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WWE 2K16 Review; Not Worth Its Push

WWE 2K16 Review: New mechanics make for excellent wrestling

Last year marked 2K and Yuke’s first foray into the current generation of consoles with a WWE game. With WWE 2K15 2K aimed to make some big changes to the series in an attempt to make it more like a simulation — namely that of match pacing and MyCareer mode. The result was a game full of great ideas and decent execution but an ultimately disappointing leap to PS4 and Xbox One. Nonetheless, the foundation was set.

WWE 2K16 continues the path set by its predecessor by doubling down on match pacing and MyCareer while adding many new modes, improved visuals, an excellent career retrospective for Steve Austin, and featuring the greatest roster ever.

WWE 2K16 is a rousing success.

Ring Mechanic

WWE 2K15 really altered match pacing in the series for the first time by implementing the chain wrestling mini-game, adding a stamina meter, and a few small improvements like the wrestlers bouncing back out of the turnbuckle when their health bar is still in the green — it made matches feel authentic because the wrestlers seemed to tire and get beaten down.

Not everyone liked the less arcadey action of 2K15, but it made the action more realistic and revitalised the series. 2K16 goes even further into this realm by adding a brand new reversal system, which is arguably one of the biggest gameplay changes WWE games has ever seen. And it’s a change I wholeheartedly approve of.

The new system means you have a stock number of reversals that can be used. So most superstars will have 5 reversals at the start of the match. Reversing a clothesline or a suplex will take one away, though it will recharge over time. Additionally, some moves can be reversed in more than one way, which is another big change for the series. Certain moves, usually big ones like a hurricanrana, can be reversed early on, which can result in you just dodging the move, or it may be reversed at a later stage that is harder to pull off but results in a more impactful reversal. Of course, it takes a few matches to get used to the fact that you can no longer just hit R2/RT and reverse every punch or grapple, but once you do it dramatically changes the way matches are played.

The Swiss Superman looks photo-realistic

The first match I played was between Finn Balor and Cesaro.

I used a few of my reversals early in the match and had to re-think my strategy — no easy feat considering that’s 15+ years of wrestling gaming. I started playing a more strategic match; maybe I allow Cesaro to hit a big boot in the corner so that I could reverse a huge European uppercut later on. The match progressed, and I got a good stranglehold on it — I hit Balor’s signature Bullet Dropkick in the corner, I taunted and then I dragged Cesaro’s limp body into position, scaled the top turnbuckle and gracefully landed for the Coup de Grace. There it was, I hit circle for the pin, 1. 2. and Cesaro kicked out! I was shocked, and so was Finn Balor as the camera zoomed in on his slack-jawed face.

I can’t recall ever playing a match in which I had so firmly beaten my opponent, hit my finisher and he kicked out. From here Cesaro got up, got a few moves in and I had to escape the ring. I climbed back in, ran at him and he threw me up into the air and landed that big European Uppercut I’d been dreading. Then he cranked his head and I knew the Neutralizer was coming. I again left the ring, let my stamina regain and restarted my approach. A few minutes later I landed the Coup de Grace for the second time and got the oh-so-sweet 123.

It was easily one of the most dramatic, dynamic and exciting matches I’ve ever had in a wrestling game and it set an amazing tone for everything else to come.

Another new addition to the gameplay is that of working holds. Much like the chain wrestling, these holds are executed via the analogue mini-game. In real wrestling working holds are applied in order to let both wrestlers get their breath back but in the game they do exactly what they are intended to; wear your opponent down and reduce their health and stamina, while rebuilding yours. It’s a nice new addition that can change how your match plays out — you might be laying the smack down when your opponent slaps on a headlock for a good minute and suddenly you’re in his/her hands.

Then there’s the revamped submission and pinning mini-games. The submission games sees you play one of two roles: if you are on the offensive, you will use the analogue to swivel a bar around a circle and get inside your opponents bar; if you stay inside theirs long enough, they tap out. On the flip side, you have to stay away from the opponents bar, and you’ll find your way out. Next we have the pinning system, which is no longer just button mashing or holding X and letting go at the right time.

Again you get a small circle in the centre of the screen and there will be a green area, the size of which depends on your health, and the circle will begin to fill up — your objective is to stop the line when it enters the green kickout area. This is a much better mini-game than previous years.

There are many more small additions to the gameplay, namely that of improved animations, both during moves and in between them. WWE 2K16 took the gameplay blueprint put in place by last year’s instalment and makes it a lot more enjoyable, exciting and less repetitive.

Levelling up

My Career mode was a big change for the series last year and one of the most anticipated in years. You create your custom superstar and wrassle your way up from the Performance Centre, through NXT, onto RAW and culminate your journey at WrestleMania. Similar modes had been very popular in the SmackDown vs. Raw games series, as well as Day of Reckoning, plus NXT’s inclusion was very exciting — so this mode was definitely garnering some hype. The result, however, was a disappointing mode that wasn’t much different from Universe mode. It was an endless grind with no real outcomes or rewards.

