XI
you are not logged in
Review

WWE 2K17 Review

Breaking Kayfabe.

While I am a casual onlooker into the world of Professional Wrestling, I’ve found that it’s the more ridiculous games that are any fun to play. Those that take themselves too seriously often have overly complicated controls and the focus is more on being a simulation of the matches rather than the theatrical nature of the promotion. WWE 2K17 does a little to blur the lines between the physical activity and the drama, but it still feels too much like a simulation rather than a fun game.

There’s a plethora of options for matches that let you quickly and easily get into the game. All the usual suspects are there, from Tag Team Matches, to Hell in a Cell, and even the Royal Rumble. Returning to WWE 2K17 are back-stage brawls and in-arena fighting, which allow Superstars to punch each other in the locker room, the crowds stands, and Stephanie MacMahon’s office, among other locations. You can even transition between backstage and the arena at the cost of a minute or so of loading time.

Controls take a little getting used to, as they’re fairly unconventional, but the majority of basic actions work well enough; grappling and striking, as well as leaping from turnbuckles are relatively simple to perform. Countering moves has always been a challenge at first with WWE games, but that’s part of the back and forth nature of the games. Using a variety of different moves in a match will increase the Star rating for the match and is a great incentive to play the game as intended.

What the game doesn’t do well is explaining things like submission holds. Sure you get the prompt saying how to do it the first time around, but there’s no easy way to look at these explanations again once they’ve been dismissed. It’s the reason why I switched to button mashing rather than using the analogue stick. Some things, such as driving an opponent through the Spanish Announcer’s table aren’t explained at all, though further research suggests it falls under the OMG moveset.

wwe2k171

Aside from the vast amount of quick play modes, WWE 2K17 also has two modes for longer term commitment. WWE Universe mode lets you to customise the entire roster, allowing for you to set up your own feuds between Superstars. WWE Universe is sure to appeal to people, but for me personally it’s not anything that’s particularly engaging.

Speaking of customisation and designing your own things, you can create and share custom wrestlers online. New to the creation suite are the ability to create victory poses as well as videos to play during your entrance, which again are amazing to consider. There is also an online mode, though fighting online is fraught with connection issues.

Even though I said previously that I admired the amount of customisation available, the presentation here is overall prehistoric. Audiences have always looked horrific, but this year’s models for some of the wrestlers just look monstrous. I may have no personal affection for Dana Brooke, but she certainly drew the short straw when it came to her character model. It just looks nothing like her. It’s a similar story throughout, though the unlockable Legacy stars do look a little better than newer Superstars.

However it’s not just the visuals that don’t have the right amount of polish. The commentators are somehow even worse than they are in the shows, repeatedly looping their lines, saying where the show is twice, and having a particularly wooden delivery. But the worst offender is when anyone else speaks, as they have no voice acting at all, making their mouths move in slow motion, gurning as they do so. It looks horrific to the point where they should seek medical attention.

wwe2k17-il3

While WWE 2K17 has a lot of modes, the bulk of the gaming experience features a more involved sounding MyCareer mode. The idea is to create your own Superstar, then take them through training before debuting on the various shows. From there you can further customise your Superstar, allocate new moves for them to use, and even customise your entrance and victory poses.

Every match you play, even those outside of MyCareer, will accumulate VC. This can be used to increase the stats of your character, purchase skills, and buy more moves to perform. It can also be used to unlock Classic Superstars from across the WWE Brand, as well as arenas to fight in. For MyCareer mode in particular, there are Authority challenges for every match that will not only affect your reputation with that faction, but also reward you with VC upon completion.

New to this year is the notion of being able to cut your own promo. You have the option before each show, unless you’re locked in a rivalry, to shoot your own promo to heighten your appeal to the audience; whether they like you as a Face or loathe you as a devious Heel. You can also call out other Superstars for duels of wit, or use the platform to create/disband Tag Teams.

I’m all for introducing Kayfabe to WWE 2K17, but it just doesn’t go the whole way. You can choose one of four options for dialogue ala Telltale games, but there’s no way to put your own spin on things. Your performance is based on how the crowd reacts to what you say, but all they seem to be focused on is how much you like/hate them, how much you like/hate The Authority, and if you’re tough sounding or whiny.

wwe2k172

To put it into perspective, I created a Superstar dubbed “The Prodigy”. His gimmick is a tried and tested one of a pompous Brit thinking he’s better than everyone else – a sort of amalgamation of Hunter Hurst Helmsley and British Bulldog – making a pompous buffoon who struts towards the ring to Rule Brittania looking smug. When it came to promos, trying to stay in character was impossible, as the game just didn’t reward me enough for acting my character as a superior thoroughbred.

