Monday is the moment of truth, y'all.
Yesterday, it was finally revealed that next Monday, August 5th, we will receive out first information on WWE 2K20 - a game many of us started to wonder if we’d even get this year. Actually, it hasn’t even been confirmed that we are getting it this year so who’s to say they didn’t alter their release schedule and decide to release the WWE games at the start of the year instead? Anyways, I digress.
I’ve been playing WWE games since as far back as I can remember - I’ve purchased and played every single Raw, Smackdown, Smackdown vs Raw and WWE 2K title for as long as they’ve existed and within that time I’ve had three main complaints of things that I believe they desperately need to fix in order to make the game feel more like a simulation and more rewarding for the player as well.
Essentially, it comes down to three “C’s”.
The commentary in these games needs an overhaul. I don’t know what the fuck happens when Michael Cole and company get into that booth and record their lines but they need to brush up on their voice acting skills. I understand that you can’t have the same level of excitement reading pre-written lines as you can reacting to a match in real time but, man, they have to do better. And whoever is watching over them during that recording process needs to tell them “no, try that again but with more charisma”. When a finishing move is performed they should be yelling, when a run-in happens they should question why they are there and when I’m climbing up a ladder they should stand on their feet and act worried for whoever is laying at the bottom of it.
Simply put, they just need to liven up. There needs to be more banter, talk more about storylines that don’t exist, reminisce about a wrestlers past. During a live WWE program there’s hardly a moment that somebody isn’t speaking on commentary - it’s fluid, it’s meant to keep you engaged and make you care about what’s happening in the ring even if they’re just exchanging a couple blows back and forth.
This goes hand in hand with commentary for mostly the same reasons. When the match is just beginning, the crowd should be sitting, watching, invested and somewhat quiet. But once again, to use the same example, as my character is climbing the ladder I want to hear that crowd start to get louder and louder and rise to their feet to see what’s about to happen. Then as I leap off of that ladder and do a Swanton Bomb through my opponent laying down on a table below me, the crowd should erupt at the same time the commentators do. Make me feel that moment - make me believe that it was as intense as it would have been on television.
Overall the audio for the crowd has just never been great. They sound flat and fake and don’t have the same rowdiness as a crowd on television does. Which, again, I understand that’s hard to replicate in a video game but in order to make the game feel like as much of a simulation as possible, it’s essential to put the time and money into it as opposed to just importing the same noises from previous games.
This one is frustrating because there have been years that this was better and then it seemed to just get worse as time went on. This includes the way characters act with weapons, the ring, and colliding with each other. I don’t know if they just ned to completely re-design their engine or just alter things about the current one but what they are using now simply isn’t giving us realistic results. The ring should be used as a weapon and every element within the environment should be affected if a move is done near them. I’m talking about a suplex onto the steel steps, a proper DDT onto a chair, a spear through a table - those thing should work naturally and after they do happen, they shouldn’t disappear immediately. Let us see the carnage in the ring - hell, let us use that carnage. Let me pick up the broken half of that table and hit my opponent with it.
Remember the TNA Impact game? Some people do - and the thing about that game is, sure, it was lackluster in modes and content but overall the way that the characters interacted with each other and the ring was proper. Your opponent could be jumping off the top rope toward you and you could dropkick him mid-air and they fly into the ropes, bounce off of them and tumble to the ground. It’s a TAD bit over the top - but in a good way - it’s an “OMG” moment that adds excitement to a game. With wrestlers out there like Ricochet and AJ Styles, these interactions are essential to the experience.
"They simply need to focus more on the tv experience - replicating what we see to make us feel like we are watching the same product."
The last few games have been excellent when it comes to the basics of wrestling games - the controls are fluent and easy to understand, every system works, the creation suites are in-depth, the ability to change the superstars attire and download created elements online - all of those features are excellent. They simply need to focus more on the tv experience - replicating what we see to make us feel like we are watching the same product. GM mode would be cool, so would buried alive matches and things like that but honestly, I’d prefer a focus on the basics over any additional features at this point.
So we’ll see what happens on Monday - I don’t foresee any of these things being addressed but I also hope that I’m wrong in that sentiment. If not, I suppose there’s always next year - which may or may not be their first game on the next generation of consoles depending on how they choose to roll them out.