WWE 2K16 brings back this mode but adds a lot of depth to it. The caveat is the same: create a Superstar, join the ranks of NXT, win the title belt, move to Raw, win titles and, eventually, become a Hall of Famer. That last objective replaced that of competing at WrestleMania in the last game. The main objectives are the same, so what’s different? Well, the story.

Last time out, there was no story — every so often you’d get an email or a tweet and told repetitive «storyline» elements by Vicki Guerrero. This time around you get actual rivalries and interesting relationship dynamics. There are no annoying emails — those are replaced by in-game run-ins or pseudo-cutscenes.

It’s a fun mode that is nowhere near as much of a grind as last year, thanks to the rivalries. Choosing which titles to go for, who to compete in rivalries with, who to partner with, and which sides to take, make for a far more interesting, personal journey. The mode doesn’t have the OMG story moments that would elevate it to amazing levels, but it does a decent job that keeps you invested throughout.

Jet Myers — my Superstar at the beginning of his journey!

Devil in the Details

However, there are a few elements of the My Career mode that hold it back. Annoyingly the NXT arena still has the entrance ramp on the left. Sure this is just a small detail to be hung up on but it does remove the feeling of being in NXT. This is also driven home by the fact that Michael Cole, JBL, and Jerry Lawler are commentating in NXT.

If you watch NXT you will know that this isn’t the case; Corey Graves, Byron Saxton and Rich Brennan are the talkers of NXT. This is a much bigger issue than the entrance ramp and totally removed my immersion — the reason NXT is as beloved as it is, is because it is an entirely different beast than that of RAW or Smackdown and hearing the same commentators takes away from that.

2K16 = 3:16

The big selling point for WWE 2K16 is the Stone Cold Showcase mode. Steve Austin is the cover star for the game and has been doing a ton of promotion for it, including the excellent ‘Book of Austin’ video series (which can be seen near the end of the article). It was only fitting that the game focus around the Texas Rattlesnake considering this is the closest we’ll ever get to his infamous 3:16 number.

The Showcase mode follows the same basic outline as previous installments: win matches (and complete objectives within those matches), to work your way through the career of Stone Cold Steve Austin, unlocking tons of arenas, Superstars and attires along the way.

The video packages and retrospective are worth the price of the game alone — reliving the career of the greatest of all-time in minute detail is a fantastic experience that is sure to make you submit with nostalgia.

Sweet Creation Suite

The creation suite is back this year and offers a much larger variety of features than last year. A host of fan favorite features return this year, including Create-an-Arena and Create-a-Championship, as well as an improved Create-a-Superstar suite. Other new features allow you to alter the face and body in finer detail than ever before, as well as the option to upload a photo of your face and use that on a custom Superstar or Diva.

The tools with which you can create a wrestler have been improved, like new hairstyles and the ability to dye the hair, however, some areas like tattoo’s are still absurdly undercooked. Seriously, there’s a small amount of tattoo’s you can choose from, most of them are atrocious things no-one would have on their body, the others are tattoo’s actual wrestlers have — no, I don’t want the exact same tattoo as Baron Corbin or The Undertaker, that’s just dumb.

Regardless, there’s enough there to let you create a fairly unique character. Then there’s the move-sets and the entrance editor. The move-set creator is as vast and fun to sift through as always, and the entrance editor is more detailed and better laid-out than ever before. That being said, the lack of decent entrance music is frustrating.

You can either use an existing wrestlers music, which nobody likes to do, or choose from a short list of extremely generic tracks that are pretty one-note. It’s a shame that the last generation we were able to import songs from our console to the game and use any custom track as an entrance theme, and several years later there’s no such option.


But all is not well in the land of 2K16: the game hits many high-spots, but there are some definite lulls in the action. Without doubt the two biggest issues I had with the game, are the visuals and the load times.

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I’m sure you’ve looked at a few of the screenshots and can see how visually impressive they are, and yes, the majority of the Superstars look fantastic. Your John Cena’s, Randy Orton’s, Triple H’s, and so on, are almost photo-realistic, but a few of the lesser stars are glaringly bad. It’s because of how good a lot of the character models look, that the bad ones look really bad. Renee Young, for example, her character looks really weird — as though she was designed in Smackdown vs. RAW 2007.

In the MyCareer mode, Young interviews your character after rivalry moments and big matches, and not only her design but the sound design is really poor. For example, she is supposed to introduce you but because she isn’t designed to say names there is an awkward pause between her introducing you and asking a question. The entire interview scenes look jarring and undercooked.

