|System: Xbox One, PS4*, Xbox 360, PS3|
|Pub: 2K Sports|
|Release: November 18, 2014|
|Screen Resolution: 480p-1080p||Alcohol Reference, Blood, Mild Language, Suggestive Themes, Use of Tobacco, Violence|
by Angelo M. D'Argenio
WWE 2k15 has already come out on the PS3 and Xbox 360, so we already have an idea of what the roster looks like and such. But it was widely known that the PS3 and Xbox 360 versions were sort of toned down, scaled back versions for the last-gen. The real improvements were held over for the next-gen version of the game, and while they are noticeable, the verdict is still out on whether or not they are all good. I’ve had a short while to fool around with the game, and I have to say there isn’t a whole lot here that goes above and beyond the last gen version. There’s little reason to get both, but if you need a wrestling offering for your next-gen console, this is a competent enough game to pick up.
The first thing you’ll notice in WWE 2k15 is the graphics overhaul. The graphics on next-gen consoles are significantly better than graphics on last-gen consoles all around, but the detail can really be seen in WWE 2k15’s models. Characters look the best when the camera closes in on their faces, usually during intros or match highlights. The expressions that these characters are able to make are very realistic, and if it weren’t for the still kind of plastic-like appearance of the skin texture, we would forgive you if you thought you were watching a real life wrestling match.
But while the models themselves look good, the animations are still a little bit stuck in the past. While complex grapples and finishing moves look great, many other moves including strikes and minor grapples look stiff and unwieldy. It all feels reminiscent of the times we played with WWE action figures as a kid, as limbs and bodies don’t really interact with each other well. However, much like we did when we played with action figures as a kid, it’s easy to ignore the janky animations and just sort of lose yourself in the moment. Besides, it’s not like the animations have gotten worse since the last-gen versions of WWE games, they just stick out more now that the models look better.
It’s also easier to notice the flaws in animations as the action in general has slowed down. Strikes, grapples, even movement has slowed down in an attempt to make the game feel more realistic. It works, to an extent. If you are watching the game, it certainly appears to resemble an actual wrestling match more closely. However, if you are playing the game, things feel a little off.
Perhaps the most frustrating thing I found was the increased reversal window. I never particularly enjoyed the reversal mechanics in these games to begin with, especially when playing against the computer, as nearly any move you attempt can be turned against you. However, the increased window and slower speed extends this problem to matches with other people. I frequently found I could lazily spam the reversal button and get out of most dangerous situations. The same held true for my opponent, meaning that our more impressive moves only hit when one of us fell asleep at the wheel.
The new fatigue mechanics also slow down the game. Once again, it increases the realism of matches, with competitors limping and crawling across the mat. But while you are playing, it simply feels like the controls aren’t responding to you in the way they should. You feel like you are fighting against these artificial limitations more than you are fighting your opponent. Not only that, but if you do somehow manage to get an early lead, that is hard to overcome, as you zip around the ring and your opponent barely moves.