WWE 2K18 Review

2K Games and WWE have teamed up once again to bring you another round of wrestling action. The sad thing about all of this is that it’s really not the round of action you were hoping for.

Sticking with the trend of WWE games not being quite as good as we hoped, WWE 2K18 does nothing to break the stigma and I’m still waiting for a game to rival that of 2K15, alas, WWE 2K18 is not it.

With a new graphics engine, it has to be said that WWE 2K18 looks remarkably better than all other titles before it. Characters animate much better and a lot of the outfits on both real and created players look so much less plastic than they have before.

WWE 2K18 also has a very large roster of Wrestlers for you to play with. A total 174 make up numbers so you’re almost guaranteed to hit whomever you dislike with a steel chair. If there is one thing you can criticize about WWE 2K18 it’s that there are plenty of Wrestlers here for you.

The problems with WWE 2K18 start to show when you take a look at the game modes and their lack of improvements. It would be fair to say that yes, some of the gameplay elements have been improved somewhat, but is that enough?

You can now carry and lift players in four different positions. Pick an opponent up and walk around the ring before slamming them through a table or onto the mat. This mechanic makes for some really interesting and pretty awesome moves. I had a lot of fun throwing people out of the ring.

The hot tagging system from last year’s game has also been improved. No longer do we have that action breaking cutscenes. Instead, we get wrestlers entering the ring quickly and with a buff that allows them to almost rampage around the ring for a short period. This is a much better improvement on last years attempt.

We also get a good selection of match types to take part in. With 8 man ladder matches, battle royales and even backstage brawls with more areas to explore, there’s a good variety to play around with. Unfortunately, this is pretty much where the good work ends.

From my point of view, WWE 2K18 needed some big and major changes. We got some in terms of a graphical upgrade, but this wasn’t nearly enough. WWE 2K18 seems to rest too much on the My Career and Universe mode and neither stands up well under scrutiny.

Universe mode is basically the exact same mode as we got last year. Which is very disappointing and makes me think 2K Games are trying to run something similar to FIFA’s ultimate team model, just not as good. Universe mode really needed an overhaul and a big rethink, but instead what we got was a rehash.

My Career mode has now turned into something of an RPG-like game with dialogue options and areas to explore. I have to both commend and criticize 2K Games for their choices here. Whilst I actually thought this was a really good and interesting idea, the execution of it was very poor. My laurels lie mainly with the writing and any RPG fan will know how important this is in the genre. Yes, this is still a wrestling game and not a Fantasy RPG, but at times the dialogue is laughable and the trash talking is like being back on the school playground.

Players can now explore the backstage area in My Career, talking with your favorite superstars, making alignments and scheduling matches. There is also a return of the promo system. Unfortunately, this was one of the worst parts of the game for me. The strength of the writing is again poor, the characters movements are awful and outlandish and this just needs to be removed for WWE 2K19.

The reply choices you get in the promo mode make it feel like the worst round of Q&A I have ever been a part of. I’m begging you 2K games, please get rid of this mode.

Alongside the My Career mode its online counterpart Road to Glory lets you take your created character and pin them against others in online matches. Beat other players and earn stars, which allow you to qualify for Pay Per View events. During my writing of this article no Pay Per View events have unlocked, but I’m eager to see how they play out.

Loot boxes are now also a thing in WWE 2K18 and I’m sorry to say are part of character progression. These boxes can only be purchased with in-game currency, which climates a pay to win model, but they just add this unnecessary luck-based element to the game. While I appreciated advocating a pay to win model, I just feel that loot boxes were not needed and the developer’s time could have been spent better focussing on things that needed improving.

Thankfully the loot crates don’t affect the creation tool, which on a more positive note has to be one of the best and most comprehensive creation tools in a video game, let alone a WWE game. This is why the rest of the game being so poor hurts so much.

Aside from the impressive graphics and some of the solid core gameplay WWE 2K18 feels like a step back and not forward for 2K Games. I was looking for something so much more than this and although there have been small tweaks here and there, it’s not enough to make this game feel like a worthy purchase.

When I heard of its new engine, I got really excited and perhaps I’ve overhyped this game a little in my head. I just don’t see the value of execution I was hoping for. WWE 2K18 may look pretty, but it’s ugly on the inside.

Constantly threatening to write a book, but always with a story to tell. Tom has a typical northern English soul. He may sound as mundane as Jon Snow, but at least he tries to articulate. Lover of video games, comics, geek pop culture and wishing he could play Dungeons & Dragons.
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