Review in Progress: WWE 2K18 Might Be The Best Wrestling Game to Date
Be Like No One!
WWE 2K18 features a curated soundtrack (by none other than Dwayne The Rock Johnson himself). The soundtrack can be hit or miss, but thankfully, you can turn off songs you don’t like and keep those you do in the options menu.
WWE 2K18 has a lot of dialogue, in fact, at a previous press event, we were told that 99% of the dialogue from last year, has been replaced or re-recorded for this year’s game. Over 50,000 lines of dialogue were recorded, that included speech for the career mode and announcers. Speaking of announcers, maybe it’s just me, but I miss Good old JR, his rapport with Jerry “The King” Lawler just made matches sound way more exciting than there actually were, which was his specialty. There was something special, stupid and entertaining about listening to JR introduce Kane to the ring. “My gawd King, through Hellfire and Brimstone, it’s Kane!” For a man with plenty of things that can hold him back, nothing stopped him from giving 110% and making every match exciting. Instead, we have the combo of Michael Cole, Byron Saxton, and Corey Graves. While Cole has been around for a while Graves and Saxton, to me, just don’t work, they don’t add any friction or weight. Whereas someone like JBL or the King would argue with Cole, taking the “heel’s” side of things, in this game’s commentary, everyone just repeats what they see and compliment each other. It would be nice to see, or hear in this case, some off the cuff, arguing, about the wrestler in the ring. For example, if I was using Shawn Michaels, Cole could say something positive about him, then have Graves or Saxton jump in and just go down a path of insulting Cole for taking Michaels side and so forth. Making the commentary interesting and at times, funny. Think of it like getting into a random car in GTA and listening to funny radio shows or commercials, that was half the fun of just driving around.
Right now, the commentary, despite so much of it, is the weakest link. It sounds repetitive and disjointed most of the time. I say right now specifically because Visual Concepts has said that every month, the announce team would come in and record brand new dialogue that will be added into the game as part of frequent updates. So, each and every month, i.e. 12 months a year, we’re going to get new dialogue, which, if true, could completely change my opinion.
As for the rest of the sound, it’s all really solid. Entrance music sounds great, sound effects, like a chair being slammed over someone’s head sound true to life and even the grunts of fatigue sound good. As I’ve said, my biggest complaint is the commentary, which hopefully will be remedied in the months to come.
WWE 2K18 offers so many features, between match types, venues, and customizations, it’s literally impossible for me to cover them all in a single review unless you want to read 80+ pages. With that being said, I’ll just cover some of the highlights I found to be interesting and if you want more, head over to the game’s official website for a bullet point list of all the stuff the developers crammed into this game.
- Venues: Because the WWE now owns ECW, NXT, and WCW, there are venues for each of these companies and thus, no shortage of places to wrestle. The attention to detail to each of these venues is incredible, perhaps my favorite is the WCW Bash at the Beach. But the lighting, due to current generation hardware, allowed the devs to create more realistic effects and giving not only entrances but arenas a more dynamic feeling.
- Match Types: You name it, it’s there, with the exception of casket matches and buried alive matches, just about every type of match a player could want is available in 2K18, in some situations, there are even two versions. Fans of the 80’s and early 90’s may remember the old, blue cage with the big squares, while newer fans may only know of the chainlink cage, regardless both are available. 2K even included both variations of the elimination chamber, new and old. But yes, old match types like no holds barred, TLC, ladder matches, and more are available to players.
- MyPlayer: Gamers can create virtually anyone they want with the new and improved create-a-player. Base or starter heads have been remodeled and made to be more realistic, as opposed to previous years where they are damn near frightening. With the new and improved graphics engine, the created characters actually look like they belong in the same ring with the actual WWE roster and don’t stand out like sore thumbs, assuming you don’t make characters like Goku from Dragonball Z.
- Story: Back for another year is the MyCareer mode or storyline of the game. This aspect of the game may be the most broken or at the very least, not constructed very well. The game has serious issues of having you do things that contradict actions you just did, prior to a match or the previous day. I also don’t know if they are trying to make a good story by having your rival come up and interrupt your promo, only to ask you to be their partner. Is that a twist or just a poorly constructed story. Aside from “questing” or side missions being poorly executed, the game has some serious timing issues too, again, referring back to the collision problem. I’m not entirely sure why, but those issues seem more prevalent in the story mode than in just single matches. In any event, this is usually the section of the game most people want to play. Once a day one patch is issued, I’ll have to go back and play more to see if any of these issues get resolved. Be sure to check back for that.
Last but not least, Road to Glory, the new online, multiplayer mode.
At the time of writing this review, my collection of matches limited as the game had yet to release. In any case, the Road to Glory is the online mode where players take their created wrestlers and play against other people’s created wrestlers. Like games of Call of Duty, you earn points and virtual currency (VC) from wins, but you’ll also level up. You’ll start as a “Prospect” and fight your way to “Hall of Famer,” think of it like prestiging, without starting over. Another cool aspect of the game is the real-time gameplay within Road to Glory. If you go online to play on a Monday, you’ll be wrestling in a Raw Arena. If it’s a Tuesday, it’s a Smackdown themed arena and for other days that don’t have a live WWE show, you might wrestle at an NXT or even a WCW Nitro event. The cool part comes when it’s time for a monthly Pay-Per-View. You can either to wrestle in that event by either buying your way in with VC that you have earned or completing a set of challenges. If you’re on the card, you’ll be pitted against a superstar who is actually on that card in real life. If you win, you win epic loot that can range from VC, cosmetic items for your character or boosts. Boosts are extremely helpful but are time-based, meaning they only last for a certain period of time. One boost may increase your wrestler’s stamina, another may increase strength and so on. These boosts can really change the game when playing other players online. As for whether or not it makes the games feel unfair or cheap, I don’t know, I didn’t earn any when I attempted Road to Glory, but I’ll be sure to add that in my update.
WWE 2K18 is riddled with odd glitches, but that doesn’t mean they are happening all the time, everywhere. One night I was playing, I didn’t incur any issues, whatsoever, then the next, I have the issue with the Undertaker and the shelf. Did it make me enjoy the game any less? Not really. The story issues, that’s a bit more complicated. Yes, the glitches and even the odd story missions can be a bit distracting, but none of it really breaks the game. I don’t see anything that can’t truly be fixed by a patch. Again, a day one patch has been issued, I just haven’t had the chance to install it and try all of this over again. I will and if it truly updates the game in positive ways, I’ll change my review to reflect that.
WWE 2K18 is not perfect, but neither is any game. It’s not broken, it’s flawed. But even flawed games can be fun and more importantly, can be fixed. My time with WWE 2K18 was and still remains fun. I love the roster, I love the options, modes and even the create-a-wrestler (MyPlayer) options. I’m not lying when I saw it is the best wrestling game to date, it just needs some TLC (in this case, that means tender, loving care) before it’s a truly “great” game. Right now, it’s a good game and I firmly believe any wrestling fan will love this game and the depth and history it provides.