I’ve said it many times before and I’ve no doubt this won’t be the last time I say it but yearly updates often bore me. Especially when it comes to writing reviews. It gives me no pleasure to write what is essentially the same review each year, carefully treading through the minefield that is my own previously used words. But on occasion yearly updated titles can become a perfected reduction based on the experience of previous titles.
But somehow this seems to be something WWE avoids. Each new title seems able to completely forget the experiences of titles that came before along with the lessons that should have been learned. There’s fun to be had from this genre and in particular from WWE games. I remember having fun, I’m almost sure of it. But recently WWE seems to be trending downwards. So lets get stuck into the low quality cheesy heavy metal (and I say that as a metal fan) and look beyond the sweaty spandex and get stuck into the gameplay.
A few fundamentals have been altered to try and make things less ridiculous looking. We’ve all done it, standing around performing animations that make no sense given the current context. Even the Batman: Arkham titles occasionally see Bruce Wayne jumping on the spot like a petulant toddler.The solution to this in WWE 2K15 is to basically remove any connection you have with the wrestlers and instead implement a strange fixed animation play style. And it works in the sense that you no longer spend any time thinking how stupid it looks when you miss but also removes a fair amount of fun too.
Having played the series for so long this really seems like one of the worst moves they could have made. It’s all well and good having things look shiny and slick but that has to be second to the gameplay. Especially so with a yearly updated title that has done so much right in the past. I’m not even a WWE fan but back when WWE games were in their prime I played them extensively. It was never particularly smooth and wrestlers would run around regularly clawing at nothing. The focus of 2K15 seems firmly set on looks and style over substance.
But never fear! Just when you thought things wouldn’t look ridiculous enter the latest stamina system. Probably the stupidest system ever. The benefits are that spamming slaps will no longer knock Brock Lesnar out. The downside is that after a couple of minutes the wrestlers will potentially be hilariously dragging their feet around the mat and climbing the ropes as if everything was in slow motion. All that previous effort attempting to stop players from standing still hitting the air is completely wasted. This looks far worse. It can only be described as comical.
In terms of the gameplay all it does is slow things down and, beyond stopping the spamming of smaller attacks, really doesn’t add much. You might think that it makes you take careful consideration of what moves to do and when to do them but in reality it just punishes the loser. The less stamina you have the slower you are and the more likely you are to get kicked repeatedly in the face. It’s not the effect on the gameplay so much as the mockery that is the fatigued movement that makes me hate the stamina system.
Which leads nicely onto what is undoubtedly 2K15’s biggest and most blatant offense. Its lack of features. It’s not like there isn’t enough to do but features that are present on previous WWE games just simply aren’t here. My Career still makes an appearance but basically plays out like a series of lifeless, and more importantly, directionless matches to grind out stats. The story of your superstar isn’t intuitive and barely even feels interactive as you play match after match. But still My Career is probably the go to mode.
Taking a look elsewhere WWE fans will notice the absence of certain game modes. Not being a huge WWE fan these were less obvious to me apart from noticing their absence from previous titles. It’s reasonable to say the missing modes aren’t the most popular but why not include them? Lack of hard drive space? Could the PS4 and Xbox One not handle it? That doesn’t seem likely. It’s just simple laziness. The roster feels lack lustre too and it doesn’t take long for a WWE game veteran or a wrestling fan to notice some further omissions.
One place WWE 2K15 can excel is with visuals. The wrestlers that have been rendered just for the current gen hardware look amazing. Faces are detailed and have amazing likenesses to their real life counterparts. But there’s also a lot of the game that is noticeably ‘last gen’ with assets taken straight from the PS3/Xbox 360 version – even though they are now in 1080p @ 60 FPS. Overall it’s fair to say that 2K15 looks great but when the updated assets come out it’s unavoidably obvious.
So WWE 2K15 is another in a long line of disappointing instalments to the franchise. The attention to detail in the current gen faces is incredible but far too much is just reused from the last gen version. The stamina system makes matches grind to a pathetic crawling pace that is nothing but a joke. Features and wrestlers alike are not present from previous instalments which stings a little and just comes across as lazy design. There’s no reason not to have every game mode imaginable in the game. To be honest there would be no harm including a few that aren’t real just for the video games.
My Career is mediocre but provides a reasonable distraction, even though it’s basically just one match after another. WWE 2K15 is an offensive entry to an already stale series of games. The current gen version particularly fails for not making enough use of the hardware. Don’t reuse assets, it’s always obvious and it’s always ugly. This is definitely one to miss.