This weeks recommendation, was almost a sure-fire thing once I managed to get my hands on the game and spend a good few hours playing it- as this was one of the most anticipated games of the year for me (and my Wife) and the next-gen version hasn’t failed to deliver.
This is the first true ‘current generation’ wrestling game, and 2k have made a real effort to make this seem special by giving it some modes not found on the last generation versions. The moment you jump into your first match it becomes very obvious that 2k have really utilised the power of the current gen systems as the visuals are scary life-like. The entrances are mainly motion captured, and wrestlers look so much like their real life counter parts you almost feel your watching the shows- Triple H is a great example of this as his entrance is almost entrancing. The level of detail used in the entrances also carries right over to the actual match play, as every movement seems fluid and lifelike, this is helped by a multitude of new animations that have been motion captured for basic in ring activities such as headlock, running, technical takedowns and the ring rope/turnbuckle climbing. The bottom line here (pun intended) is that the game looks amazing from the moment a match starts to the final winning animations and that’s a real way to draw you into every little bit of action.
This years game has also drastically updated the gameplay within the ring- as everything has slowed down to really make the game feel much more like a wrestling match and less like an arcade style 3minute rush through a match. The most noticeable new change to this is the ‘Chain wrestling’ feature where superstars work through a series of quick time events to gain momentum over the other while engaging in technical wrestling chains that involve headlock takedowns followed up by applying pressure and working the neck, or arm locks that turn into reverse arm bars and push aways. To me these are a nice addition to slow the pace of the match and to really feel out your opponent, plus they work brilliantly in regaining stamina which is now vital to each and every match. The new stamina system is great as this makes each match a real cerebral affair- you can no longer always run around the ring and at your opponent as you will quickly become unable to do this and find yourself recovering slower and having to crawl around the ring- moment like this in triple threats where your trying to break up a pin really add a host of drama to the game. Other notable changes include the removal of some basic moves- and them now becoming skills such as the springboard move and the Cesaro swing. This helps to make each of the wrestler unique and different between the ropes as up to 20of these can be applied to each superstar.
Last years WWE 2K14 was a great game, thanks in part to the hugely successful 30Years of Wrestlemania mode that 2k added to the franchise, and while this years game doesn’t have the same mode it does have an equivalent mode that works in a very familiar fashion. This years mode is called Showcase, and features 2of the WWE’s biggest rivalries through the years (CM Punk/John Cena & HBK/HHH) and you get to play through every match over the storied rivalry, including real footage cut scenes and animated scenes that help add to the story telling. 2k have kept the mini achievements within each match and the in match cut scenes, and these really help with the presentation of the mode and the ability to unlock new in ring gear and superstars. However while this mode is good, its nowhere near as awe-inspiring as last years Wrestlemania mode.
The addition of the ‘My Career’ mode however where you work up from NXT all the way to Wrestlemania with a Created-superstar is a great addition- and a current gen exclusive. This could keep you going forever and literally allows you to create a superstar from the ground up and watch them grow in the ring- as you unlock and earn currency that can be used to improve stats and buy signature moves and abilities for your wrestler. The Universe mode returns and is as good as ever for creating your own brands, and roster of wrestlers- giving you full power over the feuds and the direction of the WWE’s future.
Overall this years game has made some big improvements to the presentation and the overall feel of the matches, which is a real positive and the depth of the roster is also great (the inclusion of Sami Zayne is amazing) but the lack of Created- wrestler options and the small level of the Showcase mode- at least until DLC is a shame. However the game is still well worth the cost and should be enjoyable all the way through to next years release, as it offers the genuine look and feel of the WWE right in your living room and under your control.