WWE 2K Review
Written By Justin D Williams
Coming off the heels of WWE 2K16, which earned critical press and fan acclaim - including an 8.8 out of 10 from IGN.com - WWE 2K17 arrives as the reigning and defending flagship WWE video game franchise champion! Get ready to be taken to Suplex City courtesy of cover Superstar Brock Lesnar! WWE 2K17 features stunning graphics, ultra-authentic gameplay and a massive roster of WWE and NXT's popular Superstars and Legends.
WWE 2K17 is a step in the right direction of giving us the wrestling game we deserve. However the franchise is not quite there yet. This year we see the return of fan favorite features such as the return of backstage areas, fighting in the crowd and a more deeper customization of characters. However WWE 2K17 is still plagued with presentation issues, gameplay glitches and missing a stellar showcase mode. Is this year entry worth a trip into Suplex City?
The first thing you will notice about WWE 2K17 is the attempt to make you feel you're actually watching the show. The game opens with the standard then, now and forever opening which gives you a feel of the WWE product. From there we are treated to a much improve, cleaner main menu where you have your three modes. The modes this year are Exhibition, MyCareer and Universe Mode also you have the options to download custom characters, logos etc in community and create your character. However what you will notice missing is the splendid Showcase Mode. Instead of Showcase Mode 2K made improvements sort of to MyCareer and Universe Mode.
MyCareer: MyCareer last year had everyone regardless of rank start off in NXT. This year depending on how you perform during the tryouts you can skip NXT all together and go straight to the main roster. The problem with MyCareer is it doesn't really capture the storytelling aspect of WWE. For a mode that is suppose to be dedicated to the journey of your wrestler it doesn't do a good job. Here is a quick breakdown of my guy Mr. Marvelous experience in the WWE. I did good in the tryouts so they put me on the main roster as a singles competitor. Storyline nothing happen for a month. Until I was randomly attack uncharacteristically by John Cena backstage. My guy is a babyface so why isn't a heel attacking me? Also Cena didn't turn heel either. Fast forward I'm now in a feud with Cena for 3 months. Not only am I not moving up the rankings for the title but the story being told was horrible. WWE 2K17 introduces a new feature in both modes where you have to cut promos. The problem with the promo system is that most of the time the promo has no relevance to the story. The promos cut are usually you kissing up to the crowd, claiming your destiny or insulting the authority if you're a babyface. If you're a heel it usually involves disrespecting the crowd, praising the authority or boasting how great you are. The promo system does allow players to call out the wrestler they're in a feud with. Sadly the dialogue is so purely written that it makes Roman Reigns sufferinsuckatash promo look gold. MyCareer also needs to improve on its ranking system. I fought Cena for 3 months you think I would move a couple of spots nope. It wasn't until I started a feud with the champion Rusev did I get my shot. Finally MyCareer gives you the option to become a Paul Heyman guy. Slow down there is a catch. In order to become a Heyman guy you first become a champion no matter what title. Then you have to fulfill some obligations such as hold the title for 365 days, or win the Royal Rumble 3 times, go undefeated at Wrestlemania at least 12 times and many more. It was disappointing to see this because I thought Paul would take me from the bottom to the top. If I'm already at the top what do I need Heyman for? MyCareer is as repetitive as last year. I wrestled the same guys over and over, cut the same promos and even the same promos with Renee Young are back only without voiceover work. If you want to grind it out year after year for your trophies/achievements then go ahead but after Wrestlemania I went straight to Universe mode which is the games strength. I didn't feel like a WWE Superstar at all. Where is the autograph signings? Where is the Tapout endorsement deals? Where is the house shows? Where is the WWE Studios roles? None of these are included and definitely should be. If I'm going to be live the life of a WWE Superstar actually make us feel like one. If I'm grinding to be top guy I should get top guy benefits. Hopefully next year we see an overhaul in this mode. The game does include T-Shirt sales where you have to wear a T-shirt during your match to get VC. But if your wrestler is shirtless he won't get any sales which is ridiculous.
Universe Mode: Universe Mode is the saving grace of WWE 2K17. Where my player dropped the ball Universe Mode at least attempts to keep you playing. This year Universe Mode offers the promo system which works to a degree but you now have your own version of the brand split. With a little help from the Community I downloaded all the new titles such as the Universal and Smackdown titles. 2K thankfully patch the game so everyone is on their respective shows. This year you have three save slots for Universe so you can have many stories to tell. I can have a universe strictly for my creative characters, one for legends and for the main rosters. I like this option so I don't have Razor fighting AJ Styles every week. I would likr to a multiplayer feature where I can control Raw and a friend control Smackdown and we battle out for ratings, t-shirt sales and who puts on the best matches. The roster is at your exposure to control and you shape who goes over or not.
Gameplay: Gameplay still feels the same but with minor but helpful improvements. It's still a game based on reversals and how good you can counter. The stamina system is still the same and helps with pacing the match. A welcome addition to the game is the alternative option for the submission system. Before players had to use the right analog stick in circle motion in a cat and mouse type of mini game. This time you have the option to use a much easier button mashing method. More welcome adds is the ability to defend the title in the Royal Rumble match. Finally the fight in the crowd and backstage areas are much needeed and happy to see it's return. The Ladder match also sees improvement with more moves to perform and more challenging way to grab the belt. Overall the gameplay is still good and the minor improvements make it better.
Presentation: The presentation is a hit and miss this year. The game makes a stellar effort to make you feel you're watching WWE programming with real life opening of shows, fireworks and entrances. However the commentary is atrocious and needs either be removed, redub or allow players to finally call their own matches and upload it. If NBA 2K17 can have everything nearly perfect with commentary, presentation, gameplay and graphics why isn't WWE getting the same treatment? I've heard the same dialogue from Michael Cole since the game was Smackdown vs Raw that is not acceptable. Let's also talk about the soundtrack. I love Hip-Hop but for those fans who don't it's not really fair. It's great that 2K gets these celebs to pick songs but we need people with universal ears. What about people who listen to rock, metal, country, jazz or other genres of music. I found myself turning off all the songs and replacing them with entrance music. Sean Diddy Combs choices wasn't working for me. It felt more like promoting his friends then delivering a stellar of choices that everyone can enjoy. I suggest 2K stop this trend and just get an the composers of WWE music to do the soundtrack for now on. I would say the graphics is great and arenas has improved. Wrestlemania 31 arena is beautiful and we have the option to play in the day, afternoon or night and you see the difference in lighting, textures and crowd which was a welcome effort.
Final Grade: 2.5 out of 5 Stars: WWE 2K17 is a step improvement over it's predecessor. However the game needs a major reboot and maybe 2 years off to make it as good as other 2K titles. The game feels lazy in terms of commentary. The MyCareer is still disappointing and doesn't give you the real feel of a life of a wrestler. Where is the commercials, the wrestling expos they do, signing autographs, traveling on the road. If you're going to give us a life of a WWE Superstar really give it to us. You all this great stuff for NBA why not the WWE? The gameplay is the same as every with minor improvements and thankful the glitches I encountered have been fix with the latest patch (reason why I didn't address it). However the minor improvements and updated roster is not enough for me to recommend the game to anyone outside the hardcore fans. Don't sign an apartment lease in Suplex City. Instead book yourself a one week stay because you won't want to stay long.