And, as is always the case, the crowd looks terrible. I understand the crowd are not a priority when designing a sports game. However, the WWE crowds are always close to the action and thus seeing a realistic Superstar standing next to what looks like a cardboard cut-out fan, is pretty jarring. I really wish Yukes would set aside a team of 10 or so developers whose sole job is to make a great looking, dynamic crowd that react appropriately.

The same can be said for the commentating, which is as eye-rolling as ever. They don’t react when you hit big moves, and their vocal range barely increases when there’s a near fall or a huge bump. Additionally they seem to have no memory, never reciting past events in the Universe or MyCareer mode. Sure they will mention recent attack but that all takes place at the start of the matches and from there it’s the same old droll.

Then there’s the load time.

WWE 2K16 introduced a fantastic new feature; that of no load times between matches. This means Seth Rollins will saunter down to the ring, then his music will cut out and Rusev’s will start immediately. No load times or cut-to-blacks make playing matches that much more immediate and enjoyable. However, the load times elsewhere can be painful.

Now the load times were to be one of my biggest complaints about the game; you see, entering a match or creation mode could take anywhere up to 40 seconds. Even just switching hairstyles seemed to take a lifetime. This took away from the fun of creating your custom Superstar or Diva. However, at the time of writing, the latest update for the game seems to have dramatically decreased the load times to mere seconds. My first few days with the game had me pulling out my phone or going to the bathroom when I switched modes or set up a match; this doesn’t seem to be an issue anymore, which is a fantastic improvement.

The Verdict

WWE 2K16 is a big improvement on the previous installment. MyCareer mode has been vastly improved to make for a far more interesting and rewarding experience, and the Stone Cold Showcase mode is worth the price of admission alone.

The in-ring action is better than ever with the biggest roster ever, smarter AI and further improved match pacing, as well as no load times between entrances. The three-man commentary team shakes things up a bit too, and so does the inclusion of Good ‘Ole JR in the Showcase mode, but they are as limited and scripted as always.

Despite some flaws that have haunted the series for many years now, WWE 2K16 shows great improvement in the series and continues to set the standard for wrestling games. Now, if I could just get General Manager Mode back!

WWE 2K16 Review – Not Worth Its Push

S Somewhere along the way, World Wrestling Entertainment decided to focus more on the stars of yesteryear and less on the athletes. It’s amazing to see because talents like Kevin Owens, Daniel Bryan (injured), CM Punk (now signed to the UFC), Kalisto, Adrian Neville and many more seem to be wading through the middle of the map as the John Cenas, Randy Ortons, Undertakers, Kanes, Grands Spectacles, etc. are headlining. It’s not so much about focusing on legends and established stars as it is doing very little to innovate outside the norm.

The 2K Showcase mode is awesome though. After watching Stone Cold’s rise from King of the Ring 1996 and his classic matches with Bret “The Hitman” Hart to his war with D-Generation X, it was a A real treat to watch this mode captures some of the best moments in WWE history. “

The makeover is amazing as it perfectly mirrors that of the transition from WWE 2K15 to WWE 2K16. While last year’s edition focused on rivalries like Shawn Michaels vs. Triple H, it also had John Cena vs. CM Punk. Of course, that was certainly a bummer compared to WWE 2K14 which had Defeat the Streak and 30 Years of Wrestlemania, but WWE 2K16 seems to narrow the scope further, focusing only on Stone Cold’s rise and career Steve Austin in 2K Showcase. While the latest iteration of Yuke’s and Visual Concepts Annual Wrestler looks better on Xbox One and PS4 compared to last year, there are still plenty of ways it’s decidedly not “best for business.”

Let’s start with the positive: The Create A Wrestler system is better than before and has a lot more variety when it comes to building your Superstar. My Career mode also feels better compared to last year with players able to form alliances and influence their careers based on how they align with the Authority. WWE Universe can still be a decent distraction, but in this mode, as well as in My Career mode, it’s boring to be constantly struggling with the same matches with the same people. Yes, I understand that this is how you build a “rivalry”, but should every other person I face be a “rivalry” that lasts for months?

Showcase 2K mode is awesome though. After watching Stone Cold’s rise from King of the Ring 1996 and his classic matches with Bret “The Hitman” Hart to his war with D-Generation X, it was a real treat to see this mode capture some of the best moments in WWE history. The matches themselves and the extra objectives provided weren’t bad either, and the ability to unlock various small side matches while progressing through the main timeline is a great incentive to learn more about Steve Austin outside of his most prime moments. famous. Plus, the mini-documentaries that provide context for each upcoming event and match are excellent. If only Visual Concepts and Yuke’s could add more storefronts in a single year. Then again, we have to get that DLC money one way or another and we can only hope that we will have more awesome showcases this year.

