WWE 2K17 Review

Richard Walker

Like a well-toned superstar, WWE 2K17 is potentially the most lean and refined wrestling game I've played since 2K Games wrangled the WWE license from THQ four years ago. Since WWE 2K14, each instalment in the series has been getting incrementally better and better, but this year feels like a genuinely accomplished package in gameplay terms; one of the best wrestling titles I've played since the old Yuke's glory days of Smackdown! Just Bring It and Here Comes the Pain.

Why exactly? A simplified front end, a slick Career Mode, all of the usual match types you'd expect, the most powerful and in-depth customisation suite to date, and, most importantly, improved mechanics in the ring. Superficially, WWE 2K17 is the same old game, with the ever-reliable counter system requiring perfect timing, while the pace is entirely representative of the sports entertainment action itself. It feels right, even if this year brings with it less content, sadly. We'll get to that latter part in a bit, but first, the gameplay.


Brock loves a good ruck. Seth Rollins doesn't know what hit him.

Vitally, the back and forth of a WWE match feels like it should in WWE 2K17, and targeting your opponent is also more reliable during matches with multiple grapplers in the same ring, switching targets a simple case of clicking in the right stick. However, WWE 2K17 hasn't really moved on all that much over 2K16, this latest entry in the series being a far more iterative affair rather than something genuinely fresh and innovative.

Though the action in the square circle feels more robust, the core gameplay remains largely the same, as do the selection of available modes, bar one glaring omission. Chances are, if you played and digested everything WWE 2K16 had to offer, you're going to be disappointed by how similar WWE 2K17's suite of modes is. With that one aforementioned exception. The excellent 2K Showcase has been inexplicably nixed. That means no more reliving some of the WWE's finest moments and no more archive footage for your efforts, which is a huge shame.

This would be fine were there a new mode to replace it, but WWE 2K17 is now all about MyCareer and WWE Universe. The absence of the 2K Showcase leaves a big hole in WWE 2K17: it was arguably one of the best things about 2K's wrestling series and now it's gone. Bah. Still, the basic match types available alongside the Career Mode and WWE Universe still offer ample bang for your buck.

Once again, however, it's worth reiterating that there's nothing really new to either of these core modes, although MyCareer gets you into the thick of the WWE action itself a lot quicker. That means less messing around in the tutorial and training stages, as you prove yourself rather quickly and attain superstar status after a few short matches. Once you're inducted into the WWE proper, you're then free to pursue whichever title you like, able to interrupt matches, deliver promo speeches in the ring to slam your rivals, and generally carve out a rep in the WWE as a face or heel.

For the most part, MyCareer will feel remarkably familiar if you played last year's game, completing or ignoring goals set by The Authority, attaining as high a star rating as you possibly can by making matches entertaining and dramatic, earning VC to boost your stats, purchasing moves, managers and so on. Not much needed to be changed about WWE's Career Mode, though. It was pretty comprehensive, so perhaps more of the same isn't such a bad thing. You'll probably find yourself spending more time customising WWE shows in the WWE Universe, anyway, playing with the impressive roster of Superstars and Divas on offer.


There's a smattering of Divas on the roster again this year.

Outside of the game's main offline modes, there's the usual selection of online options. Timing and telegraphing moves and counters remains the key to winning bouts and achieving success in WWE 2K17, which is why the online portion of the game falls well short this year. In short, the servers are pretty awful, meaning matches hampered by lag make countering and pulling off reversals more a case of guesswork than anything else. And when you've spent so long mastering the right timing to hit a major, minor or regular reversal move, it's galling to see your efforts quashed by the game's choppy online experience.

With achievements attached to online, you're going to have your work cut out with 2K Tonight, Team Up matches and the other stalwart online modes featured in WWE 2K17. You're better off sticking to private matches. Thankfully, the majority of the game's list is centred around the MyCareer and WWE Universe, or completing certain tasks in the ring, some of which are pretty good fun. Not a bad list, overall, although there are still a few too many achievements that demand a fair bit of grinding.

While not exactly a massive leap over last year's game, WWE 2K17's gameplay remains robust, but the absence of the 2K Showcase means a major chunk is now missing with nothing to replace it. Nonetheless, another huge roster, an easy-to-use Creation Suite with even more options, and excellent presentation throughout, ensures that WWE 2K17 is a worthwhile and eminently playable wrestling game.

WWE 2K17

WWE 2K17 is a marginally better game than 2K16, as the core mechanics feel like they've been refined a bit, but with the fantastic 2K Showcase consigned to the bin and no new modes to replace it, this is a package that's now sorely lacking. You might as well play last year's game, unless you're a massive fan that has to have the most up to date roster possible. Otherwise, WWE 2K17 is an enjoyable wrestling game that could still do with a bit of a kick up the backside for next year's instalment.

Form widget
70%
Audio
75%

Another mixed bag as far as the soundtrack is concerned, but the electricity and atmosphere of a WWE bout is nicely replicated with authentic crowd noises. The commentary ain't that great though.

Visuals
80%

Put WWE 2K16 side-by-side with 2K17 and I doubt you'd be able to tell much of a difference. It looks remarkably similar. So much so that I struggle to see where Yuke's and Visual Concepts have made improvements, if any. Still, it looks good.

Playability
70%

I could write the same thing I wrote last year here. WWE 2K17 incrementally refines the series' core mechanics and it feels right. Another solid wrestling game, but not much of an evolution, overall.

Delivery
70%

MyCareer and WWE Universe are now the lynchpin WWE modes now that 2K Showcase has been axed from the game. Online is a bit crappy, but the raft of offline match types collected under the 'Play' menu, a huge roster and the best Creation Suite in the business make this another decent offering. You can download and share your creations again too, which is great.

Achievements
60%

The same old kind of achievement list, albeit one with a few different tasks to complete in the ring and via the various modes. Meh.

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