Name: WWE: 2K19
Developer: Visual Concept
Publisher: 2K Games
Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
Reviewed on: PlayStation 4
Acquired: A copy of this game was provided by a publisher for review purpose
Can you smell what 2K19 is cooking? WWE is back once again, giving us a huge roster of wrestlers and a ton of modes to use them in. Bringing back some of the most beloved modes, and fixing issues that have plagued the series. But does all the new content justify its flaws? Let’s find out.
MyCareer has been a staple of the series for some years now, but never have it been better than now either. This time you start as an amateur wrestler, that has to promote himself to get people to watch him. Slowly you get recognition from people that want to be your manager, and you have to climb the tower to be one of the best. The matches and the surroundings slowly get better and better, meeting and fighting against more well-known wrestlers as you progress. Your character gets stronger as you progress, but never enough to be anything else than the underdog that has to do everything he can to win. There were moments that can’t be described any other way than unfair, where the odds simply is not in your favor. Three on One matches where you are the poor bastard against some of the best fighters in the same league. But it helps you feel like the underdog that you are, so except for the unfairness, it is a story that takes it time. It’s not like one school wrestling match then “Hey you are one of the big leagues”. So MyCareer nailed the template this time, with a nice pacing and interesting scenarios. The voice acting is mostly good, with many wrestlers voicing themselves. But there are also some of them that should take some acting classes, sounding like they just read from a script; but like I said it’s mostly good. The commentaries on the other hand. They should be better since they are the ones we have to listen to mostly. They can be a bit too repetitive at times and saying the same thing over and over or things that didn’t match. That didn’t only occur during MyCareer but in the overall game.
Luckily, Showcase events are back, being one of my favorite highlights of the game as it was in some of the previous games. This time it’s telling the story of Daniel Bryan and his career with the ups and downs. You will play through some of the most important fights in his career, and Bryan starts each match with a documentary style introduction. During each match, you have objectives, that if done right will trigger re-enacted moments from the real match. This has always been my favorite part of the WWE 2K series, working as a history lesson of some of the best wrestlers. I could only wish more of them could get the same treatment. One of the biggest flaws is the checkpoints since there aren’t any on the objectives. So if you fail, you will have to play through the whole match again. It feels a bit annoying fighting through a 20-30 minute match, then to lose in the end. To summarize MyCareer is better than ever and Showcases is back so I’m happy.2K Towers is one of the newest modes populated by a roster of WWE Superstars across a variety of challenging matches, including different win conditions and fun stipulations. Taking inspiration from the Mortal Kombat series, giving something completely different to play. One match, for instance, is a turbo match where the gameplay is sped up, where you will have to fight in double speed.
WWE 2K19 looks a bit more polished this year, being made in a new graphics engine making everything look more crisp and dynamic. It’s way more fluent than previous with fewer frame drops and stuttering and overall it feels better. Animations have been upgraded also with much approval from me, and everything around the ring also has seen a bump in details. The wrestler; some of them clearly look better, being remade in the new engine. While some of the older wrestlers in their younger versions, at times look awful and not as much as themselves anymore. It’s pretty clear that the attention to details has been put on those that are made to be used in Career and Showcases. While others that are there to fill up the roster, haven’t been shown the same love. This might be because of many of them is transferred over from some of the older games or what not. But with how everything looked I didn’t pay too much attention to how detailed every wrestler looked. I was really happy when I noticed how fluent the animation actually was, not feeling as stiff as previous.
The soundtrack is good, as it always is. Track after track ready to get you pumped. This time some of the wrestlers even handpicked songs to use in the soundtrack, making it only more fitting for the game.
The core gameplay is as it always has been, but some small tweaks have been made to balance it. Taunts that perform different functions, multiple grapples,striking combos, and frame-perfect counters. Speaking of counters; the system as a whole feels so much tighter compared to previous installments, and the limitation of adding a cooldown to counters is a great touch to avoid a ton of reversals. You need to make the tactical decision to hit that counter when you really need it. A new feature is the Payback system. It boosts you temporarily, encourages comebacks and contains limited uses. It can take several shapes like instant kickouts when pinned, cheap shots or extra temporary power. They’re customizable, so you can mix and match it to your suiting. It looks and feels tighter than before, but it’s also more approachable. The game mechanics are easier to understand and how to perform actions is way easier than before. It felt much better to play, and it didn’t show up ten different mechanics to do different actions.
Unlockables come in the form of loot boxes, as annoying that might be for some. Luckily those can only be bought with in-game currency, so basically you play to unlock but can’t always choose what you want. A wrestler is also unlocked by buying them, but here you can choose who you want to buy.
Controls have seen an upgrade as well, being tighter and more responsive. Controlling feels less like an annoyance, with the wrestler doing mostly what you want it to do. The only time I fought with the controller was when playing Hell in the Cell matches, where my character wouldn’t move the direction I wanted it to do. But apart from that, it works really well, control scheme ain’t too complex and should come naturally after a few matches.
But if there was on big annoyance, it was the menus. Often I struggled to see what and where the menu was highlighted, because of the background and red light that show what you are choosing. It could at times be infuriatingly slow, and delaying a lot. Often I would keep navigating up and down, right and left with a delay through the menus. So in-game, everything controlled fine and has seen a massive upgrade. But outside the match, navigating through menus could be infuriating.
WWE 2K19 will give you hours of playtime, and let you do some of your biggest wrestling fantasies and dream matches. With two types of story modes, one where you are playing through your own story, and one where you’re stepping into Daniel Bryan’s shoes in Showcase mode. 2K Towers populated by a roster of WWE Superstars across a variety of challenging matches, including different win conditions and fun stipulations. Quick matches where everything you have unlocked is available to set up matches as you want them to be. Or go online and test your skills against others, take part in huge Royal Rumbles or One on One. But one of the biggest reasons I like to play these types of games is to play against friends, beating each other up. Or if it all is too serious for you, turn on Big Head mode and fight with wrestlers with heads too big for their body.
Story - 8/10
Graphics - 8/10
Gameplay - 7/10
Controls - 6/10
Replay Value - 8/10
New year, new game. But 2K19 did have some big improvements that made it feel like an annual update. MyCareer is better than ever, and I hope they keep this template in future installments. Although it contained loot-boxes, it luckily can only be bought with in-game currency. Showcase made a welcome return, and I could only hope we could get more of those. Bugs that have hagridden the series before have been worked much with, but there are still some small annoyances. All this has shown that WWE games are heading in the right direction if they keep up the work.
- Good Story
- Huge Roster
- Great Variation in Modes
- Good Graphics
- Some issues still present
- Navigating through menus
- At times long loading screens