“In six-player matches for Money in the Bank, you won’t be using much other than the old grappling hook, knockdowns, and strikes (not that there’s a lot of technical magic in it. Ladder matches anyway). “

At least the list is big enough this year. Aside from important omissions like the Four Horsewomen – Becky Lynch, Charlotte, Bailey, and Sasha Banks – you’ll find just about every Superstars and Diva here as well as several variations of the base character. Some of these stats are no doubt going to overwhelm some die-hard fans of some wrestlers, but hey, the variety is great (ever wanted to see Sting vs. The Terminator? Well, here’s your chance). It’s also great that some modes that were missing last year have returned, like Ladder Tag Match, Tornado Tags, and Handicap Tags.

Yuke’s and Visual Concepts have also taken significant steps to modify the grapple system this year. You now have a set number of usable inversions, which recharge over time. You’ll also get new mini-games for chain grappling (which takes a rock-paper-scissors approach to un-upping enemies), submissions, and pinning. Rest holds, dirty pins and more are also nice additions and they allow for a pretty tactical approach to the action. Here’s the dilemma though – they’re better suited for tag team matches or singles matches. In six-player matches for Money in the Bank, you won’t be using much other than the old grappling hook, knockdowns, and strikes (not that there’s a lot of technical magic in them. Ladder matches anyway). That being said, these are welcome additions and make actual fights more competitive.

What doesn’t help WWE 2K16 are the problems. Oh, the glitches. Ladders suddenly straighten up like rakes if you hit them in weird places. Superstars can confuse each other. You may have a hard time adjusting to all newer systems, especially with the general complexity offered by the controls, and the added randomness of the issues doesn’t help. Another note on the commentary – more Jim Ross delivering signature lines, less Michael Cole, JBL and Jerry Lawler feeding me the same guts I’ve been hearing for years.

“Honestly, if you get WWE 2K16, it’s either because you’re a huge fan of the show or because you want to go through all the chaos and hilarious issues with your friends.”

And while die-hard fans will no doubt notice the visual improvements, WWE 2K16 continues the series’ tradition of looking seriously lackluster. Crowd animations aren’t a big leap from last year, some Superstars look in multiple ways and overall, and the visual quality doesn’t feel like it’s overshooting its plateau any time soon. . Aside from the actual content of the comment lines, the timing and voice quality are above average in places.

WWE 2K16 isn’t a big evolution, but it does include the most comprehensive roster yet, a fun showcase with Stone Cold Steve Austin, and plenty of opportunities for chaos with friends. Honestly, if you get WWE 2K16, it’s either because you’re a huge fan of the show or because you want to go through all the chaos and hilarious issues with your friends. Your general consumer may have a hard time finding really much joy after a while – damn it, as a fan, even I haven’t found much reason to play after a while. You might want to check out WWE 2K16 but keep your expectations low – the product isn’t quite finished but it hasn’t yet reached full jobber status.

This game has been tested on Xbox One.

WWE 2K16 — Review

WWE 2K16’s in-ring action exemplifies excellence in execution.

Posted Oct. 31, 2015, 7:11 a.m.

Wrestling games have been lost in a foggy region between arcade and simulation for well over a decade, but last year, WWE 2K15 took a big risk by pushing further into simulation territory than ever before. Despite how divisive this decision proved to be, WWE 2K16 doubles down on that, and it’s all the better for it. I’m used to thinking about resource management and move spacing when I play fighting games, but not in a wrestling game. 2K16 has me thinking that way, and it rewards me for it, and despite the fact that it’s still missing some features I love, that kept me coming back bout after bout.

Developers Yukes and Visual Concepts were on the right track last year when they added a stamina system and a chain wrestling system to create a greater sense of pace, and they’ve built on those successes beautifully.

Educated Feet

At the center is the reworked reversal system, which makes reversals a limited, slowly regenerating resource. Managing it correctly means you’ve got the ace in the hole you need to escape scary late-match situations, where a less frugal opponent might find themselves forced to absorb a beating. Not only does this create a welcome layer of decision-making previously absent from the series, it adds an extremely meaningful differentiation between characters, as some have more reversal stocks than others.

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Working in tandem with the excellent reversal system are the new Working Holds. Wrestling smarks know these are holds that performers use to catch their breath mid-match, and WWE 2K16 smartly incorporates them in a competitive context here. Successful working holds restore your stamina while sapping your opponent’s — effectively allowing you to stall out their offense until you can get some reversal stocks back. That’s just one possible tactic you might employ. The pressure to stall or scrape by until you have the resources you need, and the incentive to force your opponent to waste theirs opens the fighting up tremendously.

Holes in the Show

Most wrestling fans agree that showmanship is at least as important as technical, in-ring ability, and WWE 2K16 doesn’t quite nail all its big spots in this regard. Technically, it’s kind of all over the place: there are no load times between ring entrances, lending a seamless, TV-broadcast feel to match openings, but the loads between other modes, and even just to preview a costume piece in create-a-wrestler can be painful. Sometimes the AI behaves uncannily like the wrestler you know and love, like when Seth Rollins tries to DQ himself to retain the belt, and other times, they quizzically zone out and sort of stare off into space.

