We often provide a universal review for all formats with a few lines added to explain the differences between each platform – we simply couldn’t do that for WWE 2K15 – not only is the Xbox One / PS4 version a fundamentally different game, but the last-gen, 360 / PS3 version is one of the laziest, most blatant cash grabs I have played in quite some time.
It might not be quite as bad as FIFA’s Legacy Edition releases or Codemasters’ F1 2014 for that matter, but make no mistake; not only has WWE 2K15 seen nowt but the most incremental of improvements over last year’s game, but in many respects, has actually been stripped down by comparison. The WWE 2K games were already decidedly average, but at least they have been home to some pretty cool game modes – that’s not the case here. There are a few attempts at recapturing the magic of 30 Years of WrestleMania for 2K15, but thanks to a shocking lack of effort and a distinct lack of polish, WWE 2K looks likely to sign off on the last generation of consoles with a rather disappointing whimper.
It’s unbelievable that the best wrestling games belong to the N64 / Dreamcast era, but despite a few decent efforts, no wrestling game of the last two generations has come close to matching the excitement and balance of the N64’s, WCW vs NWO or the Dreamcast’s, Fire Pro Wrestling D. I did enjoy the historical aspects of recent 2K offerings, but remove the licensing and cool nostalgia and you’re left with a pretty average wrestling game……and that’s what WWE 2K15 is – a very average wrestling game. Without the hook of genuinely compelling game modes, WWE 2K15 (despite one or two decent additions), is little more than a poor man’s WWE 2K14.
In fairness, the inclusion of a momentum meter does make the core combat a tad more nuanced with signature moves and finishers easier to call, but other than that, WWE 2K15 is home to the same problems that have plagued the series for the past few years. The speed is too frantic (something that has been addressed for the next-gen release) with hit detection in particular remaining extremely inconsistent. There is fun to be had from the ageing mechanics and the fundamental fast-paced entertainment is still here, but this has always been relatively lightweight wrestling-fare and the inclusion of a momentum meter has not done nearly enough to paper over the ever widening cracks.
Some will find enjoyment in the 2K Showcase mode focused on the relatively recent feud between John Cena and CM Punk and the decidedly more memorable battles between Triple H and Shawn Michaels from the early 2000’s, but despite having their moments, these are nowhere near as memorable or enjoyable as the recent Attitude Era offering or the 30 Years of WrestleMania which both delivered an infinitely more complete and polished collection of events and characters.
If that was the only problem, I would be tempted to cut the game some slack, but rather bizarrely, WWE 2K15 appears to be missing an array of characters and options that were available in last year’s release that appear to have been removed because…..well, I don’t know why.
The roster itself is relatively robust (60+), but an array of characters seem to have been completely removed while a collection of creation options including, create a move and create a finisher also appear to have been cut in their entirety. None of these elements are essential to the game by any stretch of the imagination, but again, their disappearance is just plain odd and another sign of how lazily 2K Sports have approached this release (although it could be argued that it took effort to go in and remove pre-existing characters and options). I appreciate that their efforts were probably focussed on the next-gen iteration, but that will come as little comfort for those that pay full price for a game that is noticeably poorer than its predecessor released 12 months prior.
WWE 2K15’s fundamental mechanics ensure that there is fun to be had here, but with little in the way of improvements and plenty in the way of omissions, it is all but impossible to recommend this to those that already own WWE 2K14 – in fact, I can’t even recommend it to those that don’t as I would strongly advise they go out and buy the cheaper and more enjoyable WWE 2K14 instead. I appreciate that next-gen has been the focus this year, but that’s no excuse for delivering a game as lazy and underdeveloped as this.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Microsoft Xbox 360 code was provided to Bonus Stage for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to email@example.com.
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