When THQ went bankrupt last year, I was concerned for the future of the WWE video game franchise. As a video game and wrestling enthusiast, the WWE games have always had a special place in my heart. When 2K acquired the rights to the WWE franchise, I began to highly anticipate the first WWE 2K game. WWE 2K14, doesn’t really count as it was just THQ’s nearly finished product that 2K released. WWE 2K15 marks a new era in the WWE franchise. Does 2K15 do WWE wrestling games justice as it has done with the NBA 2K series
WWE 2K15 introduces the 2K showcase, a new story mode that spotlights legendary rivalries. 2K15 showcases the CM Punk-John Cena Rivalry that spanned from 2011-2013 and the infamous Triple H- Shawn Michaels feud. The showcase particularly focuses on 2002-2004 portion of the relationship between The Game and The Heartbreak Kid. Showcase mode does a great job at bringing fans back to these epic rivalries. I only wish that 2K had gotten Jim Ross to come back to do voice work for the Triple H- Michaels feud. Having Michael Cole’s annoying commentary took me out of the immersion at times.
The game play mechanics have been drastically altered. Matches now play at a more slow paced, which comes off as incredibly realistic. Single matches start out with a chain wrestling mini-game. Towards the end of a match, wrestlers slow down, use the ropes to pull themselves up off of the mat and even crawl towards an opponent to perform a pin. The game is just very realistic.
This wasn’t always a great thing though. At times, the pacing was a bit too slow, and matches would sometimes just go on way too long. WWE 2K15 utilizes the Mycareer mode that is similar to the career mode in NBA 2K15. Players will create a wrestler and start in the NXT training facility, while they work hard to rise through the ranks of the WWE. Your created wrestler starts with very weak statistics, and because of that, your first few matches can be pretty rough, especially when you get called up to the main roster. But once you increase your statistics, you will adjust and will have an easier time. Along with statistics points, players also earn Virtual Currency and Social Media Followers. The virtual currency is used to hire managers and buy new skills. Social Media Followers affect how much of a push (a better spot) you get.
Sadly, Mycareer mode lacks substance. Storylines feel generally few and far in between for most of your climb up the WWE ladder. It also doesn’t really do much to make you feel like a part of the WWE. Fans of the past few WWE games will be happy to know that the Universe Mode makes it’s return in WWE 2K15. The universe mode is generally the same, except it has greatly improved on the storyline/Rivalry feature of the universe mode, which is ironic considering that is where Mycareer falls flat. WWE 2K15′s roster is the smallest roster that the series has had in years. It just lacks a lot of legendary wrestlers, and even left a few superstars off of the current roster, which was a real shame.
The multiplayer of WWE 2K15 runs
more smooth then it ever has, I encountered very little lag in my time spent playing. However, the matchmaking could use some work. Searching for a game takes a little while, and what matches you play and what wrestler you use are based on preferences that you have to setup. This was a bit of a let down but wasn’t too big of a deal.
WWE 2K15 looks amazing. Most of the wrestlers look realistic. Even the crowds look a little bit better. The sound design is also pretty well done. The commentary has dramatically improved and I actually enjoyed the banter between the King and Michael Cole. In what is an improvement to last year, more superstars speak during their entrances. They aren’t perfect but what is there is admirable. I did have a problem with the slam sound effects. I would often hit a grapple or get hit that would cause me to crash onto the mat. For some reason the sound effect of hitting the mat often gets delayed and happens after the actual move happens.
2K did a great job bringing the WWE franchise into the 2K fold. It offers a new, more realistic era of wrestling games. It looks really good, sounds really good, and plays pretty well. 2K offers a great foundation for what will hopefully be an even better game in the future. Wrestling fans will appreciate the realism in 2K15, but that can sometimes feel like its moving a little too slow. An improved Universe mode and an awesome showcase mode make up for a some-what forgettable Mycareer mode.