WWE 2K15 Still Waiting for NextGen
WWE 2K15 will be released tomorrow for Xbox 360 and PS3, whereas those excited for the PS4 and Xbox One release will be forced to wait till November 18th. Therefore, this review is only geared towards the versions that are released tomorrow.
So what's in store for fans of this gaming series? What can you all expect from the series that you love so much? My engagement with these games has always been in the form of pure, manic enjoyment. I'm not a fan of WWE, I simply enjoyed the pleasure of bashing my friends in the head with a chair, therefore I shall do my best to highlight some of the features that fans of WWE will be wanting to know!
Improvements from 2K14
Now, it may just be due to the fact that this is still the PS3 and Xbox 360 and that 2K14 hit the best graphics that it could throw at us on LastGen, but this game really doesn't look all that different. There are certainly some improvements, though they are very minor. Characters look a bit better and the lighting in the rings has cleaned up a bit, just nothing too major to report in this department.
I'm sure if you want a better looking WWE experience, you're better off waiting for the PS4 and Xbox One release of the game.
One thing I always enjoyed about these games was the ridiculous commentary. Micheal Cole and Jerry Lawle make a return yet again for WWE 2K15 and they reportedly recorded a whole lot of new dialogue. Yet, despite this being the fact, a number of things that they are known for saying in 2K14 have returned, which just felt lazy.
The game was advertised as having realistic features, and while there are minor improvements on 2K14, this game really does look the same and maintains its kind of cartoon-like appearance. Presumably, the reason that the game is releasing a month later for NextGen is that a number of the graphical issues will become obsolete, but at the moment I see no real reason for changing over from 2K14.
New Game Features
This game is meant to signify the arrival of NextGen WWE, attempting to transform the game into a true wrestling game as opposed to a fighting game with WWE stars. In attempts to make this game feel more realistic, the main areas that we can see alterations are in terms of some additional grappling options.
Pressing the grapple button at the beginning of the match will initiate a collar-and-elbow tie up. From there, each opponent will press one of three face buttons to place their opponent into a side headlock, a wrist lock or a waist lock with a rock-paper-scissors style outcome. (Headlock beats Wrist lock, Wrist lock beats Waist lock, Waist lock beats Headlock.)
Whomever wins will place their opponent in the corresponding hold while both players rotate the right analog stick to find a "sweet spot". If the attacker finds it first, they'll perform a move, if the defender finds it first, they'll gain the upper hand. Additionally, the attacking wrestler can strike or wrench the opponent's limb, making it harder for them to find the sweet spot.
This is admittedly an intriguing addition to the game, though it really only happens about twice during a match. Though the fact that this can be turned off in the menu gave me some real insight into how 2K developed this game. While they wish to implement new features, it appears to me that any moment of significant change is either not big enough or what they considered "too big" and can therefore be turned off if the player doesn't like it.
New to the game is a three-tier stamina meter which controls the pace of a match. This really reminded me of playing Fight Night, and while I appreciate the game was attempting to mimic other franchises that focus upon realism, this did feel like an implementation that should have featured years ago. But I suppose we have it now, but in a toned down form.
Each move that is performed, especially striking and running, will drain the stamina meter. During the first tier, the wrestler will be full of energy and perform moves easily. During the second tier, the wrestler will begin to slow down. In the third tier, the wrestler will be completely exhausted, even being unable to perform their finishing moves should it drop too low.
Though yet again, 2K show their fear and cowardice for change. Although the stamina meter cannot be turned off, stamina will slowly regenerate as long as a meter is not depleted and can be adjusted to drain more slowly. This is kind of ridiculous because if you both just stop fighting for a while you seemingly forget about all that previous grappling and move on as strong as when you began.
The game's submission system has actually been revamped. The "Breaking Point" gauge has been replaced with a two part circular gauge. The mechanic of the system remains mostly the same, but players only have to mash a single button rather than all four. To be honest, this wasn't as much fun as wildly mashing away at the buttons to keep your opponent down, it's now far too easy and takes away that thrill element of waiting to see if they can get out.
In terms of the roster of wrestlers, this game is quite impressive though and they have actually made improvements with regards to superstars and their fighting styles. They seem a little bit closer to the people as opposed to everyone having the same playing style as each other.
2K Showcase is a mode that lets you relive previous famous match ups in WWE history. To be honest, this just felt like a rehashing of, not even 2K14, but 2K13's Attitude Era, just that the scope is a little bit larger with an increased degree of depth in terms of personal rivalries, presenting them as small documentaries.
MyCareer does not feature on the PS3 or Xbox 360 so I can't comment on this mode, instead these players receive NXT. This focuses on the up-comers in WWE and allows you to follow their progression like a campaign mode. Presumably its far smaller than MyCareer and I wasn't particularly interested in these characters, though I'm sure for fans this may present a fun aspect of gameplay.
Finally there is Proving Ground which pits players against an overpowered John Cena, which I must say was the only mode that I enjoyed. Seeing as he's the top wrestler in WWE 2K15, you must work hard to take this guy down and I did have a lot of fun attempting to do so. Though it is only unlocked after completion of NXT, which makes it a bit annoying that you have to go through a mode that you may not be entirely interested in.
Over all, I haven't been impressed by this game. It certainly is a lot cleaner than 2K14, and the graphics have slight improvements, but all the other gameplay mechanics feel like too little too late and demonstrate 2K's reluctance for change. In my opinion, unless everything looks and feels better on the PS4 and Xbox One, this is one WWE title that you can afford to miss out on.
But if the idea of a slightly improved version of 2K14 is what you have in mind then go ahead, I just don't feel like these new modes can top last year's either. While not a complete mess at all, I just don't see enough here to warrant a new WWE game and another $60 toward something that lacks innovation. I demand more from a yearly sports release.
6 / 10