So, how bad is WWE 2K17? Well, seeing how a game — marred with more bugs and glitches than ever before — has stalled my purchases of, both, a game from my second favorite series of all time (Gears of War 4) and my most anticipated game coming out of E3 (Battlefield 1), not all bad. Really. Longtime 2K wrestling fanatics know what to expect: a massive roster overhaul, a few admirable-yet-imperfect additions (i.e. backstage/in-crowd brawls, a new ladder/triple threat rollout system), broken promises (i.e. 100s of more cutscenes! Improved MyCareer mode!), awful replays (only last second of finishers and.. pins?) and piss-poor commentary (i.e. same shit from the last two-years! Where’s Corey Graves, goddammuh!?!). We can go on and on on how much WWE 2K17 sucks, fails to live up to expectations, still doesn’t have traditional 4-on-4 or 5-on-5 Survivor Series matches, needs a new engine, doesn’t have custom music, needs game-testing (did CPU Kane really just mat-choke Nash 10x in a row? Why is Earthquake, a man who’s never seen a treadmill, doing the “running man” into the corner?), etc.
Because much like EA has the only NFL show in town, we buy WWE 2K because.. it’s our only option. That said, I’m torn as fuck. With the sheer focus on Universe Mode, this year’s installment is the best one yet. Still, there are ZERO cutscenes for matches that don’t involve a rivalry (unless you play on Exhibition Mode, crazily enough)–and don’t even try to edit any matches. Through three weeks of my “WCW Friday Night Nitro” program, I’ve yet to see a cutscene at all. On the positive, my fellow hypebros and gals: give YourUniverse some time and you will see a wider variety of rival-based cutscenes (but how wide is anyone’s guess). And the new, text-based Promo Engine is fuckin’ terrible. Hey, I’m glad they finally took what is arguably 40% of the importance of wrestling into consideration for once, and while the differing Mass Effectesque options are neat, the script–unless you’re using a CAW Brian Kendrick *chuckle*–is just *Leto Joker voice* really, really bad. A next-gen game made by the same company that has 100’s of real life voices in its sister NBA 2K series should have the real vocals of WWE superstars. What is this, 1989?
Then, why in the Demon’s Hell does Moody bother spending two full days setting up my Universe, arranging tag-teams, factions, enemies/allies, ring entrances, brand calenders, etc. etc.? Because the CPU is actually great at booking (my Smackdown Live! card frighteningly mirrors what’s going on weekly; while my legend-packed Nitro line-ups are a dream come true). The A.I. in the actual matches, which sees a seamless move-chain and far smoother, improved gameplay (manual targeting is aWWEsome), is still pretty ditzy. But players this year are blessed with far more DIY actions (entrance break/run-ins, etc.) and a level of customization never before seen in a wrestling game. And I just witnessed a cutscene during my custom NXT Takeover: Toronto PPV — something nonexistent in years past. While these are fairly early impressions through MyUniverse, I’ll have a complete review on the next “Ringside Apostles Show” following Halloween Eve’s Hell in a Cell. Owwwwwwwwwwww!!! 3.25/5 Bibles.
So, each Apostle is focusing on an aspect of WWE 2K17. I’m working on a review of my own, but that’s a whole ‘nother thing altogether.
What are my thoughts on MyCareer? Let’s see.. Well, Renee Young at least this year doesn’t look like a monster that could at any moment unhinge her jaw and swallow you, but that came at the expense of her voice (even though she has the exact same lines).. Oh, and there’s zero voice work with the promos and your answers. I’m not sure this is what the “AH WANT MER GEHRM TO BE MER LIKE NO MERCY!” idiots meant, 2K.
The great “Heyman Guy” story trailer? Like many movies is definitely better than the experience itself. Oh and going up the ranks makes last year’s progression look like The Flash. Silver lining: I was in a singles match against Scott Dawson on Main Event. He was a tag champ (and not NXT champ). I wasn’t even in a tag team. After I won? I got treated to a Cinematic of Triple H congratulating me for ushering in a new era for NXT, and there was my character, with the belt over his shoulder.
Afterwards, I was still number 3 in the rankings and had no belt. So there’s that. My Career mode is SO good, guys. 5/5 Totally Non-Sarcastic Bibles.
Ah October, cooler weather, Pumpkin Spice Latte’s, uncharacteristically large fuzzy boots. Oh, lest we forget raining chair shots on John Cena, #BeatUpCena. October has been 2K’s yearly installment release window for its WWE games. Since ’14 2K has been making minor adjustments, slowly and surely, though it seems as if it always falls just short. But after four years of laboring and tweaking, has 2K attained the brass ring with ’17 or have they botched it so bad to be worthy of Botchmania segment?
While the big draw this year is the Universe and Career mode, I’d be remiss to not mention the Creation Suite and the amount of detail that a user can create a wrestler, arena, logo with. But the true belle of the ball and one of 2K’s biggest improvements is bringing back Backstage Fighting Areas and fighting within the crowd. No longer will you and your heated rival be constrained to the squared circle and announcers tables. You can fight all through the backstage starting from the entrance ramp, making your way to the gorilla position to breaking up an interview, right into Triple H’s office. You can viciously pummel your opponent with a myriad of objects, chairs, walls, lockers, metal rack, etc.
Sometimes though the targeting will be off and you’ll miss your opponent by a mile, then you have to listen to Cole and Lawler berate you for hitting air, which takes you out of the moment. Every now and then it’ll glitch spontaneously; for example, as my fighter was about to deliver an elbow on top of a footlocker, he was flung into a door. *Jim Ross voice* Oh, what the bloody hell!!! Another thing about backstage brawls is the quietness of the audio — a major issue in the game in all forms (hello Poor-Diddy), — save for the awkward-sounding smacks, grunts and the incessant, outdated, commentary. I wish you could hear the crowd a bit more like in the arena. Fighting in the crowd remedies the quietness (Cena and New Day chants are cool), but you have a very limited space to cause damage in.
Has 2K delivered? Yes and no. They’ve given the WWE fanatic what they wanted but the game can’t help but feel already outdated, what with the brand split, new commentary teams, glitches, etc. Not worth the full price, best saved as a “Bargain Bin Buy” (yes, I will be coining that). 2/5 Triple H Shovels.