It’s that time of year again when we get to smell what 2K’s cooking with their annual WWE game. This year we got WWE 2K18, a title that sports the biggest roster to date, a much improved graphical face-lift, and a more thorough career mode this time around.
However, for all of its strides to improve on last year’s attempt, WWE 2K18 definitely isn’t without its blemishes. We video game/wrestling fan hybrids normally know what to expect from the series by this point, and sadly, this year’s iteration from the hugely popular sports entertainment brand does little to prove us wrong. Sure, improvements have been made in some areas, but what about the areas that still flounder?
Well, indulge us as we run down some of the absolute worst things about this year’s offering, ranging from small, yet annoying issues to huge problems that really don’t belong in a 2017 sports sim. Wrestling ‘marks’ are advised to shield their innocent eyes from these 20 irritations in WWE 2K18. And that’s the bottom line because we said so!
20 Look Who's Talking
Any wrestling fan will tell you that one area that’s always been lacking in WWE games is the commentary. Most of the time it’s not fluid at all, the lines are rehashed over and over again, and the chemistry isn’t there like it is in the sports entertainment’s real-life product.
Sadly, WWE 2K18 does nothing to rectify these problems. In fact, if anything, it’s become staler. Yes, despite having one of the best commentators of the modern era in Corey Graves, the game does nothing to utilize his talents. Meanwhile, there’s the irritating Michael Cole to contend with, who’s annoying enough on actual WWE broadcasts.
But the worst thing is how long this issue has been plaguing the series, and with 2K at the helm, you’d expect much better play-by-play. Unfortunately, we’re resigned to hearing disjointed dialogue and rehashed phrases for another year. Boo!
19 The Male-Only Career Issue
Were you a fan of the career mode in this year’s installment? I’m still not sold on it. Sure it’s pretty rewarding to rise through the ranks to superstar greatness, but the mode isn’t without its flaws. One of the most glaring ones is the omission of female competitors.
Yes, despite the brand doing their utmost to promote their much ballyhooed ‘Women’s Revolution,’ WWE 2K18 does nothing to increase their profile in their main single-player mode. Instead, you have to make do with achieving success with a male combatant.
It’s surprising too considering how much of the fanbase want the female wrestlers to be included in a more meaningful way. Being able to use them in MyCareer would certainly go some ways to improving their inclusion in the game, but sadly, 2K decided against it.
18 Itchin’ About The Glitchin’
We could accept Becky Lynch’s ginger locks not glowing quite as brightly as they should, but we can’t accept tons of infuriating glitches. Sadly, you might have no choice but to accept it, as WWE 2K18 does little to squash some of the ridiculous glitches under its hood.
It may not be as bad as last year’s bug-infested release, but the latest installment doesn’t exactly run as smoothly as you’d like. There’s slowdown in some of the more cluttered matches, wrestlers float in the air occasionally for no apparent reason, and opponents sometimes disappear completely, meaning you can’t win the match.
Of course, they’ll probably release a humongous-sized patch to rectify it, but really, this stuff should be done before the game goes out there. A little more time in the oven definitely wouldn’t have hurt this wrestling sim.
17 The Promo Engine Is Sputtering
One of the most promising features added to the series last year was the promo engine. Any wrestling fan knows how important trash talking is in the real-life product, so while the new inclusion was pretty barebones, it certainly showed potential.
Unfortunately, though, there hasn’t been considerable improvements made in WWE 2K18. The feature still feels a little tacked on, with wrestlers often behaving in ways that they don’t outside of the video game (looking at you Brock Lesnar). Throw in the fact that there are no voices, but simply streams of dialogue, and you’ve got an interesting facet of the game that never really comes to fruition in the end.
Will we see steps made to improve it next year? Most likely, however, it feels like another missed opportunity in a game that really could’ve done with a marquee feature this year.
16 Give Me Real Wrestlers
I don’t know about you but I miss the days when you could actually use real superstars in the main single-player mode, just because it feels more authentic than using a virtual nobody. Sure the CAW suite is extensive, but don’t deprive those who just want to use their favorite superstars in the game.
Well meet WWE 2K18, a wrestling video game that forces you to create your own superstar to use in MyCareer. The old SmackDown! games by THQ used to feature actual WWE performers in their core mode, so why can’t it be done in this day and age?
Hopefully next year this can be implemented, because as it stands, this may serve those who like to take their own creation to the top, but it alienates those who simply want to go through it with wrestlers who are a known quantity.
15 Practice Makes Perfect
Here’s another issue which has been lingering now for quite some time: the lack of a Practice mode. We’ve come to expect it in most fighting games, whether it be faithful sports sims like the UFC titles, or the over-the-top action of games like Mortal Kombat and Street Fighter.
