As a fan of all-things pro-wresting since I was a kid, I’ve always wished they made a wrestling game that truly got the essence of the drama that happens behind and during the show, not just the action. Finally, 2K has developed the best pro-wrestling game yet with WWE 2K19.
I’ve played every wrestling game ever since the old school WWF Superstars arcade game back in ’89. The one thing that every game has had in common is a superstar list that grows larger and larger every year.
This trend has continued with every release and has been the main draw till 2K took over the franchise. While previous incarnations have tried to bring forward the story aspect, it’s always been very convoluted and overly complicated. Also, the storylines have always been recycled from game to game and it seemed like we were playing the same repackaged story time and time again.
While the WWE 2K series has brought the individual story of a single superstar to the forefront, letting you relive every glorious moment of their career, what sets WWE 2K19 apart is not only it’s following of a career with an amazing story, but the cinematic sequences and interviews are the best I’ve ever seen.
Not only do you visually relive the moments from HD footage of the actual matches but the interview with the superstar who’s life you’re reliving pulls the whole experience together. Add in the fact that you can also run your own WWE virtual programs and choose to simulate the results or play through them to ensure an amazing product.
It goes so far as to let you cut promos for the wrestlers of your choosing and gives you a score based on how quickly you choose the response, how well the response matches the previous responses and the overall flow of the promo.
A big draw for most sports games is getting to play as your favourite athletes. The 2K series has always taken this up a notch by giving us some of the most extensive rosters ever produced in a game. What sets WWE 2K19 apart is that it doesn’t fill the ranks with obscure characters who no one remembers just to get a large turnout but gives you quality superstars from both the current and past rosters.
A few legendary personalities show up and remind you of the glory days of wrestling. If you add in the Create-a-Superstar possibilities there’s literally something there for everyone.
A special mention needs to be made of the downloadable “Kickstarter” pack which allows you to upgrade your create-a-superstar much faster giving you a boost. For those that want to dive right in and get ahead faster, this is really handy.
One of my biggest issues with the WWE 2K series is that the audience is never truly an audience. It’s always been cardboard cut-outs of people, that are super pixelated. For the first time, I can honestly say the audience looks like actual people. It adds to the whole atmosphere of the match.
The 3D renderings of the wrestlers are highly detailed and their movements are more fluid than in previous editions. The graphics quality standard is set right from the opening intro scene. Most games these days really neglect the first impression that a good opening title can give.
There are many match options available from your basic one-on-one, to weapons and all the usual speciality matches. The one thing I like that’s new is the Tower match.
It’s a whole separate mode where you play as a single superstar that goes through a gauntlet of superstars. You must defeat everyone without losing once. The catch is that your stats from the previous match carry over to the next. So if you’ve damaged an arm or leg, it doesn’t heal, it stays injured.
This can be extremely difficult as some of the towers are 15 opponents long. Seasoned players will love this challenge and the rewards for completing the different towers are well worth it.
My only gripe with this game is that the difficulty level at times can be frustratingly high. In particular during the showcase mode.
This year’s edition, you relive the journey of WWE Superstar Daniel Bryan – from his career-defining moment in the main event of WrestleMania 30 to his heartbreaking retirement to his triumphant return in 2018 – all told through personal vignettes.
“The Return of Daniel Bryan” features 11 historical matches, story-driven cutscenes and multiple unlockable characters and arenas from throughout his WWE career. However, there are often times where you will have to play a match for hours in order to complete every one of the objectives.
Then when you do, the AI gets angry and will randomly do a finisher on you and you won’t be able to kick out of the pin. This can be extremely frustrating, especially when the objective list is ridiculously extensive, only to have it torn out of your grasp.
The game also has a tendency to glitch from time to time, sometimes in really awkward ways. Hopefully, that will get worked out in future updates.
I had a lot of fun playing WWE2K19. Finally, wrestling video games are getting to where they need to be. This one gets the Juan Pablo Stamp of Approval.