While you can expect a full review early next week, here are my initial thoughts after a day with WWE 2K17:
- The graphics, especially wrestler models, look great. Hair is still a problem for animators, but skin tone, sweat, and veins all make the characters look more human.
- The crowd is improved from last year, both in terms of graphics and emotion. Still, you occasionally get the “two guys sitting next to each other doing the same thing” hiccup.
- My first match showcased a lot of what makes 2K17 one of the better playing pro wrestling games in recent memory. The limited reversal system helps eliminate spamming R2 all match, and adds a layer of strategy when defending. The improved major reversals make come-backs possible. And, when I won, I was surprised by another rival who entered the ring; nice touch.
- I’ve only dabbled a bit in Career and My Universe. I like that the promo system highlights the entertainment part of WWE; building a persona is almost as important as building skills. It’s nice to finally have that in a game, but I’m not sure how fun it will be long-term. It’s not gimmicky, but it’s hardly organic.
- Broadcast elements still do a pretty good job of mirroring tv, especially the various camera angles and crowd shots. Occasionally, I get a bad angle that hides my wrestler behind an obstacle or the audience.
- 2K claims to be moving away from the arcade-feel of the past; which is ok–as long as the publish another WWE All-Stars! This simulation feel can occasionally slow to a crawl though. During a career match, there were moments when all I could do is try (unsuccessfully) to reverse; this lead to about 5 minutes of what felt like watching the game play itself. I hope my skill and improved character minimized these moments in the future.
- The creation suit is still deep but clunky. The interface just feels dated.
Everything else to this point looks promising with WWE 2K17. I’m excited to dig in deeper over the weekend. Look for my review of WWE 2K17 next week!