Hey guys. Welcome back! I’m sick with a cold. 😀 And I’m going to be reviewing WWE 2K17 this week. How different is it from previous versions? Read on to find out. Oh, I’m also going to be sharing a couple amusing glitches I encountered, in video form. Look forward to those.
Let’s get to the main issue. The problem with annualized games such as this is that each iteration is going to be a minor upgrade to the previous one, other than the rosters. The graphics, for example, are definitely showing their age compared to other games of the PS4/XB1 era. This is, after all, a graphics engine that was originally created on the PS1, and has been ported and improved upon for twenty years. Remember, the first Smackdown game was based on a Japanese wrestling series called Toukon Retsuden, which itself was on its third or fourth entry by the time the first Smackdown was released. (Fun fact: Power Move Pro Wrestling, a PS1 game brought to the US by Activision, was based on the first Toukon Retsuden.)
But that isn’t to say the game isn’t good. It is. They now give you an option of two different styles of submission mini-games, for example. The one from last year sucked, so I’m glad there’s a button-mashing system this year. Though like the one Royal Rumble mini-game, you have to mash the displayed button, which changes at regular or random intervals (I’m not sure which).
There still isn’t any Special Referee, and 2K hasn’t brought back the deep set of match rule customization that THQ had. So those are my two major gripes. I loved being able to turn a 6-Man Battle Royal into a pin/submit elimination match, for example, even if you weren’t allowed to leave the ring. Also, making a Fatal Four Way into an Ironman Match? Heck yeah! Those were the things I loved doing. 2K ruined that.
But anyway, the roster is good, the ability to choose wrestler entrance themes over the crappy (with the exception of Paranoid by Black Sabbath) curated soundtrack is nice, and the gameplay is still as fine as ever. Speaking of music, though, I have to wonder why they don’t have the original WCW Nitro theme as the show music for the Nitro arena in the Goldberg DLC. They have some crappy generic tune. I can understand not having PPV themes, as those are licensed, but WWE owns the Nitro theme. Heck, they used it as the entrance music when Johnny Nitro debuted as Eric Bischoff’s personal assistant.
Going back to gameplay for a second, they added a couple interesting features. One is a feature that, in matches involving more than two men (excluding tag matches), when you get knocked down there is a chance you will be forced outside the ring if there are two or more men already in the ring. It’s apparently to simulate how guys roll out to the floor to “take a nap” during multi-man matches. It’s kind of neat. There’s a period where you can get an early recovery, but take a debuff (meaning your attack power and/or momentum growth, I forget which, is reduced). If you choose to wait until the meter is full, you get a buff instead.
The other new feature is a star-based score system. You earn points based on various things like move variety, signature/finisher use, and so forth. Getting a higher score gets you more in-game currency, which you can now use to unlock stuff. In the past you had to unlock things by performing certain tasks, but now you just play well and buy them in-game. So that’s a nice change.
All in all, it’s a solid game, with some glaring omissions from the previous era of WWE video games. Is it perfect? No. They really could use a brand new graphics engine. But then that would require redoing the animations for every single move in the game, and that would probably add a whole year onto the development cycle. So unless they’re willing to take a year off like Assassin’s Creed did to refresh the series, we’re going to see only marginal improvements in visuals. I hate to gripe on visuals, since they don’t really matter that much, but I’m really starting to notice them this year.
But anyway, it’s a good game. Not the greatest, and don’t go saying WWF No Mercy is the greatest, either. It hasn’t aged well, in my opinion. It’s slow, plodding, and it bores me to death after all these years of playing faster-paced wrestling games. Come on guys, let’s move on to the modern era.
That does it for me this week. Sorry for it being really short. I’m sick, as I said, and there isn’t a lot to say about annualized games anymore. Come yell at me about my WWF No Mercy opinion on Twitter at @vgramblings. I’ll see you all next time.
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