Everyone feels disappointment; it’s a key emotion that signals you’re living. If you’ve never felt it before then maybe it’s time to look at yourself in the mirror. Do you have a reflection?
It’s an emotion that a lot of WWE fans are used to feeling every Monday night on RAW when the creative team of what used to be an electrifying experience, falls short on a promise – a promise to provide suitable entertainment. A combination of complacency and missing the target make WWE 2K15 a game that feels right at home with the WWE’s current product (Survivor Series excluded).
As a WWE fan, I was damn excited for the new generation of wrestling games. Developed by 2K Sports, the potential for a game to finally out do No Mercy (on the N64) was a possibility but something went seriously wrong. The press bombardment that was promised never arrived; gameplay footage took ages to appear and when it did, the entrances looked amazing but there was still some uncertainty about the gameplay footage. Footage that was not shown until a month prior to launch. When a five-minute video is released showcasing how to import a photo onto your characters face, an subconscious feeling of ‘uh oh’ starts to dissolve all potential positivity.
Slam Dunk; no funk
All talk about WWE 2K15 has been about what 2K Sports could achieve due to their success and innovation on the NBA series. Incredible graphics, fluid animations and trendsetting ideas made NBA 2K14 (15 even improved on the RPG feeling) a contender for game of the year in 2013 so hopes started high. Graphically, WWE 2K15 shines mainly due to the increase in console power; wrestler entrances have been perfected, however, sometimes the character models seem to have cotton wool in their mouth when they smile. Golddust, a character who was shown consistently in the build up to the games release, looks identical to his real life counterpart. The number of polygons that make up his incredible coat have been stolen from other wrestlers ‘lesser accurate’ portrayals. Take Vince McMahon for example; he looks like a smoothed over pimp daddy.
Wrestler animations are spot on thanks to the time spent by Cesaro and co performing them in 2K’s own mocap studio. From Cesaro’s swing to Zayn’s bottom rope leap, the animations are fluid and precise. This brings an increased level of realism to the matches as damage is notable as opponents clamour for space after taking a hefty hit.
Sadly, with all these animation improvements, collision detection still remains a problem as wrestlers bump into each and grapple for thin air. To counteract this, 2K have worked on decreasing the amount of awkward pub-esque collisions from 2K14 with the inclusion of the grapple mini-game at the start of matches. Wrestling matches don’t start with a signature move; they start with precision and counters to determine which wrestler has the momentum going into the start of the match. At its core level, the minigame is a simple game of rock, paper, scissors and whilst providing an interesting start to the match, the fact you can turn it off proves that 2K don’t have a lot of faith in their own idea. A trend that runs deep from WWE 2K15.
When it was revealed the NXT – the professional wrestling developmental branch for WWE- was to be in the MyCareer mode, I marked out. How could it go wrong? This is what we’ve been waiting for since No Mercy. Screw Seth Rollins, this is the future.
My Career. More like no career.
Sadly, it’s not Seth Rollins; it’s more Fandango as it’s all snazzy but at the end of the day it falls short of ever entertaining. Creating your wrestler has a reduced amount of options and lags a lot; for a game on a system that has increased RAM, it comes as a surprise that loading times between changing hats (hats are necessary) can sometimes take 20–30 seconds. How guys? How is this possible? If there are no loading times in GTA V’s vast world, why when changing hats or writing rude words on characters arms? Riddle me that 2K!
Starting off in the performance centre, your character progresses slowly through NXT and eventually to Wrestlemania where you can then retire albeit very premature. myCareer is full of ideas that have been ported directly from NBA including the attribute system. NBA does it a lot better mind, but it’s a step to recreating the RPG thrill of the bouncy baller.
As a custom wrestler, you are not only trying to win matches but to entertain the WWE Universe. This can be done through a combination of reversals, near three count kicks (or what’s known in the industry as a Cena) or constantly hitting signature moves. At the end of every match, your show stopping performance is then rated out of five stars; this is where it all starts to get a touch hazy. After a ridiculous match where my character, Disco Jesus (the funk saviour i’ll let you know) performed the Cesaro swing and smashed my competitor through the surrounding barricade only to be greeted with a sad 3.5 stars plus a ravaged looking Vicki Guerrero telling me that the match was not good enough. It’s a small grievance but it really makes you wonder what you have to do to impress the fans. Simple. It’s not about a spectacle in an ‘OMG moment’, but more so that reversals make an audience go wild. Excuse me whilst I refill my sarcasm meter.
myCareer has a lot of potential but it just hasn’t been realised in this iteration of the franchise. The groundwork has been done now; 2K just need to actually think key systems through.
Break that soundtrack into pieces
Holka holla holla holla holla. That’s it. Worst game soundtrack of recent memory.
Even with all of its faults, WWE 2K15 has a small addictive feature to it. It’s got nothing to do with the game itself, it’s all down to the fact that WWE fans need a game to play and currently, this is what is available on the now current generation of consoles. The entire game experience just feels sloppy and, unlike Assassin’s Creed Unity, a game that was released with game breaking bugs, WWE 2K15 just feels rushed and its ideas were not allowed to be grown so just feel wasted (see reference to myCareer).
Fingers crossed 2K can sort this out with the next iteration but with the WWE’s current financial situation there will be a fair amount of pressure just to get a game out.