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WWE 2K19 Review

November 2nd, 2018 by

wwe 2k19 001Here we are again. Every year I hope that 2K sports pull something out of the bag for a yearly franchise that, quite frankly, seems to be missing something in each iteration. The hype train has been chugging along for a few weeks now so does WWE 2K19 make that leap to Main Event Status?

Yes and no.

The wheel has not been reinvented here but then it is quite obvious that this isn’t what 2K set out to do. Have they adapted and refined what they already have? Well yes they certainly have. “Create-a-mode” has been added too.Story-lines that refer back to themselves and actually make sense are a welcome addition along with the return of “Showcase” mode. Debuting this time around we have the addition of Towers mode (more on that below). It might not be perfect yet but it certainly keeps you coming back.

The list of new additions although not small enough to be postage stamped size, isn’t quite vast enough to need much more paper than that. However there is something in abundance this year – enjoyment and fun. It charms you through its new RPG style attribute tree as your wrestler improves and it engages you through its oft ludicrous story-lines as you find yourself compelled to find out what happens next. In some respects it’s much like the real thing.

Showcase mode, although you would think would highlight the Ric / Charlotte Flair Legacy, what with a “Woooooo” edition available, actually highlights and chronicles the return of Daniel Bryan. From the start of his career to his recent return via his numerous releases, returns, title wins and previously potential career-ending injuries. It’s the story of the underdog, the never say die attitude and is as heart-warming as it is entertaining. It is also narrated by Daniel Bryan himself through a combination of a sit down interview and in ring action clips. The only issue I have here, as I have had with all showcases is that it is very much “do this”, “do that”, “do this again” as you complete objective after objective within each match.

Moving onto create modes and MyPlayer very little has changed but annoyances such as lag between moves in the movelist creation and flicking through outfits has reduced greatly. The Myplayer career this year actually has a story to it as well as you pursue your dream to become The WWE Champion. However two new annoyances have been created.

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The career story is one that has a mere illusion of choice, regardless of what path you choose, you will always reach the same outcome. Once you reach the obvious end of the story and (Spoilers) you win the title, the story ends with you simply defending your title week in, week out. If you lose the match, you’re still the champion the following week as you defend it against somebody new. This has to go down to the greatest missed opportunity of 2K19.

If Smackdown Know Your Role on PlayStation 2 could manage a full card week on week after you lose the title and carry on the story how can modern day gaming fail on this year on year?

The second irritation is my personal one that also relates to the Showcase mode. The MyPlayer career actually works in a similar vein to Showcase such that you are given objectives to complete during the match. Sometimes this is just a simple “win match by pinfall” and you are left to your own devices to win the match but other times you get hit with a rather script heavy match which snaps you out of your engagement with the game.

Developers Yuke’s and Visual Concepts have managed to remove the ridiculous load times of matches, followed by 30-45 seconds of the actual real life opening of Raw and Smackdown which is a huge improvement as often last year I would have a match last less time than it took to actually load.

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The face mapping and character creation on some of the models is unbelievable from hairlines to wrinkles, to scars. There is literally no doubt whatsoever who some of these characters are and the painstaking detail to accuracy must be applauded. However the face mapping and character creation on some of the models is unbelievable for all the wrong reasons, incorrect entrances, wrong hair styles, wrong outfits among other “interesting” features leaves you stunned. When the actual wrestler goes on Twitter asking who the character is meant to be as they have “never had short hair or worn that outfit” questions need to be asked as this clearly isn’t a lack of time issue. Although to be fair she did wear that outfit when she did a photo shoot parodying the I, Toyah movie poster so maybe it’s just a lack of product knowledge that has caused some of these issues.

In order to up the fun level, there are a number of new modes that you can utilise during exhibition matches. “Block Mode” turns everyone into Minecraft people, “Big Head” mode makes everyones heads well, um BIG and “Cell Shade Mode” makes it look like every match has been created by Telltale Games. Does any of this add weight or quality to the game? Not really but they do really ramp up the fun and hilarity for a couple of quick games with mates after the pub.

The other addition to the game is Towers, now if you’ve ever played Mortal Kombat or Injustice then you will know all about these. Each tower has its own difficulty setting with rewards based on said difficulty and how well you perform during the matches. It’s not original for a fighting game but it is a welcome addition to a WWE game and gives you something to keep you entertained throughout the year.

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So while WWE 2K19 has made the leap to main event status, for me it’s the main event contender that consistently loses to the wily veteran. Lots of nice additions this year and some removal of huge annoyances from the previous years, however some things have slipped through the net again but hopefully with the right development over the next 12 months and the right additions WWE 2K20 will fulfill its dream and become champion.

Midlife Gamer Rating: 8/10     Format: Playstation 4 / Xbox One    Release Date: October 9th 2018

Disclosure: Midlife Gamer received a copy of WWE 2k19 for review purposes. The title was reviewed over the course of 7 days. For more information on what our scores mean, plus details of our reviews policy, click here.

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