Developed by Yuke’s Visual Concepts and published by 2K Sports, WWE 2K18 is the latest professional wrestling title to release on the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC, and the Nintendo Switch. This year sees WWE Superstar Seth Rollins grace the cover. This is Rollins’ first appearance on the cover of the game, which released on 17 October 2017. Rollins joins the likes of Brock Lesnar, Stone Cold Steve Austin, John Cena and The Rock who also graced the covers of previous titles in the series.
While past titles in the series have featured great rosters, WWE 2K18 features an impressive lineup of close to 200 playable Superstars, excluding DLC characters. These include the likes of John Cena, Brock Lesnar, AJ Styles, Alexa Bliss, Bobby Roode, Sasha Banks, Dean Ambrose, The New Day, Finn Bálor, Jinder Mahal, The Miz, No Way Jose, Sanity, Undertaker, Stone Cold Steve Austin, Andre the Giant and many more. This ultimately results in the largest roster to feature in a WWE title ever. With so many Superstars to battle it out with there is an immence amount of lasting appeal here.
Apart from the hundreds of Superstars on the Roster, WWE 2K18 also allows players to create their very own Superstar to use in the My Career Mode (stylised as MyCAREER in-game). This can be done via WWE 2K18’s Creation Suite. This year, WWE 2K18’s Creation Suite includes some new additions such as new body types, menu poses, hairstyles, scars, tattoos and more. Players will also have the opportunity to share their creations online with other community members. To add to this mode, players can create their own arenas, entrances and more. There is a lot of customisation options on hand here, which really adds to the lasting appeal of this title.
One of WWE 2K18’s biggest drawcards this year is the My Career Mode. Players will have the opportunity to either choose the role of being a Company Man or a Fan Favourite. A break down of these two Superstar types is as follows.
Company Man – Going down the Company Man path means you’re all about helping the general managers (GMs) get what they want out of the roster on any given show. This involves conspiring with the GMs backstage, ambushing other WWE Superstars in the locker room or during their interviews and basically doing whatever it takes to maintain that GM’s power, both in the ring and backstage.
Fan Favorite – Being a Fan Favorite means you don’t play the whole company game and you’re all about putting on the best matches and promos. You have a locker room full of WWE Superstars and Legends backstage. This route involves earning their respect by taking on different match types – night-in and night-out. You’ll also have WWE Superstars test your in-ring aptitude and skills on the microphone, but if you succeed at this, you will earn the whole locker room’s respect – and with that comes some perks.
While the My Career mode has a lot going for it, it also features a free-roaming backstage area. Within this area, players can interact with fellow Superstars who will often offer up side-quests or even offer to accompany you to the ring. You can also change your appearance here as well as even partake in backstage brawls.
While this area is something fans have been wanting for some time… I couldn’t help but feel that this area started off strong, but began to feel extremely repetitive after playing this title for an extended period of time. You would always begin at the same spot and then start hunting Superstars for side-quests… Then it was off to the producer to either schedule a match, promo, or match interruption. Once this was done you would head to the parking lot and end the day. The following week you would simply rinse and repeat. Granted, there were times when the General Managers would stipulate that I should try win or lose a match; however, everything just felt like it was stuck on repeat.
Another issue that I have with this mode is none of the characters are voiced. When chatting to a Superstar all the conversations played out in text… even the promos. This is one area where the WWE 2K series needs to be improved upon. Just by adding in voice-overs, by said Superstars, this would have made the backstage area feel more vibrant and alive.
Apart from these issues, WWE 2K18 shines in other areas. The new graphics engine running this title looks spectacular and the Superstars on show here feature the best character models in the series to-date. Also, lighting has been improved and so have other aspects of the game including impact detection.While on the topic of improvements, impact detection has most definitely improved this year; however, it still needs a bit of work. During the course of a few matches, I noticed that I would attempt to dropkick an opponent only to have him run through me. There were other times where I would accidentally try strike an opponent from a few metres away and have the game actually pick up the strike. While this was rare, it is still something that needs to be noted. Another issue WWE 2K18 faces is long loading times, even when playing on the PlayStation 4 Pro.
Apart from the above-mentioned issues, it’s great to see that grappling and submissions system has been improved upon. It’s also great to see that there’s a new carrying system as well as expanded dragging mechanics. This makes matches feel a lot more authentic as well as exciting.
WWE 2K18 is a great improvement over previous titles in the series. The new graphics engine is definitely something that has been needed for quite some time as Superstars, Arenas, and lighting now look better than ever. While WWE 2K18 is a great game, it does suffer from some odd glitches as well as collision detection failure.
Overall, apart from the repetitive My Career Mode as well as music soundtrack, WWE 2K18 is a great game overall. Not only does it look fantastic, but it plays extremely well and is pretty much the best Wrestling simulator on the market at the moment.