WWE is back again with this years WWE 2K18. After an exciting year with many new wrestlers taking shape and the death of the Divas and the birth of the women’s revolution in WWE 2K18 has a lot to deliver and improve upon. Will this year’s entry be GLORIOUS (go for gold Bobby Roode) or will it fall flat and underdeliver? Let us see.
After last year’s new revised reversal system, we find a few new additions to play with when you hit the mat and layeth the smackdown. First off, I found the submission technique had changed slightly. While keeping the old “overlap the red bar with the blue”, we now see an alternate way to pin where you are tasked with quickly continually pushing buttons that appear until a new button pops up and requires that to be pressed until a new one shows on screen. This has either the blue or red bar struggle against one another to see who is faster enough to fill up the gauge on their side. I find this much easier than the old way of submission. Both are available and can be chosen in settings.
WWE 2k18 finally brings back the much beloved story mode for fans of the series who enjoy creating their own character and living the WWE life. The character creation suite wasn’t too in depth as most looks to your character that you could control had limits, and only a select amount of moves where available for your custom wrestler to choose from. Don’t expect to hit NXT with the RKO or F5. You will achieve this over time. You could however choose the type of wrestler you would be. A brawler like Dean Ambrose, a more technical fighter like Seth Rollins or a high flyer much like AJ Styles. Over time you’ll be able to unlock certain items as you progress through the MyPlayer/MyCareer mode.
An old feature also returns in MyCareer mode where you are able to at certain junctions walk around back stage and speak with other wrestlers and create feuds or partnerships depending on how you wish to weave your own personal WWE career. Unfortunately, there is a lot of reading to be done here as most interactions are spoken through text. I found myself skipping through a lot of it as all I wanted to do was get back out into the ring and fight. I know by saying that, that it would then be an obvious idea to just go straight into a match and not the story mode. But I found it took a while to get an actual match in and when I did it was for the NXT title. I’d somehow managed to skip actual matches by running in and attacking my opponent before the match and I’d somehow win. Very strange. But I do enjoy the title matches and having to deal with intruders during certain matches. It is just a shame that the story here is pretty boring. I doubt the average wrestling fan wants to sit and read lines and lines of dialogue either.
Aside from the MyCareer mode there was also the option of an online version that has you compete against players around the world using their own personal custom created characters. As you progress and rank up on the leaderboards you would find yourself vying for a position on the next pay per views that would be coming up. A neat little feature for fans. WWE Universe mode also returns, and yet with some small changes added here with a story mode, it still doesn’t feel like much has changed here.
While some returning additions this year may have been a little bit on the lacking side, WWE 2K18 stunned me with some pretty impressive core game improvements and additions. First off, the actual movements of the wrestlers were quite impressive. Moves and techniques flowed so well in this year’s entry. Seeing an RKO being reversed, or a simple high kick looks almost practised as actions are performed so perfectly. We also see the addition of a new carry system which isn’t too hard to perform but can be reversed so good luck at performing it. This new carry system makes setting your opponent up for a more devastating attack much easier. You are also able to throw other wrestlers out of the ring using this newly updated technique.
Graphics and Sound
WWE 2K18 is by far the most impressive looking WWE game to date. With an entirely new graphics engine you can really see the changes compared to last year. Character models haven’t looked this good before. This is as realistic as some of your favourite wrestlers have ever looked on a console. Changes to lighting and new camera effects also make the game feel a lot crisper this year. WWE 2K18 looks phenomenal and while some of the custom characters may look bland and boring next to the A class list it is still nice to see that the wrestlers I’m going to spend the most time with look as realistic as ever.
The soundtrack this year is executive produced by none other than The Rock himself. Adding a collection of music that he personally listens to when hitting the gym. WWE 2K18 has also partnered with Apple music for this soundtrack. One gripe I have always had with these games is that a lot of the entrance music for wrestlers sounds like it is being played in a tunnel. I understand that it is trying to give you that sense of authenticity by how it would sound at a live event but even on live events screened live they sound better. Just a personal wish that in the future some of the entrance music gets some more love.
WWE 2K18 isn’t a step forward. Even with some new and returning gameplay options. 2K18 in a lot of ways at times feels like a step back. The beyond boring story mode really lets down a great feature that many fans enjoy. It could have been so much better if given more time and attention other than what seemed like a WWE writer copied and pasted words off of old Raw and Smackdown scripts. I’ve reviewed 2K16 – 2K18 for Daily Joystick and I’ve been playing WWE games for a lot longer. Developer Yukes once published some amazing WWE games like Here comes the pain. These days however we are hardly seeing greatness like they used to put out. My only recommendation for picking this up this year is for a larger roster and new animations. Apart from that, you could skip it entirely. Sad to say.