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Hands-on review: WWE 2K19 steps inside the wrestling ring

15 Oct 18

For the past few years now, the WWE 2K video games have been disappointing thanks to a lack of content.

Well, fans don’t have to worry anymore because 2K Games has packed WWE 2K19 with more content than ever before.

I was disappointed with both WWE 2K17 and WWE 2K18 because both games lacked a Showcase mode and their main career modes were long and repetitive. Both games also did not feature voiceovers from the wrestlers as the only audio came from the annoying commentators.

It seems as if 2K Games has listened to all of the feedback because WWE 2K19 is packed full of several new modes and the Career mode has been radically improved.

Not to mention the game has the largest roster ever assembled in a professional wrestling video game.

WWE 2K19 by far has the biggest roster in franchise history as it includes all of the fan favourites such as AJ Styles, Daniel Bryan, Kurt Angle and many others. This game also sees the debut of Ronda Rousey as she’s available as a pre-order exclusive along with legendary Rey Mysterio.

Even newer talent will be added to the game as DLC such as the returning Bobby Lashley and NXT’s Ricochet. The only major current wrestlers oddly missing are NXT’s Tommaso Ciampa and Nikki Cross. That being said, the game still features one of the best creation modes in any video game so anybody missing can be downloaded online.

It’s not just wrestlers that you can download from the online community because you can even grab new wrestling attires and full arenas. The online community is really creative, although you can try and create your own wrestlers and arenas as well!

Graphically, WWE 2K19 looks identical to WWE 2K18 because they share the same game engine. Most of the time the game looks great, although there are still some character models that look a bit off. However, the game truly shines if you manage to play it in 4K on Xbox One X (tested) or the PS4 Pro.

What I like most about this new game is the amount of content that has been put into this year’s iteration. Returning to the franchise is the much-loved Showcase mode where you can relive many of the famous matches from Daniel Bryan’s illustrious WWE career.

The Showcase mode starts off with Daniel Bryan facing against John Cena in 2003, but also includes his legendary WrestleMania 30 match against Randy Orton and Batista too. The Showcase mode also has small interview clips from Daniel Bryan explaining the ups and downs from his interesting WWE career.

This year’s MyCareer mode is the best career mode that has been added to the WWE 2K video games in a long time. It features a more linear story-based journey where you play as a rookie wrestler starting his journey from the indies and then eventually main eventing WrestleMania in WWE.

MyCareer reminded me a lot of the ‘Road to WrestleMania’ storylines that used to feature in the old Smackdown vs Raw video games. This year’s game feels more alive thanks to wrestlers giving voice-overs to their character models and the storylines being better than last year’s boring career mode.

That being said, MyCareer is still pretty linear because your character is mostly forced to be pushed as a Babyface (Good Guy) character. I was hoping there would have been more options for your character, but hopefully, this is something that can improve in future video games instead.

Some people might feel the MyCareer mode to be repetitive because you are forced to win mostly every match you compete in. Not to mention victories have to be by pinfall and submission so count outs and disqualifications don’t count. It’s still fun to play through though as the storylines are great and it’s surprisingly unpredictable.

The other big mode added to this year’s game is the Towers mode. This is a mode similar to the Mortal Kombat video games where you have to face a gauntlet of many consecutive matches featuring different stipulations. Bear in mind though, only veterans should tackle this mode because Towers mode is really, really hard!

In terms of gameplay, WWE 2K19 feels exactly the same as WWE 2K18, although the A.I. is more annoying in this year’s game. For some reason, the A.I. this year loves to counter your finishing moves more often than ever before and they can be relentless while you are playing through both MyCareer and the Showcase modes.

The game also continues to mimic the slower paced style of current WWE matches and isn’t fast paced like the older WWE video games. It is still fun to play, although I still prefer the arcade style of gameplay that featured way back in 2003’s Here Comes the Pain game.

As much fun as I had playing this year’s video game, it isn’t perfect. For one thing, they changed Hell in a Cell matches as you cannot even use weapons anymore! This is an odd change since weapons are frequently used in real life Hell in a Cell matches on television.

It also seems that this year you have to use a finisher or signature move if you want to end matches. Normally you can win matches if you beat your opponent to a bloody pulp using any move. However, this year you need to earn a special move every time you want to end a match. This becomes an annoying problem if your opponent keeps countering your finishing move all the time!

Lastly, the other thing that isn’t perfect is the horrible commentary. Sometimes when I’m a male wrestler, the commentators will say ‘she’ or ‘her’ instead.  This happened a lot during the MyCareer mode and I laughed every time they made that mistake. The commentary is also outdated since it doesn’t feature Tom Phillips or Renee Young on the team.

Anyway, WWE 2K19 may not be a perfect video game but it’s the best WWE 2K video game that has come out in the last few years. MyCareer and the Showcase modes really shine this year and there’s far more content here than ever before. If you are a wrestling fan, WWE 2K19 is worth getting ringside tickets for.

Verdict: 8.0/10