This same inconsistency spills over into other areas. Visually, some character models and effects look terrific, like during Randy Orton’s ring entrance, while guys like Chris Jerico seem to be holdovers from the last-gen days.

Feed. Me. More.

The biggest criticism leveled at last year’s game was the anemic roster, and the overall lack of modes and features compared to prior years. WWE 2K16 largely rectifies this, but its bag of tricks hasn’t quite gotten back to the point of overflowing yet. The one exception is in the roster which is, quite frankly, nuts. In terms of separate individual wrestlers, you’re looking at over 120, including many NXT-born stars, who fans were clamoring for last year. Not only are they a joy to play in their own right, but they add some much-needed diversity to the roster.

In terms of match types, much of what we lost last year is back. There are exceptions: no backstage brawl, no 2 out of 3 falls, no inferno etc. Honestly, very little that I cared about hasn’t returned, but it would be nice to see these modes come back in future iterations. Still this represents a huge improvement over last year’s sparse match offerings.

The roster is, quite frankly, nuts.

Core modes like create-a-wrestler and MyCareer have been expanded considerably, with the latter spanning multiple years instead of ending with a single Wrestlemania appearance. Diva, belt, and arena creation are thankfully restored. Universe has even more ways to customize your WWE sandbox, including detailed personality sliders that affect in ring behavior.As has become expected, 2K Showcase is back, and is still a great mix of history and fantasy recreation. I miss create-a-story and create-a-move, but even without them, there’s still plenty you can do with this toolset.

  • New reversal system
  • Working holds
  • Huge roster
  • Meatier feature set
  • Inconsistent presentation

The Verdict

WWE 2K16 takes a big step back towards being the exhaustive suite of wrestling wish-fulfillment it’s expected to be, but that, for me, is not the reason I’ll keep playing. I’ll keep defying gravity as Adrian Neville, and defying expectations as Dolph Ziggler, because WWE 2K16 is as close to a fusion of performance and competition as a wrestling game has ever gotten. That’s what I come to wrestling for, and that’s what 2K16 delivers.

WWE 2K16 review

Brawling back the years.

After last year’s disaster, 2K’s series bounces back with the best wrestling game in years.

When you think about it, a wrestling game represents something of a unique proposition for a developer. For the most part, it’s a sports sim: the performers can be motion captured and the action digitally recreated just as you would with a football or basketball game.

But professional wrestling isn’t a sport. Those punches aren’t connecting, the barbed wire has caps on and, let’s face it, the People’s Elbow really doesn’t look like it would hurt that much. Unlike, say, FIFA, a WWE game shouldn’t strive to be a true representation of its source material. Enjoying wrestling involves a leap of faith, and, more than anything, it’s this gap between the real and the imagined which makes creating a compelling wrestling game so difficult.

It’s fair to say then that, in recent years, the WWE2K series has failed to rise to this challenge. The joint efforts of developers Yuke’s and Visual Concepts have been universally poorly received and, somewhat tragically, the genre has been sidelined. Whereas once every console owner would have a Smackdown! or WCW vs NWO in their collection, the titles seem to be released now strictly for members of the IWC.

I’m pleased to report that WWE2K16 bucks this trend. By finding that sweet spot between «sports» and «entertainment» the developers have managed to create what, for my money, feels like the best wrestling game experience for at least eight years. Not since the 1-2-3 Kid beat Razor Ramon has there been such an unlikely turnaround.

So how have they managed it? The answer is — excuse the pun — quite hard to pin down.

Tyler Breeze is about to find out if he’s been a naughty boy.

For starters, it would have been very difficult for 2K16 not to represent some improvement from last year’s iteration. 2K15 was the series’ first next-gen release and had clearly been rushed due to struggles with the transition. Sparring was buggy and felt frustratingly unresponsive at times, and it seemed like huge amounts of content had been lopped out of the game at the last minute. The roster was too small and the game modes you’ve come to expect from the franchise were either truncated or missing entirely.

2K16 largely puts that right, with an expanded, richer MyCareer mode, a huge selection of wrestlers to choose from — albeit limited when it comes to Divas — and a fully featured create-a-wrestler suite. Taking a personalised Superstar from the little leagues of NXT right up to the Championship Belt is one of the most enjoyable sports game career mode experiences around, and while it may not reach the heights of Smackdown: Here Comes the Pain, 2K16’s variety of matches, rivalries and PPVs — all as you level up and customise your grappler — makes for a hugely compelling timesink.

