WWE 2K18 Review

Richard Walker

For years, Yuke's and Visual Concepts have been cranking out WWE games of varying quality. Last year saw the series arguably hitting a high watermark, but WWE 2K18 seems like more of an update than an entirely new game. It plays almost exactly like WWE 2K17, looks a little bit prettier, but has all of the same fundamental problems that the series has had for several iterations now. An overhauled career mode and online MyPlayer experience are the banner additions this time around, seeing your MyPlayer character rubbing shoulders with a universe of established Superstars as you carve out a reputation and rise through the WWE ranks. So far, so good.

While the absence of the 2K Showcase remains unfortunate, the fleshed-out MyCareer, the newly added online Road to Glory mode and returning 2K Universe means there's still plenty of meat on WWE 2K18's bones, before you even consider everything that's collected under the game's core PLAY mode. The roster of Superstars remains colossal too, so any and all grapple fans ought to feel well catered for in that department. But if you didn't get on with WWE 2K17 (and the other WWE 2K titles before it), you're not going to be turned around by 2K18.

Good old Brock is back. Everyone loves Brock.

Again, WWE 2K18 accurately replicates the ebb and flow of a proper wrestling match, but that same old right trigger counter button still brings with it a range of problems. Split-second timing continues to be a requirement, which means being able to effectively telegraph an opponent's move to execute a reversal and turn the fight in your favour.

In some cases, your chosen grappler's stats factor into how effective your reversals are, but most of the time, the timing window is so wafer thin that it usually feels like a frustrating guessing game. This needs to change and hasn't changed for years. It's getting old.

Yet for the most part, WWE 2K18 still feels intuitive and sporadically enjoyable, with all the high-flying spectacle and overblown pomp you'd expect from the world-dominating sports entertainment brand. The level of customisation continues to be exemplary too, enabling you to create all manner of bespoke wrestling legends (or in my case, strange mutant-like abominations) before decking them out in all sorts of different gear. Once you've forged your own wrestling Superstar, you can then take them into a MyPlayer career, where you can freely move around backstage areas, chatting with the show producer before choosing your match card for the night.

While career offers a procession of matches cutting your teeth in NXT then within the main roster in RAW or Smackdown!, as well as optional side missions, Road to Glory is an online-only affair, pitting your created MyPlayer character against the custom creations of other players. It's a neat addition, with challenges to tackle in order to earn stars, level up your character and unlock Loot Cases containing boosts and rewards like bonus VC (Virtual Currency). Like any 2K Sports game, VC ties into almost everything, unlocking additional Superstars, including all-time greats like Undertaker, The Rock, Stone Cold Steve Austin, Randy Savage, Mick Foley, Vader and loads more.

In Road to Glory, VC purchases you entry to an event if you don't have enough stars to buy in, or you can purchase bronze, silver and gold Loot Cases for instant access to temporary boosts. In career mode, VC is required to upgrade your wrestler's attributes, but you start off with 10,000 VC and earn in-game currency every time you complete a match, so this never really becomes an issue. The main problem with Road to Glory is that it's entirely online, and therefore suffers from all of the shortcomings that come with the game's suite of online modes.

Overall, WWE 2K18's online offering has improved, but since matches rely so heavily on being able to time a perfect reversal, even the slightest bit of latency can completely wreck the entire experience. Consequently, if you're unfortunate enough to be up against someone with a faster, better connection (or your connection is just rubbish, or indeed you're rubbish), you're likely to be in for a relentless pummelling. Perhaps slightly widening the window for counters when playing online might have remedied this. Or if Yuke's had bothered to make the game inherently different in any way, shape or form.

Dance! Dance! Dance!

Road to Glory might have limited appeal for many players beyond the dedicated hardcore, as there's only so much watching your created character being beaten to within an inch of his or her life one can take. As an example, I endured a match in which an online rival refused to pin me and end the torture, scraping me off the canvas and inflicting more punishment for a good 15 minutes, simply because he knew he could. Mounting any sort of a comeback meant guessing when to counter, rather than knowing exactly when to hit the trigger. It's a major flaw that makes WWE 2K18's online offering an almost complete write-off. Unless you're the one doling out the damage, that is.

And that's really WWE 2K18's biggest letdown. That the same old hoary gameplay mechanics persist years down the line, with only the most rudimentary of refinements and additions to the formula. It's almost like Yuke's doesn't want to acknowledge that WWE 2K18's fundamentals need an overhaul, and as a result, you'd probably be better off sticking with WWE 2K17. Or WWE 2K16. WWE 2K18 isn't necessarily a bad game by any stretch, but in terms of real innovation or meaningful strides forward, it's severely lacking.

WWE 2K18

Last year, we noted that WWE 2K17 was a marginally better game than 2K16 was. We could say the same thing about WWE 2K18. It is marginally better. But given that it recycles the same old gameplay mechanics and doesn't add enough to the tried and tested template, it's hard to really recommend WWE 2K18. Been there, done that. Next year, Yuke's needs to give WWE 2K a firm dropkick directly to its lycra-clad arse.

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There are some decent tunes on the soundtrack, but they're repeated ad infinitum. You'll be listening to the same four or five tracks over and over and over again. Somehow, the commentary is even worse than before too.


A slight improvement over last year, but not to a noticeable enough degree. Every wrestler looks the part, except for vintage Undertaker's weird hair. I don't remember him having a poodle perm.


Same old, same old. Played last year's game? Or the one before that? Then you've also played WWE 2K18. The reversal timing thing is still properly irritating. Time for a change, methinks.


The career mode is pretty good, while new addition Road to Glory is a neat idea, even if it's a bit of a mixed bag. Customisation options are still superb and the roster is fantastic. Presentation is slick too, but we doubt you'll want to spend much time with the new WWE, especially if you've rinsed the game in previous years.


A fine enough list, albeit one with a bit too much grind, as per usual. 100 Road to Glory matches? 50 2K Universe bouts? Pah! Forget it.

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