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OS Scores Explained WWE 2K16 Overview (PS4)
Pros
Showcase mode should be played by any wrestling fan, roster size, chain wrestling is still fun.
Cons
WWE Universe mode is anything but total control, unpolished, technical issues abound, presentation still very weak.
Bottom Line
A game that if you love wrestling you will find a reason to love it. Otherwise, game needs polish and better design decisions.
6.5
out of 10
WWE 2K16 REVIEW

WWE 2K16 Review (PS4)

Developers of wrestling games may have one of the hardest jobs around as they must try to emulate a scripted/staged event by introducing elements to make it feel like a real event.

In short, that type of juggling has rarely resulted in video games greatness.

The folks at 2K are back (in conjunction with Yukes) to give wrestling another go this year. Last year, I called the game above average -- with promising additions in terms of modes and gameplay features. Everything wasn’t quite working right, but there was hope for the future.

Strangely enough, this year I feel less hope and more disdain for the title. There has been work done, but I’m not sure any of it has made the game truly better -- just different.

In the Ring

WWE 2K16 is, in essence, a fighting game. You can call it anything else you want, but at its core the game is a fighting game, and those games are made or broken by their control scheme.

This year, 2K has separated the controls for strikes and grapples even further to ensure you have better control over what you want to do. This also includes new striking positions so you can have more moves and more control in the ring.

Perhaps the best way to describe the execution of this idea is as a mixed bag. The new striking positions are welcomed, but the timing and flow of many matches makes you feel as if you don’t have much control at times. Instead, at times it feels like the AI decides if you or your opponent gets to perform a move when you both initiate at the same time.

That also results in many funky looking moments as the game can look far from clean or polished in the ring. For example, there has been more than one occasion where my Superstar has tried to run against the ropes only to run into some sort of invisible force field that stops my momentum.

Reversals last year were out of hand, and thankfully 2K has brought us some help this year with a new system that limits the total amount of reversals you can do and also introduces major and minor reversals.

While I personally think it was lazy on some level to solve the issue of too many reversals by artificially limiting how many can actually happen, it does create a strategic element within the game. However, for newcomers who are not aware of the limit, they’re going to be super frustrated towards the end of a match when they’re no longer able to reverse moves like they were earlier.

(For the record, and while I have not studied it, I’m pretty sure AI opponents are not playing by the same rules when it comes to reversals -- at least it feels that way.)

Timing reversals requires quick reactions, which has not changed from last year. Major reversals are extremely difficult to pull off (at least for me) but when you do they’re big events in a match.

The AI itself was said to be improved, but I only saw some minor improvements in tag team matches where my teammates and opponents actually behaved as teams.

The chain wrestling and new working holds are still as fun as ever, and the ties where you can have a clean break or a cheap shot is well done. The natural progression of both of these systems allows you to really feel like at least parts of the match are what you see on TV.

I'm not a fan of the submission system because it just feels too artificial. Having a mini-game is fine, but having one with orbs to give you a bonus during the fight? It just seems like there was a layer introduced here that should have never been introduced.

The new pin system is also something I must give some kudos. The mini-game to kick out is panic-inducing if you miss it the first two times. On top of that, the new pin varieties and interactions are well done.

Perhaps the most frustrating thing with the gameplay is that it too often lacks the cerebral nature the developers were going for and devolves into a mishmash of fervent button presses and furious mini-games that oftentimes can be difficult to control. Everything just doesn’t seem to connect and mesh just yet, and it makes for a disjointed feeling inside of the ring at times.

Showcase

The Stone Cold Steve Austin showcase mode is well done, and I think we should have expected this to be the case. The presentation package and the matches chosen give you a glimpse of the reality of the '90s-era WWF/E -- and to me really makes me wish we could have that era back in some ways (and not back in others). The commentary during the matches is pretty well done, and you’ll journey through a classic era of the WWE.

Showcase mode, for all intents and purposes, is worth at least a rental of this game because of the ride it takes you on. The mode itself is easily the game’s strongest component, and I do highly recommend it.

MyCareer

MyCareer's premise is that you start out training at the lower levels of the WWE in the NXT program. From there, you work your way up through the ranks to try to become world champion.

New this year are interviews that let you show some personality. You can also choose to interfere with rivals, form tag teams and create alliances. In short, MyCareer really improves on last year's experience in most every way. While not as strong of a selling point as Showcase, MyCareer should keep you busy.

