Friday, October 30, 2015

WWE 2K16: Early Hands-On Thoughts

I picked up WWE 2K16 on launch day and have played for a couple of hours since then.  At this point I am ready to give some way too early thoughts about the game.  Before that though I think it important to lay out a few things so you can see where my perspective on this game comes from exactly.

One thing you need to know is that I have always been generally happy with the series.  I know it's a common mentality that WWE 2K14 was far superior to 15 or that the game is in serious need of revamping.  I don't personally see any of that.  It's not perfect, but I am pretty happy with how the game plays and am actually more concerned that they'll break the gameplay if they try to revamp the controls specifically.  Second, I don't play this game to compete against other people.  I basically don't care so much about how difficult the computer AI is to defeat or anything.  I just want to simulate what my version of WWE should look like and do things in the game I enjoy.  I have no interest in the challenge of the matches for the most part.  Basically, while others have said for years they want to see the game undergo a massive revamp, I've been more than content with minor revisions and roster/graphics upgrades.  With all that said, here's my thoughts:
  • Movement/"Feel"--This was the most jarring change from previous iterations.  When I initially fired it up I felt like Ric Flair was moving in quicksand.  At that time I felt that once I got accustomed to it that it wouldn't be that bad.  I was right about that.  Also, the slightly slower pace alone with some new transitional animations does make the game feel more realistic.  Wrestlers don't dart around the ring any longer which never bothered me, but now that I see a more controlled, slower, and realistic pace I notice it more.  Transitions such as wrestlers pulling themselves up on the ropes adds to the realism.
  • No Custom Themes--They have got to bring this back.  It is beyond aggravating that we cannot load custom music any longer especially when you give "Nature Boy" Ric Flair an older WWE theme that he's never used with the look you modeled him after.  Basically, they used an early-90's theme with what is modern day Ric Flair and it's awful.  UPDATE: Jose Lothario on Twitter reminded me that this was removed due to technical reasons on the PS4/XB1.  It was aggravating being a PS3 user last year and losing that capability, but as this Tweet notes the XB1/PS4 simply don't have the capability to do it at this time.  Hopefully that limitation goes away in the future. 
  • Roster--There are some duplicates, but the roster is massive and has enough randoms to keep things interesting.  For example, you get the entire Nation of Domination basically minus the rappers and Owen Hart.  Those types of off the wall choices are always a plus for me.  In that particular case I loved that gimmick anyway, but just having some more random people on the roster is always a good thing IMHO.
  • Controls--The primary controls have changed little, but the submission mini-game is something I still don't like after playing for a few days.  I'm sure I will get used to it, but I'm guessing at the end of the day I will still prefer the button mashing version of it.  In theory it's not a terrible submission system as it is similar to what some of the UFC games had.  In practice, it doesn't feel like the controls are responsive enough for it to work right. 
As I've played it and gotten used to it I have started to enjoy the game more and more.  I don't make recommendations because apparently I'm a heck of a lot easier to please than most wrestling video game fans.  I think it's worth the money though if for no other reason you get the latest and greatest roster.  The DLC (I already bought the Season Pass) will only improve the game in that area.

Long story short, I like the game and don't see the glaring flaws with it many do, but then again I am easy to please.  

Also, I neglected to mention this previously, but this is my first year with the PS4 version of the game.  I had not purchased a PS4 last year so I was still on the PS3 version then.