Released in December 2017, WWE 2K18, developed by Yuke’s Co. Ltd and published by 2K Games, received a damning verdict from the majority of reviews that surfaced on the Internet, particularly the Nintendo Switch version of the game and rightly so, as it was a completely unplayable mess. Two months and two substantial patches later, how does the game play now? Does it give us a right royal rumble or is it simply still up against the ropes?
Whether it was forced or not by the publisher’s, the Switch version of the game just wasn’t ready for release at that time. Regardless of deadlines, it was inexcusable to release such a broken game, which was a shame as it offered so much potential. Boasting a roster of wrestlers that far surpasses any previous iterations of the series, including over one hundred and seventy classic fighters, as well as a staggering array of game modes that covered everything from one-on-ones up to six man matches and royal rumbles to tournaments and tag teams, there was plenty of scope here with which to steer your favourite wrestlers onto glory.
The biggest attractions, however, are the WWE Universe and My Player game modes. In universe, you experience a whole year in the WWE calendar with your chosen fighter. Rivalries, championship bouts and scheduled shows all feature as you progress week by week through the career of any of the superstars on offer. My player, however, offers the most comprehensive experience with a fully-fledged career mode for your own created character. The customisation here is staggering, with the option to even add your own face; even if it is a bit fiddly to pull off. From your look to your entrances, winning pose and fighting style, you can be as wacky or as creative as you like; the online community here have created some truly spectacular results. Starting out at the gym, this mode sees you progress through the ranks from NXT up to the main event, as well as traversing back stage, brawling with rivals and creating alliances. This game mode easily offers the most fun and playability, especially with the option to take your wrestler online and compete with other players around the world in order to qualify for pay-per-view events that run concurrently with those in real life.
It’s easy to see the amount of gameplay potential this title holds. However, upon its initial release, the game was so broken that the majority of these game modes were simply unplayable. Frame rate drops consistently slowed to a stutter, especially with the six-player skirmishes. At times, the commentary wouldn’t match the action on-screen or it just simply faded away and the loading times were as snail paced as the entrances from each of the superstars. All of these faults significantly hampered the enjoyment of the game and detracted from what was, potentially, a real AAA game.
However, since its significant patchwork, the majority of these bugs have now been eradicated. Graphically, although not up to the clarity of rival consoles; but then, I wouldn’t expect that on the switch anyway, 2K18 is easily one of the best looking games in its library today, particularly when it comes to presentation which follows a much-hyped television fanfare. Entrances are much improved, as are loading times. Any slowdown has been significantly reduced on mass rumbles, although admittedly it is still there but it doesn’t stutter like it used too and the result is much more playable now and the commentators actually feel that they know what they are talking about now.
If you previously owned this game and have since traded it in, and I wouldn’t have blamed you for doing so as I did exactly the same thing through frustration, or have been sitting on the fence on whether to purchase this title, then I would most definitely recommend giving it a look now that it has been, somewhat, repaired. The bouts are a lot fun which simply ooze with a very atmospheric atmosphere. It takes time and patience to master the moves and successfully pull off reversals, but when you begin to put up a good fight, the rewards for such perseverance are immense, adding further to the fun and playability of this title. The presentation of each fight is second to none, with faithfully reconstructed entrances for each fighter which really does feel like you are watching a televised pay-per-view event.
Just one word of warning though, due to its significant file sizes, in both the digital and retail versions of the game, the switch will require a micro SD card of at least thirty two gigabytes; and this is only the minimum specification. Personally, I would recommend sixty four gigabytes or more, especially if you get the digital download. The game also requires at least one gigabyte of system memory, so this is most definitely something worth taking into account before you think about making a purchase.
Overall, WWE 2K18 does offer the most complete wrestling package at present and is, ultimately, a lot of fun to play despite some its remaining, but minor, bugs. Despite having been significantly patched, it is still far from perfect but at least it is now far more playable than it was upon its initial release. Hopefully, the developers will continue to patch the switch version of the game and add further improvements. Unfortunately though, most of the damage has already been done regarding its state of play. However, because of its bad publicity, this is a game that can be easily picked up at a bargain price at the moment and, for what it’s worth, it’s definitely a game that would make a good investment at current prices, especially with its presentation values, depth of gameplay options and, ultimately, the level of fun that can be had now it has been mostly fixed. It’s just a shame that this game couldn’t have waited until its present state before it was released, then maybe it wouldn’t have received such a hefty smack down.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Nintendo Switch code was provided to Bonus Stage for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.