WWE 2K19 Review

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A revamped MyCareer Mode and the return of the 2K Showcase Mode headline the new additions in WWE 2K19. Find out what we thought in our full review!

Release Date October 9, 2018
Genre Sports
Platforms PC/PS4/XBO
Developer Yuke’s/Visual Concepts
Price $59.99 US
ESRB Rating Teen
Players 1-8 Players

 

*A copy of this game was provided by 2K Games to FYIG for review purposes*

This is the first year in many years that I’ve been truly excited for the WWE 2K series. This series has been pretty consistent for the past 3 or 4 years, and if anything, has regressed in that time.  That’s not the case this year as the team behind the development of this yearly wrestling title have improved most of the areas in the game in some way, shape, or form. Leading the way is a revamped Career Mode and the return of 2K Showcase featuring none other than the return of Daniel Bryan.

I never realized how much I missed the 2K Showcase mode until it was no longer in the game. I really liked playing through the interactive story of specific Superstars and recreating some of the biggest moments in WWE history. Luckily, I had the chance to do it again this year with The Return of Daniel Bryan story. I was disappointed that we didn’t get some early Ring of Honor matches from his career in this game mode (for obvious reasons), but it does manage to start all the way back in a 2003 Velocity match and goes through things like his Tag Team Championship Victory with Kane and his victory at WrestleMania 30. Before each match, there’s a cool narrative video from Bryan explaining what was happening at that time in his career and the moment you’re about to play through. It doesn’t go through every little thing, but it’s one of the best stories they could have put together for a Showcase and it’ll keep you busy for a few hours or more.

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The 2K Showcase has returned with one based around the career of Daniel Bryan.

MyCareer Mode has been completely re-done which is really weird to me as I felt that last year’s mode would have been pretty good with a few improvements. That doesn’t matter as the free-flowing backstage areas are gone and now you are part of a story that you can somewhat control with different decisions here and there. It’s much like the stories in Longshot and The Journey in Madden and FIFA respectively. I didn’t really think I’d enjoy it, but after just a few hours (and being targeted by the entire NXT roster), I was hooked. No longer are we stuck with boring stories that we’ve seen year after year. This time, there are twists and turns and we have control of what direction we want to take our character so there is some definite replay value.

The most interesting improvement of MyCareer Mode is that you don’t have to spend 3 hours creating your character before you begin. You pick a base set of gear, create your face, and you’re ready to go. As you progress in MyCareer Mode, you end up accumulating VC, Standard Currency, and Deluxe Currency. With your VC, you can buy unlockables, move-sets, entrances, and victory animations. Some are quite steep so you might want to try your hand at using some of your other currency to buy loot boxes which can give you any of the items above (except unlockable characters/belts/arenas). It’s a cool addition to net you more items at once than you’d get buying them individually but you end up with a lot of items you’ll never use. You are able to scrap items you don’t want for a small rebate, which is better than nothing even though you’ll never recoup anywhere close to what you paid for the loot box in in-game currency. The good thing in all of this is that you gain in-game currency fast enough that you never need to pay for one with real money.

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The skill tree with various ways to make improve your character.

The really awesome thing about MyCareer Mode is that you gain style points to upgrade your Superstar. You update very gradually and you can choose what you want to focus on most. You can’t just choose any upgrade at once, you do have to follow the skill tree, but there’s enough variety that you’ll find something you want to upgrade. Some upgrades even unlock different skills and abilities for your character to use like Dirty Pins and Ladder Finishers. If that’s not enough, there are sub-styles as well. I picked a Cruiser character and my sub-style was Luchador (I could have also picked Technical Cruiser) which gave me a lot of different ariel upgrades for my character. You use the same style points to upgrade this tree as well. If that wasn’t enough, there’s even an Overcharge tree that gives you access to 3 specific perks. Beast Mode enhances your grappling speed and damage,  Charged Fury deals out big damage with a single punch, and Electrifying makes your momentum grow really fast when taunting uninterrupted. 

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Me winning the WWE United States Championship.

