Every single year, without fail, I buy the annual instalment in the WWE video game franchise. I have spent months of my life being entertained by these games because no matter how much I play them, they still provide me with hours of fun. With around a dozen WWE games in my current collection, it’s rare that a day goes by where I don’t indulge is some virtual grappling. Despite my love for these games though, I will be the first to admit that they’re not perfect. While most of the games are Wrestlemania X-7 levels of good, some of their features are Wrestlemania 9 levels of bad. So today, I’m looking at the virtual atrocities in otherwise great graps games. Here are the Top 10 Worst Things in WWE Video Games.
- Being Left Alone in a Tag Team Cage Match
Okay, so you and your pal are facing off against your rivals inside a steel cage. After a few minutes of opening various cans of whoop-ass, your asshole partner manages to escape, leaving you alone inside the structure in a handicap match. You’re forced to single-handedly fend off both members of the opposing team whilst simultaneously trying to escape the cage and win the match. It’s a difficult task, and it usually ends up with you getting your virtual ass kicked. You just have to hope they leave you with enough strength to stop one of them from escaping, make it a fair fight, and then get yourself out of there so you can win the match, and shout at your ‘partner’ for leaving you alone inside a steel cage to get absolutely destroyed. That’s friendship in WWE for you.
- Out of Date Wrestlers
In WWE 2K17, released on October 11th 2016, Fernando and Diego, otherwise known as Los Matadores, were included within the game’s roster, despite the fact the two characters hadn’t appeared on WWE television in over a year and a half at this point. In fact, the former Fernando and Diego had been repackaged as The Shining Stars in April of that year, yet 2K still decided to include the two in the game! What makes this even more laughable is the fact that year before, Los Matadores were included in the ‘Future Stars’ DLC pack for WWE 2K16, despite not having appeared in WWE for over 6 months when it was released, and the pair had been teaming in WWE since 2011, and had won the WWE Tag Team Championships, yet were somehow still classed as ‘future stars’.
I understand that 2K need time to construct character models, and the final roster for the game is usually decided around the same time as Wrestlemania, so there is bound to be some details that are a little dated, but when forgettable gimmicks haven’t been on television for over a year, please don’t bother including them.
- Out of Place Stars in Career Mode
When I was playing MyCareer in WWE 2K17, my first match on Raw was against The Rock. My debut main roster match for the company was against the highest-grossing actor in the world, who hasn’t had a match on Raw in well over a decade. Each year, 2K are improving their MyCareer mode in significant ways (we’ve come a long way since the car wreck that was WWE 2K15’s career mode), but it’s little details like this that really remove you from the experience, and show that little effort was made to really make this game mode as authentic as possible. What’s most annoying about this is that career modes perfected opponent selection based on your position on the card all the way back in the early 2000s. If the likes of Here Comes the Pain and WWF No Mercy know that if you’re not in the main event, you shouldn’t be facing off against former world champions and movie megastars, then why can’t games with fifteen years of technological advancement do the same?
- Bad Character Models
Remember Renee Young’s braceface in 2K16? What about the fact that Booker T looks worse in the current-gen WWE games than he did in TNA Impact which came out in 2008? And don’t get me started of Dana Brooke’s demon face from the latest instalment (I still have nightmares about that one). Although they may give us a few laughs, bad looking character models are a small imperfection, but they can really ruin the experience of playing with or against a member of the roster. With all the face scanning technology at their disposal, and that some of the other character models in the games look fantastic, you’d think 2K would be able to fix these nightmare-inducing faces, but then again, who’s even playing as Dana Brooke anyway?
- Rolling Out of the Ring When a Pinfall Happens
One of the new features added in WWE 2K17 was automatically rolling out of the ring during multi-man matches. When one of the participants in a match involving three or more wrestlers takes a certain amount of damage, they roll to the outside to recover whilst the others continue to brawl. Sure, this does add some realism to the bouts, it does give you some time to recover stamina and your reversal meter during a match, and it really comes in handy when you want to go for a pinfall, but when somebody else goes for the 3 count when you’ve rolled to the outside and there’s nothing you can do about it, that’s not so fun. When this feature works in my favour, it’s one of my favourites, but when it goes against me, I hate it with a virtual passion.
- Bad A.I
In a one-on-one wrestling match, there’s not much that can go wrong with the A.I. As long as they continue to fight back, it’s all pretty rosy. The problem comes in multi-man matches (elimination matches especially) when two or more wrestlers all suddenly decide to gang up on you, and refuse to switch who they’re targeting because of their broken A.I. Also, with the limited reversal meter in modern games, it makes these group beatdowns all the more excruciating. They will beat you and beat you together until either somebody else gets eliminated, they accidentally hit each other rather than you, you get lucky, or they beat you into defeat. Such a simple problem that could easily be fixed – come on 2K, get to work!
HOLY SHIT, WWE GAMES ARE SO FULL OF GLITCHES. If you still have a copy of 2K16, go and play an Elimination Chamber match – you won’t believe the glitchfest in front of you. At times, these glitches can make for hilarious moments, like wrestlers getting their limbs trapped inside cages and elimination pods, but at times, they can spoil your gaming experiences, or even put a complete stop to it. When 2K17 was first released, there was a glitch (that’s thankfully since been patched) that would randomly stop both wrestlers from moving during MyCareer mode matches, so there was no way the match could continue. Of course I like things to go a bit wrong from time to time purely for a bit of unexpected entertaining, but it would also be nice to actually be able to play the game as well.
