WWE 2K18

WWE 2K18
 
 

Is it possible to make a bad game worse? Let me answer that like Daniel Bryan:YES! YES! YES! Or rather I would if Daniel Bryan – a massive fan favourite – was a character available from the start in WWE 2K18. Bryan – along with various other characters, gear, facial features, clothing, historic belts, venues, entrance music, and moves – are only unlockable via in-game currency or loot crates.

Microtransactions feel like the final nail in 2K18’s coffin. It was already behind the eight ball before it was released: the game arrived late in the year, months after the usual release date around Wrestlemania (when fan interest is highest). The delay also upped the anticipation that maybe, this year, all the previous bugs would be ironed out.

 
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Nope. In fact, there’s a whole new range of bugs and problems. Where to start?

Professional wrestling is a mix of stunt fighting, gymnastics, and opera (or maybe soap opera). It has more alliances and character arcs than Game of Thrones, and they are all in a constant flux. Sworn enemies at one point will be fighting alongside each other months later.

Characters switch between heel and face (good and bad) to suit story lines that can be intricately constructed over a year or hastily thrown together in a few weeks. Titles usually don’t change hands outside of a pay-per-view but it’s always up in the air. There’s also titles for both Raw and Smackdown, the weekly shows that separates the full WWE roster into two.

This creates a complex scenario that’s much more difficult to model in a videogame. Especially because 2K18 is essentially a sports game. So it made complete sense that 2K decided to add a deeper career mode, called MyPlayer.

I went to make a giant 7 foot tall wrestler who I named “Hillbilly Metrosexual” (my original choice of “Ultimate Social Justice Warrior” was too long). I wanted my wrestler to wear denim coveralls and a straw hat with a big beard (as sported by the great Hillbilly Jim). I could get a beard but it required in-game currency. The coveralls and the hat needed to be unlocked via loot crates.

After buying a gold loot crate with five items in it, I unlocked: a t-shirt I didn’t want, a pair of pants I didn’t want, two XP boosts, and some in-game currency. What was the point of that?

Instead of making the character you want, you have to scrape one together from what’s available. It’s like that scene in GLOW (which I highly recommend on Netflix) where they make characters out of what they find in the costume bin. It does give you a sense of starting from the bottom, but also flies in the face of the “Be Like No One” ad campaign they ran.

Once again, you can’t make your wrestler a woman either. Women’s wrestling is incredibly popular right now; women like wrestling, and women like games, so it really doesn’t make any sense to miss this opportunity.

So after changing my hillbilly to a generic giant, I walked him through the worst career mode I’ve ever played. Your wrestler literally plods around the backstage area talking to other wrestlers and training staff in silent-but-lips-moving cutscenes.

The MyPlayer mode adds a paper thin storyline to the game. It’s not the constructed narrative you’ll find in titles like FIFA, Madden, or 2K’s NBA titles. Instead of cinematics you get simple dialogue trees. It’s so slow and painful that you’ll often need to take a break and play the other modes. You’ll also need to play the other modes to try and earn more in-game currency.

I immediately tried diving into a Royal Rumble, my all-time favourite match type. I wasn’t too shocked to discover that nearly all historical wrestlers were locked. I was shocked that they hadn’t been updated since 2K17. This is also where I discovered that the roster of superstars (as they are called by WWE) wasn’t up to date. Like, not even close.

The following may sound like gibberish to non-wrestling fans but bear with me: Asuka isn’t on the main roster; neither is Bobby Roode; Sasha Banks is Raw Women’s Champion; The Shield haven’t reformed; Enzo and Big Cass are still a tag team; and The Hardy Boys – who made their return at Wrestlemania – aren’t even in the game! But some things are oddly correct, like Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose are tag champs This is the equivalent of buying a new copy of Madden and finding that none of the teams have the right players and a few of them are wearing the wrong uniforms.

Which is my main gripe about this game. Nothing has changed since the last one, except that it’s harder to get at the customisation options. It all feels old and stale, despite a few new faces. In reality, the only thing a wrestling game needs to be considered good, is to keep updated on character changes. Do that and everything else is gravy.

So let’s talk gravy.

The gameplay hasn’t changed since 2K17, which is to say that the entire game revolves around reversals. If you can’t pull the right trigger at the exact moment you’re supposed to, then you’re going to take a beating and lose. It’s incredibly frustrating.

A great addition though is the ability to pick up other wrestlers and carry them around. And, if you’re the one being carried or dragged around, you can now break out of that hold. The game nicely balances it out, so a tiny luchadore can’t lift a super heavyweight. And if they can, they can’t do it for long.

The game’s soundtrack also started to grate on me. Turns out there’s only 11 songs (including a song by Kid Rock which feels like a terrible punishment). Thankfully you can add the wrestlers’ entrance themes, to bolster the list.

The whole thing feels rushed and incomplete. The lack of a proper roster update is the tip of a terrible iceberg. The game is a chore to play and despite being a big wrestling fan (or perhaps because of it) I never really had any fun. WWE 2K18 costs $110, but feels like a freemium mobile game. A failure on so many levels.


Hadyn received a physical copy of WWE 2K18 from 2K for review.


WWE 2K18
"A bad, bad game. Oh it’s true, it’s damn true!"
- WWE 2K18
4.0
Awful
 
Follow Own it? Rating: M   Difficulty: Medium   Learning Curve: 30 Min


 

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Comments Comments (17)

 
Posted by Paorio
On Monday 13 Nov 2017 12:11 PM
2
Hot damn that's a low score and after I was thinking of buying the game, I guess i'll pass
 
 
 
Posted by AdamC
On Monday 13 Nov 2017 12:53 PM
4
What delay are you talking about? It’s been this time of year for I don’t know how long.. so nobody was expecting more than the usual roster update I believe. Which is sad but expected of 2K
 
 
 
Posted by kniteowl
On Monday 13 Nov 2017 1:05 PM
2
Lowest score I've seen on NZGamer in a while... like Daaaaaamn...
 
