WWE 2K15 Review: Heel Turn

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Posted on November 17, 2014, Mitchell Saltzman WWE 2K15 Review: Heel Turn

Though last year’s WWE 2K14 was a significant milestone for the franchise, being the first game published by 2K Games rather than the now defunct THQ, it wasn’t a huge departure from WWE 13.

WWE 2K14′s main campaign once again focused primarily on the history of the WWE rather than the present, the actual core wrestling gameplay remained largely unchanged from previous games, and for the most part, the title focused simply on adding more to the plate. More wrestlers, more options in Create-a-Wrestler, more moves, and so on.

At first, it seems that WWE 2K15 strives to do the same thing, only somehow a memo must have been misinterpreted along the way. Instead of adding more to the already enormous plate of superstars, match types, and create-a-wrestler options on offer in the franchise, developers Visual Concepts and Yuke’s ended up with less across the board. This slimmed-down package, along with disappointing additions such as chain wrestling and the “MyCareer” mode, all add up to a tremendous step back for the WWE 2K franchise.

WWE 2K15
Platform: PlayStation 4 (Reviewed), Xbox One, Xbox 360, Playstation 3
Developer: Yuke’s and Visual Concepts
Publisher: 2K Games
Release Date: Nov. 18, 2014
MSRP: $59.99

The Yuke’s-developed WWE games finally found their campaign footing two years ago when they introduced the “Attitude Era” mode: a game mode that let players relive what is arguably the greatest era of professional wrestling, The Attitude Era, complete with extremely well-made video packages that expertly brought fans up to speed and brought much-needed context to each match. In addition, players could also complete special objectives within each match to keep events in line with what actually happened in reality. Doing so would reward players with cutscenes using the in-game engine that recreated the big moments of that particular fight.

This mode was replicated in the similarly spectacular “30 Years of Wrestlemania” in WWE 2K14, which allowed players to relive the big matches from every single Wrestlemania, from the Hulkamania era all the way to the era dominated by John Cena.

The big question for the developers of WWE 2K15, then, is: where do we go from here? What do we do now after already covering the greatest era in professional wrestling history along with 30 years’ worth of the most prolific pay-per-events in all of the WWE?

One gets the feeling while playing through the 2K Showcase mode that Yuke’s, 2K Games, and Visual Concepts never found a satisfactory answer to that all-important question. Like prior years, 2K Showcase allows players to relieve classic matches in WWE history, completing specific objectives in each match to keep the events in line with what actually happened, only this time those classic matches are only part of two storylines: The CM Punk and John Cena feud of 2011-2013, and the Triple H and Shawn Michaels feud from 2002 to 2004.

To say that this mode is a step back from the Attitude Era and 30 Years of Wrestlemania modes isn’t to say that those two feuds and storylines were bad. In fact, John Cena versus CM Punk was the feud that got me back into wrestling after about a decade of not giving a crap about it, and while I’m less familiar with the Triple H and Shawn Michaels rivalry, it still tells a great story of two former best buddies turned bitter rivals.

The problem is that those two storylines are all there is. There are 19 matches to play through in the CM Punk and Cena rivalry and 14 matches in the HBK and Triple H rivalry, and while there are times when you get to control superstars other than those main four, those matches are few and far between. The result was that I got incredibly burnt out of playing as Punk, Cena, HHH and HBK. I got tired of their entrances, tired of their move sets, and tired of Jerry Lawler and Michael Cole giving me endless bits of trivia about them during commentary.

I would have much preferred making the rivalries shorter and perhaps skipping some matches in favor of including more storylines. It’s a damn shame that the Wyatts make their video game debut in WWE 2K15, and yet have no presence whatsoever in the main story modes of the game. It also would have been nice to see The Shield get some love with their own story arc, considering how huge they have become during the last few years of the WWE.


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