After hours of hate-playing WWE 2K17 (PS4, PS3, Xbox One, Xbox 360), I've come to the conclusion that it's not worth the retail price of $60 and that you may even be better off spending that money on a ticket to a live wrestling event. Sure, the game looks polished at first and there are tons of customization options, but you'll soon realize that 2K17 feels more immediately outdated than any chapter before it. With that said, here are 17 reasons to skip WWE 2K17.
WWE 2K17 arrived as relevant as an obsolete mule this year, thanks to the promotion's seismic Brand Split shakeup that split the roster between Monday Night Raw and SmackDown Live. This means that not only everything from the entrance stages to the iconography looks wrong, but also that the game is stuck with Triple H and Stephanie McMahon as The Authority, so Daniel Bryan and Mick Foley are missing as the General Managers of the shows.
A well crafted promo, the monologue delivered at an audience or another superstar, can be the key to developing a storyline or making a performer more engaging. Unfortunately, WWE 2K17's much hyped Promo Engine feature is terrible. Not only does it present your options in tiny text, but it's hard to know what option will get the best reaction.
The game forces you to choose between sparse, often inaccurate versions of what your character will actually say. You can't even easily predict how your promos will go over as crowd descriptions such as "Disrespectful" don't tell you enough. Maybe this is supposed to be difficult, as to show fans how hard it is to be a WWE superstar, but it sure isn't enjoyable.
The game's announcers still say "Divas" when talking about female wrestlers, another reminder that this game is woefully out of date. Earlier this year the WWE announced that it would retire the pejorative "Diva" term for its women performers, and call them superstars, just as they do their male counterparts. This game released late October, which should have given developer 2K Games enough time to go in and delete those lines of code. It did not.
John Cena, 15-time world champion and star of Trainwreck, Sisters and now SNL, is known for many things. For instance, he's never, ever tapped out to a submission hold, which is such a big part of his character that the motto "Never Give Up" is plastered all over his merchandise. So imagine my surprise when my rookie Create-A-Wrestler character made Cena tap and the game's announcers treated it like just another day at the office.
If this game were made with care and attention to detail, Cena tapping either wouldn't happen or would be treated like something monumental. Instead, these moments happen with every superstar, turning them into generic, cookie-cutter punching bags.
Here are the WWE TV shows that anyone actually watches: Monday Night Raw, SmackDown Live, NXT and 205 Live. Yet for some reason, Career Mode in 2K17 makes you compete on its least-known show, Main Event, which airs only on Hulu Plus. This isn't because new talent must suffer on this show as a rite of passage either, as it's a place the company sends talent to when it's bored of them, but doesn't want to fire anyone. Or, as a friend of mine said, "How many WWE fans will discover Main Event is a TV show because of WWE 2K17?"
One of the best changes that occurred as a result of the summer's brand split was the promotion of Corey Graves to the Raw commentary team and the removal of Jerry The King Lawler from all announce booths. Unfortunately, you reap none of those benefits here, as the traditional (and grating) team of Michael Cole, JBL and Lawler do commentary for each and every show. And while each of them rambling incoherently is somewhat true to life, it makes for a grating experience.
$60 is a lot of money these days, but WWE 2K17 demands users pony up even more to get some of the most popular talents on TV today. For example Shinsuke Nakamura, the current NXT champion and one of the biggest signings that WWE pulled off in 2016 must be purchased separately, and doesn't even come included in the season pass you get with the deluxe digital edition ($90). That's right, in order to get Nakamura, the King of Strong Style, you need to pay another $10 for the NXT Enhancement Pack, which also gets you Apollo Crews and Nia Jax (both no longer with NXT anymore, by the way).