WWE 2K16 is the third instalment of 2K Sports wrestling video game franchise since they took the reigns from THQ back in 2013. Back in 2013 when THQ went bankrupt, 2K Sports bought the rights to the WWE wrestling games, brought the original teams from THQ and Yuke’s to continue working on these titles then proceeded to launch their franchises with this assortment of talent. Obviously, now that 2K had the original developers working on these games it was just going to be a case of “more of the same”. I’m not 100% convinced this is the case.

All the standard features you’d expect from a WWE game are there like the Create a Superstar mode, Create a Title, Create an Arena and much more in the Creation mode section of the game. You can create your own show with a custom Titontron, ring, announce tables hell you can even customise the turnbuckles and ropes. This allows you the opportunity to let your creativity run wild as you effectively build your own wrestling promotion. I went with purple and gold for my arena and show!

The amount of detail you can put into this is actually fairly impressive especially considering that you can import your own custom images as the logo for your own show. That’s fantastic because I can put a giant pair of tits as my logo on the mat inside the ring. Brilliant! Not only that but the image you import only uses up one slot of memory which is kind of redundant for a PC user like myself but hey good news console players!

The arena and show creation section is positive but the Create a Superstar is the negative aspect of the game’s creation mode. Normally this would the biggest highlight of these games due to its sheer depth but in WWE 2K16 it feels shallow. There’s very little choice in the game when it comes to picking out what your superstar is going to wear and the options are limited to a few basic items.There are no extravagant pieces of apparel you can put on your character to make seem ridiculous like in previous titles I’ve played.

There are no extravagant pieces of apparel you can put on your character to make seem ridiculous like in previous titles I’ve played. This is mostly due to the fact that a lot of 2K Sports’ video games vehemently try to be as realistic as possible which is not what you want in a game that is essentially a TV show. It’s meant to be entertaining hence the term sports entertainment. Wrestling is not real, it’s a TV show created and played out as if all the rules, officials and management are legit but they’re not. So the why is it that I can’t recreate the Incredible Hulk as my character.

WWE 2K16 Hugh Jazz Entrance

The Hot Rod has arrived! Laadieees!

That being said the choices you get in the game aren’t bad or boring but it seems as if, at least since 2013, that the games have had content and choice ripped away. The kind of mental characters you got to make back the were insane which leads me to an interesting question. Has WWE 2K16 actually added more content, clothing and such since the previous title 2K15? Or is it a case that people have just resigned themselves to the same old boring choices of tops, tattoos etc.

There was one section in the creation suite back in WWE ’13 that I’ve noticed is actually missing from this instalment. What I’m talking about is the ability to create your very own custom wrestling move. Yes you had to use move animations already in the game, yes the sequence of the finisher could take ages and yes your character does look a right knob when pulling them off BUT the option and ability to make it happen were there.

Whereas now you can create an amazing arena but very boring characters. The ability to have a custom signature move made your own character that more unique. Here was the one move that nobody else could possibly have. Not only that but the general create a move set section has been chopped up into a host of different parts. Thos parts are as follows:

  • Abilities
    • These abilities impact gameplay and can give you an advantage over the opponent by reducing their kick out range by certain percentages or draining their stamina if done correctly. An example of this would be the Move Thief ability which allows you to steal the opponents finisher and use it against them. In doing so you can some or all of their stamina depending if it’s a Level 2 Move Thief or Level 3
  • Skills
    • Skills vary from having the ability to jump off the top rope to removing the turnbuckle. If you haven’t assigned the remove turnbuckle skill to your superstar then they obviously can’t remove the turnbuckle. Another example of this would be the Second Finisher skill which allows you to have 2 finishers in total rather than just the one.
WWE 2K16 Terminator Arnie

Told you I’d be back!

Skills to me are the games biggest weakness. By having your character be restricted to these particular skills narrows the move set with which your character fights. Not being able to jump off the top rope in Career mode unless I pick that skill is so incredibly stupid. It makes no sense especially if you were to create a lightweight superstar for use in Career mode and then you find out that they can’t jump off the top rope for some arbitrary reason. That’s all a Cruiserweight or Lightweight superstar has!

Another reason why it annoys me is because in Career Mode when winning or competing in a match you obtain skill points to use and upgrade your various stats as well as spending those points on getting new skills. You might think that it gives you a harder choice of picking between upgrading attributes or getting the ability to spear someone through a cell but it’s actually not. I spent all of my initial points on stamina and stamina recovery because if they’re low, chances are your superstar won’t be able to kick out of a pin or perform a finisher.

It also makes your matches in Career Mode boring because of the strict 5-star match level. The objective in every match is to put on a 5-star match regardless of the match type. It’s not necessarily mandatory but you do get more skill points the higher the quality of the match. The reason skills make your Career mode boring is because if you use a move twice its value decreases to a certain degree that you can lose match ratings. With a limited move set, you’re often going to use some moves repeatedly before even reaching a 4-star quality match. This means all your matches will basically boil down to you doing signature and finisher moves outside the ring and then dragging your opponent back inside the ring to pin him in order to get more skill points.

There are no storylines for your character nor do you interact with any superstars backstage. You go from series of menus to your match and then back to a menu that will simulate the AI matches until you need to play your match. Sometimes other superstars will interfere in your match locking you into a rivalry if you play it out right. This is good because it allows you to pick your own rival by initiating an attack on him while he’s getting into the ring. This is also somewhat a drawback because then you don’t get dedicated storylines and the rivalries feel homogenised. They’re not unique and each rivalry is the same as the one before.

WWE 2K16 Lionsault

Go big or go home!

That’s the keyword that describes this game if I’m honest. Homogenised. Everything is diluted, chopped up, made stale behind unlockables and lack of choice. Nothing that stands out is worthy of note nor has it got any depth. Creating an arena is great but I’d rather make ridiculous superstars whose character gets some development over the course of a good career mode. The lack of a dedicated story in Career boils down every rivalry as a stepping stone up the rankings rather than telling a great story. That game, unfortunately, is too realistic and tries to imitate the actual WWE which is fine but professional wrestling isn’t a sport it’s a TV show.

Fine but nothing to write home about