“WWE 2K17” was a risk for developers Yuke’s and Visual Concepts, as well as publisher 2K Sports.
The team went out on a limb to introduce some new features into the latest edition of pro wrestling’s flagship video game, and in the process gambled that all the new additions would outweigh the total removal of a recurring feature.
Sorry to say, it didn’t quite work out this year.
2K Showcase, the nostalgia mode that put players in the driver’s seat of actual WWE storylines from the past, is no more. Not all players will miss it, but personally this was my favorite way to play the game solo. Over the summer, the development team said on the game’s official website new ideas for Showcase “were not viable due to the many historic WWE Superstars needed but not available for inclusion in the game.”
Instead, the team cited a desire to focus on improving the other two core modes, WWE Universe and MyCareer. The results of that decision are mixed.
WWE Universe fares better of the two. The mode feels more polished than ever, and the level of show customization has been ramped up. With 2K Showcase on the cutting room floor, this is only solo mode worth sapping your precious time.
That’s meant to me a dig against MyCareer, which continues to be the same repetitive slog as it’s been for awhile. Questionable matchmaking decisions get tiresome in a hurry. Who wants to face the same superstar five times in a row and barely move closer to a title shot?
The biggest addition to both modes are a promo system. It’s a great concept with lifeless execution. Promos involve picking the best dialogue option for the particular crowd of the evening, but it’s all text based. The superstar behaves like he or she is talking to the crowd, but there’s no audio beside the hum of the crowd.
Asking all 100-plus superstars in the game to record varied audio is unrealistic, obviously so for the deceased WWE Legends. But without audio, players must just read the cheesy dialogue to themselves. It does not work. For that matter, neither does the awful commentary team.
At least the core gameplay still brings excellence in execution when it comes to in-ring action. Many of the superstars themselves look better this year, too.
With a year of refinement, there’s little doubt next year’s “WWE” can shine as the previous one did. However, “2K17” is for die-hard fans only.