Another year, another WWE game. The WWE 2K franchise has been on the decline in recent years, receiving harsh criticism from fans. While enhancements to gameplay has been made year after year it simply hasn’t been enough to restore the franchise to its Smackdown VS RAW glory days. WWE 2K19 is a step in the right direction and the road to
Wrestlemania recovery is looking good!
WWE 2K19 comes with a few gameplay improvements and a wacky and fun voice acted story mode that takes us back to the Smackdown VS RAW glory days. It’s not all perfect though. Some much needed and requested features that have been removed in past entries are still not re-introduced to the franchise.
It’s no surprise that WWE 2K19 comes with an incredible roster that includes some of the latest superstars in WWE today, but also some of our all-time favourite legends. The standard edition of the base game features as total of 186 playable wrestlers which includes 27 new superstars. Rey Mysterio and Ronda Rousey is included in the standard edition for those who pre-ordered the game. These superstars will also be available as purchasable DLC at a later date.
The deluxe edition includes 6 additional superstars (Dusty Rhodes, Randy Savage, Rick Flair, Ricky Steamboat, Roddy Piper and The Undertaker’s 2002 attire). The Rey Mysterio and Ronda Rousey pre-order DLC is also included in the deluxe edition.
Gameplay Changes and Improvements
WWE 2K19 features gameplay changes, additions and a few new match types including 5 man matches and a women’s Royal Rumble.
The Hell in a Cell structure is smaller, making ringside battles feel more claustrophobic. Players can destroy cell walls by executing a few moves onto the wall.
Steel Cage matches features new mini-games. A new climbing mini-game allows you to battle it out with your opponent and knock him back down into the ring once you are in a seating position. There is also a new mini-game in which you race against your opponent to get to the floor first if both players climb out of the cage at the same time. Exiting the cage through the door makes a return to the franchise in WWE 2K19.
Money in the Bank has new cash-in sequences, a briefcase customization system and a tuning system for AI cash-ins. Players can now choose briefcase holders in Universe and exhibition mode.
WWE 2K19 introduces a Payback system that helps you get the upper hand in a match. These abilities become active once taking enough damage. Payback abilities comes in two levels. Level 1 abilities includes minor buffs. Level 2 abilities includes major buffs, abilities and dirty moves. Some of the Payback abilities can get you disqualified. It’s time to embrace your inner Eddie Guerrero and figure out creative ways to employ dirty tactics.
Big head mode is a fun and silly mode that lets you play with characters with big heads.
Showcase Mode (Daniel Bryan)
The showcase mode makes its return to the franchise in WWE 2K19. This year’s showcase lets you play through some of Daniel Bryan’s defining matches. While not as great as the previous Showcase modes in past entries, Daniel Bryan’s story is still worth playing. The mode is also narrated by Daniel Bryan.
MyCareer mode features a wacky voice acted story similar to older WWE games like Smackdown VS RAW 2006. This year our created wrestler starts off as an amateur wrestler on the independent circuit. We journey through a goofy story where we try to make it to the main roster and become a star.
From time travelling to wrestling against a zombie version of Triple H, the story is a thrilling ride. Voice acting brings back immersion that was missing in the last few entries.
It’s not all perfect though. Some of the dialogue is not voice acted while some of the dialogue is poorly acted. Most noteworthy, John Cena did not voice his own character. It’s extremely weird and breaks the immersion. Our character has some seriously annoying nicknames too. The story does not have many branching options either and it’s a bit short as well.
Both the grind for virtual currency and loot pack rewards have been improved in WWE 2K19. You earn virtual currency in almost every aspect of the game. The good news is that you can’t purchase skills in the character skill tree with real money. While virtual currency is more consumer friendly in WWE 2K19 we would prefer no micro transactions.
The improved creation suite allows us to create some really awesome looking characters. We can even make blocky characters and zombies too! Championship belts now have customizable side plates. As mentioned earlier, the money in the bank briefcase is customizable as well.
Unfortunately the creation suite is still lacking some removed features from previous entries. We would love to see the create a finisher and create a story tools return to the franchise. It would be nice to see the return of the custom entrance video creator.
Universe mode received minor changes this year. You can now choose winners and losers for matches. Players can assign managers to superstars. Promos take recent events into account. The championship limit per show is now 6 instead of 4.
In all honesty the universe mode is dead weight. It’s taking valuable development time that Yuke’s and Visual Concepts could use to bring back removed features and improve MyCareer. Universe mode does not provide an immersive experience. It’s also a poor substitute for the general manager mode and create a story mode.
2K claims that they have added over 15000 new lines of commentary to WWE 2K19. New commentary includes new superstar entrance commentary and move calls. Despite the new lines commentary remains dull and downright awful. In most cases the announcers are annoying. For the love of all that is good please bring back good ‘ol JR and Jerry Lawler. We’ll even take more JBL commentary!
As expected WWE 2K19 comes with improved visuals. Unfortunately the diva character models still look terrible.
The Bottom Line
THE ROAD TO RECOVERY FOR THE WWE 2K FRANCHISE IS LOOKING GOOD
WWE 2K is still held back by minor annoyances and poor modes. WWE 2K19 is however a step back in the right direction. The road to franchise recovery is looking good.
- Improved gameplay mechanics
- MyCareer has a narrated story with voice acting
- Loot boxes have been improved. VC can be earned from every aspect of gameplay
- Incredible roster
- The commentary is still awful
- Divas models still look terrible
- MyCareer is too short