WWE 2K15 Preview
This week, at the GameStop, I finally got the chance to play WWE 2K15. WWE 2K15 is one of my most anticipated releases this year, so I have been eager to pick up and play the game. As I have noted in the past, I have been concerned with the lack of actual footage and content released by 2K Games for WWE 2K15.
The demo on display at the convention appeared to be the same as the one from the 2014 GamesCom. So, there were only four playable WWE Superstars: Cesaro, Randy Orton, John Cena and Goldust. Two match types were playable for the demo: a normal match or No Holds Barred (basically No DQ, anything goes). Also, only the PlayStation 4 version was playable.
Right off the bat, I want to express how excellent the new character models and animation look. The handheld videos of the game from GamesCom that were posted online do not do the graphics justice. The new-gen visuals look simply fantastic. The character animations and in-game physics are also top-notch. Graphically, this is the best WWE game I have ever seen. The fans who have been quite disappointed with the graphics and character models with some of the recent WWE titles will not be let down.
Graphics aside, the gameplay has me very concerned. Most matches are initiated by a chain wrestling sequence or a collar and elbow tie-up. The wrestlers will engage in a chain grappling mini-game. It is not unlike the Chop Battle or Shoving Match features from earlier Smackdown vs. Raw games. The chain wrestling mini-game works well enough. However, the other grappling features and match techniques are a different story.
In terms of the pacing for the matches, the demo is very slow; and I really want to emphasize slow. On one hand, this is not so bad because the pacing of the matches is a bit more realistic. The actual match pacing plays in a manner that is very consistent with the actual WWE pro wrestling style. The match gameplay utilizes in-ring psychology very well. In past landmark wrestling games, wrestlers could get tired. There would be a stamina meter and the like. However, the manner in which the wrestlers get tired is a lot more realistic for this game. As the match continues, the wrestlers get up much more slowly. When the wrestlers struggle to their feet, they reach for the ropes to help get back up. Touches like that are very creative and are great assets to the gameplay. One the other hand, the grappling and overall action seems to move in slow motion. When Randy Orton pulls off a Thesz press, the video starts getting slower. When Cesaro does a gutbuster, things move slowly. According to the marketing reps at the booth, this version could be a bit rough because this demo was a much earlier build.
The new grappling system could have been done a little better. While the physics for the older WWE Smackdown vs. Raw titles were clunky, overall, I liked the fact that the grappling was pretty smooth. It was fairly easy to pull off Irish whip grapples and some fun signature grapples. WWE 2K15 will really make you work for the finishers. To be completely fair, these features could be more appealing to hardcore wrestling fans.
My other major concern is this: WWE 2K15 is due out next month. To be clear, I did not expect a close to final product demo at GameStop Expo. However, after waiting all this time, with the release date right around the corner, one would think a playable demo would be a lot more polished in terms of mechanics. If the actual gameplay and grappling turns out to be this slow, WWE 2K15 could be an especially trying experience.
The game is due out in just over a month, and there is still very little footage to show for it. The only trailer was filled with glorified still images. I could be paranoid. However, after playing the demo and seeing the dearth of footage that has been released, I am very worried the game is being rushed for the finish next month. I hope that is not the case. WWE 2K15 hits the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 on October 28.