 
 
Posted by cortez72
On Monday 13 Nov 2017 1:46 PM
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You’ve saved me wasting my money on the title, I’ll play 2k17 again if I need my fix. It wasn’t great, but it’s not asking me to unlock items to create my characters either. May 2K die a quick death.
 
 
 
Posted by Deanology
On Monday 13 Nov 2017 3:11 PM
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I feel like the rating systems are skewed a tad. By the review it should be lower than 4.
 
 
 
Posted by AdamC
On Monday 13 Nov 2017 3:28 PM
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13 November 2017, 03:11 PM Reply to Deanology
I feel like the rating systems are skewed a tad. By the review it should be lower than 4.
I think 7-8 means average
 
 
 
Posted by AdamC
On Monday 13 Nov 2017 4:04 PM
1
I remember when 2k took over from thq everyone thought it was finally going to get improved “lol”
 
 
 
Posted by Ryzlin
On Monday 13 Nov 2017 4:33 PM
1
13 November 2017, 03:11 PM Reply to Deanology
I feel like the rating systems are skewed a tad. By the review it should be lower than 4.
A 4 means "A generally poor game, however some might enjoy some aspects of it" according to the editorial policy.
 
 
 
Posted by AdamC
On Monday 13 Nov 2017 4:50 PM
1
13 November 2017, 04:33 PM Reply to Ryzlin
A 4 means "A generally poor game, however some might enjoy some aspects of it" according to the editorial policy.
Hah looks like I was correct, 7-8 is Average.

1. A terrible game, with no redeeming qualities.
2. A very bad game and one that is likely to entertain very few (and even then, only for the wrong reasons)
3. Almost no redeeming qualities whatsoever
4. A generally poor game, however some might enjoy some aspects of it
5. Nothing special, but potentially worth investigation by a niche audience
6. A decent game, but does have some significant drawbacks
7. A good game with many redeeming qualities
8. A very good game, with just a few things holding it back
9. An outstanding game with just minor issues
10. Best in class; a "system seller" and the type of title you'll be thinking about for years to come.
 
 
 
Posted by BigC
On Tuesday 14 Nov 2017 1:06 AM
1
Expect The Hardy Boys to be $20 DLC...

Pretty ridiculous really.
 
 
 
Posted by temungbean
On Tuesday 14 Nov 2017 8:01 AM
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I think I fit in to the category of "however some might enjoy some aspects of it".

The game is far from perfect, but it has the main aspect that I buy these games for, wrestling matches. I hardly ever use the extra modes, and I barely use half the roster. So for me this game certainly fulfills my needs. I can definitely see how it got a 4 though. It's a bit like EA making a rugby game, they just don't put as much effort in to it as their other franchises. 2K is no different with the WWE games. Shame really.
 
 
 
Posted by temungbean
On Tuesday 14 Nov 2017 8:29 AM
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I will add though that the one frustration I have had playing was an 8 Man Elimination Tag match, where the ref would only count a pin 1 out of 10 times. He just stood there staring. Match took me well over an hour to complete. Not sure if they have patched this bug yet. I'm too scared to try the match again.
 
 
 
Posted by Dodgykiwi
On Tuesday 14 Nov 2017 10:09 AM
2
This is why I take all the review score here with a grain of salt. A true wrestling game fan would know the game always comes out this time of year, the roster is never up to date because that would be impossible and you just wait for the Accelerator to come out for about $4 & unlock anything.

No mention of 8 men in the ring for the first time since about Shut Your Mouth or that they have brought the match customisation back (KO only, Finisher only etc).

Should of just put this in the b*tch Thread & been done with it.
 
 
 
Posted by AdamC
On Tuesday 14 Nov 2017 11:49 AM
1
14 November 2017, 10:09 AM Reply to Dodgykiwi
This is why I take all the review score here with a grain of salt. A true wrestling game fan would know the game always comes out this time of year, the roster is never up to date because that would be impossible and you just wait for the Accelerator to come out for about $4 & unlock anything.

No mention of 8 men in the ring for the first time since about Shut Your Mouth or that they have brought the match customisation back (KO only, Finisher only etc).

Should of just put this in the b*tch Thread & been done with it.
I agree 2 mins of research would show past release dates and I was surprised no 8 man mention either. But saying sh*t loot system is ok because they sell a $4 cheat code is abit of a stretch
 
 
 
Posted by hadyngreen
On Thursday 16 Nov 2017 7:24 AM
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You know I would've put down money on the fact that last year's game came out at Wrestlemania, but I stand corrected. I might be because I remember seeing ads for it, but it was released later. Either way, I screwed that up.

However, 4/10 is exactly the right score for this game. You can still wrestle, but that doesn't make it a WWE game.

Odd question but has anyone been able to get 8-man tag working with four tag-teams, one in each corner? I mean Survivor Series is fun but...
 
 
 
Posted by Dodgykiwi
On Thursday 16 Nov 2017 4:19 PM
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Guess I'm just used to paying for the unlock everything dlc because I have never cared for the career mode. I just do Universe mode and that is it.

I own every smackdown game even the horrendous 08 version so I will get this one but was never going to pay 100 or more for it.
 
 
 
Posted by Dodgykiwi
On Saturday 18 Nov 2017 8:39 AM
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Standard $67.77 & Deluxe $86.87 in the current Xbox Sale for anyone not put off by the review.