Each year since 2014, 2K looks to find various ways to improve its WWE 2K video game series. This year is no different as WWE 2K17 is one of the best wrestling video games to emerge in years by forgoing and reintroducing certain game modes that makes it an addicting game to play while utilizing gamers’ creativity.
The “2K Showcase,” an enjoyable and fun game mode that played a predominant factor in the last two games, is missing in WWE 2K17. This was one of my favorite modes featured in WWE 2K15 and WWE 2K16. It may not be sorely missed by most, but it does make this year’s lack historical context that was featured in other games like “The Attitude Era” mode in WWE’ 13 and “30 Years of WrestleMania” mode in WWE 2K14.
Despite the lack of the “2K Showcase” mode, this does not mean that WWE 2K17 is not thoroughly engaging. With no “2K Showcase,” this allowed the game designers to improve on the rest of the game modes that have remained.
WWE Universe mode allows gamers to use this game mode as their own personal time machine by making the ultimate fantasy match-ups that is only possible in a game like WWE 2K17. This year’s MyCareer mode will take the players’ Create-A-Wrestler from the WWE Performance Center to either NXT or the main roster. The Promo Engine is a new addition to this year’s game, and it plays a big factor in the MyCareer mode. It is an interesting inclusion that makes the game realistic, but the text-based engine still needs a little more work because some of the dialogue options are corny and childish.
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The Creation Suite is no doubt the best feature in this year’s game as it offers players a multitude of tools to use to recreate wrestlers not featured in the game or create their own unique characters. The Create-An-Arena feature is expanded this year as you can change different parts of the arena to give wrestlers an intimate setting to settle their score or create a larger-then-life environment that would embarrass any WrestleMania arena past, present or future.
Create-A-Show also allows users to employ different templates; music cues and video introductions to construct wrestling shows whether it is a past show like Raw is War or a current WWE Network special like “Elimination Chamber.”
The graphics are top-notch, as every playable wrestler looks exactly like their real-life counterparts. Certain wrestlers like Chris Jericho are a vast improvement aesthetically compared to what they resembled in WWE 2K16. The animation to certain reversals and wrestling moves look more fluid and realistic compared to WWE 2K17’s predecessors. Where the graphics exceed the most is in the lighting in all of the arenas especially during the wrestlers’ entrances. The WrestleMania 31 arena takes advantage of the game’s enhanced lighting as it gives gamers the option to choose to play during the day, the evening or at night.
The gameplay remains the same, while certain notable aspects of the game -- such as stamina and reversal systems -- were tweaked. Using certain maneuvers or taunts will either drain your stamina bar or keep it stagnant. Reversals also play a big factor in matches, as there are certain moments that would allow gamers to reverse big moves that would make their would-be victimizers helpless and reversal-less for a certain amount of time.
Notwithstanding the lack of the “2K Showcase” mode, a refined creation suite and first-rate graphics make WWE 2K17 a must-buy for wrestling fans, WWE fans and creative gamers alike. The future is bright for the WWE 2K video game series, especially if 2K continues to find different ways to renovate the pro wrestling game genre.
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About the writer
South Florida’s Steve Mesa, a long-time gamer, was the WWE 2K15 Video Game United States Champion. The event, sponsored by WWE and 2K, was an international competition that culminated during WrestleMania Weekend in 2015 in Santa Clara, Calif. As the U.S. Champ, Mesa was seconded by WWE Superstar Sami Zayn in the WWE 2K15 international finals.
Mesa, who resides in Pembroke Pines, enjoys the WWE 2K video game series. He’s also been a contestant on the television game show Who Want to Be a Millionaire. He reviews films and writes stories for the website Pop-N-Pulp, and he is the co-host of a pro wrestling podcast called The Curtain Jerkers on the Project Entertainment Network.
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