The 2K Showcase also returns, and this time charts the career of cover star Steve Austin. Although not new to the series, its a wonderful feature and one that should truly delight hardcore fans. With its clever use of archive footage and the enlisting of Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler to provide the commentary, the mode is a celebration of everything that’s great about professional wrestling — the pageantry, the over-the-top drama, and above all, the nostalgia.

What about the changes that really matter, though — those within the ring? You’d assume that with the Terminator as a DLC playable character — surely one of the strangest cross-promotional tie-ins of recent years — 2K16 was taking a step back towards the genre’s arcadey roots. In fact, the opposite is true, with new or refined simulation elements making every fight much more cerebral than lapsed fans might expect.

It’s believed 2K are planning to use the career of Prince Albert for the showcase mode in WWE2K17.

For the first time tactics and resource management plays a major part in how you navigate a match. Reversals — overpowered in recent years — are now finite, meaning it’s sometimes best to absorb a few blows early on knowing that a well-timed flick of R2 could turn the match on its head as your health bar runs down.

Depending on which wrestler you’re playing as, you’ll have different amounts of reversals to use up, lending more variety to gameplay than I can remember in the genre. While it’s frustrating to lose in a bout you’ve been dominating, on the other hand it’s hugely satisfying to win thanks to one you’ve stored up. If wrestling is about anything, it’s dramatic changes of fortune like these — regardless of who’s been pummelling who for the last 15 minutes.

Meanwhile a new Working Holds system — similar to Chain Grappling — offers you a chance to rebuild stamina mid-match, just like the real performers do, while the pinfall system has also been tweaked. To beat stronger opponents, especially when you start off a new MyCareer game, you’ll have to master all of these new features and make the most of every trick up your sleeve.

The one bugbear I did have with the new gameplay systems was with submissions, which involves another of 2K’s quick-time event minigames — this time one in which you must use your right thumb-stick to chase or avoid a pointer around the circumference of a small circle (yes, it’s just as strange as it sounds). The switch from left trigger, to control your wrestler, to right, to move the target, is counterintuitive, and time and again I’ve lost matches simply by pressing the wrong stick. Even when you use the correct side, the fact that to win a submission you have to «chase» your opponent, but to break out of one you have to avoid them, is too simply too hard to get your head around in a split second.

The WWE is the world’s biggest purchaser of hair removal cream

Collision detection has been tightened up, with fewer frustrating moments where your character grabs at thin air or simply refuses to get back into the ring and an overall better flow to the action. The main difficulties I encountered involved tagging in and out and, while frustrating, problems like these have dogged the series for years. We can but hope 2K17 irons out a few more of these forgiveable — but potentially game-spoiling — kinks.

Made in Poland but not by CD Projekt Red.

What’s harder to forgive is some of the flaws in the presentation of the game. While a great effort has been made to model some Superstars and their entrances, the quality is hugely uneven, with some particularly ropey-looking Divas rather letting the side down. Commentary, too, could be better, particularly if you’re come expect the standards that EA Sports are setting each year. It doesn’t take long to become tired of hearing the same stock phrases, particularly if you’re feuding with one character and end up playing them several matches in a row.

The loading times are also a source of frustration. 20 to 30 second delays might be understandable in an open-world RPG, but not when switching between modes in a sports sim. This slowness also seem to impact online, where matchmaking takes an age and a recurrent lag means anything but the most basic match seems impossible. Although not something you’d typically associate with wrestling games, online play is an area of huge untapped potential. But perhaps more something for 2K to look at once the core gameplay has been nailed down.

So while a marked improvement on recent years, does 2K16 offer enough to push the genre back into the mainstream? On balance, probably not. WWE’s popularity is at an all-time low and it will take a more polished release with fewer eccentricities to lure those who have no interest in its real-life incarnation. For the rest of us, though, it represents something hugely welcome, something that last year would have seemed like a leap of faith in itself — a wrestling game worth playing that doesn’t involve using an emulator or hunting for an N64 on eBay.

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Обзор WWE 2K16

WWE 2K16 в очередной раз доказывает, что Yuke’s пора многое менять. Читайте нашу рецензию

WWE 2K16 – типичный представитель ежегодных обновлений за полную стоимость. Если некоторые симуляторы не только изменяют составы и формы, но и добавляют интересные элементы в игровой процесс, то разработчики WWE уже давно не меняли ничего, кроме ростера и режимов.

Yuke’s обещали, что в этом году будет представлен широкий список борцов без дублей в разных костюмах, но свое обещание они так и не сдержали. В WWE 2K16 присутствуют несколько Стингов, Остинов и других популярных рестлеров.

WWE 2K16 по прежнему перегружена индикаторами, QTE и внешне мало отличается от игр прошлого десятилетия. В 2015 году мы все также продолжаем наблюдать дерганную анимацию и резкие переходы между движениями. Сами рестлеры выглядят пластмассовыми болванчиками, а система освещения отсутствует как класс. Удивительно, что в таком “отточенном” годами механизме встречаются глюки, которые в прошлом году на глаза не попадались. Иногда после броска распластавшийся у канатов соперник исчезает и появляется за пределами ринга, а как-то раз, оппонент очутился на бортике и вдруг неожиданно пошел по воздуху! Чудеса да и только.