The problem I think I'm running into with MyCareer is that the mode has already begun to feel somewhat repetitive as you move deeper into it. There's a clear pattern you follow, and while you can make choices to change things up, you'll be back in a familiar pattern in no time. MyCareer is a mode that should appeal to wrestling fans, but casual folks may not be as apt to give the mode everything they have.

Creation Suite

The creation suite this year has much more in terms of options, including the ability to create a diva (otherwise known as a woman to humans), a championship, arena and show.

All of these options are excellent on the surface, and the team at 2K is on the right track. That being said, the delays in the menus when changing items and adjusting your superstar makes creating anything a complete and utterly miserable experience.

If you want to see how several different pairs of elbow pads look on a superstar, you will experience menu delays multiple seconds in length while switching back and forth between items, which obviously makes creating anything just an absolute chore.

The options are now there though and anything can be created, you just may need to possess the patience of Job to get the job done.

WWE Universe

Here’s the deal with WWE Universe: On one hand it offers you the ability to set rivalries, add shows, add title belts, superstars, move them between shows, and do all sorts of cool things to create your own literal WWE Universe. And with the game’s huge roster, you can have a lot of fun.

However, there’s the other side of the mode. That is the side where just when you think "hey I’ll book these two guys in a title match on Raw," only to find out that you actually can’t book title matches. Or the side where you want to create a feud between two guys to see who the number-one contender is (or next up as they say) only to find out you can only book three rivalries a show.

Then there’s the annoying menu pop-ups for all rivalry matches I still have not figured out how to get rid of yet.

It's as if the goal of Universe mode was to give you all sorts of things you think are cool, only to then hit you with a low blow at the next turn when you then try to do something that seems relatively basic yet is artificially limited.

It just feels like, no matter how you slice it, Universe Mode is a frustrating experience.

Presentation

The commentary this year is improved with the three-man booth of Michael Cole, JBL and Jerry Lawler. However, it’s still not what I’d call good. Considering last year’s atrocious effort was one of the worst I have seen from a sports game, improving upon that effort was not going to be a huge problem.

In terms of the graphics, the game is a mixture of good and bad. Some superstars look great, others look terrible. In addition, long hair still does not work or look right on the wrestlers. Walking animations for some superstars in their entrances can look horrible, but others are more spot on.

The crowd will do some basic chants, and sometimes will react to the action the ring -- but generally crowds feel dull and lifeless. Even the chants seem to be there just to be there and don't add a huge dimension to the games presentation. A big match just does not feel big no matter how hard you try to close your eyes and convince yourself otherwise.

Final Thoughts

Simply put, WWE 2K16 is a mixed bag. The gameplay, at times wants to be really good, but I am always brought back to reality by something that is equally bad. This weird dichotomy within the game has you screaming, “YES! YES! YES!” and then you realize Hulk Hogan is actually the third man and you are throwing trash into the ring in disgust.

The gameplay is rather average thanks to the issues I can find. The new additions are great, but the technical and balancing issues are going to wear on people over time (just like reversals last year). The modes are decent, but there is nothing in this game that will keep you playing for months unless you can overlook the obvious shortcomings in Universe or MyCareer.

I struggled with my final rating for WWE 2K16 because of this Jekyll and Hyde type of performance. I suppose those looking for the good and willing to ignore the bad will find plenty of positives, but those who care about a game that is functionally sound will find plenty to be disappointed in here as well.

WWE 2K16 feels unpolished and incomplete on one hand, but on the other hand it can be fun and even deep as well. At the end of the day, it’s above average, and I can only hope this is the last year the series moves sideways.

Score: 6.5 (Above Average)

Edit: The original incorrectly stated there were no crowd chants. This appears to have been a bug in my copy (I was originally missing commentary as well). After doing the same procedure a second time the crowd chants did appear -- so I updated the review text to reflect that.


WWE 2K16 Videos
Member Comments
# 1 Seanzie @ 10/30/15 12:38 PM
I'm surprised the review was rather negative. I feel like this is the best wrestling game since N64 era wrestling games.

Personally, I feel like it's a solid 8 out of 10.
 
# 2 TheChosenOne82 @ 10/30/15 01:16 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Seanzie
I'm surprised the review was rather negative. I feel like this is the best wrestling game since N64 era wrestling games.

