Yearly sports games are usually pretty much the same , except for the updated roster, animations and graphics. However WWE games are trying to challenge the norm by having various quality improvements and changes in terms of gameplay mechanics year after year. So how does WWE2K17 fare this year against its predecessors?
WWE2K17 is the latest this series of popular wrestling game, boasting the largest number of wrestlers ever in WWE2K history. With more than 135 playable WWE and NXT superstars, you can choose from the old school names like “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and “Macho Man” Randy Savage to the newer, younger rising stars like John Cena, AJ Styles and Finn Balor.
A standard WWE2K17 match is pretty similar to all the other WWE 2K series, where your wrestler may attack, grapple and pin their way to their victory, all while executing reversals, taunts, signature and finishing moves. There are a few general improvements and additions here and there such as the introduction of an alternate submission mechanic and inclusion of major/minor reversals, but overall WWE2K17 just enhanced what they already have in place. After all, why fix what isn’t broken?
There are several types of matches to pick from, each with their own set of rules and winning criteria. For example, a Table match would require you to smash your opponent through a table and a ladder match would have you climbing up a ladder to retrieve a winning belt (or a briefcase) in the middle of the ring before your opponent does so. Speaking of Ladder matches, the overall match experience has been improved with a guided ladder placement system so that the ladder you set up never misses the belt.
The Backstage Brawls is also making a return. You can now specifically play a separate Backstage Brawl match or you can transition from any ‘No Disqualification’ match into the backstage, where there are lots of props that you can play with. In addition to Backstage Brawls, you can also fight in the crowd regardless of the match type selected.
One of the improvements I’ve personally noticed is that wrestlers now are more aware of their surroundings. If your wrestler is running over another wrestler who’s lying on the floor, your guy will hop a bit to avoid stepping into him. Taunting near a turnbuckle will have the wrestler perform taunt on the turnbuckle. If any wrestlers are hurt badly, the referee will also temporarily stop you to check on your opponent. .
If you’re the kind of guy that likes to start from the bottom and work your way to the top (like me!), MyCareer is the mode to play with. You’ll start as an eager wrestling fan trying out in the WWE Development Center. From there you just wrestle and perform your way into any of their Main Show, be it NXT, Smackdown or RAW. Start racking those VC (virtual coins) and use it to purchase skills, attributes and managers for your character. Unlike last year, you can skip NXT entirely if you’re skilled enough and excel during the development period.
This year they introduced a new Promo engine, where your wrestler can do the trash talking on stage to improve or sever relationships with their fans or other wrestlers. Too bad they decided to do away with voice acting this year, because having to read all the thrash talking your character is so enthusiastically delivering is pretty awkward. Especially when some of the dialogue options are super cringe worthy.
WWE Universe mode is pretty much the same as last year. This is where you get to play as the show runner, with full customizations available for everything from your roster, teams, alliances and rivalries. They even include brand split this year for you to further customize each of the shows! You'll also get to play around with multiple settings of your WWE Universe since they are providing multiple save slots for this mode now. WWE Universe also make use of the promo engine like MyCareer mode, but as I mentioned before, the dialogue are cringey and all text with no voice acting is laaaame.
While the huge roster of 2017 superstars is certainly welcomed, their Creation Suite offers a whole lot more! You can recreate basically almost every single wrestler, ever. Customize any individual body parts to your liking, complete with color wheel, material selection, logos, tattoos, patterns and various others at your disposal. Heck, there are even options for body hair, veins vascularity and body oils. Yes, you get to pick how oily you want your wrestlers to be! Custom logo is also making a comeback in WWE2K17, so if you can’t find any patterns or tattoos that fits your needs, just create one and upload it into the game.
You can also edit existing WWE Superstar they ship with the game, but the customization is only limited to their clothes and hair dye. Damn, and here I thought I could change that mop hair of Dolph Ziggler to his older, slicker hairstyle!
And why stop at creating wrestlers? The Creation Suite also allows you to create, customize and share various other things such as your very own entrances, move-sets, arenas, shows and more. One of the new additions is the Highlight Replay system, which enables players to record video highlights from their matches and use the footage to design custom entrance videos in Create-a-Video and Create-a-Victory.
Not a creator? No worries. A quick look at their community creations would show you various popular pop-culture characters such as Son Goku from Dragon Ball Z, Brad Pitt and even Donald Trump already been created. I even spotted a Harambe! If you’re not so good at creating a wrestler from scratch or just couldn’t be bothered, pay the Community Creations a visit and download whatever you want to your heart’s delight.
WWE2K17 is a decent wrestling game. It builds on top of last year's game, but with more options, contents and customizations for you to tweak around. Some of the new inclusions are exciting to play with, but nothing really is ground breaking with this new version. If you're perfectly content with WWE2K16, nothing new offered here would make you wanna upgrade, really. If its just the updated roster you want, you can always get user created wrestlers from the Community Creations of 2K16.
However if you're a creator or customizer, WWE2K17 is perfectly a good game to toy around with. The expanded save slots and ability to customize everything from wrestler, WWE universe to even how you want your victory poses to look like would be enough to make you squeel!