HXR Review - WWE 2K16

These reviews are taken from my previous website that I wrote on. While they may be a bit old (will add at the top of the review when the review originally went live), I will try my best to bring them up to date by adding in any new feelings I have into the reviews if time allows it.

Originally posted  November 12th, 2015

With WWE 2K16 coming to Games With Gold On August 16th, I thought I would go through my old reviews elsewhere and bring this old review back to life. Enjoy.

Ding ding. The latest game is the WWE series is now available to buy, and thanks to 2K who kindly sent us over a review copy last week I can now share my thoughts on it thanks to 25+ hours being spent on it over the weekend. I think it’s a fair comment to say that the last few years hasn’t really seen the series take any risks or bring anything new to the table upon each release.But for any wrestling fan out there it is still the only game on offer that will give you your wrestling fix in gaming form. A few tweaks have been added this year which I will bring up below in the review, but before we begin can I just say thanks to 2K for kindly allowing us to do this review.

WWE 2K16 offers wrestling fans the biggest roster to date in any WWE game, with legends, present day superstars, as well as divas, all helping to make the 120+ filled roster be the most diverse one to date. You can expect to play with big legends such as The Rock and Stone Cold, but also the likes of lesser loved superstars such as D-lo Brown and The Honky Tonk Man. The only place the roster seems to suffer is the fantastic but sadly overlooked women’s division, as up and coming women in the WWE are sadly missing. Superstars such as Charlotte, as well as current champion Sasha Bank do not feature in the game and are not even planned as DLC.

In terms of how the game plays, WWE 2K16 has had a few tweaks in this area, and to begin with can feel much slower and seemingly feel like it has lost a little of the arcade feel it had in the past. Things that stood out right away was the new submission system and also new pin bar meter. Both of these meters now require a lot of luck, with the submission system taking a while to fully understand the feel of it and what you’re supposed to be doing. I did find myself losing matches because of this very early on, but after a while I did get to grips with it, but only to the point where I understood it a bit better as I was still getting screwed over in matches because of it. The other thing that stood out, more so in Career, was how much harder ever on the easier settings the AI was this time around. In career I found myself beating my opponents senseless, only for them to kick out of a signature move followed by my finisher with ease. My opponent would then become and unstoppable beast and beat me with ease, either by a weak submission or finisher. Other than these few things, the game still feels very much as to what was offered in 2K15.

In terms of what modes you can expect to play, the game pretty much covers what you would expect it to if you played the game series previously. 

Play: This mode is simple where you come to play a quick match either by yourself or with friends in the same room with all available wrestlers and modes available to you. Nothing has really changed here, so it’s hard to get excited about it. It simply does what you would expect, so if you was a big user of this before then it will do its job for you. 

My Career: Another mode that while having a few tweaks on the previous career mode in 2K15, I still feel a lot more needs to be done with to make it more exciting and less of a slow tedious slog that it comes across as. You still find yourself having matches that don’t really mean anything, as you go along earning stats for your created wrestler, as you make him stronger and better in the process. Much like last year however it’s the pull of wanting to keep coming back that halts it once again.

Rivalries are there, but these are nothing more than a simple run-in before or after a match that do nothing to make you feel like this rivalry could go somewhere. Then we have interviews with the lovely Renee Young that are about as awkward and horrible to watch as you would expect, with poor Renee looking like a cross-eyed lady, who has downed a bottle of vodka, and had a camera shoved in her face to ask you meaningless questions to help a rivalry seem like it means something. It’s not poor to the point where you won’t get some sort of enjoyment out of it if you’re a WWE fan though, as growing your superstar and feeling him get stronger and better in matches in like watching your small child grow. 

Stone Cold Steve Austin 2K Showcase: I don’t declare my love for many a man in this world, but Stone Cold is one such man who I would shout it from the rooftops and not have a care in the world. This beer drinking, finger gesturing, Stone Cold Stunning SOB took me through a rollercoaster of emotions in my teenage years, so to relive them through this mode was the biggest reason I wanted to get my hands on this game. Reliving such iconic moments like not tapping out to Bret Hart back at Wrestlemania 13, winning the King of the Ring vs Jake The Snake Roberts in 1996, to iconic matches versus The Rock at numerous Wrestlemania events. The 2K showcase made me not only remember why I fell in love with this form of sports entertainment back then, but also how great it was to be a wrestling fan in that era.

Now while this mode had good points, I just want to quickly touch upon the one bad side that came to my attention, and that’s licensing. Now I understand having to bleep out WWF being said in old clips, but the issue where it stood out most for me was when playing the match between Austin v Shawn Michaels, in which Mike Tyson was the special enforcer. Now yes, this was a big match in the Austin timeline, but if you’re going to do a match at least do it right. Putting an enforcer in who looks nothing like Iron Mike takes away from this classic match, and not even naming him correctly makes it come across as an utter waste of time putting it in the game. Tons of matches could have been used if the licensing issues were stopping them from giving the match the love and history it deserved. So yeah, that one annoyed me a little.

Thankfully other than that one instance I loved the mode in what it offered, both in matches, cutscenes, and clips that feature. Remembering special moments in matches such as this moment saw all the emotions I had when it happened live come flooding back to me, and left me wanting more from the mode once I had beaten it. 

Universe: This mode once again features, but to once again it will always be one of my most underused modes. It once again offers all the tinkering with shows and stars on the roster that you desire, but it does nothing for me in the slightest. 

Online: Ticks all the boxes once again if you plan on taking your created superstar or one of the 120+ roster online to test your skills. Once again I found this mode not that much fun when playing with randoms who want nothing more than the cheap victory, but add in with online mates and this will once again bring a huge amount of fun and enjoyment

Creations: Making yourself get into the game is really easy this year, and with a simple picture taken on a phone, a code given via the game, and a quick visit to a website my actual face was in the game. Now granted, it looked bugger all like me if you were to judge it on other games that offer these sort of creation tools. But away from faces you can put anything you like in the game, which you can then add to other things such as ring mats, banners, shirt designs and so on. A neat little feature none the less.
Overall: Once again the latest WWE game offers nothing mind blowing over the previous installment over the last one. The standout mode was once again the showcase mode, so if you're a fan of Austin it will be a mode worth every penny of the asking price. As for the rest, while not jumping through hoops and improving over the last game, it still ticks all the right boxes for all wrestling fans out there. And being honest, what other options do we have if we want to get our wrestling game fix?

It's your only place to play as your favorite WWE superstar
Presentation in the Austin Showcase and throughout is top notch
And yeah, the Austin showcase is glorious

Submission and pin meters take a bit of getting used to
Overall not that much has changed from 2K15
Mike Tyson just being called "The Enforcer"