WWE 2K16 arrives at #14 in our Game of the Year 2015 list.
For wrestling fans, 2014 featured such historic events as Daniel Bryan’s triumph at WrestleMania XXX, the shocking end to the Undertaker’s streak, and Brock Lesnar throwing John Cena around like a Ragdoll at SummerSlam. The 2014 incarnation of the WWE 2K series wasn’t quite as memorable, failing to live up to expectations. Making its debut on the Xbox One and PlayStation 4, 2K15’s biggest failing was its plethora of missing features. Luckily for us, WWE 2K16 improved upon the previous entry in nearly every way.
The biggest change to 2K16’s in-ring gameplay was the addition of a limited reversals system, finally eliminating the button-bashing mayhem of years past, in favor of a more tactical approach. Other alterations included a brand-new submissions mini-game (which the jury is still out on), as well as an enhanced pin system. While 2K15’s gameplay provided an excellent foundation for the future, 2K16’s subtle refinements and continued focus on realistic, simulation gameplay ensured that we were presented with the most authentic wrestling game to date.
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The community were crying out for more features in WWE 2K16, and 2K duly delivered. The majority of missing match types from 2014 were added back into the game, as well as a number of Creation Suite tools, including Create-An-Arena and the brand-new Create-A-Show.
Not only that, but the game also featured the largest roster ever, incorporating WWE Superstars, Divas, NXT talents, and Legends, to boast an impressive lineup of over 120 playable characters.
The second incarnation of 2K’s MyCareer mode for the WWE series was a mixed bag, offering greater variety than we had seen previously, but still failing to reach the immersive levels that we’d like to see. Still, the mode is improving year-on-year, and I’m hopeful that we will get the definitive career mode that we’ve been striving for in the near future. 2K’s Showcase mode also made a return, and this time it centered around the career of Stone Cold Steve Austin, featuring excellent scene recreations, classic video clips, and all in all, a fun walk down memory lane.
2015 was an important year for the series, and 2K have managed to create a game that offers unmatched authenticity within the squared circle, as well as including an abundance of features and the largest roster in the series’ history. If you haven’t played a wrestling game in a while, now would be a great time to start.