Personally, I feel like it's a solid 8 out of 10.
The game is better than this review indicates. No crowd chants? I hear crowd chants during the vast majority of my matches. And also remember, those beloved N64 titles received only slightly above average reviews when the were first released. Now they're these awesome games by the same people that were giving them those reviews. Some have even gone back and retroactively changed the ratings in those games, hoping that people would forget. I remember being baffled that those games couldn't get above a 7. I also give the game an 8 out of 10.
 
# 3 Cman9 @ 10/30/15 01:23 PM
Sounds like this guy hates it. lol
 
# 4 DBMcGee3 @ 10/30/15 01:28 PM
Hey 2k, here's an idea...go back to separate buttons for strike and grapple reversals. It was awesome back in the No mercy days, and it would be awesome now.

Still looking forward to trying the game though, as honestly this is the only bad review I've read on it so far. These games will always have bugs, there's just so much going on. But I've gotten over them in the past so I'm sure I can do the same this time around.
 
# 5 Cman9 @ 10/30/15 01:38 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by DBMcGee3
Hey 2k, here's an idea...go back to separate buttons for strike and grapple reversals. It was awesome back in the No mercy days, and it would be awesome now.

Still looking forward to trying the game though, as honestly this is the only bad review I've read on it so far. These games will always have bugs, there's just so much going on. But I've gotten over them in the past so I'm sure I can do the same this time around.
I agree, no wrestling game has ever been perfect and from what I have seen there have been mostly positive reviews from people. It has a score of 84 on Metacritic so far. I will be getting it.
 
# 6 opd897 @ 10/30/15 01:48 PM
I absolutely hated last years game, traded it in after about a week. This years game is vastly improved IMO, having a great time with it.
 
# 7 Ronoko @ 10/30/15 02:09 PM
Shocked at this review really. Lowest review I have seen so far is an 8/10, most a little higher.
 
# 8 scottyp180 @ 10/30/15 02:09 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by DBMcGee3
Hey 2k, here's an idea...go back to separate buttons for strike and grapple reversals. It was awesome back in the No mercy days, and it would be awesome now.

Still looking forward to trying the game though, as honestly this is the only bad review I've read on it so far. These games will always have bugs, there's just so much going on. But I've gotten over them in the past so I'm sure I can do the same this time around.
This is something that has bothered me for awhile, especially with the new reversal system being implemented this year. I don't even mind the reversals being limited but they could add a strike reversal button and have limited reversals for each.
 
# 9 dmslapped @ 10/30/15 02:14 PM
It's a good game with bugs. This review is a little harsh, and wrong about the crowd chants.
 
# 10 Greene_Flash03 @ 10/30/15 02:22 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by dmslapped
It's a good game with bugs. This review is a little harsh, and wrong about the crowd chants.
When I play Cena, I hear, "Let's go Cena, CENA SUCKS!". So it's there.
 
# 11 MMChrisS @ 10/30/15 02:30 PM
Added this line to the review, after going back and running same procedure I had to do to get commentary to work in the game, crowd chants then appeared. Strange, strange bug.

Quote:
Edit: The original incorrectly stated there were no crowd chants. This appears to have been a bug in my copy (I was originally missing commentary as well). After doing the same procedure a second time the crowd chants did appear -- so I updated the review text to reflect that.
 
# 12 brandonc1979 @ 10/30/15 02:33 PM
I agree that this review is a little harsh. I've enjoyed the game, but a few good points are raised. Universe mode was billed as giving us total control, which we don't have without being able to book title matches when we want to. I've also noticed that the AI doesn't always lose one of their reversals when they reverse a move. At first, I thought I was just imagining it, but then I started keeping count. Glad to see someone else noticed the same thing.
 
# 13 and1product @ 10/30/15 02:42 PM
Yeah the 6.5 will mislead a lot of people on the fence on buying what i think is the best wrestling game to date. It does have some bugs which almost all games do including the overrated Metal gear solid 5 and i am upset about some match exclusions but this game is in no shape a 6.5. This is at least an 8.
 
