2K Sports' third go at it with WWE is now available for next-generation consoles after taking the game over from longtime publisher THQ. Yukes was retained as a developer and looked to keep the hope of producing solid, if not good WWE releases for years to come. That hope is in serious jeopardy with the release of WWE 2K15.
Some horribly concerning things right off the bat are the abundance of features and matches missing from the game. The ability to create Divas, titles, arenas, finishers and entrances are gone. Inferno, Ladder, I Quit, 2/3 falls, Backstage Brawl and a host of other match types are absent. You can view the full list here.
Also, 2K Sports has limited the number of items you can download from community creations. If you're a PS4 or Xbox One user, you can only download up to 20 items per day. This compares poorly to the unlimited number of years past.
When I say they stripped these modes, you really can't grasp it until you go looking for yourself. This looks like something that should have been on PSone. Remember the roster reveal earlier this year when fans were upset that the company didn't release the "whole roster?" Well, they did. It was just lacking.
Visually, the game is beautiful. This is perhaps the single biggest graphical improvement for a WWE game since the jump from PS1 to PS2. Also the menus are fresh, new and look nice. That's about where the positives end on the surface.
The ring is smaller. Yep. If WWE 2K14 had a nice, WWE sized 20x20 ring then WWE 2K15 is rolling with your local indy show's 14x14. It's noticeable from the outset and if you've played WWE games in prior years you'll have to compensate for the difference or change your timing. It plays a huge factor in the game and is a major negative.
The animations are the worst in years, with the lone bright spot being the dualshock effects whenever you hit the mat. Initially it seemed as if controls for the game were unresponsive, but the more it was played around with, it looks more like the animations are just drawn out.
One of the bright spots of the game (for me) was the pacing. You'll either love or hate the pacing of this game. This year is a way's off from what you'll be used to as it has been slowed down to recreate a more accurate representation of a wrestling match. Some people were fans of the high speed action in older games.
WWE Universe mode hasn't really changed. You've all been there folks. It's fun to create your own wrestling world, but a little less fun with the neutered rosters.
2K Showcase mode goes back through the Shawn Michaels/Triple H and CM Punk/John Cena feuds. You re-live the moments, and cinematic scenes are inserted between. It's Road to WrestleMania, with the only difference being that you have significantly less options as there are only two. I hate to sound like a Debbie downer, but the game has been reduced heavily.
A long overdue mode is the "My Career" mode, which sees your character go through the Performance Center, NXT and finally WWE. You earn VC points (common for 2K games) to add attribute points. You're encouraged to spend actual money to buy more points, because after spending $60-65 on the game and $20 on the season pass, what's a few more bucks right?
The career mode in itself is fine and gives a single-player mode to play through as opposed to a series of story lines they've seen chronicled on WWE programming. Although it doesn't reach Here Comes The Pain level replay value, it's a pretty good mode. This could be a glimmer of hope for the series and something to build on.
It's almost like 2K is resetting on the PS4 and Xbox One, and that's not how things are supposed to work. If you only have a PS4/Xbox One and need a wrestling game, or need one with an updated roster to be happy, go ahead and rent WWE 2K15 before you buy. Otherwise you're better off sticking to WWE 2K14. 2K Sports really whiffed on this one, which is probably why they played things so close to the vest all year long.
It's a little baffling that in moving to next-gen consoles WWE and 2K took giant leaps in the wrong direction. The roster is smaller, the match types have been stripped and the freedom of created content has been limited. This is the latest former THQ property to seemingly move backwards, with the EA UFC property not being well received, either. The company may have been miserably run, but at least they didn't literally move back three steps compared to the previous year's incarnation of their games.
I want this game to be good-- I think we all did. The potential is there, but it isn't. THQ rarely made huge strides during the PS3/360 era, but they certainly didn't regress. 2K Sports has managed to do that on their first installment on the next-gen consoles. This was WrestleMania for 2K Sports, and they blew up and gassed out within four minutes of the main event.
Replay Value 8/10
PS- Florida Georgia Line is on the soundtrack, music gets a -42/10.