- Overpriced DLC
£8 for a showcase mode. Over £7 for five wrestlers. £8 WHOLE POUNDS FOR SOME EXPERIENCE POINTS THAT YOU GAIN EASILY WITHIN EVERY SINGLE GAME MODE! I realise this is not an exclusive trait to WWE games, and it’s an annoying phenomenon that’s swept the whole video games industry, but if you are going to not include entire game modes in the original release and offer them as DLC, at least price them appropriately. I shouldn’t have to pay an additional £30 just to have a few more wrestlers and seven matches featuring hall of famers. And the annoying thing is, I do still pay for some of these! I know it’s stupid to pay that much to play as a few new people, but damn it, I want to be able to do cartwheels as Tye Dillinger! Next year, bring back a Showcase Mode or similar for everyone that bought the game, and then offer more matches for an affordable price – I don’t think that’s too much to ask.
- When Amazing Features Get Removed
Create a Finisher Mode? Gone. Showcase Mode? Gone. Tag Team Ladder Match? Gone. Buried Alive Match? Gone. Slobber Knocker Match? Gone. Road to Wrestlemania? Gone. Parking lot and outside arenas? Gone. Importing your own music to use as a custom entrance theme? Gone. Tag Team Table Match? Gone. Create a Taunt Mode? Gone. Three Stages of Hell Match? Gone. Create a Story? Gone. Inferno Match? Gone. AND DON’T GET ME STARTED ON THE FACT WE HAVEN’T HAD GM MODE IN ALMOST A DECADE! THAT IS THE BEST GAME MODE IN WWE HISTORY, YET 2K CONTINUE TO IGNORE THE OUTCRY FROM THE FANS TO BRING IT BACK! WHY ARE WE NOT ALLOWED NICE THINGS?!
I understand that not every feature can transfer from game to game, especially when significant changes happen between entries, and the transition between THQ to 2K did complicate things a little, but we’re now a few years into the 2K franchise, and we still don’t have most of those incredible features that were taken away from us back in 2K15. Without all of these modes and match types, the 2K games are still good games filled with other content and great features, but just imagine how incredible they would be if they brought even half of the list above back? Imagine how fantastic a new, revamped GM mode would be with the ability to create as many competing brands as you want, being able to draft new talents from NXT, and the fact the current games have the biggest rosters in franchise history, plus the 100 character creation slots include in the game, would mean we would have the biggest pool of talent in any GM mode to choose from. Universe Mode is a decent enough substitution, yet as WWF showed us during the Monday night wars, competing against somebody else makes things a lot more interesting.
Online Mode – Trying to play a WWE game online isn’t worth the effort – bad servers, overly complicated match set up, very low player base, and unreliability at all times. Except for the fantastic Community Creations, WWE games need to be played offline.
No Changes Once the Show Begins in Universe Mode – Vinny Mac and his crew change their minds mid-show, so why can’t we?
Highest Difficulty Isn’t Difficult Enough – When you’ve been played wrestling video games for the majority of your life, the Legend difficulty just isn’t challenging enough! I wanna feel like I’m James Ellsworth facing off against Braun Strowman, or Alexa Bliss trying to make the ‘This is Your Life’ segment work. It’s not something that is going to ruin my experience, but another difficulty setting would be highly appreciated.
The commentary in WWE video games is even worse than David Otunga’s. In fact, the only way it could get any worse is if Otunga’s commentary was also included in the game. The accompanying audio in WWE games has never exactly been stellar, yet it’s somehow managed to get worse as technology has developed, and the latest entries are the worst offenders. Simply off the top of my mind, here is a list of some of the awful commentary in WWE 2K17.
- All of JBL’s commentary was clearly an afterthought and not recorded alongside Cole and Lawler, as evidenced by the fact that Cole and Lawler only speak to each other, they say, “Follow us on Twitter” with no mention of JBL, among other things
- Michael Cole says, “The finality of this environment is so apparent, King” – This line would never be said in any wrestling show around the world. What’s worse is that it doesn’t exactly make all too much sense, and the game immediately shoots down any reason it has by having King reply with, “I don’t know about that.”
- Lawler shouting, “That’s cool! I like new stuff!” like he’s a fucking six year old.
- “I’ve never seen him do that move before” – WHY THE FUCK IS IT INCLUDED IN THEIR MOVESET THEN?!
- “I’ve never seen that move in my life!” – It’s featured in the game, I’m sure you must have seen it before.
- Also, King actually says the above line when somebody does a Bulldog. A fucking Bulldog!
- “This has been PHYSICAL!”
- JBL repeating exactly what Michael or Jerry have just said because he didn’t record dialogue with them
- Even worse, Michael and Jerry repeating each other despite the fact they record together, such as: Lawler: “Both of these guys look geared up and ready to go tonight.” Cole: “And these guys are geared up and ready to go.”
- Saying that I’ve already done my finisher twice when I’ve never done it at all
- Cole telling Jerry to look out when somebody is thrown out of the ring towards the announce table during a Hell in a Cell match, despite the fact they’re on the other side of the cage
- “Matches can’t be won outside the ring” during a Falls Count Anywhere
- Random yelps and noises
- Random ‘JBLisms’
- Referring to established tag teams like American Alpha as “Team Jason Jordan”
- They left a blooper in The Godfather’s exclusive commentary
- “I THINK THIS MAN MEANS BUSINESS!”
If I can think of all of that just from memory, you know that the commentary has to be the worst feature in WWE video games, and needs a major overhaul. Please WWE 2K18, make this all go away.
What do you hate about WWE video games? Let me know in a comment below or on Twitter @HairyWrestling.