When it comes to the WWE gaming franchise, I am the fan. I’ve drilled every version of this game into the ground, with a tight knit group of super fan friends, and it’s fair to say there’s nothing I don’t know about these games.
Which makes it so, so heart breaking for me to have to tell you what a complete and utter failure this one is, on almost every level.
WWE 2k15 marks the series’ first outing on the next gen consoles, and (as they do every year) 2K promised that everything was going to be changed for the better, in new and exciting ways you’ve never seen before.
And while there certainly have been a fair amount of changes to a formula that the WWE games have been working off for at least 8 years now, almost none of them are for the better.
Let’s get one thing out of the way first – the game looks, for the most part, incredible.
Certain superstars look almost photo-realistic – Goldust and Daniel Bryan, for example, and for the most part the rest of the games graphics hold true at this level.
Every now and then there’s a let down mainly with superstars that weren’t available for scanning (looking at you, CM Punk). But asides from that, graphically, this game is great. Everything else is a different story.
The major changes are, obviously, to the gameplay – with the quick, fun and exciting matches of yesteryear replaced with a slow, sluggish and irritating attempt at being more realistic. Characters have a fatigue bar that controls how quickly they get to their feet, whether or not they’re able to perform moves and how quickly they can move around.
Sadly, this depletes at an incredible speed, making the characters you play as feel more like feeble old men than some of the most accomplished athletes on the planet.
When I first heard about this system, it sounded really excellent – different levels of fatigue change the way the game is played.
When you’re fresh, you lock up for some classic chain wrestling, alternating between various headlocks and holds, and vying for control. This is one of the few fun new additions, managed as a paper, scissors, rock game. However, almost as soon as this stage is over, your wrestler is exhausted, and you’re staggering around the ring struggling to do anything.
Sure, grabbing at the ring ropes to pull yourself up looks cool, but if I have to stand around doing nothing while my guy gets his energy back enough to hit a finisher, you’ve taken me out of the experience and, as I found was the case many times, cost me my opportunity to win the match.
In other areas, this game is similarly afflicted with a ‘one step forward, three steps back’ mentality – most notably the creation aspects of the game.
Create A Superstar is the most fleshed out it seems to have been in years, with some neat additions to clothing and design tricks, and the ability to very easily upload your own images for tattoos and tight designs etc through the 2K website.
But then, the flipside to that; no create a finisher and a severely limited create an entrance (with custom music and custom titantrons stripped away).
I was actually pretty pleased with the wrestler I’d created for myself, until, much to my annoyance but not my surprise, him and the other superstars my friends had made were all deleted, along with all my other data, at the hands of one of the many WWE 2K15 bugs that makes this game frustrating at the best of times.
Usually in a sports game, I wouldn’t bother even mentioning the soundtrack, as it’s usually just a collection of hits designed to have something on in the background while you choose a game type.
But with WWE 2K15, given how much press was given to John Cena choosing all the songs one by one, I want to make it perfectly clear this is the worst, most grating, sonically appalling collection of songs I’ve ever seen compiled in any one place.
Redneck country songs, bizarre rap and some songs that don’t have any reason to be attached to this project. This is the WWE. They have a collection of songs they’ve either paid for or recorded themselves for their wrestlers. Why they would put together the world’s most terrible mix tape is beyond me.
2K Showcase mode is this years attempt at a storyline mode, but really just feels like a stripped back version of last year.
Whereas last year saw you play through the best Wrestlemania matches ever, this one makes you play through two of the more famous recent feuds – CM Punk vs John Cena, and Triple H vs HBK.
These are fine, but overall, just feel limited. There’s another mode were you work your own wrestler up from NXT to the big shows, but after my data got deleted, I had no interest in playing this any further.
There’s some really good ideas buried in this beautiful disaster of a game, but they’re more than outweighed by the many, many issues it has.
Once again, I find myself wondering why WWE choose to go in this direction with their product, and hope that WWE 2K16 will be an improvement that will fix all these problems.
[jwplayer player=”1″ mediaid=”10705″]