WWE 2K17: another year another copy and paste.
It’s that time of year again where WWF – sorry, I mean WWE – hounds grab their copies of the latest wrestling game from a company so big it has bought and absorbed its competition. Welcome to Suplex City where most of the moves your character can do are, in fact, suplexes! All that aside, how does the game stand up and how does it improve over its predecessors?
The career mode in WWE 2K17 is very much like what is seen in the previous year’s game where you start at the bottom training behind the scenes, before you can rise to the challenge. Beginning bouts have you matched against a cheap computer character who reverses 70% of your moves and usually takes you out via submission because you are no good at playing Ring-Around-a-Roses on your analogue stick.
The new addition in this year’s career mode is where you can take the microphone and choose between different sentences, to either get the crowd going or bore them senseless. In this edition, you’ll also find that when you finish a match and go backstage to be interviewed, the interviewer no longer has a voice and now only speaks in pre PS1 text speak. Get ready to get frustrated at how many cheap ways you can be robbed of a victory, unless you are the kind of person who loves these games so much that you can win them in your sleep. I played 2K16 quite a bit and, as good as I can get, the computer is still a cheater.
Gameplay is a lot more technical in the 2K series compared to the previous popular Smackdown tiles. For me, I’d rather have THQ with Smackdown back as I miss the easy-to-use move variations. However, I think that’s personal bias due to growing up with those titles and not being interested in wrestling by the time the 2K series started. One addition to the gameplay I really enjoyed, was the ability to fight within the crowd and backstage.
In 2K17, as a newcomer, it can take some time to get used to the move variations, holds, reversals and button placements. It is likely you will either continue playing to master your way through the game, or give up and play something else. Myself, I went to the ‘create a superstar’ section and made a load of Ninja Turtles villains. In honesty, Universe mode was one of my favourites to play as it was like watching a Raw or Smackdown event with gameplay involved, allowing you to spectate, skip or choose your character to play in the scheduled match-ups.
I found there to be very little to no improvement in the graphics of this game compared to 2K16. On the next-gen consoles, they do look great, but I would prefer some actual improvement with each release, even if it’s under a tight one-year schedule. Most of the game, apart from the addition to several new and classic characters, looks the same as before and that to me was very disappointing.
Sound between impact hits and the crowd to the commentary are great, but as for that Puff Daddy-created soundtrack, I would rather hear a banging toilet lid, constantly! It’s awful – at least I could listen to Crazy Train by Black Sabbath, but there’s only so many times you can listen to one song before you get sick of it, no matter how much you love it. Also, these games need more original music for their creation section. If you enjoy putting your own character together, you would like to have an intro theme to suit.
Final Notes: 2K17 had very little room for any improvement – it follows the trend of shovelware, which we get on a yearly basis, much like its typical FPS counterparts. The game has flaws, but has enjoyment in there too, although not as much as I remember from much loved wrestling games from the past which is also a worrying sign. Games are supposed to get better not worse after all.
Graphics: 5/10 – Needs to show improvement, looking very copy and paste from last year’s title.
Sound: 6/10 – Apart from the awful soundtrack and lack of original choice in creation mode it does the job.
Gameplay: 7/10 – Enjoyable when you know how but I prefer older Smackdown controls/gameplay
Enjoyment: 6/10 – The career is what you make of it, a bit typical and redundant but there are moments of enjoyment. And, personally, I doubt I will play this game again, in fact I think I may buy some of the Smackdown games for old times sake.
Overall score: 6/10 – A decent wrestling game but one that seems too much like previous games within the same series and stands out too much from older more fun titles but not in a good way.
Thanks to the Youtube channels featured for the gaming footage.
- Publisher: 2K Games
- Players: single-player
- HDTV options: up to 1080p
- Sound: DTS 5.1
Retro game fan, comic book reader, board game lover and film fanatic. I have loved videogames since I was 5 years old after visiting my first arcade, I have grown up with gaming since having my Atari 2600 then Commodore 64. I ended up building my own career crafting pixelised characters and have had the pleasure of meeting many of my retro gaming heroes who developed some of my absolute favourite games.