting in­stalled to the game proper: Jeff Hardy, Matt Hardy, Elias.

All of which sounds promis­ing, though again with a touch of re­straint given that Sum­mer­slam si­lence. Just what has 2K been hid­ing? If it’s the shock in­clu­sion of AJ Lee or other sur­prise le­gends, great. If it’s a fail­ure to re­move glitches from last year, like the in­abil­ity to delete AI-set pro­mos in Uni­verse mode, not good at all. We’ll know very very soon, by way of OXM’s up­com­ing re­view.

“Per­form spe­cific tasks en route and you un­lock new wrestlers or gear”

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