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Better Than Recent Titles in The Series, But not The Best

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    WWE 2K19

    Rating: 3.5 – Good

    Better Than Recent Titles in The Series, But not The Best

    I’ve been playing WWE games since the days of the Playstation One–I don’t think I missed any title since the first WWF Smackdown game came out years ago. Over the years, I saw this game changing directions many times; the developer(s) seems to be in an all time dilemma of whether to make it a realistic wrestling simulation or to keep the arcade like fun, yet unrealistic gameplay.

    Well, WWE 2K19 does a good job of striking the balance. While 2K17 and 2k18 suffered from ridiculously boring reversal fests, this game does a good job in limiting the number of reversals a wrestler can perform at a given point of time.

    After years of tweaking, the controls scheme has reached a stable state. The annoying two different buttons for strike and grapple reversals is gone, and the overall controls system seems simple enough to make things interesting, but at the same time, there are also lots of advanced moves for the experienced players.

    The game doesn’t look any different from the last 4-5 games. Some of the newer wrestlers look quite nice, but the older ones are just using character models made way back in 2014. Movement is often clunky and glitchy. Sometimes wrestlers will stand stupidly without recognizing the stick and button press commands, and the AI also acts dumb many times.

    The game is fun at times, but the frustrating moments keep affecting the experience. It is almost inevitable that the AI will counter the first finisher attempt on them; now matter how much battered and bloodied they are. There are many bugs, and they appear very randomly, which is frustrating.

    Commentary is simply abysmal and disastrous. It is now a given fact that the developer doesn’t give any effort in making it work, they just add it as something that needs to be done. Year after year, a couple of morons keep churning out wrong commentary and nothing is being done about this. Two low life wrestlers are fighting, and they will call it the "fight of the century". At least they had JR and King’s voiceovers in the yesterdays, but moronic dialogues coming out of morons like corey graves and dontcarewhothehelltheothersare people keep making fun of each other, and the same dialogues getting rehashed over and over simply goes over my nerves.

    After a couple of year’s absence, WWE Showcase is back with Daniel Bryan’s story, and its quite good. However, I don’t see any point in adding 5-6 versions of Daniel Bryan as unlockables as these versions have pretty much the same movelists. These could have been done through attires, and some of his opponents could have been added as rewards. Although I really, really enjoyed the showcase mode, I hated the rewards.

    My Career mode is quite good this year, with a fully voiced and scripted storyline. However, the interface for leveling up your own wrestler is quite clunky and takes a lot of time. Also, in order to customize the wrestler, one needs to buy lootboxes to get moves, body parts, and pretty much anything and everything, which, despite of being purchasable through in game currency, is quite irritating. Nonetheless, this mode is worth trying.

    Just like any previous titles, most players will spend a lot of time in the Universe mode. There isn’t that much of a change in this mode, but one very good feature that got included was an option to make any changes made in universe mode be applied to the entire game at the same time, and across multiple saves games, too. People who likes to make many custom teams and use legends and created wrestlers in the regular shows knows how frustrating it could be to make the changes separately for the different modes. I do miss one feature; in one of the older games, any exhibition match would automatically get included in the universe mode–it gave a feeling that no matter what I am doing in the game, it is a part of the show. This feature deserves a comeback; even if as an optional one.

    The roster is huge, and yet, it feels underwhelming. Thanks to money making schemes, highly relevant and active wrestlers like Boby Lashley, Ronda Rousey and Rey Mysterio were made in to DLCs and or pre-order bonuses. Also, the number of legends dwindled for some mysterious reasons! Many popular legends like Hulk Hogan, Jimmy Snuka (RIP), the APA, Mankind, Billy Gunn, Xpac and Road Dogg are missing.

    As a whole, I enjoyed playing the game, and still am enjoying it. And I am enjoying it a lot more than WWE 2k17 and 2K18, so good job developer!

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