the brand WWE has always been very popular with fans, although its evolution has been inconsistent and minor over the years. For this reason the news, now five years ago, of the passage in the caring hands of 2K it had made all those who had been waiting for the desired leap in quality rejoice for a long time. Since that day there have been several chapters, which have shown a slight change of course, without however engaging the gear in a decisive way, leaving us heavily with a bad taste in the mouth.
These were preconditions before you got your hands on it WWE 2K18, a title that against all odds has been able to give us healthy fun, thanks to an evolution, albeit not colossal in terms of animations and gameplay, tangible and decisive to rekindle that dormant spark in us WWE wrestling fans.
So here's what we think about it in detail, evaluating the positive and negative sides of a production that is finally beginning to take the first steps in the right direction. Enjoy the reading!
Let's go back to the most spectacular ring in the world
Over the years the combat system has evolved incessantly, passing from the abuse of the clutch in the middle of the ring, to then choose one of the available moves. This time, like last year, we have much faster moves to perform and various for each situation, as well as position, our opponent will find himself: from standing to lying, up to grabbing from behind and also in the up phase. In short, they have been inserted a myriad of animations to ensure that the collisions are as credible as possible and this is to be commended, since it definitely streamlines what the fight is, making it more immediate, as well as decidedly complex to fully master.
This is mostly caused of the submission and pinning system, much more based on pad skill in hand than on pure chance, like a few years ago where we had to repeatedly crush relying on luck, or on the stamina of our athlete. But the part that will cause more problems in the first period, still being an appreciable technicality, is the system of countermoves; always been in the eye of the storm for going from too simple to too complex in the blink of an eye. Specifically, we have a certain number of bars available, each corresponding to a counter move that can be performed by pressing the R2 key using the right timing; after use we will see the bar disappear and then slowly begin to recharge, depending on the wrestler's attributes, over the course of the match, forcing us to make the most of them so as not to remain at the mercy of the opponent.
A new world
The modes available to us are those already seen in the last edition: from exhibition matches of all kinds, up to the WWE Universe and My Player. The latter has attracted our attention the most for its having been modernized and made, according to the developers, much more engaging, finding us in the end quite in agreement. Specifically, the negative sides that do not lead us to fully agree on this thought reside in the absence, again, of a dubbing, literally dismantling every single one of our intention to identify ourselves with the wrestler; moreover, with the infinite repetition of the same animations until the X key is pressed to move on to the next text.
A factor that had to be definitely revised, to give a better experience to the end user. However, you can console yourself with the fun of developing your own wrestler "Zero to Hero", citing what was Disney's Hercules; from NXT to the main roster to battle for the world crown, the heights of WWE are there at your fingertips. This structure in itself manages to capture the player, forcing him to carefully evaluate where to enhance the fighter, given the scarcity of points available and the global level of attributes very low compared to the average, making our life difficult in clashes.
To enrich everything there is the merchandising to manage, with the constant production of new shirts and captivating clothing, completely customizable thanks to the immense editing system which we are going to eviscerate later.
To conclude, we left the juiciest part, the one that can be defined the true competitive mode of the game and integrates with "My Player": the Road to Glory. This allows us to fight with other players online to get points, which can be spent to level, buy accessories and crates containing items, increase our fighter and qualify for the monthly PPV, in which we will acquire even more items. In short, the possibility to compete and have fun with our character not only against the CPU, with that adrenaline that only healthy competition can give; an interesting idea that must absolutely be developed more and more in detail over the years.
The gem of this production is without a doubt the editing system, truly colossal and definitely improved compared to the past, able to eclipse all those of the previous chapters, even the most popular ones like Here's Come the Pain. Specifically, we have the possibility to get our hands to modify or create almost anything from scratch, whether it is a champion belt, up to the show arenas, passing through everything related to income (video, entrance itself with movements and any effects special) and the characters. The latter has received maniacal care, such as to allow us the possibility, after having unlocked all the various hairstyles and objects by purchasing the wrestlers from the shop or via DLC, to recreate any creator of the past to perfection. It was really surprising to take a look at the world of creations made by the community, to see some of the stars of the past not present, such as Hulk Hogan and CM Punk, made to perfection, greatly improving the original models.
This, for the most geeks, consists of a tool capable of "stealing" hundreds of hours, giving unparalleled satisfaction, being able, if able, to create the best wrestlers in history, covering the gaps that for one reason or another they inevitably went to create. Always with regard to these, it is possible to access an excellent system of customization of the moveset, as usual very rich in moves, together with the celebrations divided by deployment (Face or Heel), being able to even import customized images during the creation of the clothing, to generate definitely unique and original wrestlers.
A fist fight in the company
The online multiplayer mode has been partially revised, to have a greater order in the menus, in order to enjoy it in a manner simpler and more immediate, specifically we find four macro sections: Quick Match, Private, Live and Team Up.
In the first case we will be catapulted into a game session quickly, then being able to consequently choose the wrestler we prefer, in the second we will be able to perform private sessions, in personalized we will have the possibility to create a session by choosing the type of meeting we prefer, while in the last one it will be possible to invite up to 2 other friends to perform a 3 vs 3 online; certainly an interesting idea to have fun with friends.
The largest slice of the multiplayer sector is certainly the Road to Glory mode discussed above, forming the beating heart of the title's competitive activities, all accompanied by a decent stability, which allows us to play without too many latency problems with the other players, connection permitting.
An increasingly refined graphic side
The technical side of 2K production has always stood out for an impressive detail, in WWE we can only taste this in part, with characters certainly much more cared for than in the previous years, but who still present an abysmal gap with the NBA, just to mention a developer title recently released, so we expected much more. On the other hand, the particle effects of fireworks, smoke and various scenic animations have received greater care, becoming more and more realistic to our delight, going to play an important role for all lovers of editing, being able to indulge us, as discussed. a little while ago, in the creation of arenas and wrestler entrances.
Another point in favor of the new production is the decidedly improved audience, although here still not entirely sufficient given the too much presence of "visible polygons" in their composition, but it is in any case a slight step forward to be commended. Where, on the other hand, the sound sector is always on the crest of the wave, between commentary, audience reaction and above all soundtrack we are faced with a compartment with a capital C, able to give us excellent sensations.
Negative mention is undoubtedly the absence of dubbing in career mode, limiting ourselves to text screens accompanied by animations, always the same, sent in a loop until the X key is pressed to continue to the next screen. We could and should have done much better, since this alone is capable of damaging the gaming experience, adding then, always in the My Player mode, animations to the limit of embarrassing during exploration, one of the ugliest races we've ever seen in a recent video game.
It is incredible the work done by the guys from 2K, last year we got to try WWE and we were satisfied, despite not seeing the developers' hand at all, regretting what was commonplace to see on NBA2K. Well, this year we are amazed by the amount of innovations they have managed to insert in just one year: a monstrous editor, capable of abyss any other seen in all the WWE games released on consoles, an increasingly mature gameplay and in-game modes. able to guarantee a longevity, as well as a huge amount of things to do, and this was what wrestling fans were waiting for. Obviously there is still a lot to do for the gameplay side, given that it is still a decidedly cumbersome, but the road taken is undoubtedly that right and surely in the years to come we will be able to see them beautiful. Already, however, we can enjoy a varied and fun product, even if not free from defects that must be carefully considered before purchasing, but if you are a fan of the WWE brand you will surely have fun.