Sadly, WWE 2K18 lacks such a mode. Yes, despite its very complex controls to those new to the series, there still isn’t any lone mode that allows you to practice your moves. Sure you can utilize the feature in MyCareer, but you can’t practice with actual fighters, meaning you’ll just have to learn the maneuvers on the fly.
It’s a definite oversight by 2K and there’s no denying that it should have been in there already. Fingers crossed we get a proper tutorial and practice feature next year!
14 Bad Hair Day
From an aesthetic standpoint, it always used to be clothes going through player models in the wrestling games of old which stuck out like a sore thumb. That was fixed and seeing such a graphical anomaly in WWE games has thankfully become much rarer.
However, one thing that still rears its ugly head is the hair animation on many of the wrestlers. It’s particularly noticeable with superstars who have long hair, as it’s clear to anyone who’s been playing wrestling games for years that 2K have simply done a cut and paste job.
Apparently, the developers don’t care all too much about the hair on their wrestlers’ heads, but maybe next year we can see some improvements in this area (or am I the only one who cares?).
13 Missing The Target
Targeting has never really been properly addressed in WWE games, and sadly, WWE 2K18 does nothing to change that. There’s nothing quite as infuriating as flailing around, aimlessly attacking opponents who you never intended to go for. However, one new feature actually accentuates the problem to a greater extent than ever before: 8-man matches.
Yes, finally we get more than six combatants on screen at the same time by way of the new iteration. The problem is, though, the trade-off that comes with such a feature. Unfortunately, it emphasizes the issues with the current targeting system as you struggle to highlight the wrestler you wish to smack in the face.
It’s obviously not a problem when you’re in a singles match, but the more characters there are on the screen, the more you’ll feel like throwing the controller through that very same screen.
12 Recycling Day
After 2K acquired the rights for the WWE video games, many expected a complete overhaul in the animations for moves. Unfortunately, in 2017, we’re still waiting for that overhaul to take place. Sick of seeing the same old animations from ten years ago? Get used to it.
Because while there has been more animations added this year, WWE 2K18 still doesn’t feel completely new. We’re getting tired of the same stiff animations in general, never mind the fact that many of them are rehashed year after year.
As bad a game as TNA Impact! was, it at least felt new and fresh when it came to how character interactions varied from move to move. Maybe 2K needs to look for some inspiration in this department because many of the same move animations are cropping up, despite how long in the tooth most of them are.
11 Overrated And Underrated
This is something which crops up every year, and that’s the ratings of the wrestlers. Fans speculate, debate, and vent, about their favorite wrestlers not being rated highly enough, while those they despise get huge ratings. In 2017, this hasn’t changed.
And with some of the baffling ratings in this year’s installment, you can hardly blame them. Divisive performers like Nia Jax, Roman Reigns, and Shane McMahon, all received unrealistically high ratings in WWE 2K18, while a fantastic performer such as The Bulgarian Brute Rusev sits at a measly 84. What gives?!
We get that you’re never going to please everyone, but when Shane McMahon is rated the same as The Lone Wolf Baron Corbin, you know there’s something wrong. Ah well, maybe they’ll get it right next year…
10 Slogging Your Way Through MyCareer
We touched on the MyCareer mode earlier, but let’s dig into why it really is dull and uninteresting. WWE titles have been floundering as of late with their core single-player mode, and while there are some interesting new elements this year, the whole thing just winds up feeling somewhat boring.
It tries to include RPG traits, something which just comes across as disjointed in all honestly. And sure, it’s cool to see some of your favorite superstars hanging around backstage, but that momentary delight soon goes away when you get into the thick of it.
Sadly, we’ve got another limp attempt at recreating the rise to stardom of a WWE superstar, but unfortunately, the mode itself can’t live up those lofty ambitions.
9 Stiff As A Board
The current day product certainly has its problems, but it’s hard to argue that the in-ring action has ever been better in the past. The wrestlers today are in peak condition, and the matches themselves are typically fast, fluid, and athletically the best they’ve ever been.
So why is it then that WWE 2K18 feels like the antithesis of that? We get that they’re going for slow and more deliberate gameplay, but this sports sim just moves a little too slow at times. Movement around the ring is somewhat stiff, while the canned animations do nothing to give you that feeling of unpredictability that is synonymous with the WWE.
It just accentuates why a reboot of the series is needed soon, because as it is now, the matches become dull and predictable more often than you’d like.
8 Bring The Jams
Games like WWE 2K18 are made for fans to play all year-round until the next one hits shelves, so it can definitely be infuriating to hear the same songs over and over again while you’re scouring the various menus. And while The Great One The Rock’s curation of this year’s soundtrack is actually very solid, there’s still not much by way of variety.
There are some really fine choices like Kanye West’s “Black Skinhead,” and Tech N9ne’s “Straight out the Gate,” but there are only 11 tracks gracing the soundtrack. Yep, that means you better get used to hearing them because that’s all you’re getting.
