WWE 2K19 refuses to shy away from the shortcomings of its predecessor. Instead, as a proper sequel or successor, it builds off the foundation laid by WWE 2K18.

It’s because of this, the game feels much smoother and sealing the holes left in general gameplay for years now. It has prove to be more than just an updated roster with bells and whistles. It debuts with a strong showing as the game that finally shows off what Take-Two and 2K can really do with the franchise.

WWE 2K19 Review – 2K Kicks Out At Two

Balance

WWE 2K19 could have easily been a rehash of last year with just the 2K Towers and a new roster. Instead, 2K looked at nearly every part of the game and evaluated how it affects the overall experience. Gameplay, while using the same control scheme, has had some rework in the way abilities and some skills function. Small things, like requiring a reversal to be consumed when using the ‘Ring Escape’ ability, changes the pacing of a match for the better. The new Payback system balances a lot of the cheap tricks and exploits from previous games. Although, it requires players to master a new button combo if they want to capitalize on all their in-ring tools.

The downside is that the new system will put more emphasis on the using the on-screen HUD. This could be a small inconvenience for those preferred going without it, as there seems to be no other way of knowing your payback is available to use.

Animation

Animations this year have been sped up and given new audio to make everything seem more impactful. The game also improves upon crowd audio cues and does a much better job on commentary overall. You’re still likely to tune them out when they began to ramble. However, the conversations this year are somewhat refreshing and feel surprisingly genuine. Unfortunately, when there is an audio mishap, and there will be some, it can be a bit jarring. Nonetheless, it becomes excusable as the crowd properly keeps up with the pacing and high spots of the match. I’m happy to say I’ve yet to encounter a dead crowd or silent crowd, even if they’re just booing the heels.

Performance

The game is not without its own shortcomings. While the UI looks incredible and give a very solid sports vibe, keeping track of your selection in the Creation Suite becomes increasingly difficult as the selector is nearly invisible, despite being red on a white background. In other cases, after spending extended time in the Create-A-Move-Set, I experienced instances where the animation rig simply ‘gives up’ on previewing moves properly. Luckily, leaving the mode and going back seems to fix it, but it’s something that, in theory, should just work.

You’ll also find the MyCareer Mode objectives and spots are not without their own fair share of bugs as well, Though, I’ll admit they are not as heavy as last year. Some will still come off pretty jarring. Notably, like when superstars begin selling moves for invisible opponents. The upside, even for console players, is that the framerate drop in multi-man matches seems to be virtually gone. While I play on PC sporting a 1070 and 40 Gigs of RAM, I’ve been told from some players using a first-generation Xbox One, that the game is consistent even when participating in 8-man matches. That’s a huge bump up from last year where it was difficult to have a basic tag match without lag.

After an eight plus hour session, I did notice menu performance drop and experienced one crash to desktop. This is likely something to be patched, but you should be aware.

Cleaning up

Most of what we loved about WWE 2K18 makes a return as well but with a fresh coat of paint. Creation Suite received wonderful ‘quality of life’ improvements with the addition of features like mirroring items and new mapping and rotation schemes for logos. MyCAREER still has loot boxes but even for premium items, you can purchase them with in-game VC. While tedious, it just means you’ll be playing the game more as VC is earned across the board.

If you enjoyed the online features, ROAD TO GLORY makes its return, following the similar format of last year. The Daniel Bryan showcase takes an interesting twist with a documentary style presentation but quickly turns in the objective-based gameplay you’ve come to expect. 2K Towers, as we all know, feels like something out of Mortal Kombat. The towers rotate on a daily basis and can be a great source of VC for those looking to dive into the MyPlayer Modes.

Universe Mode is still kicking and gives players more control than ever. Without the restrictions of past iterations, it’ll take some time to get used to the freedom and new ways to control your universe. However, for fans of the mode, it will be well worth it. There are some oddities, like superstars only being able to go after one title at a time, but that does mirror the current way WWE likes to book its shows.

As far as Attributes, Skills and abilities go, be mindful of how you set them as they appear to have a greater impact on how superstars behave this year. The AI is no in-ring slouch; for veterans, you’ll probably still need to edit your sliders in the long run.

The Verdict

In the end, WWE 2K19 is a wrestling game as it should be. It takes a gimmicky turn in MyCAREER while removing the ‘silent feature’ vibe by adding rather competent voice acting. In certain areas, the game embraces the sheer silliness in professional wrestling and is much better for it.

You’ll come to love the in-ring aspects but still be prepared for the occasional bug when venturing beyond the squared circle.

I like the pacing and the visuals still look fantastic, even with a hiccup or two. If you pass on this one due to a missing character or two, you are missing out.

The game isn’t perfect, but so far it has been worth the investment with just under 30 hours and counting, in-game. WWE 2K19 has successfully pivoted the franchise in a better direction and should be enough to restore hope and faith moving forward.


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  • Gameplay
  • Game Modes
  • Presentation
  • Longevity

Summary

It isn’t perfect, but the experience has been worth the investment. WWE 2K19 has successfully pivoted the franchise in a better direction and should be enough to restore hope and faith moving forward.

Overall
3.88

Pros

  • Stable general gameplay
  • Embraces the silliness of Pro Wrestling
  • Return of the Triple Threat Tag Team match
  • Fully-voiced MyCAREER
  • Better Animations and sound effects

Cons

  • Several UI blunders
  • Lingering bugs
  • VC heavy unlocks
  • Improved but still lackluster progression system