WWE 2K15 was a huge disappointment. I rented it out of my local Redbox and didn’t even have the game for a full day before I returned it and went back to WWE 2K14. The updated rosters and rather awesome 2K Showcase mode were completely overshadowed by a huge lack of content and very little to replace it. Creation suite features were gutted, popular match types were removed, even the ability to play wrestler themes in the menus were replaced by a terrible playlist selected by John Cena.
Yes, my friends, John Cena has even managed to bury menu music.
Many blame the fact that it was 2K’s first year developing for the PS4 and Xbox One, but they won’t get that excuse this year. 2K seems to know this and has taken the step to ask fans to help them by making suggestions on what we should see in WWE 2K16.
If it’s suggestions they want, it’s suggestions they’re going to get. As a fan of licensed wrestling games since I was popping quarters into WWF Royal Rumble cabinets, let me give you a few suggestions on what WWE 2K16 needs to become the face of the company.
I understand that the leap to next-gen is a long one and it can’t be weighed down by the huge amount of matches that have accumulated in WWE’s history. However, the leap has been made and now it’s time to throw matches back into WWE 2K16 like Mark Yeaton tossing Steveweisers to Stone Cold Steve Austin.
Now, don’t misunderstand me, I’m not asking for every mode to make it back into the game. I don’t think anybody was really missing the Inferno matches, but staples like Ladder matches and 2 out of 3 Falls matches have been missed. Heck, you couldn’t even set up a handicap match! You see handicap matches every other week on RAW!
You don’t have to put everything back into WWE 2K16, but at least have the matches the WWE does on the near weekly basis.
The beginning of the Smackdown series had a more arcade style than a simulation one. As such, it had a lot more of the craziness of arcade games. You could have an entrance animation where your character was hit by a missile or driving a forklift for no reason. Even when they started doing animations for the entrance ramp you could still ride down on a shopping cart or crab walk down the ramp Exorcist style.
The move to a more realistic presentation has unfortunately done away with the most outrageous aspects of previous titles. With the move to 2K Sports, a developer with a near-obsessive desire for realism, it doesn't look like we'll be seeing any more DBZ-inspired entrances.
Still, this is video games after all, and the strangeness of wrestling is half the appeal. Remember that Wrestlemania this past year included a wrestling match between a cult leader and an undead demon with magic powers.
I know asking to ride a missile to the ring may be a bit much, but if I could have a tag team entrance involving piggyback rides or a wrestler fly to the ring by way of wires like a Peter Pan high school play, I would be happy. Maybe they could even bring back the Fred Durst entrance.
For the last few games, I wondered why they even bothered putting divas in at all. They're banned from all but the most basic match types, they can't be added as managers, and the diva selection is usually abysmal. With WWE2K16, maybe it's time for a change.
For starters, just lift the restrictions on what matches divas can be in already. I can understand the PR reasons for not having women in, say, a first blood match and not having women fight the men (especially since they don't do that on television), but there's no reason to keep them out of other "high risk" matches. Heck, one of my favorite Attitude Era matches is a ladder match between Lita and Trish Stratus. Let me play that one again.
If I have to hear Michael Cole say "it looks like he's through playing around" one more time I will punch through my PS3, rip out the disc, and throw it into deep space in the hope that it will come down with meteoric force onto whatever server that sound clip is rotting on.
When you hear discussions about the best wrestling games ever, you'll inevitably see titles like WWF No Mercy and WCW/NWO World Tour come up (or Fire Pro Wrestling if you're talking with a hardcore fan). While those are all classics of the genre, the game I tend to come back to is the WWE Day of Reckoning series on the GameCube.
It's one of those series that seems to have disappeared into the ether of gaming history, but I remember how much I enjoyed the single player story mode. Instead of just having randomly generated matches or a selection of matches from WWE history, this game chose to focus entirely on a wrestler you created in a completely linear story mode. Sure you could make some choices, but they were mostly cosmetic. Still, the story mode was so epic it spanned both Day of Reckoning games and continues to be one of my favorite wrestling storylines in both gaming and in real life. I still hold a grudge against HHH because of that game.
The other 2K sports titles do well with the realistic style of storytelling in their career modes because that’s how those superstars live their lives. Pro wrestlers, however, have two very distinct faces. I want to see 2K concentrate on the in-ring keyfabe style storytelling with larger than life figures telling stories of love, betrayal, and triumph. I don’t want to see the “guy behind the mask” since those stories are mostly about traveling in a car for six hours to wrestle in a battle royale where the head booker stiffs you on the check.
Now, a game about the real life of a pro wrestler could be cool, but 2K is not the developer to tell that story. Concentrate on the in-ring theatrics and presentation, not the drills in the Performance Center.
There are plenty of other things I’d love to see in a WWE title, but that is a list for another time. What do you want to see in WWE 2K16? Would you play a game about the actual lives of professional wrestlers? Do you consider drop kicking your system of choice whenever Michael Cole starts talking? Let me know in the comments. If I get enough of them, I may do another list based on my favorite fan suggestions.
Until next time, remember to tuck your chin when you bump.