WWE 2K18 has been out for about a week now, which means enough time has passed where we can start to draw some conclusions. Whether it’s worth your hard-earned money largely depends on if you have 2K17 and, if so, how much you like it. But this simple question doesn’t have a simple answer. Before we get to answering, let’s take a look at some things you need to know about this year’s release.
If you played 2K17, then you already know how to play 2K18. The biggest changes involve the new carry system and another option available for the submission system.
The carry system is nice because, rather than having to whip your opponent into the turnbuckle or against the announce table to set up your move, you can transition in the middle of a grapple move by hitting R1, or even hitting R1 plus the right stick before you grapple, to initiate a carry. Depending on where you are, you can throw him over the top rope, into the turnbuckle or against the guard rail. Not only does it make your matches flow better, but it also adds another layer to your available move set.
The submission system remains intact, but there is an option in the settings where, instead of rotating the right stick during submissions, you rapidly press one of the four face buttons. However, it’s not a straight up mashing of just the square button. It’s random for each submission, and it also changes during the submission. So if the game tells you to start pressing circle rapidly, keep your eye on the screen as you press because it will change in a few seconds. Personally, I like the new style better so far.
Also, it doesn’t feel as easy this year to reverse your opponent, which makes it feel like 2K altered the timing window for reversals. I’m sure as time passes it will get easier, but it definitely feels more difficult this year which, obviously, isn’t a bad thing.
Everything else feels nearly identical to last year which, if you enjoyed the gameplay in 2K17 as much as I did, you’ll love 2K18 as well.
The graphics and lighting are much improved this year. As I wrote earlier, the downside to the improved lighting is the wrestlers can look overly glossy at times. But overall, it’s a huge improvement and, ideally, a sign of more improvements to come. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for the new commentary team. You will likely find yourself turning it off sooner rather than later.
The menus are improved this year as it’s easier to navigate from the main screen. The way wrestlers are listed in the game is still inconsistent and clunky. Some have a two-digit year after their name, where others do not. Having that number on your health bar or the loading screen by your character is just an odd sight. It would make more sense to turn these alternate versions to alternate costumes, keeping the varied ratings intact.
Some roster filters would be nice, too. Why can’t we filter by Raw, Smackdown, Heavyweight, Woman, Cruiserweight, Legend, etc.? It seems like a simple addition that would make scrolling through the impressive roster size a little easier.
Speaking of the roster, it is as 2K promised: the most impressive of any wrestling game that I can remember playing. If you ask 10 different people, I’m sure you would get 10 different names they would like to see added, so there is always someone missing. Lucky for fans, the creation suite is amazing, and the online community always stays on top of things. If you ever get bored with WWE 2K18, it won’t be because of the roster size.
I wrote about MyUniverse and MyPlayer the other day. I’m starting to warm up to MyPlayer some more, particularly the online portion. There’s a lot to do here, and a lot to unlock and earn, assuming you can get past the atrociously bad dialog.
MyUniverse is where I spend most of my time. It could definitely use a fresh coat of paint along with, say, custom rivalries. Even if we ignore potential major changes, the 2K team could stand to make the mode easier to navigate and easier to customize. To be fair, there are a ton of customization options here, and it would be impossible to expect to have everything set up the way you want in 10 minutes. But things like, as I mentioned earlier, adding some roster filters so you can quickly find the wrestler(s) you’re looking for would go a long way.
Or let’s say you’re like me and, instead of having every wrestler ‘eligible’ for every title, you like to keep the Universal and IC title rankings separate. As it stands now, you have to go wrestler by wrestler to edit which titles they can compete for. Why not have an option where we can edit from the IC title and toggle wrestlers on and off?
There are tons of examples like this throughout the mode. This is a compliment in one sense because it shows just how much you can control in the mode, but the downside is that it takes far too long to get things set up the way you want.
That said, this mode is still my favorite and I’m having a lot of fun with it so far.
“What you need to know” is whether WWE 2K18 is worth purchasing. If you are a WWE junkie and you are obsessed with the franchise, there are enough new things here to make you happy with your purchase. If you are more of a casual fan who owns 2K17 and is only interested in purchasing a major upgrade, you will be disappointed. And of course, if you haven’t played a WWE game in a long time, WWE 2K18 is a great place to start. Even if 2K18 didn’t change that much from 2K17, it’s still a great game and, along with online play and the robust creation suite, it’ll keep you plenty busy months from now.
What do you think of WWE 2K18 so far? Let us know in the comments!