It’s been a long while since I’ve played another WWE 2K game, but I have been a massive fan of WWE since my childhood as I had watched it with my dad growing up. So having a deep understanding of nearly every single move made me excited to try out the new mechanics and familiare myself with each superstar’s signature. However, I was met with both waves of expectations met and a good number of disappointments.
MyPlayer mode is an example, as 2K introduces to us a storyline that actually makes sense. Equipped with voice-overs and cinematic sequences, we follow the story of a new superstar who only began wrestling and making a name for himself inside a school’s gymnasium through an independent wrestling league called BCW, where only you and one other are the only wrestlers. You try and get your big break in NXT until something goes array and you have to make decisions that may prompt consequences. Though the linear storyline is a great addition, you might find the mechanics too overboard to a point where it doesn’t matter later on.
As with any career mode in 2K Sports, you are given the opportunity to customize your superstar from head to toe. Create A Superstar gives you the freedom to adjust any specific characteristic, while even creating your own likeness to really put an extension of yourself in the ring.
Creating your own character to represent yourself in Career Mode is one of the simple joys of playing sports games in both a simulated manner and an experiential, linear manner. WWE 2K19 manages this well and highlights it by showcasing character creations in a public sphere.
WWE allows you to import your friends’ character creations, and if you’re as proud of your creations as they are, you can export your own for them to use and place in their MyCareer mode.
Besides the physical appearance within creating your own superstar, you get to choose what kind of wrestler you want to be, as is a regular start.
There are five ways to play: a Cruiser (high-flyer, luchador-style), Striker (brawler), Technician (UK strong style), Powerhouse (strength, endurance), Giant (big man, think: Big Show). I chose to be a cruiser to mimic the style of Rey Mysterio and Jeff Hardy.
Whatever play style you choose determines the moves you’ll be given towards the progression of your character’s abilities. To improve your character further, you’ll need to spend skill points on a skill tree. Your skill tree will be divided into three parts: offense, body, and defense.
Offense allows for more attacks, offensive powers; body determines the strength of your character’s stamina and overall capacity to endure damage, while the defense is for reversals and counter attacks.
The skill tree is a tad complicated, but it makes me feel as though it could have simply been introduced as an attribute system instead similar to that of NBA. It came to a point where I just clicked from start to finish instead of nitpicking, as nitpicking would set my character at a disadvantage in one area or two.
And because you literally only have minimal options and opportunities to do reversals and counter attacks, I focused on my defense first and foremost. How reversals and counters were set up in controls were one of the things that had disappointed me while playing the game, as again, it’s limited to do any of those to a point where a match would seem almost unfair. The timing also needs to be perfect, so it’s either you find it to difficult at the beginning or two predictable as you go along, finding a balance may become difficult in the long run.
What I did love, however, is it prompts you to practice over and over again with the moves you want to set your character with. You are encouraged to take the time to build your character properly, strategize with what you have, and understand the complex controls that go with it.
But it does beg the question, whether over-complicating things makes things a hindrance rather than a praise of content.
The AI is also a hit and miss, as though they can act in finesse at some points, there will be other points where the AI is no better than a dummy. Some matches can be one just by stomping on their torsos multiple times, while some opponents just glitch out on the ropes and corners.
Which leads me to another one of its imperfections, the number of glitches present in the game whether it’s on the ring or outside of it. As AI movement is a staple in the game modes, having them glitch out as well as the drops in frame rate, makes it almost an unbearable game to play. WWE 2K19 is imperfect at most but perhaps these can be improved throughout updates.
It does, however, shine in the concepts of its other modes such as Tower Mode in MyPlayer, wherein you meet certain challenges offline and online. 2K Showcase features fan-favorite and growing new face of the franchise, Daniel Bryan; Road to Glory.
When you’re not facing the AI, playing with a friend makes up it. But because of the control and setup, you might just find stomping on each other as the primary movement to win.
And unfortunately, we still won’t be seeing a women MyCareer mode anytime soon as most have clamored for before its release. Absurdly though, the animation and design for the women in WWE 2K19 seem almost terrifying as if not knowing how to animate women with makeup.
The animation overall depends on some scenarios and some moves, whereas it can look disappointingly lackluster with voice-overs not matching lip movement. While some animations are praiseworthy when it comes to highlighting the flares of the entrances and some flashy familiar moves like the Hurricanrana.
At the end of the day, WWE 2K19 has its praises and its disappointments. But as seen from the developers, they make it a habit to listen to their audience and improve where it needs to improve.
Disclosure: This review is based on a review code provided by 2K Games. Read our review policy to know how we go with our game reviews.