What’s more, custom entrance themes for your CAWs are still not available this year, meaning you’ll have to yet again use the generic ones provided here. Sad face.
7 Playing Online Is Still A Pain
Most fighting games have gotten their online component down to a science by this point, with cool features like spectating lobby matches, and winner stays on events gracing them. However, the same can’t be said for WWE 2K18.
The problems with the online experience are tenfold in this installment. For starters, it can sometimes be a painstaking wait to even find a match in the first place. Then you have to account for the lag problems which should really be up to snuff by now. If that wasn’t enough, there’s also the annoying spammers to contend with too.
Players will simply use the same move continuously, and in the process, zap any sort of fun out of the match. So yeah, it’s fair to say that this series is still ‘lagging’ behind its competitors when it comes to online.
6 Instantly Bad Replays
Seriously, why can’t we just have a reliable replay system by now? The titles in the series have always stumbled somewhat in this department, and WWE 2K18 isn’t much of an improvement. While you can create highlight reels, you still can’t get double features while the match is taking place.
Custom video creations are a nice touch, but it doesn’t make up for the lack of an instant replay feature, especially when you consider how well done they are in others sports sims like FIFA or even 2K’s other sports series NBA 2K.
To reflect the real thing, it would be such a neat addition to have a second screen pop up in the match to show the last high spot. For some reason however, such a feature has never been included. I’ll add this one to my wish list for next year.
5 Wrestler Likeness Out The Window
We’ve already discussed how rubbish the hair looks on some of the wrestlers in the game, but they should thank their lucky stars if that’s the only thing they have to whine about. Because for several of the in-ring performers in the game, they don’t even have a realistic likeness.
Yes, whether it’s Bayley’s rather odd looking facial expressions or Edge’s blank and lifeless mannerisms, WWE 2K18 certainly drops the ball on more than a few occasions here. Some of the textures on the skin, some of the faces they’ve been given, and some of the garbs that adorn them, there’s no denying that a fair few of the combatants here don’t perfectly resemble their real-life counterparts.
Of course, with a roster numbering in the 200 range, we may be being a little picky with this one. Still, once you’ve seen a few of the expressionless faces featured here, you’ll probably be thinking the same thing as us: “Who’s that?”
4 Another Incremental Update To Universe Mode
Universe mode was added to the series some time ago – even before 2K were at the helm. It’s been the most enthralling part of the WWE games since its inception, providing players with the tools to create their very own wrestling brand, with rivalries, title matches, and spontaneous cut-scenes, sprinkled in along the way.
However, despite its fantastic concepts, the mode has been stagnating for the past few years. Sadly, yet again, Universe mode has been generally ignored. There are some small additions like the improved ranking system and a deeper rivalry engine, but they feel more like window dressing.
It’s a shame too because this mode is one which fans adore, and they are once again not getting much by way of new content this year.
3 Loading… Still Loading
No one likes waiting a long time to get into a game in this day and age, and for those people, they’re going to be in for a maddening experience with WWE 2K18. We’ve mentioned waiting for matches online, but the load times in general are pretty long.
Yes, best stick the kettle on because waiting for bouts can be a laborious experience. It’s even more pronounced in modes like MyCareer, where you’re constantly shifting from one event to another. You’d think on current-gen consoles it shouldn’t take as long!
At least back in the day we got to look at a hot picture of Melina while we were waiting for matches to get underway, but now, it’s just a drab screen with a little spinning circle in the bottom right hand corner. Sigh…
2 A Few Glaring Roster Omissions
Okay, so I’m being picky with this one, but it’s worth pointing out nonetheless (because I’m cruel like that). Yes, despite boasting the largest selection of wrestlers to date, WWE 2K18 still oddly misses out on some marquee names from the sports entertainment hybrid.
Some of the most notable omissions include Shelton Benjamin, Adam Cole, and Kairi Sane. Oh, and basically all of the performers from the fantastic influx of British performers that have recently joined the company. That means no Tyler Bate or Pete Dunne (WWE United Kingdom Champion) for you.
Of course, you’re never going to get everyone in the game, and what they do have is quite astonishing as far as sheer numbers are concerned. But still…
1 Gameplay Is Largely Unchanged
Topping our list of the 20 worst things about WWE 2K18 is the stagnation of the series in general. Because while there have been advancements made in some facets of its design, the fundamentals of the gameplay are becoming a bit long in the tooth by this point.
The series really needs something to revitalize it in the near future, because with the gameplay the way it is at the minute, it’s inevitable that some players are going to be turned off. It’s been numerous years now since we last saw any form of real evolution in the series, and with the new hardware that’s available, that really shouldn’t be the case.
Because the fact remains that if you didn’t enjoy any of the other WWE games in recent years, then WWE 2K18 will do nothing to change your mind. For those of us who’ve gotten used to it over the years? We have to make do with ‘big’ changes in the carrying mechanics. Yay…