A Solid Game
Written by Stone Cold's GhostOverall, WWE 2K16 is an improvement over last year's 2K15, rectifying many issues I had. 2K16's gameplay has veered even further into wrestling simulation territory than last year's effort, which may be repugnant to those who prefer an arcade feel, but I believe this has endowed WWE 2K16 with a lot of depth, improving the longevity and making it more likely I'll have an urge to keep picking the game up. In particular, 2K16 has introduced stamina and chained moves, which isn't too dissimilar to other fighting games, but relatively new for wrestling games as far as I'm aware, and I'm very pleased that this adds a more strategic element to the game by making it more than just positioning and reflexes. For example, your choice of character influences your amount of stamina, which is in turn affected by your fighting style -- holds for example will reduce your opponent's stamina while allowing yours to recover. A naive and wild wrestler (usually my idiot friend in multiplayer) will be less able to execute a reversal at critical moments in the match, making matches more intriguing and less of a measure as to who's just taken more punches. On the downside, finishers rarely seem to be finishers, which I feel is a big problem.
The number of wrestlers in WWE 2K16 is just over 120, and features superstars from different eras, making it an eclectic mix and, personally, more fun, as I can go my old favorites like Stone Cold Steven Austin or The Rock as well current kings of the ring like John Cena (toot toot). I know. I'm not up to date. So sue me.
The create a character is up to scratch, and I got someone looking vaguely like me to take into career mode. The career mode (MyCareer) was up to scratch, but the cut scenes and interviews are poor and feel rushed. Universe mode is great fun. You basically get to play Vince McMahon by booking matches, creating rivalries, etc. but for some reason there's no title matches?
Graphically, the game is bit Jekyll and Hyde. Some parts of it look almost last-gen, yet some wrestlers' models look great and are very detailed. Perhaps more important, is that the animation is generally on-point. Theatricality is a big part of wrestling, and I feel there's a lot of room for improvement here. On the bright side, there's no load-times match-wise when you're in the midst of things, giving it something of a seamless feel, like you're actually watching TV. However, the same can't be said in switching modes and creating a character, where it is at times painful to wait for it to load a texture. I played on the Playstation 4, so I don't know if this applies to the XBox One or the PC.
Audio-wise, you get the entrance music like you might expect. However I felt the entrances were a little flat overall, but probably not due to the sound, and more due to the visual side of things.
The commentary throughout the game is much improved as well. There is a lot less repetition and more insight into character history compared to WWE 2K15.
In Summary, I feel like WWE 2K16 is a big step in the right direction. The added depth of play make it a game that I don't expect to get bored of too quickly.