BY DEAN MOSES
Game: WWE 2K16
Platform: PlayStation 4, Play Station 3, Xbox One and Xbox 360
Rated: T for Teen
In the 1990s WWE hit its peak of popularity. It’s no wonder that the focus of the new video game, WWE 2K16, follows the career of Stone Cold Steve Austin, the most famous superstar of that decade. Despite the fact the majority of the game’s promotion has focused on reliving the past, there is plenty of fun to be had with the grapplers of today.
WWE2K16 looks both incredible and dated at the same time; this is due mostly to one factor that also plagued last year’s iteration—facial scans. Superstars like Triple H, Randy Orton and John Cena look astonishingly lifelike thanks to the fact the faces of their real life counterparts were mapped by the development team. However, the quality of older stars like Rick Rude and Brian Pillman appear poor since it was impossible for their faces to be scanned. The overall feel of the game is just like what is seen on TV. Hashtags of the event appear on top of the screen during matches, the WWE logo is in the corner and commenters: Jerry the King Lawler, Michael Cole and JBL call the action.
There are two main story modes, 2Kshowcae mode and “My Career” mode. In the 2Kshowcase you play through the illustrious career of Steve Austin, all the way from the birth of his Stone Cold character to his last match at WrestleMania with The Rock. Also peppered throughout 2kshowcase mode are bonus matches with Steve Austin from his days in WCW and ECW. To advance in this mode you have to complete certain objectives, such as throwing an opponent into the guardrail or driving said adversary through the announce table. Performing these tasks will usually trigger cinematic scenes before prompting you with your next task. This mode is a great way to relive the past if you followed Stone Cold’s exploits during the 90s, or a great way to catch up on some of the WWE lore if you missed it or were too young at the time to see it.
“My Career” mode is slightly different, this mode sees you creating your own wrestler and then living the WWE lifestyle. You can either be a good guy or a bad guy, can interfere in rival’s matches, take a crack at a championship and even participate in post match interviews where you can choose what answers to give. If you have an internet connection, you may even run into superstars that your friends have created.
The action this time around feels more like a simulation than a fast paced representation of the TV show. Matches start off with more of a feeling out process; you can lock up with a foe in a bid for control before pushing them into the ropes, and then delivering an underhanded punch as the referee tries to break things up. Other new additions include the ability to only reverse moves a maximum of fives times before you have to wait for the ability to recharge, this adds a layer of strategy never before seen in a WWE game. You have to really pick and choose the best time to reverse otherwise you will be in for a pounding. Also, you can now grab onto the rope in a last attempt to break up a pin. There are over 120 wrestlers past and present to play as, meaning there are tons of possibilities when recreating classic bouts or playing out dream ones. Your WWE Perhaps the most exciting aspect of WWE2K16 is the ability to customize your experience. You can make your own championship belts, your own shows and arenas, or download ones that have been created by other players around the world. In Universe mode you can literally watch rivalries play out over championships you have made up on custom shows, on days you select. The level of detail is astounding.
Last year WWE2K15 was a big disappointment to fans, it left out many matches, custom options… and the fun. This year, like a good wrestling rivalry, WWE2K16 recuperated from its loss and returned to take back the belt.