Game review: WWE 2K17

WWE 2K17

Much like Christmas, Black Friday and a new horrendous football away-kit, a new WWE game comes out but once a year; letting us all live out our inner wrestling persona through the safety of the screen. This year’s offering looks promising, but can it live up to the hype?…

I have a strange relationship with wrestling games. Like many others I buy them annually, expecting big changes and new experiences… and every year I get slightly more disappointed. This has been a regular occurrence since 2012, when WWE 2K13 gave me the wrestling game that I had always wanted – with a perfect blend of story and realistic based wrestling action. Each year’s instalment has made me question why I keep buying into something that isn’t evolving, but seemingly merely stagnating.

I feel it is important to tell the story of WWE 2K17 as if it were the first wrestling game ever made, because without personal opinions, it’s actually a pretty decent representation of the wrestling business.

The game uses the same engine as previous iterations, but with a few tweaks. The grappling and striking feels authentic; every clothesline looking like it could put your opponent in hospital. Reversals still play a key part in how a match plays out, and continue to be slightly too hard to time well, leading to multiple occasions of one sided fights when you turn the difficulty above normal.

In regards to the “My Career” mode, where you create your own wrestler and take him or her though the wrestling business – all the way from NXT to Wrestlemania, is a dull experience. It swaps voice acting for text dialogue, becoming repetitive, dull and pretty nonsensical in regards to how the rankings for each belt work and how rivalries happen. Showcase mode has been stripped out so it feels like the “Universe” mode has been granted more licence to breathe, but even that doesn’t really lead to an organic wrestling experience.

We also see the return of backstage brawls, which do start off as an interesting idea but lack the kind of detail that the older games provided. Essentially this fails to bring anything game changing to the series.

On the other hand, WWE 2K17 has more characters then any game I can think of in recent memory, and for the most part they fight and act like their real-world equivalent. Nothing feels as good as nailing a Coup de Grâce from the top of a ladder to a downed opponent. Managing to reverse a finisher and deliver a devastating Pop-Up-Powerbomb makes the hair on the back of your neck stand up. This goes double if you’re fighting with a real person: the multiplayer is solid if you’ve got friends playing with you. Unfortunately the online version does seem to suffer from lag issues, especially when trying to perform reversals.

2K17 isn’t a terrible game or a great game. It’s merely a game you’re going to buy if you’re a fan of wrestling. And the developers know that, pushing out essentially the same game as last year with subtle differences.

Author – Hal, Plymouth store