What Are Your First Impressions of WWE 2K17?
Brandon Kosal: In the interest of full disclosure, I should preface my comments by revealing this is the first WWE video game I have played since WWE ’11 on the PS3. I had grown tired of the series and felt like I needed to take some time off. So after six years away from the franchise, along with a developer switch, my initial impressions of the game, overall, are very positive.
I’ve only messed around with quick matches for the most part, with some MyUniverse mixed in, but I like everything I’ve seen so far. The matches themselves feel like they have a good, dramatic pace without any sort of choppy feel or collision issues that can sometimes plague MMA and wrestling games. In my limited time playing, I’ve yet to notice any of the bug issues I’ve read about on the forums. That’s not to say they aren’t there; I just haven’t found them.
“I only had time to sim a few weeks in MyUniverse, but so far I enjoy the setup and how customizable everything is.”
2K has done wonders for improving the realism aspect of the game. The matches I’ve played have been a little shorter than I would like, but I’m sure once I tweak some sliders and settings I can find a better balance. I do enjoy the star-rating system in theory, but I’m reserving final judgement until I get some more time with the game.
I only had time to sim a few weeks in MyUniverse, but so far I enjoy the setup and how customizable everything is. Even though 2K was unable to get the brand split in the game, you can essentially create your own with the help of the Community-created title belts that 2K didn’t get the chance to include.
If you’ve taken a long hiatus from wrestling games and are considering giving 2K17 a try, you would be wise to do so. I’ve only played for a few short hours and I can’t wait to dive back in.
Millennium: WWE 2K17 has the most refined gameplay in the series to date. The action in the ring feels smooth, the AI has more flair (WOOOOOO!) and moves connect with impact. Gone are the days of trying a jumping DDT from the second rope, only to bump the standing opponent with the side of your foot and enter the “New Era” of a flying Front Chancery locked to the opponent’s neck forcing his forehead into a downward spike to the mat.
WWE 2K17 has introduced multiple new game mechanics that make the game more intuitive without losing the challenge of grappling. The biggest change is the new Alternate Submission system. Not enabled by default (you can change this by going to the Settings -> Gameplay menu) the new system sends the frustrating R-stick circling icons introduced in WWE 2K16 to the back of the proverbial line in favor of the seemingly familiar button mashing of the appropriate face button to fill a Submission Meter. As someone who didn’t mind the R-stick approach, I still find myself gravitating to the alternate system due to the intuitive nature it provides.
“This is a huge win for the development team by not only taking a realistic approach to how Triple Threat/Fatal Four Way matches are paced in the WWE…”
Another big change — something I first noted in multi-wrestler matches — is a new mechanic where you have a chance after being hit with a big move to be automatically rolled to the outside to “take a powder.” A countdown meter starts as you begin to muster about, and you have the opportunity to perform an Early Recovery to get back into the action before the meter is full. Warning: this is at the risk of receiving a temporary de-buff to your stats. This is a huge win for the development team by not only taking a realistic approach to how Triple Threat/Fatal Four Way matches are paced in the WWE, but also having a game mechanic responsible for keeping the action in the ring from becoming too chaotic.
Also included is the new “Promo Engine” that directly affects characters in Universe mode and My Career. This feature has been sorely missing from WWE games up to this point. You come to the ring, microphone in hand, and select from four choices on what to say to the crowd (of which there are four types that impact the reaction). As you talk, your goal is to have the most impact in your promo as possible, whether that be as a heel or face. You continue this over multiple “stages” of the promo and the crowd reacts to each new line you spout. This communication is conveyed in text form, and the audio comes from the crowd response — the crowd audio in the game in general is superb. The entire system is a welcome addition, although I worry about repetitiveness after extended gameplay.
With the positives being stated, I would be remiss if I didn’t bring up one of the series’ biggest issues: bugs. Some that I’ve experienced or have seen reported are entire Universe Modes going missing on PS4, titles changing hands due to losing a promo battle, and the normal animation bugs when interacting with foreign objects that take on lives of their own and drag wrestlers around the arena before easing their grasp:
(Video courtesy of YouTube user Jordan Crowley)
In short, the in-game action has made the game supremely entertaining for me in the early stages. The new game features are all pieces the series has needed, although the lack of a true Showcase mode is a notable subtraction. I’ve played every WWE 2K game to date, but this one seems to be the Shawn Michaels to the series’ Marty Jannetty.