WWE 2K15 review for Xbox One, PS4

Platform: Xbox One, PS4
Also On: Xbox 360, PS3
Publisher: 2K Games
Developer: Visual Concepts/Yuke’s
Medium: Disc/Digital
Players: 1-6
Online: Yes (2-4 players)

Over the years, the WWE videogames have had their ups and their downs. Some of the releases were more of a simulation, while others provided for an arcade-style experience. There was even one that was going to be a Power Stone-like fighting game, but sadly that one (WWE Brawl) was never finished or released. While a few games in the series were considered classics, some of the more recent entries have been, shall we say, less than stellar. To try to regain some fire, 2K has brought in Visual Concepts to help with year?s entry: WWE 2K15. Will a new developer help bring back fans to the world of Pro Wrestling much like the WWE Network has? That answer is ? complicated.

The last few wrestling games to be released have brought some innovative changes that were either hit or miss with most fans. In my opinion, 2K13 was a shining example of how not to do single player, with its Attitude Era mode. Although I did enjoy the actual Attitude Era in Pro Wrestling, I did not enjoy having to play a videogame version where everything in the game HAD to be done exactly like its real life counterpart, or else you could not continue. This continued with last year?s entry and the 30 Years of Wrestlemania mode. Thankfully, while 2K15 does feature a similar 2K Showcase mode, it is not the main single player focus. This time around, a very robust My Career mode is what most players will want to be spending their time with.

wwe 2k15 Cena_Screen_1

My Career replaces the Who Got NXT mode from the 360 and PS3 versions and is actually a welcome replacement. Here you create your own superstar (I created myself, because I am horribly vain) and you begin your career in the WWE. Starting out at the company?s performance center, you sign a contract and after a few matches, you appear on their NXT show. Winning the NXT belt and then defending it will get the attention of COO Triple H and you will move up to the bigger shows like RAW, Smackdown and even some Pay Per View events. Moving through this mode is fun, since you can still move up just for performing a decent match or getting the crowd on your side. Doing well in this mode isn?t going to come easy however, thanks in part to some interesting changes made to the control system, but we will dive into that a bit later on.

The other mode players will be spending a bulk of time with is, of course, the Creation Mode. In games past, this was the first mode I would tinker with, as with (almost) each new entry in the series; it would get better and explode with options. I am sad to report that this year?s Create A Superstar has been somewhat toned down. It does feature a wide variety of clothing and also does have the body and face morphing from WWF No Mercy, but it still feels watered down. The Xbox One and PS4 version do not offer the option to create a Diva, probably due to the aforementioned body morphing that may give some immature players naughty ideas. There are also only 25 slots for created superstars, so making the entire TNA roster to stage your own takeover is out of the question. The next gen versions also do not have ?Create an Arena? or let you import your own music for your Superstars? entrance, so you?re stuck with either the current WWE Stars music, or the stock tunes provided. Other modes include the standard VS modes, where you play single matches with your friends or fight the CPU. With the online component, you can have matches with others from around the world or download/upload created Superstars and logos for use in Creation mode. The ?2K Showcase? mode, as mentioned before, is where you have to perform specific tasks to proceed, and is accompanied by video packages from the past rivalries you can play. As I stated earlier, these modes are too specific, and you are limited to repeating history, while the computer controlled opponents are not limited and can do what they want.


Now, let?s discuss the controls in WWE 2K15. In previous games, several tweaks were implemented to make things easier, or sometimes give them more of a simulation feel. WWE2K15?s control system is a sort of a step backward. The new Chain System is a very unwelcome addition, with its confusing set up and overall unnecessary inclusion. In the first couple of hook ups with an opponent, the game goes into a sort of mini-game where you chain together offensive and defensive moves. Pulling off these moves successfully requires you to find and hold a certain position on the right stick and hold it until you fill a meter. When playing against computer controlled opponents, you almost never fill the meter before the CPU fills it, so it almost feels like a coin flip. Another part of the control that desperately needs some work is the counter system. While you are on a losing end of a battle, sometimes you can press the right trigger button to counter, giving you an opportunity to fight back. This, much like the Chain System, almost never works in your favor and you are greeted with ?Too Slow? and ?Too Fast? messages, sometimes even when you don?t hit the trigger at all. I had several instances where my hand was not even on the controller and I was told I hit the trigger ?Too Fast?. When not struggling with Chains or getting screwed over by the broken counter system, you can pull off a wide variety of moves and combos to defeat your opponent. Landing enough damage can allow you to pull off signature or finisher moves with a single button press that can change the tide of any match.

The graphics with this first next gen outing are a huge step up naturally. The character models are amazingly detailed, and move less like robots in entrance sequences. Clipping has been all but eliminated with the exception of a small amount of clothing, and faces show more emotion than with previous years. The crowds also look more animated with less repetition throughout arenas, giving more life to them. Sound, meanwhile is good but not without its problems. The menu music is all licensed, and most of it is garbage in my opinion. Thankfully you can turn most (or if you prefer, all) of it off. The crowd can sound really lively at times depending on what?s going on, and of course you get the real WWE Stars music tracks for entrances, but this is all standard. Some audio issues I discovered were when a wrestler hits the mat, the sound is sometimes delayed and is out of place. Commentary during the matches sounds as awkward as it did with previous entries, with constantly repeated sentences and out of place calls, however the ring announcer sounds less like a robot and can say more words than before. Overall, even with slight issues, the complete presentation is as close to the real TV shows as you can get.
In conclusion, the question is? should you run out and get this new edition of WWE 2K15? Well, the new coat of paint and new single player mode may not be worth the price of admission for everyone. I am not a fan of the previous WWE single player modes, so the inclusion of the My Career mode is a welcome one for me. Everything else offered, minus the new visuals, is from previous installments, so if you are happy with 2K14 or even 2K13, then there is little I can say that will convince you that you need this one. If you are one of those who needs to have every single version of this series, then you?ve probably already picked it up. Veteran players can get used to the new control system over time, but the changes may be too much for new players to handle. WWE 2K15 definitely is a valiant effort by Visual Concepts and, with a few changes, can become the new standard for Pro Wrestling games (if there is such a thing). It?s a good first try, but not the completely unbelievable release we all hoped for.

Grade: B-