We are now a few days past release date, and with a few more matches under our collective belts, it’s time to take a look at WWE 2K18’s biggest game modes: MyPlayer and MyUniverse.
To set the record straight before I dive in, I didn’t have much experience with WWE 2K17’s career mode. I tend to prefer quick matches or simming through MyUniverse. So, I came in to MyPlayer with a fresh set of eyes, ready for a first-hand experience of what it’s like to be a WWE Superstar. And so far, I’ve been underwhelmed.
To be fair up front, there is a nice structure here in place, so it’s not as though it’s not salvageable. The general idea of starting in NXT, roaming around backstage at the weekly events, and talking to the producer to see what you’re up to that night makes a lot of sense on paper. In practice, though, it feels incredibly bland.
The two biggest things I can’t get out of my head is how slow you move around backstage and how laughably bad the dialogue is. When a new week starts, you find yourself in the parking lot, tasked with talking to another superstar and, eventually, the producer. Which is fine for what it is, but walking around is incredibly sluggish. Even when you hold down L2 to run, it feels like your character is trying to push through some quicksand.
And then, the dialogue starts. When prompted to answer a question or make a statement, you are given a few possible responses to choose from. The concept is fine, but the dialogue is awful. So far, it is atrociously bad, in fact. I’m talking some high level unintentional comedy. It should be noted that it isn’t necessarily a hindrance to your character’s progress. You don’t feel like you are guessing, nor are you left confused as to what you just agreed to. But I am left scratching my head at whoever implemented the dialogue in this game.
This holds true for the promo system, although to a much smaller degree. Promos are a huge part of WWE programming, so I get why 2K feels the need to include them. But they aren’t fun at all (unless you’re going for unintentional comedy again). I find myself just trying to get through them as fast as possible.
I am very early on in my career, so I will wait and see how storylines progress, but I’ve already ran across a head scratcher: after spending weeks attacking Bobby Roode, I interacted with him backstage and he asked me to ambush someone for him, completely ignoring our long conflict. I don’t expect perfection in this department, but it was a curious miss so early on in the game.
As I said above, I like the framework here. It just feels like in an effort to include backstage environments and to convey an “open world” concept, MyPlayer forces you to spend needless time walking around to do something that could easily be accomplished by a text-based menu.
Instead of spending some time walking to one side of the arena to talk to a wrestler, followed by walking to the other side to talk to the producer before finally finding out what you are doing that night, a quick recap screen could accomplish the same thing and save a lot of time. Backstage environments are a great idea, but so far it takes away from the experience rather than adding to it.
I’ve had limited time with Road to Glory, which is the key addition to this year’s MyPlayer mode. It’s been hit or miss with finding matches, but gameplay itself has been smooth so far. Some button inputs were delayed, which was frustrating, but it wasn’t anything too significant. Basically, you fight other MyPlayers to earn enough stars to qualify for the main event match against a real WWE Superstar. Of course, you level up and earn crates along the way. If online play can stay relatively smooth, there seems to be a lot of replay value with Road to Glory, but only time will tell.
MyUniverse returns largely unchanged from last year, but that doesn’t mean it didn’t receive any TLC (pun intended).
The rivalry system has been adjusted to incorporate two new concepts: potential rivalries and rivalry intensity. Potential rivalries are, you guessed it, not yet rivalries. As superstars interact, they might form a potential rivalry. As soon as the meter fills up, it moves into one of three rivalry slots. Potential rivalries differ from active rivalries in that they involve promos, cutscenes, run ins, and things of that sort. If and when it evolves to an actual rivalry is when the superstars will start to face off.
Rivalries now have varying levels of intensity, from friendly all the way to very intense. This feels like more of a cosmetic change so you can see the state of each rivalry at a glance, but it’s a nice addition nevertheless.
2K has also included the power rankings here. As superstars win matches, they’ll shoot up the rankings, with some even receiving temporary attribute boosts. This is a nice tweak as it will fix the logic gap of lower-rated wrestlers shooting up the card. There is now, at least in theory, a reason behind a low-level SmackDown jobber shooting up to contend for the U.S. Title. But this is another cosmetic change. Nice to look at, sure, but it does not appear to really change the way you play the mode.
Another change is the addition of ‘goals’ to each Superstar in your Universe. It can be something as simple as showing everyone what you’re made of by winning matches, to beating your heated rival, and everything in between. Not every goal is available to each Superstar right off the bat, which adds some incentive to keep playing.
Beyond that, MyUniverse feels identical to last year. There are a lot of customization options, but it takes a long time to set up your Universe the way you’d like to. Even simple tasks like scrolling through the roster to make sure you have balanced tag teams on both Raw and SmackDown can take time. The menus in this mode could use an overhaul, but even quick fixes like being able to sort to see only Cruiserweights or only Superstars that are not assigned to a show would help things along here quite a bit.
What about you? What do you think of the changes in MyPlayer and MyUniverse? Let us know in the comments.