By: Gene Cole
WWE 2K19 is the most recent annual sports title in the WWE 2k game franchise, based on the shows from pro wrestling company WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment). I’ve been a wrestling fan for about two years, but having never played a game in this series, I was curious to look at it with fresh eyes. But while it should have everything I’d want, the quality of its content is scattered to say the least.
To explain the basic game would be difficult, because there are a surprising number of game modes. The most “game-like” is the MyPlayer career mode, where you create a wrestler who rises in the ranks from wrestling in parking lots to the main event of Wrestlemania. If you want to wrestle in a digital space more though, there are also free play modes where you can fight as current and past wrestlers, an online multiplayer mode, and a Showcase mode where you play through famous matches throughout the career of fan-favorite Daniel Bryan.
The wrestling itself in the aforementioned modes is sloppy, to say the least. There’s a lot of care given to all the animations and the diversity of fighting styles, but the game provides few tutorials, and there’s not much user-interface to help guide you in the ring. It feels very catered to long-term fans of the series who know how the system works, so if you’re new like me, you may quickly end up confused and frustrated. This is a shame, particularly since the career mode this year features such things as fantastical wrestlers like Matt Hardy doing actual magic and fights with zombie versions of legacy wrestlers like Triple H.
But for those who fail to comprehend the combat, there’s still plenty to take in that doesn’t involve these clunky controls. The game has a bizarrely detailed character creator — you can let computers duke it out in the ring between any wrestlers in the game’s massive roster, and there’s even a MyUniverse mode where you can simulate WWE’s weekly shows with your own chosen rivalries and champions. Rather than a clunky combat game, it becomes more like the Sims as you create your own stories and put anything you can imagine into a wrestling game. Some of the interface in these modes can be difficult to learn, but the variety of options make it worth your time.
WWE 2K19 can be summarized best in one word: sufficient. I found a lot of ways I could enjoy it, but it’s disappointing to need to make my own fun in a game that features the fantastical world and characters as the WWE. If you like professional wrestling and want this game, you will probably have a good time, and you might as well go for it. For most people, though, I highly doubt it’d really feel worth the time or money.
WWE 2K19 is available for purchase for $79.99 CAD on Steam, and is playable through PS4, and Xbox One.