# 14 nate1986 @ 10/30/15 03:01 PM
I don't think 6.5 is a fair review for the game, its a bit harsh in my opinion the worst i think it could warrant is a 7.5 IGN gave it an 8.8 which is right on par with Madden and NBA 2K this year and scored better reviews then FIFA, The Show and NHL 16
 
# 15 PVarck31 @ 10/30/15 03:27 PM
Chris, I'm sorry, but I have to disagree with the review score. While you make many valid points in the text, the score does not reflect the core gameplay improvement of this game.

I am not sure how big a wrestling fan you are, but if you have been playing wrestling games for the last 10-15 years or so, you will see that this is the best playing wrestling game since No Mercy on N64.

To me, gameplay is king. And takes precedence over minor bugs, graphics, and other small stuff that makes up a game. One aspect you didn't touch on is wrestler traits. This adds a lot to the game. It gives some individuality to the characters. Sometimes a heel wrestler will just leave a match and take a count out. That some straight up Kevin Owens stuff right there.

To say the AI isn't good is simply not true. This game has the best CPU AI in any of the THQ WWE games or the 2K WWE games.

I do agree with you about the submission system. I don't like it and I think many other would agree. This is definitely a knock on this game.

The crowd could also be better along with the commentary. But the gameplay is really where this game shines. The matches flow well, and sure there are some minor bugs happening during the matches, but they are rare and not game killing. Finally, you can put together a solid match that looks and feels realistic. The AI will finally do the right things in matches at the right times, like go for pins and what not.

I just feel the gameplay is the best in the series, and you're selling it a little short. Just my opinion.

I feel like I'm not able to get my feelings of the game across very well in this post. IGN's review is pretty much exactly how I feel about it.

I would give the game an 8 or 8.5 right now.
 
# 16 atl8934 @ 10/30/15 03:47 PM
This game has too many bugs/glitches. 5 out of 10, could easily be an 8/8.5 out of 10 with a good patch. Gameplay IS a lot better but surprised how much love it's getting. The new pinning system is incredibly weak. I can kick out of anything and I play on legend difficulty. Shouldn't be hit with a signature move and kick out before 1 count... 2K shot for the stars but came up short. But again, if they fix the bugs in the game I will be stoked. Until then, I'm putting it away for a while. Not a $60 finished product
 
# 17 Greene_Flash03 @ 10/30/15 03:54 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by atl8934
This game has too many bugs/glitches. 5 out of 10, could easily be an 8/8.5 out of 10 with a good patch. Gameplay IS a lot better but surprised how much love it's getting. The new pinning system is incredibly weak. I can kick out of anything and I play on legend difficulty. Shouldn't be hit with a signature move and kick out before 1 count... 2K shot for the stars but came up short. But again, if they fix the bugs in the game I will be stoked. Until then, I'm putting it away for a while. Not a $60 finished product
Interesting take. I haven't encountered any game-breaking bugs other than the MINB glitch. Maybe I need to play more.

I'm guessing then that you haven't lost a game since you can kick out of any situation? I find the new pinning system just fine. It feels rewarding when you're able to kick out close to a 3 count.
 
# 18 pdandy @ 10/30/15 03:57 PM
First WWE game in over a decade that I didn't want to immediately trade in.
 
# 19 dubcity @ 10/30/15 04:08 PM
I'm always amazed at how personal people take reviews like this. It's as if just because a game is getting positive reviews, or the impressions thread on this site is full of compliments, somehow people demand all reviews fall in line.

OS reviews are always top notch and arguable the most in-depth you will find on the internet. And this is no different.

People worried about this review "misleading" people into not buying this game should find comfort in the fact that there are tons of superficial, 2 paragraph mainstream reviews telling consumers to buy it just because it's new and the graphics are totally awesome.
 
# 20 atl8934 @ 10/30/15 04:09 PM
Yes I have lost matches, but let's be real: if I'm in the red and get hit with a signature move, there's no reason in hell the red can't even count to one before I kick out, and it happens very often. Because of this every match has this "going on forever epic match" feel which isn't realistic. And no bugs? You definitely need to play more. Check out the 2k forums, there's a whole list of glitches/bugs, many of which I've encountered: no user created title matches in universe, the invisible celebration glitch if you edit an attire, create an arena crashes frequently when using imported logos, downloaded wrestlers will suddenly have random logos and such appear on them, show will say it's in Los Angeles and then m cole will say how great it is to be back in Texas... And that's just a short list. I do love the new submission system, truly difficult to get a hang of. I've only made one person tap out
 

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