Игровой процесс вываливает на пользователя множество различных датчиков. Удары, броски и прочие приемы расходуют шкалу выносливости. Каждое успешное действие накапливает процент “momentum”, который открывает возможность проводить мощные супер атаки. Для победы надо удержать соперника на лопатках три секунды, а для оппонента это как всегда QTE с надоедливым индикатором и последующим нажатием на кнопку. Действовать можно раз в секунду и если все три раза не попасть в нужную область, то вы проиграете. Чем сильнее побит рестлер, тем меньше область в которую надо попасть. Одержать победу можно и болевым приемом, который тоже сопровождается QTE с “увлекательными” манипуляциями стиком.

Помимо шкалы здоровья, самочувствие бойца определяет индикатор повреждения частей тела. Если постоянно бить соперника по голове, то в итоге он будет медленней ходить, держаться за голову и падать даже от слабого удара. Если повредить ногу или руку, то болевые приемы направленные на ослабленные участки, будут иметь больше шансов на успех.

В игре нет блока, поэтому бойцы могут лишь перехватывать атаки друг друга. Yuke’s показалось, что в этой механике чего-то не хватает. Чего именно? Конечно же ещё одного индикатора! Одно из нововведений WWE 2K16 – специальная шкала, которая расходуется при перехватах. Во всём остальном система осталась прежней. Чтобы перехватить атаку нужно нажать соответствующую кнопку в короткий промежуток времени перед началом анимации. В этот момент над головой персонажа появляется иконка перехвата. Размер окна, в которое можно контратаковать соперника, зависит от калькуляции соответствующих параметров бойцов, но оно всегда небольшое. Сложность в том, что часто приходится предугадывать момент атаки, а не реагировать. Очевидно, авторы игры не понимают, что куда больше логики было бы, если удары и броски перехватывались непосредственно во время анимации, перед контактом с персонажем.

Игровой процесс очень медленный и сводится к накоплению “momentum”, совершая одни и те же действия для последующего супер приема и попытке удержать соперника. Долгие анимации после каждого действия сбивают и без того невысокий темп игры. Кажется, что еще чуть чуть и игра превратиться в шахматы, в которых вместо короля и королевы выступают лица из телевизионного шоу WWE.

Конечно, можно выставить более интересные правила боя и драться с помощью столов и лестниц или устроить “ад в клетке”, но в целом из-за низкого темпа и общей примитивности игровых механик, даже эти поединки быстро приедаются. В “сюжетных” режимах такие бои встречаются редко. Чаще всего нам дают отыграть бой один на один по стандартам правилам.

Yuke’s пытается наращивать контент, связанный со вселенной WWE. Как и в прошлом году, здесь большое количество исторических справок и всяческих отсылок к прошлому. В этом году режим 2K Showcase посвящен великому и ужасному Стиву Остину по прозвищу “Stone Cold”. Здесь покажут важнейшие моменты карьеры знаменитой ледяной глыбы. В этом режиме традиционно богатая база видеоматериалов, а во время геймплея необходимо выполнять задания, соответствующие реальным событиям. Например, в самом первом бою надо победить Джейка Робертса после проведения “станнера”, а в матче против Рики Стимбота соблюсти целый ряд условий, которые идут друг за другом, и повторить знаковые моменты старого боя.

На фоне всех недостатков WWE 2K16 режим 2K Showcase действительно радует. Пусть в этом году он полностью посвящен лишь одному рестлеру, но Стив Остин — личность выдающаяся и сыграть самому ключевые моменты знаменитых противостояний действительно интересно.

Режим карьеры, как и раньше, позволяет создать своего рестлера и вести его по карьерной лестнице WWE от второсортных шоу NXT до Wrestlemania. Новый режим создания персонажа разрешает импортировать лица, однако нигде нет толкового описания как это сделать. Если попытаться загрузить уже готовые лица каких-нибудь знаменитостей из интернета, то система может дать сбой. Иногда загрузка длится бесконечно долго и не хочет продвигаться дальше определенного процента — в этот момент её никак не прервать и проще перезапустить игру.

‘WWE 2K16’ Is Better Than Its Predecessors but Still Not Very Good

It’s still real to me. As real as it was 12 years ago, when WWE SmackDown! Here Comes the Pain came out. That was the last time I was truly, unashamedly happy with a wrestling game based on old man Vince McMahon’s traveling circus of grappling men and women of superhero proportions and soap opera storylines.

