Now I am in no way disagreeing with Bradly Hale’s in-depth analysis of WWE 2K15 when he reviewed it last year, as his criticism and the score that he awarded the game, are both well justified. In fact, even Jeremy Peeples won’t be shy to voice his disappointment with WWE 2K15; the man still plays WWE 2K14 and Fire Pro Wrestling Returns as if they were part of his daily dietary requirements.
There are a lot of undeniable faults in WWE 2K15, in particular the tremendous cut in the creation options that have become a staple of the wrestling video game genre. It scaled back on a lot of content, creation options and even match types; all sacrifices that were made to fully revamp other aspects of the package.
Wrestlemania 31 and WWE 2K15’s last piece of downloadable content just happened, so it’s a good time to revisit this title once more and really re-evaluate things. My WWE 2K15 addiction is an admittedly personal preference, but there are reasons as to why this is an important and successful release, despite its flaws and mixed reception from the audience.
The revamped engine is an investment
The PS4 and Xbox One versions of WWE 2K15 are the real ways to experience it, as the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 versions are a halfhearted effort at best. The next-generation edition of WWE 2K15 benefits from 2K’s technology, the same engine that has allowed their NBA franchise to be the impressive graphical showcase it is. There’s no denying that the wrestlers look unbelievably realistic in WWE 2K15, right down to their subtle mannerisms.
Then there’s the gameplay. Many would have their reservations, but WWE 2K15 deserves credit for shaking things up. With the match progression, pacing and all the little subtle details and touches in the presentation and mechanics, WWE 2K15 does a convincing job — more than any other WWE game in recent years- – of capturing the theatrical drama and storytelling of a WWE match.
Essentially, by scaling back on many features while overhauling the visuals and gameplay, 2K has invested in a solid foundation that can be improved upon in subsequent games. Future iterations of WWE 2K will surely bring back all the modes and features that fans have come to love and expect.
WWE 2K15 successfully introduced Sting to younger fans
Sting is someone that needs no introduction to lifelong wrestling fans, and last year the 30 year veteran finally made his debut in the WWE. Prior to his historic appearance at Survivor Series, WWE needed a way to bring younger fans up to speed with the WCW icon. What better way to introduce the uninitiated to the Stinger than through a major video game? Sting’s WWE 2K15 appearance was heavily promoted (as a pre-order exclusive too) prior to his involvement with WWE programming and it paid off well for him and the game itself.
Honestly, someone like Sting was always going to flourish in the WWE, and the positive reception he received in each appearance, and the historic show-stealing performance he pulled off with ease at Wrestlemania 31, pretty much proved that Sting has and always will be a true wrestling sensation. That being said, did the video game cross-promotion help? Absolutely.
Path of the Warrior is an epic trip down memory lane
The 30 Years of Wrestlemania mode in WWE 2K14 is a hard act to follow, and as interesting as the 2K Showcase mode in WWE 2K15 is, it pales in comparison to the epic Wrestlemania matches that were recreated in WWE 2K14. That being said, the last piece of DLC for WWE 2K15 puts the spotlight on the late, great Warrior and some of the his iconic matches, including the timeless classic he had with Macho King Randy Savage at Wrestlemania VII, which has been virtually recreated almost perfectly for WWE 2K15. The presentation of Path of the Warrior is simply impeccable. The 2K Showcase mode may have felt a little lacklustre thanks to its repetitive nature and boring matches, but Path of the Warrior saves the mode by delivering a memorable history lesson, and allowing players to relive some amazing moments that made The Ultimate Warrior so revered and legendary in pop culture.
Despite all the complaining on message boards, WWE 2K15 actually sold really well on Xbox One and PS4, if not one of the most commercially successful releases in the WWE video game series. Despite its flaws, WWE 2K15 did some cool things and accomplished quite admirably in some areas despite falling short in other crucial aspects. It’s far from ideal, but here’s hoping that WWE 2K16 makes everyone happy when it makes its inevitable debut at E3 this year.