WWE 2K18 @ EGX 2017

Oh it’s the most wonderful time of the year. I’m back from another trip to Birmingham for EGX 2017, having played the latest sweaty man grapple simulator and now I’m going to tell you if you should be interested in WWE 2K18.

• Developer: Yukes & Visual Concepts
• Publisher: 2K Sports
Previewed on: PlayStation 4
• Also Available On: Xbox One, PC, Nintendo Switch
• Release Date: 17th October 2017 (13th October for Digital Deluxe/Cena (Nuff) Editions and TBA for Nintendo Switch)

If you’ve never checked out 2K’s leader in the wrestling video game genre, the WWE 2K series is eventually the closest you can get to simulating a pro-wrestling experience without risk of injury. Muscle-bound athletes make their way to the ring with grandiose entrances complete with booming music playing, electricity in the air as the crowd for their fan favorites or boo the villainous heels and little flourishes that keep the game in line with it’s television counterpart help pull you into the experience. Then after the combatants have entered the ring, the bell sounds and it’s time to Layeth the Smacketh Down.

Much like previous titles in the series, movement is controlled with the left stick, attacks are assigned to the cross button and grapples to the square – with the right stick used for variation holds. R2 when pressed at the right time is used to counter, circle is your action button (also used for Irish whip moves) and as finally, triangle is your way to perform signature and finishing moves – which are essential if you need to put away your opponent. Any other controls you may be looking for can most probably be found in familiar locations. I’ve been told that there has been improvements made to this year’s reversal system though following my three sessions with the game, I couldn’t tell you what they were exactly.

Whereas last year’s demo contained a choice of three different match types to play through, this year I’d only been presented with just a normal 1-on-1 exhibition and that was my lot. Cycling through the allotted six superstar roster – AJ Styles, Seth Rollins, Barron Corbin, John Cena, Randy Orton & Samoa Joe (the complete game boasts a whooping 187 characters), I went with Styles while my opponent chose Rollins. As far as I could tell, everything functioned as last year’s iteration of the title; entrances could be interrupted by using a break out option to prematurely attack your opponent pre-match, controls are mapped out exactly the same and the game runs at a nice flowing pace.

Much like previous titles in the series, movement is controlled with the left stick, attacks are assigned to the cross button and grapples to the square – with the right stick used for variation holds. R2 when pressed at the right time is used to counter, circle is your action button (also used for Irish whip moves) and as finally, triangle is your way to perform signature and finishing moves – which are essential if you need to put away your opponent. Any other controls you may be looking for can most probably be found in familiar locations. I’ve been told that there has been improvements made to this year’s reversal system though following my three sessions with the game, I couldn’t tell you what they were exactly.

Last year saw the return of the backstage brawl and so this year brigs something longer-term fans may remember fro the WWE video game series. Now added to the already impressive MyCareer mode is the ability to explore backstage – around the arena locker rooms, interview sections, offices, the lot. Though similarly seen before in WWE SmackDown! Shut Your Mouth and WWE SmackDown vs. Raw 2011, this seems to bring a lot more to the table than the aforementioned titles. Now you can approach fellow wrestlers backstage to form alliances or start rivalries, interrupt an interview or maybe storm into Triple H’s office and demand that title match you feel you’re owed. Though none of these features were shown to me in the build I got my hands on and instead were explained to me by a member of staff, it still sounds cool enough to get me excited for MyCareer.

Once again I’ve walked away from a WWE game preview wondering is the small improvements on display ad roster updates are worth this year’s price of admission. then I remember that I’ve been buying these games since day one, can’t break that cycle and just throw my cash at the screen (at this point I should probably set up a yearly standing order with 2K Sports). Hopefully, this iteration’s additions to the MyCareer mode will be enough to keep long term players like myself invested for more than a handful of days.

WWE 2K18 is set to release on the 17th October on PlayStation 4, Xbox One & PC (Microsoft Windows) with owners of the Deluxe Digital or Cena (Nuff) Editions getting early access on the 13th October – Nintendo Switch will follow at a later date.

Oh and I’ll put my hands up, I got my butt kicked in every match I played… one of which was against Geek Speak‘s Alex.

Official Game Site

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