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In This Corner: WWE 2K19 Review

It is that time of year again where Yuke’s releases their annual entry in the WWE 2K series. Many critics and fans were disappointed with WWE 2K18. With WWE 2K19, Yuke’s has promised more fluid gameplay than in previous entries in the series. Have they delivered on that promise?

I picked up the Deluxe Edition of 2K19 and had a chance to put some hours into it. Does this game improve on previous years, or is it another disappointing entry? Let’s examine.

The first thing you will notice in 2K19 is the totally revamped menu system. The menu system is much more sleek and easy to navigate than in previous years.

This game is quite possibly the smoothest looking game in the 2K series. New lighting effects and redone character models have wrestlers and arenas looking almost life like. However, there are some instances where character models do not look quite right. The model of Lana would be one of those instances. They still also have not figured out the physics of hair in this game. Hair will still randomly morph into body parts and doesn’t seem to move realistically.

There also are some minor features missing from wrestler entrances that irk me, but aren’t deal breakers. For example, Alexa Bliss will not hold a championship belt behind her head, nor will Kyle O’Reilly play a championship belt like a guitar. As I said, these are minor, but for a company that strives to make the game as real as possible, they missed the boat on a few entrances.

Gameplay is truly where WWE 2K19 shines. The framerate in this year’s game is extremely smooth, and in my time playing it, I did not notice any slowdown. This year, up to 8 wrestlers are able to appear on the screen at once in comparison to 2K18 having 6 wrestlers max on screen. Even with 8 wrestlers on screen at once, I noticed no lag.

Matches this year are also much smoother. The AI is much more difficult than in previous versions of the game, making for harder, but better drawn out matches. The computer is no longer attempting to go for pinfalls or submissions seconds after a match begins.

Match Types/Modes
Another area where this newest entry excels is the match types. In addition to your standard one on one, tag team, and triple threat matches, 5 man, 6 man, 8 man and women’s royal rumble matches have been added. Each match can be customized to your liking, whether it be Extreme Rules, Tables, TLC, Hell in a Cell, Steel Cage, etc.

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Speaking of Steel Cage and Hell in a Cell matches, both have been vastly improved and overhauled from previous entries. The size of the cell is now more proportionate. No longer will your wrestlers look like they are in a cell with 30 foot high walls. It is now also easier to escape and make your way up to the top of the cell.

New changes have been made in steel cage matches as well. Gone are the 1 minute cage matches with an AI opponent. There are now new climbing mini games when you reach the top of the cage, and you are now able to make your escape through the cage door. However, you will need to plan your escape wisely as attempting to leave the cage too early when both wrestlers are fresh, the mini games will be much harder to win.

When it comes to modes, 2K19 is very stacked. In addition to the exhibition match types, Universe mode returns along with the returning Showcase mode, which focuses on Daniel Bryans’s career, MyCareer, Road to Glory, and the new Towers mode.

Universe mode sadly had little changes from previous years. There are a few more customization options like assigning a Money In The Bank briefcase to a wrestler, and the ability to assigning any amount of championships, which allows you to have a roster of women’s or tag team championships if you wish. Promo systems have been slightly upgraded to be more coherent, however you still are unable to have promos with tag teams or factions, which is disappointing. Other items fans have asked for in the past, like the ability to have a roster shakeup draft still are not in the game.

MyCareer mode has included some huge changes this year. Over 20 wrestlers have included voiceovers in the game this year, so your career will not be a reading of text game this year.  I am only about an hour in to my career, but it has been great so far, especially starting my career on the indie scene.

One huge disappointment with the career mode is the inability to create a female wrestler and take her through her career. How a feature like this isn’t in the game is uncertain.

The creation suite is fantastic this year. You have the standard create an arena, show, wrestler, and title. The newest feature this year is the option to randomly create a wrestler. Some of the combinations the randomizer comes up with look amazing. You can randomize everything from an entire wrestler to certain parts and colors like gloves, trunks, elbow pads, etc.  If you make your own federations in the game, this can be very handy to quickly generate a roster of wrestlers.

Overall Thoughts
The 2K series often gets criticized for its lack of noticeable changes from year to year. This year however is different. Matches are much more smooth and competitive, even on the easier skill levels. The redone career mode is fun to play, and I can’t wait to see what unravels next in my story. I am a little disappointed about the minimal changes to universe mode, and would like to see this mode redone from the floor up next year, however, with the need to put out a new game yearly, I don’t expect many changes to occur. With all that in mind, it feels like they are finally getting the game right, are going in the right direction, and the game is a definite pickup, even if you picked up last year’s version.

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8.5 / 10


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