WWE 2K16 | First Impressions

“It’s a New Day! Yes it is!”

– Big E

Fall has come, and that can only mean one thing for all wrestling fans – a new WWE video game. WWE 2K16 hit store shelves this past Tuesday October 29, 2015 and I had the chance to pick up a copy for the PlayStation 4.

Right off the bat, WWE 2K16 installed rather quickly compared to last year’s WWE 2K15. 2K16 installed to the PS4 roughly in one hour.

This game is stacked! WWE 2K16 features a load of modes including the ever improving Creation Suite – Create a Superstar/Diva, Create an Entrance, Create an Arena, and Create a Show.  Universe Mode, Career Mode (Exclusive to PS4 and Xbox One), and Showcase all make returns this year as well.

The difference between last generation and current generation consoles is evident with WWE 2K16. Let’s look at Triple H’s game model, who’s considered a bench mark for all WWE games. Triple H actually looks like the real life counterpart. The presentation is so close to the real thing, during his entrance, once Triple H does his signature spit take, sprinkles of water appears on the model – like in real life. The game looks great on the PS4.

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Triple H’s WWE 2K16 game model

The roster also received an overhaul this year. WWE 2K16 features 120-plus superstars. This is largest WWE video game roster to date. With DLC (Downloadable Content) on its way, that number will increase even more. Some current Superstars you can play as are Brock Lesnar, The Undertaker, Roman Reigns, John Cena and the entire New Day! Also included are WWE Alumni and Legends such as “Macho Man” Randy Savage, Mankind, The Rock, Vader, D’Lo Brown and cover superstar – Stone Cold Steve Austin.

One legend who is missing due to his recent troubles is someone who shall not be named. Here’s a clue, his name rhymes with Bulk Bogan.

Arnold “The Terminator” Schwarzenegger is also a playable character with pre-order of the game.

Gameplay

Not a lot has changed with the gameplay, but there are some welcomed additions. New this year to WWE 2K16 is the Reversal System. Gone are the days of infinite reversals, instead each superstar are equipped with a certain amount of reversals ranging from 3-5. Reversals will regenerate over the course of the match. This new addition adds a brand new strategy on how you play the game.

Working holds is another new addition. Over the course of a match your opponent and the superstar you are playing as will lose stamina slows down the course. When in (or applied) a working hold, a mini game similar to the Lock-up mini game comes up. The goal is to beat your opponent by finding the sweet spot to regain a bit of your superstar stamina. This new addition truly gives you the WWE broadcast feel.

The Pin System has also received an update. From my time playing, it feels easier to kick out of high stakes pins. To kick out, all you have to do is to press X (A on Xbox One) to overlap the blue bar with the red section. If done successfully, the section will turn green allowing your superstar to kick out. Pinning your opponent will keep you on your edge of your seat – you never truly know when your opponent is down for the count. The shock of the 2 count not being a 3 count animation is a nice touch.

With all the welcomed new additions WWE 2K16 introduces, the new Submission System is not one of them. One word to describe this submission system – difficult. The plan is once you are put into a submission hold is to dodge the red attacker’s bar by rotating the analog stick to steer the blue defender’s bar away from the attacker, but it’s not that easy as the opponents AI knows this submission system all too well, almost as its programmed to cause an instant tap out.

I played many matches where I was put into a submission hold that would lead to an instant tap out. I would like to see the Breaking Point submission system make a return in the next game.

This is a huge issue as there are a lot of players voicing their frustrations on the official WWE 2K forums.

Creation Suite

Create an Arena returns with a vengeance. You will find yourself spending a lot of time in this mode. 2K added many new stages, props, logos, and much more. There is also the addition of adding two announce tables at ringside, a first in the mode.

Trying out the mode, I made the 1999 SmackDown arena. When playing a match, I ran into a glitch where Adam Rose’s manager Rosa Mendes was stuck behind one of the stage’s large rings.

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Adam Rose makes his entrance, while his manager is stuck behind the stage

Rosa Mendes would remain glitched behind the stage the entire match.

Rose Mendes glitch
Rose Mendes glitch

Many players will run into the problem of selecting their custom arena when trying to play exhibition matches. I also had this problem. The solution is you have to first go into the new Create a Show and edit the custom arena’s graphics, nameplate, etc. After saving, you can now use the arena in any mode.

Create a Show is not what some thought. It is not a mode where you can create a card and play through it; instead it is an extension that features parts that could have easily been placed in the Create an Arena mode.

I have not created a superstar yet, but I did update the British Bulldog’s to his ’99 run attire. The selection of pieces seems a lot faster, which was an issue in WWE 2K15.

Universe Mode and My Career

I have yet to dive into either Universe Mode or My Career. A lot of users on the WWE 2K forums are reporting that Universe Mode has a lot of problems. Problems including not being able to make custom title matches at any time (which was in last year’s game) and the game not registering rivalries. 2K has confirmed these issues and is working on a patch that will correct these errors. No word on when the patch will become available. More than likely, I will wait until the patch is out to try Universe Mode.

 Stone Cold 2K3:16 Showcase

Stone Cold 2K Showcase
Stone Cold 2K Showcase

 I grew up a Stone Cold fan and to this day he’s still one of my top favorites so I was looking forward to this mode the most and it did not disappoint.

This showcase takes the player through Stone Cold’s awesome storied career. Battles with Bret Hart, Shawn Michaels, The Undertaker, The Rock and Vince McMahon are all here. Bonus matches are nice extras in the showcase. It was great playing as early Steve Austin in WCW and ECW.

The developers at 2K really did a great job with detail. Details such as Austin having a band-aid on his forehead going into his match at Fully Loaded 1999, Rock putting on Austin’s vest during their match at WrestleMania 19, and Spanish announcers are seen in this Showcase. This would be the first time in a WWE video game they are seen, even though neither are Hugo Savinovich.

Even surprise managers, superstars, and stooges all make appearances in Stone Cold’s Showcase. Vince McMahon stooges, Pat Patterson and Gerald Brisco make their return to a WWE video game since WrestleMania 2000 for the N64.

Owen Hart is mentioned and shown in the Showcase through video packages, but he is not playable. Though he is not playable, it shouldn’t be a problem creating him in Create a Superstar.

The elephant in the room is the exclusion of Mike Tyson. Instead of Tyson being the enforcer during the Austin vs Michaels championship match at WrestleMania 14, he is replaced by a generic character only referred as “The Enforcer” on commentary.

Hey, that's not Mike Tyson!
Hey, that’s not Mike Tyson!

This mode is not a walk in the park, I had to retry many matches because of my opponents impressive AI and the new submission system. QTEs (Quick Time Events) are back, so make sure you’re sharp.

No game is perfect. With that being said, I did run into some glitches during Showcase mode, but none are game breaking. One glitch was not being able to grab the chair off the ring mat during the Royal Rumble 2001. Another was The Rock’s Entrance video being the incorrect video.

Had no idea The Rock was still in the Nation of Domination in 2003
Had no idea The Rock was still in the Nation of Domination in 2003

After finishing the Showcase, there are New Objectives that lets you play as Austin’s Showcase opponents. This really gives the game extra reply value. Also there are other challenges where you have to defeat the entire Nation of Domination as Austin or using Brock Lesnar to defeat Austin to unlock bonuses. Bonuses include Superstars, attires, and parts to use in create modes.

I’m not even close to completing this game and I can already tell this is a great wrestling simulation game. The largest roster ever featuring current and past superstars, career mode, universe mode, Stone Cold 2K3:16 Showcase, the creation suite, and DLC – this game is not getting old anytime.

I highly recommend checking out WWE 2K16.


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