Ever since 2K Games released WWE 2K17 for PC on February 6, I have been playing the game way more than I’d like to accept, reaching -as of writing this review- an astounding total of 669 gameplay hours just because it is really addictive, and sometimes I get super bored but I have a goal in mind and just don’t know how to stop playing…
I’m not going to break the whole review in different aspects as I always do because I want to give you a smoother experience. This is just for this game, since I’m reviewing one of those “1-every-year” games that we get, which bring few enhancements, new playable characters and that’s pretty much it.
The game feels more natural than previous entries in the franchise, I have to give the developers that. I like the way in which you can go -on certain match types- from the ring, to the ringside area to even backstage where you get into The Authority’s office or the locker room. However, this game is filled with bugs, and -at least for PC- it doesn’t feel well optimized.
What do I mean with filled with bugs? Oh man! Where do I begin?
The first thing I normally play in WWE 2K games is the MyCareer mode (because let’s be honest here, it is more fun to create a new wrestler and work all the way up from a NXT starter up to the WWE World Heavyweight Championship rather than just use Brock Lesnar or The Undertaker -if you are a Cena kind of person, I already dislike you- and just defend the title and destroy everyone else). So, I went in, created my first wrestler, worked his skills, his move-set and of course the most important thing of them all: his entrance. He needed to have a badass entrance to win the match before it even began.
My adventure started when I was attacked after an interview I had right after a match, when Kalisto for some random reason I am still looking for, decided to go all bananas on me, and I ended up being stuck in a wall. No, seriously, I didn’t know where I was, how I got there, or how to get out of there, and Kalisto was there, just as confused as I was (probably, he was giggling, too).
Oh, but that was just the beginning. I, later on, got to fight against Brock Lesnar in a No Holds Barred match for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship, and everything was going just fine until Brock decided to go nuts and chase me upside-down. Sounds weird, I know, but you can take a look by yourself.
He was literally possessed there, it was either he was possessed, or I hit him so hard that he thought about a new technique based on the way ostriches defend themselves. No. He was definitely possessed. Even went halfway to hell that time.
It is worth saying that I had to exit the match because those satanic legs were chasing after me and attacking me -somehow- with me being completely unable to do anything, I couldn’t attack or defend myself. Sort of a comical championship match, to be honest.
For some reason, there are many issues when it comes to MyCareer Mode. One would assume there is some sort of actual logic behind most things that are taken into account in this mode such as the way in which you move up the ranks for any given championship. For instance, I’ve noticed that ranking up in the Tag Team division is super fast. You can get a title shot in three in-game months which equals to around 26 matches (if you win every single one of them) as the 27th would be your title match at a PPV. Now, after conquering that title, I’ve gone for over 400 days (over a full in-game year) fighting and winning matches while trying to reach rank 3 in the Intercontinental Championship rankings, and I’ve gotten to rank 4. It is stupid, because for the United States Championship it didn’t take 6 in-game months to reach my title opportunity (and I don’t mention the World Heavyweight Championship because all you need to do to get your shot at it is win the Royal Rumble).
Entrances might be buggy as well, as sometimes when you change any detail about the wrestler’s attire, the whole thing (movement-wise) changes. You can try it yourself with one of the top superstars right now: AJ Styles, as his attire does something interesting if you change any detail for his entrance.
Another one feature that I’m still trying to efficiently figure out is the Promo one. Basically, in MyCareer, you can have your own promos which involves simply going to the ring with a microphone and talking to the WWE Universe. You are given 4 choices for what to say, and you are simply supposed to craft a coherent promo that makes sense, and works with the kind of crowd you are in front of. This sounds fairly easy, and after a few (a lot, really) tries, you should be able to know which options to follow if you want to maximize the crowd’s reaction; however, this just isn’t true. I’ve thoroughly tested the way these options work, and when I think I have it figured out, they fail in the next promo. It makes no sense, and means that either the developers gave it some sort of randomizer option to crowd reactions, or it is plain and simply wrongly programmed.
There are many, many issues with this game. None of which makes it unplayable or unenjoyable,
Then, there’s the Hall of Fame mini-stories, for which the underwhelming adjective falls short. They got lazy this time and decided to give us a single match per “story”. I remember the good ol’ times when they actually made you go through the whole story of a wrestler in this game mode instead of having you take part in one match and make the whole thing a cinematic.
If you ask me, personally, what’s the best part of WWE 2K17? My answer has to be “its soundtrack”. I have literally kept the game running, in any random menu, just for the soundtrack to play as background music at home while I’m working. It even got me to check for those tracks on Google Play Music (yes, I don’t use Spotify, sue me) because it is really enjoyable. Other than that, the MyCareer gets super boring when you figure out that rankings are messed up, and even though you have a goal in mind (to hold two titles at the same time, which is the most you can do), it just takes forever to get there, and you ultimately get bored at the matches you are set to take part in, because they are as random as they can get unless you are locked in a rivalry.
When it comes to the roster, I know it is a huge roster for this game, but it for some reason doesn’t feel like it. It may be the fact that they decided to not give a proper roster selection menu and instead put a simple list that you go through in order to select the wrestler you want to use. And they are divided into “Superstars”, “Custom Superstars” and “Downloaded Superstars” which makes absolutely no sense since it is a simple as hell list of names. Come on, 2K, we know you can do better than this.
I mentioned performance issues before, and I want to elaborate a little bit about this situation. I have a decent gaming rig (yes, remember that all my reviews are for PC versions of games) and while the benchmark that comes in the game says that I can steadily run the game at 60fps in an overcrowded arena, on a 6-Man Hell in a Cell match, sometimes the game just decides to stop working for a few seconds in which the wrestlers’ animations are static, yet the action is still going as you hear everything that’s happening and your controller will vibrate when you receive a punch or any kind of damage. This is specially annoying when it just stays there and you have to completely restart the game.
As well, in MyCareer mode, you have to change your wrestler’s attire every few weeks if you want to keep earning in-game currency from T-Shirt sales, but surprise, surprise, quite often, when you go to the option that takes you to the wrestler’s customization screen, the game crashes. It just crashes. White screen with the notice of the executable file having stopped working. In the worst cases, it stays in the loading screen forever.
Honestly, timing for WWE 2K17 was simply awful. The game came out just before the brand extension and draft, so while the developers did what they had to do, it fell short due to this timing. Does 2K Games actually have talks with the WWE directly before getting these games created? That’s what I’ve been asking myself over and over again, because we all know there’s a set script for most major events, and some just come along the way, I wouldn’t believe if they told me they decided to have a brand extension just weeks before the game was released, that’s impossible, and it takes away from gamers, then again it bonds us over the franchise because we will want to get WWE 2K18 just because we want to have an actual game with the brand extension applied, instead of what we have in the current version of the game, mostly since in My Universe, you can’t even get things working properly as if you create new shows, most of the times the system will tell you they can’t host PPVs, making them as useless as the Main Event show normally is.
I am addicted to WWE 2K17 and I hate to be so, but my recommendation if you are still deciding on whether or not to purchase this game is simple: wait for it to be on a sale for at least a 50% off, don’t do what I did and buy the edition that has every DLC, it isn’t worth it, really.