After what can only be considered a lackluster current gen console product since WWE 2K15, WWE 2K19 offers fans of wrestling and gaming something they can really sink their teeth into: the most photo-realistic graphics; the best in-ring simulation, the most all encompassing creation suite and the most versatile game modes in a WWE game to date are coming your way in this year’s edition of the long running series.
However, despite these plaudits, this does not mean that the game is free from flaws. There are still longstanding complaints from the community that remain unaddressed. With that being said, however, WWE 2K19 continues to be the best and most complete game in the WWE series.
The most touted mode in the marketing for WWE 2K19 was the MyCareer mode. 2K Sports has become synonymous with MyCareer modes thanks to its NBA series, and this year’s WWE version of MyCareer is a step in the same direction. The mode begins with the user in an independent promotion entitled “BCW”. You work a quick match with Cole Quinn, a BCW rival, who is getting a look from NXT lead trainer Matt Bloom. Your goal is to outdo Quinn and receive the NXT invite. From there, the story goes on an exciting path of twists and turns depicting some true struggles of fledgling independent wrestlers (as well as some overblown stereotypes).
While the mode’s storyline is enough to keep you playing, the progression system leaves a lot to be desired. Filled with loot crates, basic move sets, lackluster entrances and frustratingly low ratings, going from an independent buzz to a bonafide superstar takes about as long in the video game as it does in real life.
Regardless of the upgrading system, the pros do outweigh the cons. New additions such as voice acting and refreshing, new playable arenas add to the immersion. Playing the role of anti-authority vs subtitled HHH is fun, sure, but playing the role of anti-authority vs voice-acting HHH and hearing the anger in his voice as you overcome every obstacle he throws in your path is just so satisfying.
All in all, WWE 2K19’s MyCareer is a great basis for the mode going forward. The story is solid, the gameplay is great fun, the constant change of scenery is refreshing, and the journey to the top is something to really get behind. But, please, fix the loot box system!
Another mode that was pushed heavily is the all new “Towers” mode. Towers is a series of matches with a specific theme such as “women’s revolution,” “Monsters” and “The People’s Towers”, to name a few. The towers change daily and weekly to keep things fresh for those competing. The final tower is the AJ Styles million dollar challenge. This is a series of 15 matches without regenerative health after each match. Win all 15 and you can take a screenshot and cut a promo for why you should face AJ Styles. Upload this to wwe.2k.com/milliondollarchallenge for your chance to be selected to win $1,000,000!
Likely the most popular mode on the WWE games recently has been the universe mode. This allows the user to simulate their own WWE universe with whatever cast of characters you choose. Want to recreate the Monday Night Wars? Go for it. Flashback to the mid 2000’s ruthless aggression era? Get it done. Want to completely scrap the idea of WWE and just have a roster full of created superstars? It can all be done in universe mode.
This year’s version of the game features some long-awaited additions that to some may seem small, but to the hardcore audience who like to perfect their universe are necessary. The customization options aren’t quite the same as the company’s NBA counterpart, but they certainly allow the user to create their own experience and run things the way they want them to be run. This is much more desirable that having to hope things play out the way you want. My favorite new feature is how often the cutscenes happen for rivalries. The motto for universe this year is that small additions certainly add up.
Showcase mode is back! This time the mode features Daniel Bryan, and also Brian Danielson. Flash way back through Bryan’s magnificent career via mini-documentary to set the mood and then you’re ready to go. Follow his rise and with the guidance of triggered moments, re-create some of his most memorable feats. Seeing the rise of one of wrestling’s most beloved indie stars all the way up to and through his tear-jerking Wrestlemania 34 title victory is so satisfying and though it may not have substantive replay value, it is certainly worth playing.
Summary and Conclusion
There are countless other small gameplay additions and features implemented into the game this year: an overhauled steel cage match; Hell in a Cell now offers quite a few new animations that react with the cell; the Royal Rumble is customizable so that superstars can enter in the order that you choose; and there are many other small details that have improved the game.
While some consider the game to be “too simulation” based for a wrestling game, I think WWE 2K19 settles into a sweet spot between arcade fight game and wrestling simulation. This is a position that can successfully accomodate gameplay for years to come as 2K Sports continue to revamp and re-energize the modes surrounding the gameplay.
To conclude, I have to say that WWE 2K19 is the best wrestling game to date. It is better than SVR 2007, better than Smackdown! Here Comes The Pain, and even better than WWF No Mercy. A complete game with very few noteworthy flaws that offers its players a plethora of options to occupy their time.
But, again, those loot boxes…get them out, please!