Title: WWE 2K17
Platform: PC, PS4, Xbox One (reviewed)
Developer: Yuke’s, Visual Concepts
Publisher: 2K Games
Release date: Out now
tl;dr: The wrestler-sim goes all out for detail, but control seems to be a bit vexing at times
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My appreciation of the world of wrestling is a casual one, but every so often I find myself enjoying every minute of it. There’s just something about WWE shows that give off one hell of an entertaining vibe. Maybe it’s thanks to the superstars themselves, the setting, or even the participation the crowds add in. The last wrestling game I played properly was WWF Smackdown: Just Bring It, back in the days of the PS2. My, how the game has changed since then.
WWE 2K17 is a wrestling simulator that allows you to enter the ring as one of your favourite Superstars, or even one that you’ve created yourself. Across many modes such as your standard 1v1, Triple Threat, Royal Rumble, and more, many options are out there if you simply fancy picking up a pad and getting in on the action.
Compared to other fighting games out there, the composition of the control system is entirely different and took some time for me to at least gather an appreciation of. You have your simple jabs and punches, grapples, line-whips and signature moves. Some of these moves are punctuated with miniature quick time events to determine the winner of a struggle. A grapple hold where each superstar is vying for control plays out within the game as a variation of Rock, Paper Scissors. It’s a simple way to translate a complex move into game form and works reasonably well for the most part.
There were a couple of aspects of the core gameplay that I found myself extremely struggling with. The biggest one was reversals. For almost every move by an opponent, there is an opportunity to counter the move and take back control of the match. The window for success is surprisingly narrow. Nine times out of ten, I found myself on the floor of the ring and on the way to destruction. There were several matches where I found myself a victim of endless attacks because I was either too fast or too late. By the time I finally got a reversal in I was well on my way to being knocked out.
Perhaps I just wasn’t tuned to the difficulty level, and my insistence on not dropping the difficulty below Normal saw my frequent demise. Or perhaps it’s surprisingly punishing. Either way, I found myself being mostly frustrated in scenes like those.
If you fancy yourself a go at sitting on the WWE Creative team, setting the scene for the entire show, then WWE Universe mode is right up your street. Here, you can customise PPVs and the general running of the WWE to create whatever scenarios that your heart desires. You can even tinker with the WWE draft, moving superstars between Raw and Smackdown Live as you see fit!
What WWE 2K17 really has got going for it is the insane level of customisation to allow you to create your perfect WWE avatar. From detailed character customisation, editing your own Titantron video for your entrance, a bit of leg-work will see you with your perfect WWE superstar in the way you want it. I’ll confess to letting John Cena’s music play my wrestler in. Doo-doo-de-doo.
Combine the extreme customisation with the authenticity of the WWE stage and all that the setting entails, the game really does seem to fulfil the fantasy of being a virtual superstar on the digital ring.
“The Engineer, Steven Potter,” had quite a nice ring to it!
- Superstar creation is mindblowing. Almost everything can be configured.
- Does a great job of fulfilling the “Be in the WWE,” fantasy
- Soundtrack’s not half bad
- Core game control was a real struggle for me. Reversal timing was surprisingly punishing
- Falls a bit short of an ever rising bar when it comes to the graphics
- Would have been nice to have voice packs for custom superstars when cutting promos
WWE 2K17 is rated PEGI 16 for violence. It’s true that it’s a degree of fantasy violence, but it’s the sort of game to take with a pinch of salt when it comes to deciding appropriate content for your children.
This review is based on the retail build of the game provided by the publisher.