So, before I kick off my review I must say wrestling fans are the most pickiest and cynical of all genre of fans. Fans of others such as video games, comic books, sports, and other topics have their quirks but wrestling fans take it to another level of unhappiness and judgment. Week by week, wrestling fans bitch and moan about what is happening in the industry and always open up the flood gates on social media and websites to express their gripes. So what would be so different about a wrestling video game? I get it – if I didn't gripe and express my views about wrestling I would not have a job and not be able to share my love of writing. But honestly, wrestling fans nitpick every small detail that doesn't go their way and that is almost everything which goes on. The same can be said about video games. Wrestling fans cried for a game which was more of a simulation and less of an arcade game. Wrestling is about the execution and strategy of finding a way you go over on an opponent, putting an opponent over, and telling a story that captivates a crowd. The fans want everything to go their way, but the build up is better than the result. The same can be said for WWE 2K15.
Walking Down the Aisle
At first glance, visually the game looks amazing. The character models, the crowd, the presentation and the effects are amazing. Little things such as a woman in the crowd taking pictures with her cell phone to the fans' movements bring life to the game. The camera angles and presentation brings a feeling as if you're playing a live televised program. The visuals are one of the few bright spots of the game.
Ring the Bell
The control and gameplay have always been a problem with this wrestling series. After playing the game for some time, I realized this game is more simulation then arcade. This is exactly what players wanted. If I wanted to play an arcade wrestling game I would play WWE All Stars.The tempo is more set as if you are in a match. Gone are the easy cheats of running clotheslines or quick kicks. The stamina meter helps that matter. They also tweaked the reversals cheat where it's not so easy to change the momentum of the move and certain wrestlers do not have the ability to reverse maneuvers as easy as previous games. It took some time to get use to the controls, but after some matches I picked up the flow of the control. Once again, the controls feel more in line with a simulation with examples of fatigue, crawling pins, and slow paced standing and genuine effort to climb the turnbuckles when fatigued.
Now for the bad. As much stuff 2K brought to better the series, they also took away much more. The creation mode is downright horrible. All those years of adding tools to create your own wrestlers (real or fictional) has been scrapped to nothingness. Although you are able to upload your own logo and possible likeness, the ability to change and alter appearances is down to basic functions. The 2K Showcase was lackluster and lacked excitement. I don't think anyone cared about Punk and Cena's rivalry as well as what happened to the HBK and HHH friendship. The Universe mode has potential but once again falls flat with repeated cut scenes. The inability to add your own theme music as in past games is missed. Hell, I would have liked to use the songs on the soundtrack to come into the ring but that's not possible. The fairly decent My Career mode could have started the player off a little deeper, maybe even having the wrestler start in the indies, but regardless, it is somewhat decent and the reason why I would come back to play the game.
Bring it Home Guys
I really took some time to write this review because I wanted to give this game a fair shake and go through it piece by piece. After playing it for some time, I can say this was one game that didn't live up to the hype. In fact, I may go back to playing WWE 2K14 in a few weeks. I really thought this one was going to be the game to break the mold and advance the genre but just like WWE, there's no competition out there. There is no other wrestling game out and the team could sit on their hands and push out any game they like without feeling the heat from other companies. WCW was squashed, TNA is a bicycle in a NASCAR race, and any other promotion is not even on the radar. But as for the video games, WWE and 2K have fallen short of bringing a main event game and instead present a mid-card game. I actually have more entertainment and fun from a wrestling phone app than I would from this game. It's too bad because I really looked forward to the next gen game, but I guess I would have to wait for next year.