With WWE 2K16, even though its makers have gone down the route of making every 30-something in the world happy by centering the game on Stone Cold Steve Austin, another year passes without that same joy returning. And it hurts, it really does. Because for all of its scripted falls and backstage histrionics, this wrestling world is real to me, and it deserves a video game that reflects how WWE has evolved in the years since Here Comes the Pain.

Last year’s game was, if we’re honest, 2K’s first real stab at the WWE license. It had released 2K14, but that was for all intents and purposes a THQ (RIP) product. Alas, 2K15 was one of the worst pieces of shit I’ve ever played, and I’ve been playing games for a long time. Which makes this year’s entry the grand hope, the shot at redemption and reinvention, from the studio that brought us the ludicrously good NBA 2K series.

All screens courtesy of 2K

This third collaboration between Japanese studio Yuke’s and Californian developers Visual Concepts is essentially being sold as «year one» for 2K’s WWE series. But with that sales pitch comes expectations built upon years of disappointments, the sort of anticipation that no entirely new game will ever be released into. And there’s good news: WWE 2K16 is a lot better than last year’s game. Unfortunately, it doesn’t do enough to make me, a wrestling fan through and through, completely happy (reading on, that may be an understatement), and nor can I honestly recommend it to other followers of all things wrasslin’, at least not at full price. Find this in a half-decent sale? Well, it’s your money.

The actual in-the-ring (and beyond) action is much improved on what’s come before—everything is smoother than it’s ever been, and while there’s still some total bullshit on show, like the opening chain wrestling exchange. I mean, I get it, and it’s sort of how it happens in real life; but fuck me if it isn’t tedious to begin every bout with a game of rock-paper-scissors and some god-awful stick twiddling. Who the fuck would want to actually do that? An idiot, that’s who. Get beyond that, though, and generally speaking you can see where things have been fixed and tweaked over last 2014’s cruddy effort.

There are times when you can have a lot of fun with 2K16. It plays a lot more like wrestling is on TV, with unavoidable distractions, cheating heels, hot tags, and other elements we’ve either not seen or seen very little of in a game, in the past. And that’s all very welcome.

But it’s not long before issues you’d have thought—you’d have rightly hoped—would have been fixed by now pop up, and a feeling of resignation washes over you, and all of a sudden all you can do to ease the situation is open another beer. «Hey, at least I’m playing it like Stone Cold would want me to,» your brain thinks, but you put an end to that thought because for fuck’s sake there’s an air of shoddiness about 2K16 that becomes hard to ignore.

Charlotte is the WWE’s women’s («Divas») champion at the time of writing. So obviously you can expect to be able to play as her in 2K16. Obviously. Only, wait. No, you can’t. Can you imagine a WWE game not having the reigning men’s champion in it? Of course not, because that would be fucking stupid. So there’s no Charlotte here, but do you know who is? The Terminator. Twice.

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I’m not even kidding. 2K has devoted resources to creating Terminator characters based on the first and second movies, available as DLC, rather than bothering to make one of the WWE’s major champions. Because of course. I don’t want to dwell too much on Arnie’s turn in the game, as he looks like a shitty create-a-wrestler any asshole could make (and it’s not restricted to him), and… Just, for fuck’s sake, they haven’t even bothered, nor are they bothering, with the actual women’s champion. Nonsense.

This attitude bleeds in elsewhere, too. On the surface, everything looks fine—brilliant, at times, especially when the likes of Finn Balor and the Vaudevillains are making their entrances. But then you see more glitches, standard moves that entirely fuck up animations, and hilarious failings in 2K16‘s front-of-the-cover mode, and you realize that maybe not everything under the hood has been worked on as hard as those superficial, draw-in-the-unthinking-masses elements.

But then, who cares that ground grapples are more or less broken, because 2K16 has Savio Vega in it. What does it matter that the AI balancing is off, resulting in reversals about 75 percent of the time, because you can upload your face to the game. Never mind that the create-a-wrestler system no longer allows «live» previews of hair, clothes, and other elements you’re adding to your creation, instead requiring you to select them and sit through a ton of loading before you can see what they look like on your crafted wrestle-person—it has lots of videos of Stone Cold Steve Austin on the disc to make you forget about actually playing it.

I don’t hate WWE 2K16 anywhere near as much as I did 2K15. But it’s not worth any more of my time beyond what I’ve already spent to produce these words; it’s not worth your time, unless it’s cheap and you’re desperate, as you’re not even being paid to play it (probably); and it’s absolutely not the best thing 2K could have put out there. Let’s see how it ends up next year, because right now I’m left with only Here Comes the Pain (and No Mercy for that matter) as evidence that wrestling can translate to video games in a way that doesn’t have fans of either wondering what the fuck went wrong.

WWE 2K16 is out now for PlayStation 3 and 4, Xbox 360, and Xbox One.


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WWE 2K16 Review – Not Worth Its Push





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