It was a while since I last purchased a WWE video game. Matter of fact, it was seven years ago. Pro wrestling has always been a part of my life. I first started watching wrestling around the age of five and I would watch WCW. Then, as I grew older, I watched the WWE, which the WWE would buy out WCW, so it was hard not to watch the WWE. I decided to stop watching wrestling in my high school years because I felt that I was growing out of it and all of the wrestlers that I grew up watching were starting to leave the business. Now, in college, I am getting back into it a little, thanks to hanging out with my cousins and watching pay-per-views. Well, it’s not really pay-per-views anymore since fans have to have WWE Network to watch the big shows now. Another reason that I have returned to the ring is because of the games.
My cousins are still into wrestling, way more than I am. They continuously buy each installment of the WWE 2K franchise each year. Playing WWE 2K15 with my cousins has made me interested in returning, though I must admit that I don’t think that the wrestling games are as good as they were. I had enough fun playing WWE 2K15 with my cousins that I decided to purchase this year’s installment, WWE 2K16. The game has its flaws, but it’s still a fun experience.
When I first started playing the new game, I had to go to exhibition mode and immediately start wrestling. I had to go with my favorite competitor, Randy Orton, and I fought with Ryback. Now the entrances are authentic, true to the superstars, but I noticed a couple of flaws. While a superstar is making his/her entrance, the commentators (JBL, Cole, and Lawler) will speak and often say things that doesn’t make any sense. The entrances aren’t the only places where their dialog is messy, as it can be confusing after matches. For example, in WWE Universe mode, I was playing a pay-per-view which had seven matches on the card. I was working on the fourth match and after I had won, Michael Cole told that that was it for the night and thanks for watching. The event wasn’t even over yet. Although the dialog is spotty, the commentators will bring up facts about the wrestlers that I didn’t know or that I couldn’t remember, such as revealing that Triple H and Shawn Michaels formed D-Generation X in 1997. I did like that and it helps younger fans learn what has happened in WWE’s past.
The gameplay is similar to WWE 2K15, though 2K did incorporate some changes and the matches feel harder to win. For example, 2K changed the submission mini-game that appears when a submission is applied. On last year’s game, both players just had to tap the X button (PS4) or the A button (Xbox One) in order to submit or to get out of the hold. On this year’s game, now the player applying the submission has to rotate the right stick that controls a red bar and the player trying to avoid being submitted uses the right stick to control a blue bar. In order to win by submission, the player controlling the red bar has to get his bar in the middle of the blue bar. After it’s in the middle, the player must keep it there until the screen notifies the wrestler has submitted. I am still having difficulty with learning this and I must admit that I have been submitted by the computer a few times. I understand that they may have done it to keep gameplay fresh, but this is an instance where I wish they would have kept the old formula.
I noticed that winning a match can be difficult, but I did enjoy the challenge. I had to use two RKOs in order to defeat Ryback. 2K makes sure that you thoroughly kick your opponent’s ass before you go for the final pin fall. It gives you the opportunity to dive into a wrestler’s move set in order to attack your opponent’s body and make the opponents’ limbs red in the small diagram that is in the corner of the screen. I learned quickly that this is the best way to win and to capitalize on reversals, which can be hard at times.
This is post is going on longer than I expected, so I’m going to do a part two of this.