As a lifelong fan of wrestling dating all the way back to the late 80s when I used to watch wrestling with my grandfather (without my mother knowing it seeing as it was seen upon as real back then) I have tried to withhold my love for the entertainment, but lately my love is slowly dying and the latest wrestling games haven't really done much to keep the spark alive. With 2K taking over control of the latest releases in the now yearly WWE game franchise it has gone from a more arcade entertainment game to a more “realistic” and slow paced package. But even though I have been disappointed year after year since the release of my favourite Here Comes the Pain I haven't stopped hoping this year would be the year they make it all OK again, and this year they do a lot of things right but sadly there are still some leftover jinx from previous games that drags the total experience down a bit for me.
Who else right now could grace the cover of a WWE game than Brock Lesnar, with his imposing looks there really isn't another superstar on the current roster that would turn enough heads as wrestling has been going a downwards spiral these last couple of years. Sure there are your John Cenas and your Undertakers, but even they have been seen and cheered/booed less and less these last couple of years so with WWE turning their view towards a more “realistic” approach to the wrestling scene there really wasn't any other contenders big enough to fit the shoes other than the Beast Incarnate, Brrrrrrrrock Leeeeeeesnaaaar.
Luckily this year has a roster of over 150 wrestlers available, and sure there are multiple version of some of the wrestlers but seeing old timers like Dusty Rhodes and Jake the Snake mixed with newer faces in the WWE like Enzo Amore or even a Sasha Banks is delightful. Sadly though one of my favourite features with previous games is no longer an addition, the showcase mode which even though it features clips and videos that I had already seen as a long time fan it was nice to relive some of the action of previously PPVs and rivalry. But with the showcase mode being passed on this year I was hoping they would implement something new or rather use more time to build up previous modes but after numerous hours playing through every mode in the game I can't really see where that extra power has been spent.
The career mode is by far the best in years though, even though that might not be saying a whole lot for some of you seeing as it hasn't really been up to par these last couple of additions, but I had high hopes during my first few hours in this mode this year, but sadly this also came slowly but surely to a halt when the mode simply kept dragging on out with none of my actions not seeming to do anything to a already carved out path that I was supposed to be heading. You start off in NXT as a rookie and from there on you fight your way to eventually go to the top in WWE as a WWE Superstar, but on this path you need to start rivalry’s with different superstars and choose to either go for a face run or a heel run along the way. New this year though is the ability to cut promos, which means you talk smack towards the crowd or the opponent, or you go the face route and try to stroke everyone the right way along your path to the top. The crowd will react differently depending on what kind of crowd your in front of as you try to build coherent sentences by picking different ones from a selection of four sentences at a time. But as with most of the career mode it all became pretty repetitive after a few hours just like the commentary in every wrestling game ever.
VC or virtual currency is what you use to buy new tricks, moves, stats etc. in the game, and you earn this by preforming in matches as they are all judged from the bell rings to the match ends. How you preform and how predictable your moves are boils down to how much VC you earn from each match. You can also earn VC by becoming a “Paul Heyman” guy and do the challenges he set in front of you. And speaking of Paul Heyman, maybe one of the greatest managers of all time, especially right now, we turn our attention to the Universe Mode which is basically where you are put in a manager position and are set with booking matches, creating rivalry’s etc. It is a nice addition to the overall package but nothing really new to bring to the overall experience here if you already played it in previous games.
Other than that this is still a 2k WWE game which means it has multiple match types to pick from, arenas to unlock, characters to unlock and of course the customization option where you can create your own WWE superstars set to music and pyro just as you want to. If you have played a previous WWE 2K game you pretty much already know what you are getting by now only this year it looks a little bit better and controls a little bit better than previous additions. I keep hoping that every year will be the year where they return to the more arcade version of the game or take it all out by doing a more extreme Street Fighter/Mortal Kombat version like WWE All Stars was, but sadly there is just too many similarities from last years release to tip me over the scale and back on the wagon again. Maybe next year …. Now don't get me wrong, WWE 2K17 isn't a bad game, me and my daughter loved our time playing local coop, but for anyone interested in something more you should really check out some gameplay videos before you make your decision.