What’s Good:

  • Staggering amount of customisation
  • Plenty of modes
  • Controls better than previous games
  • Backstage brawling and in-crowd fighting a good Attitude Era nod

What’s Bad:

  • Tons of missed potential in MyCareer Mode
  • Character models of Superstars are of iffy quality
  • Commentators are somehow worse than on TV
  • Too much simulation and not enough drama

By acting as a simulation rather than embracing the promotion silliness, WWE 2K17 misses the mark wildly. What chance they had to make MyCareer a marquee game mode and a game changer was wasted by half-baked ideas. There’s a lot going on with the other modes on offer and it plays better than most wrestling games out there, but its presentation suffers greatly as a result. As a tool for promoting Goldberg vs Brock Lesnar 2, it’s done its job, it’s just a shame that was the best thing WWE 2K17 achieved.

Score: 6/10

Version Tested: PlayStation 4

Read more: #
One Comment
  1. The Lone Steven
    Never heard of him.
    Since: May 2010

    Just a heads up, the PS3 and X360 versions get sod all apart from an updated roster. May be worth adding that to the article due to 2k doing feck all to explain it.

    WWE2k seems to be stale. Just doing the same thing over and over again with a few new features and this is most likely due to WWE refusing to give any developer more then a year to get it done. Hell, the original Smackdown vs Raw handled stories without voice acting(mostly) and that is over a decade old. Ironically, the create a championship belt mode has yet to be fully replicated to the degree that SVR allowed.

    Was expecting this to get a 7 at most but sounds like another entry. Still wish the gits included something for the last gen version as I have no choice but to refuse to get it until I get a PS4. At least, then, I can get most out of the career and universe modes instead of the repetitive last gen universe mode.

    Commentary is always a weak point in the franchise and i think it’s due to WWE refusing to let King, Cole and JBL off for a few weeks to record stuff(assuming that is still the current team in 2k17 due to everything being planned before wrestlemania thus no time to change) thus a limited selection. WWE2k16’s was the worst i’ve played in terms of commentary. Bit odd they turned the spanish announce table into an OMG moment. Last years entry, you could literally trip someone through it and just needed to be sorted out instead of turning it into a limited OMG thing.

    What they should do is split up the games. Maybe, 2k handles the yearly entries and another division of 2k create a seperate series. E.g. Smackdown Vs Raw gets brought back to life. Or the Raw series and Smackdown series etc..

    But we’ll just get more above average to average games without much story content because it’s easy money and well, just like TV, WWE owns the market. I mean, not many wrestling games exist outside of WWE. TNA was the last major one i can recall and that is said to be meh.

    I hope 2k18 includes a scenario mode with a fully fledged story mode that is just as good as SVR’s story mode. Or hell, if they are that lazy, grab old ones, redo them. SYM did that by covering major things in the past year, with CAW or another superstar in another place. Heck, Career mode should at least have an Undertaker arc. Granted, Taker no longer has his streak but he is a legend and wrestlemania always features him for the past 24(ish) years. Same with other notable stars such as John Cena(because WWE turned him into Supercena and there’s plenty of generic crap he can be used in against your superstar), Kane, Big Van Vader, the return of GOOOOOOLLLLLDDDBEEEEEEEERG! etc..

    Instead of half arsed career mode that i’ve heard is bare bones and well, promo mode is a letdown. :( 4 choices? There is so much one can tolerate before it is generic and this had a lot of potential. Career mode had a lot of potential. Heck, WWE24/7 from the average SVR08 should have been used as the template, throw in a lot of voiced cutscenes or lots of text ones and have various pathes.

    WWE really needs to give 2k more then a year.

    As for GOOOOOOOOOOOOOLDDDDBERRRG! Vs Brooooock Lesnar, this has no potential to be excellent. Good or above average at most as well, both men have 4 moves. That is 3 moves for Goldberg,(Spear, Jackhammer and punches) and 1 for LEsnar(Suplex spam and F5. I count that as one as it’s usually follows it.) Kinda put themselves in a corner. They should have had Undertaker win last summer and use that to rebuild Lesnar into a viable foe instead of boring invincible lazy one move man. Even Hulk Hogan with his limited moves always came across as beatable. Brock? They make him out to be invincible and he only shows up a few times per year. Goldberg vs Kevin Owens would be a better choice. Or Goldberg vs Gillberg(Come on, they have to do that now or it’ll be too late) or Dean Ambrose vs Goldberg. Lesnar vs Goldberg will be average if we are lucky. Goldberg gives a damn this time but Lesnar? He doesn’t. I mean, Dean Ambrose wanted to have an excellent hardcore match with him but got refused thus just another Lesnar spamfest.

    Comment posted on 19/10/2016 at 15:53.

Latest Comments