Towers are another new game mode and basically, it consists of a Gantlet Match between you and 5 other people most of the time with a distinct theme. These matches are pretty difficult as your health carries over to the next match and you have to complete all the matches in one sitting for the most part. Oh, and the opponents also become increasingly more difficult. Sometimes, there are even different stipulations like one match will be Last Man Standing, another is a Submission match. The hardest tower of all is the AJ Styles Million Dollar Challenge with 15 straight opponents. I tip my hat to anyone who manages to complete that one because it’s insanely difficult. You can also create your own towers and share them with others through MyPlayer. I’m interested to see what other people come up with.

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Some of the Towers available right now.

For what it’s worth WWE Universe also returns, but there isn’t much that is new to talk about on that one. This mode has been pretty similar for the past few years, but with a mode that allows me to control everything, I can hardly complain. I really wouldn’t change anything within that mode. Road to Glory is also pretty similar to last year and I, admittedly, didn’t spend a whole lot of time with it for this review. There is a feature where you can pick a faction and level it up to gain rewards which I felt was pretty interesting. I’m still waiting for a mode that allows me to defend championships in an online promotion. I think that’s one thing that this series needs to expand to.

The gameplay has been tweaked a little bit in this year’s game. Moves have much more impact than they once have and it feels a touch more like a simulation game than an arcade game while still retaining the fast pace we’ve come to expect from the series. Moves flow better into one another than ever before and you have to be able to string a good sequence of moves and reversals together to find success. Gone are the days when you can just mash buttons to win a match, this game is much more strategic than that. It’s not an easy task to reverse in this year’s game at all, you have to anticipate what the other player is going to do or you could be down on the mat for a long time. It’s a frustrating experience until you start learning the timing of everything and it’s very satisfying to chain a bunch of stuff together and get the pinfall or submission. It finally feels like an accomplishment when you win a match rather than something simple you can breeze through without being hit.

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Adam Cole BAY-BAY!

There is a new Payback system introduced in WWE 2K19 that really changes the game allowing someone who is down and out of a match to get a quick helping hand. Some of these things include previous abilities like Move Thief and Resiliency, but there are also new ones like Power of the Punch (Brass Knuckles), Poison Mist, and even a run-in where you can call an ally to the ring to help you out. Some of these can only be used once per match, but it’s really cool to see the developers creating an opportunity to create more competitive matches and surprise factors. It makes every match feel different and that’s a great thing.

The presentation in WWE 2K19 is a bit of a mixed bag. The Superstars themselves look great for the most part, I can’t think of anybody that I’ve seen that doesn’t look pretty close to their real-life counterpart besides Lana not having the right gear or hair. Speaking of hair, it’s still terrible if someone has long hair. I don’t get it, but they just cannot seem to fix this issue. Hair should not look like strands of construction paper and yet it does. I will say that the graphics are about as good as they’ve ever been despite that, though. Everything looks great and it doesn’t look far off what you’d see on TV. There are some weird technical issues that make the ropes get caught in some characters and different things like that. The commentary while slightly better is still pretty repetitive and off-point a lot of the time, but I did like how there is intro commentary for most of the characters. I do wish they’d have The NXT commentary team on there to add some variety though. 

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You can customize the MITB briefcase and defend it!

The last few things I wanted to note were the cool additions that fly under the radar. There are now Fatal 4 Way tag matches which are amazing and they’re not limited to just normal matches. Cage matches now allow you to leave out the door and fight on the side of the cage. Hell in a Cell matches now allow you to go outside the cell easier and to put your opponent through the top of it again (finally). You can fight at the Wyatt compound. There is a Big Head Mode which is crazy fun with friends. I’m sure there are more additions than that, that’s just what I’ve noticed from my playthrough so far. Unfortunately, the game is missing notable stars like Tommaso Ciampa, Nikki Cross, The Brian Kendrick, and Cruiserweight Champion Buddy Murphy due to contractual issues. With that being said, the roster is still the biggest in history and you’ll definitely find plenty of stars you’ll enjoy playing as. If you’re missing someone, you can always use community creations or the amazing creation suite that allows you to create virtually anything you want.

Pros Cons
Tons of content A few presentation and technical issues
Great MyCareer Mode  
Return of 2K Showcase