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Review: W2K16

WWWE is a long-running franchise with annual releases, meaning the gamers expect a lot of each new entry. The 2K15 entry marked the jump of the franchise to the current generation consoles and it was one big disappointment. Where 2K14 delivered a lot of playable characters and modes, 2K15 dropped most of those to improve the looks with modern technology. Fans weren’t pleased at all; this wasn’t the WWE they’ve hoped for! 2K16 delivers what fans asked for back in those days and throws a ton of content on top of that!

Stone Cold Steve and friends

The roster of playable characters in this 2K16 is just insane. 2K added 120 playable characters and remodeled the ones that appeared in the game before. This means you’ll play with a lot of new and improved characters compared to the other games. Of course, this can’t be compared to the small roster of 2K15 but even if you compare it to the better entries in the franchise, 120 characters is an insane amount!

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These characters are taken from several eras of the WWE sports and cover a lot of Superstars and Divas. The Superstars are recreated with a lot of detail in the way they move and act in the real world. Stone Cold Steve for example doesn’t hold back in the game and is a force to reckon with. Stone Cold is this year’s boxart Superstar and we understand why of course! Besides him you’ll play with a lot of fan-favorites like John Cena, Finn Balor, Hideo Itami and a lot more. But what about the Divas?

Well, there’re plenty of playable Divas, especially when you compare it to older WWE games. 2K16 is the first entry to really support the Divas although some of the more popular ones like Charlotte, Sasha Banks, Bayley and Becky Lynch are still missing in action, perhaps something for future DLC?

Even without those popular Divas, the roster truly is incredible and a true blessing for the wrestling fans. Also keep in mind that the costumes of different eras don’t count as a character. When we say 120 playable characters, we really mean 120 different characters!

Impressive career

One of the biggest improvements in WWE 2K16 is the way the career mode is handled. Unlike other entries, you control your own fighter during his fifteen years as a professional wrestler instead of his/her first year. This means your decisions have a bigger impact and you really advance in the world of wrestling. At first you’ll try to get your wrestler through the NXT championship to try your luck in the Smackdown and Raw ranks later on. You start as a nobody but with the right upgrades and decisions, your character can make it to the absolute top, which are the halls of fame.

 

Fight your way to the top

 

To reach these halls, you’ll need to conquer several important belts or achieve a right amount of victories in the ring. Reaching the halls is very challenging and won’t be for everybody but it’s worth trying. The best part of the career is that you handle it just like you want. You can choose rivals and friends for your new fighter, pick your answers during interviews and decide if you want to be the front fighter or runner-up. Whatever suits you best, it’s up for the taking. The freedom in this mode is incredible and is one of the best modes in the game but it doesn’t stop there just yet.

The other modes

As impressive as career is, it’s not the only mode of course. In WWE 2K16 you can really do a lot, from quick matches to championships, it’s all in there. Want to relive some of the highlights of the Wrestling history? That’s possible in the 2K showcases; the best part about this is that you even unlock new fighters while doing so.

Besides that you can just play quick matches where you create the rules. Going for a straightforward match or more in the mood for a cage fight? Each famous variation on regular wrestling ring fights is included in the game to recreate the madness you all know and love from the official wrestling matches. There are a lot of things to experiment with and each mode is different, even when the rules aren’t changed that much. The modes are the ultimate fan service and 2K really makes up for the lack of modes in 2K15.

Sensation in the ring 

Including a lot of characters and modes is great for the fans but it would lead to nothing if the actual wrestling was bad. 2K improved the experience and went further on the more realistic approach. WWE delivered a very arcade way of playing but that changed in the 2015 episode, 2K16 still follows the more realistic approach but it improves the actual experience a lot.

No longer will you be able to perform unlimited reversals, those are limited to your stamina. Just take note that some fighters like John Cena have more stamina points than other fighters, those are based on the fighters in real life. John Cena is so good you often don’t see him, so it makes sense he has more stamina than other fighters. All fighters are balanced and mirrored to their performances in the real WWE.

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So aside of the reversals, the controls feel more precise and the hit detection works great. There are some problems when it comes to objects outside of the ring. When you decide to fight out of the ring, you’ll notice it will be hard to grab that chair or to smash your opponent on that metallic stairway. It’s a shame the precision isn’t that good, you’ll want to continue your fight in the ring most of the times and that’s a shame for a WWE game.

Aside that small imperfection, 2K really nails the controls and delivers a very realistic wrestling experience. The commentary does the same. The commentary is great and really adds something to the gameplay. It’s not on the same level as the commentary in other 2K-sports games but it’s kept light and funny, as it should in a WWE game.

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Conclusion:

2K learned from its mistakes and made sure there was a lot of great content in WWE 2K16. With an insane roster and great gameplay modes, this is the WWE fans were asking for last year. The combat and presentation of the actual fights works as it should but could need some polishing outside of the ring. Aside of that, this WWE game is definitely worth your time if you’re into wrestling. Not into wrestling? This might be the best possible starting point thanks to the roster of fighters. 

8/10

 

Got interested in games since I could read. Started with Nintendo but evolved into an all-round gamer. I love all kind of games; triple A games to Indie. If the vibe is right, I'll enjoy playing it.