In the world of the World Wrestling Entertainment or WWE, most superstars do what they can to stand out among their peers. WWE 2K is no different in regards to the world of video games. Sometimes you have a giant monster running roughshod over everyone, or you can have a superstar get by with quick wits and overall skill. WWE 2K18 looks to combine the concept of being bigger, with the largest roster to date, and the idea of adding a few tricks up its sleeve with some new additions and refinements to the game. So does WWE 2K18 make it a monster among games, or is this a local jobber that should be squashed by its competition. Have your tickets ready and file in the arena, here’s the review.
Be Like No One
Much like its predecessors, WWE 2K18 has refined some core parts of the overall game. With this being the first game to forgo last gen consoles, the focus is there to really step up to make the game look and play better than ever. In-ring competition has been refined to add a new lift and drag control to either move your opponent into one of four positions to set up or land a big move. The new drag option allows players to take a standing opponent and set them up in various situations, such as against the turnbuckle, and perform different moves that can’t always be performed through grappling.
While it’s a welcome addition, the ability to have up to eight superstars in the ring is something that needs a bit more refinement. Having up to eight superstars in the ring, along with the new elimination mini-game, can make a Royal Rumble match feel a bit more challenging, but in a fun way. Also, with the boost to more people in the ring, for the first time in a long while, players can finally play a more traditional Survivor Series tag team elimination match. While this does add to some more fun, once you do get to that maximum amount of people in the ring, there is a noticeable slowdown. Also, there is an issue with the 8-man tags where the ref won’t count for the player’s team, something that can hopefully be fixed with a patch in the future.
For those interested in taking the fights outside of the ring, WWE 2K18 has expanded the backstage area. The hallways, offices, and locker rooms have been refined, and now the backstage area includes a catering area and parking lot to add to some over-the-top backstage brawl moments.
WWE 2K18 also left out a Superstar Showcase mode in this year’s game to focus more on what I call the long-term modes such as MyCareer and Universe mode. Universe Mode remains largely unchanged from previous iterations in the series. In Universe Mode, the player is given the power to mold their version of the WWE as they see fit. Players can control each superstar individually, each team or stable, rivalries, shows, PPV events, and so on.
There is a bigger overhaul to the MyCareer mode where players can focus on a creating a superstar from scratch. Unfortunately, you can’t import created superstars you may have either created on your own or downloaded from the community creations. Initially creating a brand new superstar on your own from scratch and then given limited options as far as the look, attire, and move-set for the character. Once they have finished creating their superstar they head to the WWE Performance Center to learn the ropes, go to NXT, then the main roster of the WWE. As they earn their way to being a top WWE Superstar, they can form alliances or rivalries based on how they interact with other superstars. While the basic premise of MyCareer is the same as previous years, a new feature is being able to walk around the backstage area. This is where players can form new rivals or alliances, strategize before a match, or talk to the general manager or other superstars. The MyCareer player will earn rewards or bonuses based on how they’re aligned and how well they do in the ring. Players can also take their MyCareer player online in Road to Glory mode, where they can challenge other players and qualify for events to earn exclusive rewards. Road to Glory is completely optional for those that wish to stick to playing solitarily.
These modes are fine for players that want to be in it for the long haul. The biggest takeaway is the fact that while there are dialog trees, there’s no audio for that dialog in the game. Talking to other superstars or authority figures and promos still look like awkward pantomiming. Not to mention promos are still a bit tricky to get the hang of. It isn’t just a clear “good guy”, “bad guy”, or somewhere in between option, but instead, the player picks the direction they want to take the promo and try to keep it going in that direction.
One major shining point in the game is the Creation mode. For the past couple years the Creation Suite has grown since making the jump to current gen consoles a couple years ago. There’s a lot more depth in this year’s Creation Suite than in years prior. Players have a bit more default face models, more options for the body of their character. Attire options have been added to include more material options such as a glow or black light mode, and now the player can even see what the attire will look like under certain lighting conditions in the game.
Speaking of the lighting, that has been greatly improved this year. Though it might be a minor thing to think about, it does go a long way when it comes to the overall presentation of the game. The presentation of the WWE 2K games still remains as close to what you would see on WWE television programs as you can get, minus the mostly minimal HUD. Players have the option of attacking during entrances or after victories, in exhibitions and Universe modes. Exhibition matches keep you on your toes with distractions from outside superstars, or post-match attacks. The biggest problem with it is that it’ll seem to send out random superstars at times.
As mentioned at the beginning, this game has the largest roster of WWE Superstars to date. With over 180 superstars, including current day men, women, and legends of the past, there shouldn’t be any shortage to the combinations of matches a player can have. What kind of bugs me is that it does seem a little bloated, especially when you have different versions of the same superstar taking up multiple spots. Superstars like the 97 and 98 version of Bret Hart, or Finn Balor and his Demon counterpart don’t need two separate spots especially if they have mostly the same move-set.
All things considered, in most cases, WWE 2K18 handles when it comes to action in and out of the ring. I say mostly because it looks like the Irish whip accuracy issues have returned. While things like that, promos, and the slowdown with 8 people in the ring, it’s hard to take away all that much that makes WWE 2K18 one of the more dynamic WWE experiences in a while. Each year, WWE 2K steps up its game and WWE 2K18 is one of the best in the series so far. The presentation is second to none, the overall graphics have improved, and for me having control of my own WWE Universe makes it worthwhile.
Final Verdict: WWE 2K18 gets 8 Kingslayer Knees out of 10.
This review was based off the retail copy of the PlayStation 4 version of WWE 2K18 developed by Yuke’s Media Creations and published by 2K games.
- Beautiful Graphics
- Fun Universe
- Great Customization
- Some Accuracy Issues
- Slow Down in Big Multiplayer Games