Title: WWE 2K16
Platforms: Xbox One, PlayStation 4 (reviewed on Xbox One)
Developer: Yukes/Visual Creations
Publisher: 2K Sports
Release Date: Out Now
Price: $59.99/59.99 Euro
Tagline: Improved from Last Year’s Entry, but the In The Ring Action Still Feels Off
Family Friendly: Click here to read more
Verdict: Rent it
As a constant reoccurring theme in my recent reviews, WWE 2K16 had a lot of making up to do, as the previous year’s entry from 2K Sports was lackluster to say the least. The game was a cornucopia of missing features that had been core to the series for many years. It was a freshman outing on the new consoles that did not instill confidence for those that might want to pick up the new game. That said, WWE 2K16 does make up for a fair amount of the misgivings from 2014, but it is still a hodge podge of good and bad that never quite hits the mark.
WWE 2K16 starts off on the right foot by actually launching and not crashing at the loading screen this time around. Okay, that might be a cheap spot, but last year’s game would be prone to crashing during loading, during matches and more. I should point out that WWE 2K16 as a whole, is far more stable this time around. It still has some unbearable loading times, but menus and more function as advertised.
With this year’s entry, WWE 2K16 finally feels like a full-featured version of the game as well. Showcase, 2K Career, full Custom Wrestler creation tools, and a nice 2K Universe suite of tools are here and feature complete. The Showcase this year features one Stone Cold Steve Austin, and there is some fascinating information about him in documentary footage like I had no clue or memory of him being “The Ringmaster,” from the WCW, I believe. But even with all that information, the actual Showcase matches never really feel all that interesting.
For that matter, any of the actual wrestling in WWE 2K16 is not very good. While wrestling on TV seems fast and frantic, the game version of it seems to plod along at a methodical pace. While there are moments of cool looking signature moves, the game instead tries to find new mechanics that only seem to be in place to frustrate the player. Counters have an obtuse window that is far too quick to be reactive, a pin system that can be frustrating when it shows up, but worst of all might be the submission system meter. With this, you have a blue half circle and a red quarter circle. As the person inflicting the hold, you are trying to use your blue have to cover the red quarter, and vice versa for the person trying to escape the hold. Either way, when this comes up on the screen, it inevitably ends up with the human player losing to the computer as it is far too unwieldy to control your way to success.
A very nice addition this year is a full suite of creation tools in the Custom Creations area. Now you can create full showcase events, arenas, entrances and so much more. And unlike 2K15, WWE 2K16 has a full create a wrestler toolkit, with a host of customizable options allowing players to create truly unique creations. During my review time, I probably spent the most time here due to the dearth of options that you have at your disposal for creating things.
You can take a lot of these custom creations into the MyCareer mode, a now staple in the 2K Sports line of sports titles. Here, you start as a lowly wrestler having to earn your chops up the ladder to WWE Superstardom and I will say that the career mode is pretty well featured. That said, you constantly seem to be left behind the curve at the beginning, wrestling opponents that are far better than you and your losses will mount up at the start of your career as you earn your upgrades and skill points to your wrestler. Also, why is it in 2015 that I cannot have a career mode starring a Diva? WWE 2K16 offers a huge creation suite for the Divas, but then does not let me build a career with them.
To its credit, WWE 2K16 does offer up what might be the largest roster of wrestlers available in a wrestling title, ever. The game gathers over a hundred real world current and past wrestlers from many of the leagues out there. WWE, NXT and WCW are all covered here so you will find characters like Jake “The Snake,” Roberts, John Cena, Sting, and so many more. Even a handful of classic managers show up as well, like Bobby “The Brain,” Heenan and Ms. Elizabeth to name a few that flesh out the full wrestling experience.
Yes, the game has a ton of wrestlers, but that does not mean they are all created equally and that is apparent when you start viewing some. While the big headliners of today are created to near photo realistic quality, a lot of this historical or retired wrestlers do not get the same authentic treatment. I mean, I had Ms. Elizabeth as a manager for an opponent, and while her show card is a photo image of her, the in-game recreation looked like a car tire had mangled her face. Come on, 2K Sports, it cannot be that hard to go back to historic footage to make some more precise models. You have access to all this archive footage, so pay more respect to these classic wrestlers with better character models.
WWE 2K16 offers up a better wrestling product than its previous entry, but that does not make it a better game for fans of the series. The custom creation tools give you far more control over the game in that sense, but the thing that you are here for (wrestling), is not very good. The mat experience is sluggish and still has not learned that rock, paper, scissors does not make for a fun grapple experience. You have a step in the right direction, and creation nuts will find lots to enjoy, but WWE 2K16 still needs a lot of assists to make it a top tier entertainment title.
- Feels like a complete offering, with many modes and options
- Huge roster of wrestlers past and present, male and female
- The WWE Television experience is faithfully recreated
Doink The Clown:
- The rock, paper, scissors grapple mechanic still lacks any real strategy
- The in-the-ring action is slow, plodding and lacking excitement
- The Divas still get shorted with no career mode and little outside of one off matches
WWE 2K16 offers up a wrestling experience that is very similar to the product you see on TV. There is some colorful language, slightly sexy outfits and other frills. Funny thing is that the in-the-ring wrestling is probably the tamest thing you will find in this title. If you let your kids watch the weekly WWE product on TV, you are probably safe with them playing WWE 2K16. Otherwise, figure those in their early teens and up should be fine with this one.
This review was prepared using Xbox One review code