Monday, 23 October 2017 09:51

REVIEW: WWE 2K18 (Xbox One)

Written by Steve Wells
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Developed by the team at Yuk’s Visual Concepts, WWE 2K18 is the latest wrestling title to release on the Xbox One, PC, PS4 and Nintendo Switch.

One of 2K18’s drawcards this year is the option to take your own created superstar (or one of the nearly 200 licenced pro wrestlers) down the road of WWE Superstardom. You are given the opportunity to either perform the role of a company man or a fan favourite. If you choose the company man path you’ll be required to help out the GM’s get what they want out of the roster. This includes ambushing WWE Superstars backstage in the locker room or during interviews. You basically become the GM’s lapdog doing whatever it takes to help them maintain their power.

My choice was to become a fan favourite. If you don’t play the company game, this choice may be for you. You’ll have a locker room full of superstars and legends to fight in different match types night in/night out who will test your skills both inside the ring and in the locker room. 
There is a free roaming backstage area where you can take part in side quests given to you by superstars, and once you earn their respect, they may even accompany you to the ring for your matches. Even with these options, the career mode does become pretty repetitive and dull after a while not to mention that if you’d like to create a female superstar, there is no option to do so.

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I haven’t played a WWE 2K title in a few years, but even then, there wasn’t really much new added to the gameplay of this title. You will spend most of your time talking to other Superstars in cut scenes, delivering cheesy dialogue (via text) and less time in the ring than I was expecting. The in-game engine 2K uses for this title hasn’t really changed much in the last 15 years. There are obvious game glitches and some fans will recognise animations from the early smack down titles used so long ago.

One up side to this years release is the Creation Suite. It is as good as you can get and this is where 2K have obviously spent most of their time. You can create your own arena using the in game video editing tools and entrance suites and the customisation possibilities appear endless. 
Combine this with your created superstar and put him up against your favourite wrestler in Exhibition match to really get the most out of the experience.

If you've never played a WWE 2K title before, prepare for a steep learning curve. The controls are fairly technical to get used to and reversals requiring pinpoint accuracy to pull off. It was a nice option to be able to turn off some of the reversals in 2K17. For me they always seem to interrupt the flow match and you almost felt like the game you are playing was following some script. In 2K18, the reversals are a lot harder to pull off, just like they would be if your opponent had been bashing your skull in for the past few minutes.

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There is a new grappling and submission system and a new carrying system has been implemented this year. You are able to carry your opponent in 1 of 4 new positions after clinching with them using the new expanded dragging mechanics. This adds a much more authentic feel to the game. The controls get easier over time, but prepare to put some work in if this is your first rodeo.

As you would expect with any 2K title, the game looks fantastic in every area of the game, from the wrestlers appearance (skin tone and tattoos etc), to their entrance sequences. It’s the best looking pro wrestling game to date and they have come a long in leaps and bounds since the last WWE title I played. The new graphics engine has greatly improved the game and the superstars, arenas and lighting look better than ever. There is a greater variety of people in the crowd, they are wearing different clothing and don’t all move at the same time making it fell a little more authentic. 2K always have a great soundtrack to the games and this title is no exception. The game looks and sounds like you’re watching your television. The games give you the same experience as watching Raw or Smackdown every week.

One thing to note is that the commentary team seem to repeat the same stuff over and over and I found myself switching them off after a few matches. None of the superstars are voiced like they are other 2K titles (eg: NBA2K18) and their words only appearing in text. Until 2K spend some time with the Superstars and the commentary team doing voice work, this is likely to continue in future titles.

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The Road to Glory mode allows you to take your created superstar online to battle the creations of other users. The game structure is built around the real life WWE calendar with your superstar required to ear stars to works to earn stars to secure a spot on the next WWE Pay-per-view. These can be purchased using real currency however the required amount of stars you need to earn is not ridiculous so you can just do this in game without laying out extra cash. Your superstar may get the opportunity to compete for a special prize in a showcase match against a main event star. Load times might be an issue for some with one search for an opponent taking almost five minutes. This will hopefully improve now that the game is out and more players start to play online.

WWE 2K18 is a vast improvement over the last title that I played, however parts of the game were largely disappointing. 8 person matches were certainly welcome but there has not been as much improvement over its predecessors gameplay as there could have been. If you are a new WWE fan, this title is a must get as it is certainly better than its predecessor, but if you are looking for some nostalgia to relive the good old glory days like me, this one might not be for you.

Additional Info

  • Review Score: 3.0 / 5.0
  • Release Date: Out Now
  • Platform: PC, PS4, XBOX ONE, Nintendo Switch
  • Publisher: 2K Sports
  • Genre: Sports