Title: WWE 2K19
Available on: Xbox One, PS4, PC
Developer: Yuke’s, Visual Concepts
Publisher: 2K Sports
Official Site: WWE 2K19
Release Date: October 9th, 2018
Where to Buy: Retail, PSN, Xbox Live
WWE 2K19 is a ton of fun. The core game-play mechanics match previous titles from the annually released wrestling game. It’s a fighting game that acts out live matches of WWE and does it all very well.
Sports games are difficult to change from year to year. But with WWE 2K19, the developers found new ways to enhance a system released way back in the year 2000. The simple concept of wailing on opponents was entertaining back then and continues to carry weight today. WWE 2K19 got many things right, however, there are some areas that need polishing. Fans of the traditional wrestling genre will be glad to know, this game is quality fun. From standard one versus one matches to cage fights and career mode, WWE 2K19 brings the pain.
The campaign, MyCAREER mode, returns to this version of the game. It’s not too bad either. Aside from the occasional voice acting that needs improvement, it helps carry the game as a whole. Players are able to break away from the monotony of regular matches and invest hours into creating their own personal wrestler. It includes numerous cutscenes and several player decisions that were not included in previous titles.
The main character is voiced by WWE wrestler A.J. Styles and is one of the highlights of this mode. While several other wrestlers lend their voice to the story, a few come across as stale and monotone.
Another downside to this mode is found in the character skill trees. When you first start, your character begins with nothing, aside from a few standard wrestling moves. As you progress, you are able to choose new fighting techniques that boost stamina, attack power, and speed. However, it’s a lot to choose from. It felt daunting and overwhelming. I would have much rather have been able to add my own personal moves and unlock more as the game progresses, which you are able to do, but choosing different moves felt like a chore. There are so many to pick from, I couldn’t remember what I had or what button combination to press to pull them off. All that aside, fans of previous titles should understand the core mechanics enough to create a wrestler the way they want.
The story follows your character from their first days as a wrestler with indie company BCW. You fight out of high school auditoriums, featuring their own ring and announcer and work your way through the ranks to the WWE. Along the way you encounter some typical plot twists in the wrestling world. You fight your rival a number of times, and it is quite challenging without knowing how to beef up your skill trees. You’ll also come across superstars such as Triple H, Braun Strowman, and Bray Wyatt.
MyCAREER mode is a wonderful escape from the constant hustle and bustle of standard wrestling matches. It’s fun to follow a newbie and cheer them on as they pave their path to stardom.
Another return addition to WWE 2K19 is the 2K Showcase matches. This time it features prominent wrestler and yes man, Daniel Bryan. The mode includes short documentary-style footage of Bryan as he explains his career and life before wrestling and commentates on matches he won and lost. Players go on a journey through his career, fighting in key matches and completing objectives that happened during historical moments in the ring. It’s a mechanic that works well extremely well. The behind the scenes video sets up the story of how a match was set up and leads to the player acting out the entire fight. Though not every outcome may end with a win, the player finds a sense of accomplishment by completing the tasks listed on the screen.
One thing I noted during my gameplay was a series of sync issues with video and audio. It happened a few times but didn’t ever take away from the experience.
With all fighting games, there is a learning curve. That is especially true with WWE 2K19. Button mapping can be confusing and often times feel sluggish. Players can use the reversal system to combat against oncoming attacks and turn them against their opponent. While it is a fantastic mechanic, it takes some getting used to and a keen eye to master when to press the corresponding button. This also comes into play with grapples, submissions, and pins.
Verdict: WWE 2K19 is a blast to play. It’s reminiscent of a time when wrestling games were a new and different way to play video games. Though there are a few mechanics that need some work, such as skill trees, voice acting, and sync issues, it’s a simple and addicting rush to play. Game modes like MyCAREER and the return of 2K Showcase, The Return of Daniel Bryan, bring a new experience to the wrestling genre. They take away the feeling of routine and button mashing.
(Review by Ashley and Scott Roepel)
- Quick and simple
- Story mode
- Sluggish controls
- Skill tree is complicated