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WWE 2K18 Review

December 4th, 2017 by

WWE 2K18 001Man oh man. I can’t say I’m a fan of wrestling anymore – although Alexa Bliss could seriously tempt me to start watching again – but I do enjoy wrestling games and the WWE franchise in particular. There is just something that I enjoy about a beat ‘em up that is somewhat more grounded in reality than an Injustice or a Mortal Kombat or a Street Fighter.

However there is a big problem with the WWE franchise and that is I could change the year from my WWE 2K17 or WWE 2K16 review, stick it up here, and everyone would be none the wiser. Don’t misunderstand me, this isn’t a lazy annual rehash, there are a myriad of subtle additions to all of the good things that past incarnations did well. However there is also broken elements that have to be patched out or to be fair should never ever had got through QA Testing.

One of the best additions is that for the first time in over a decade, you can have eight wrestlers in the ring at the same time, Royal Rumbles, Battle Royales and obviously 4-on-4 tag matches benefit from this game changing addition. The problem is that more action on the screen results in Braun Strowman sized lag. 21st century video game or 20th century flip book animation, it’s hard to tell what 2K were aiming for at times.

When the lag subsides – when there are four or less wrestlers on the screen – you not only get a sense of the familiar from WWE 2K17 but some amazing tweaks that fans have been calling out for for years. Wrestlers are now more aware of their ring position so when they are knocked down near the ropes they will lay on the apron of the ring or even take a walk around the outside to catch a breather. Instant eliminations in battle royals now mean that the monster sized wrestlers can instantly eliminate smaller ones without the need for a mini-game. Wrestlers that do survive elimination mini-games now remain laying down whilst their energy refills.

Falls Count Anywhere matches also make a return to the franchise, the simulation element may falter a little in the backstage areas but you have to admit it’s always fun to throw an opponent off the back of an artic sized production truck. I can see so many people creating and downloading Hardcore legends and titles this year because of this.

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Mind you, finding a wrestler that isn’t part of the roster this year may be a challenge in itself. With over 200 characters to choose from – once you count alternative costumes for people that have played numerous characters – 99.99% of legends and current wrestlers are included.

With the huge depth of characters available you can easily run five shows in the Universe mode as you play out rivalries and matches of your creation that run alongside AI created rivalries which simmer in the background. The relevance of cut scenes has been greatly improved as well as the addition of a Power Ranking system.

However for all that is good, there has to be some pain element and this comes in the form of new and improved game breaking or immersion killing bugs. Twice now my wrestler has been knocked down by the first punch and been unable to get back up, frustrating at the best times even worse when they are in a last man standing match. Three complete game closing crash moments and while I love the fact that the AI can now decide to run in during your entrance (an upgrade from last year) the fact that there was a run in during every match for a month is an indication that something needs to be patched.

Once again, it feels like Universe mode is the afterthought of the game compared to MyCareer and the new online Road to Glory mode. The former is a more streamlined version that stills offers a large amount of freedom in shaping how your career pans out whilst the latter is an in-game currency lootbox unlock model which opens up new moves, skills and clothing for your created superstar.

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You wouldn’t believe how difficult this game is to score; on one hand you have an amazingly huge roster bolstered by a mammoth amount of create-a-wrestler options and there is literally so much to do in this game if and when those bugs are ironed out. On the other hand there should be no “if and when” when you consider the previous two incarnations both had the same issues and as such there has to be an impact on the game when looking at it from a day one purchase viewpoint. This truly could be a Hall of Fame game but suffers once again by launch bugs giving it a Randy Orton style RKO outta nowhere.

Midlife Gamer Rating: 6.5/10     Format:  Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch   Release Date: Out Now

Disclosure: Midlife Gamer were provided a copy of WWE 2K18 by the publisher for review purposes. The title was reviewed over the course of 5 days. For more information on what our scores mean, plus details of our reviews policy, click here.

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