WWE 2K18 Review

October 20, 2017

Professional wrestling and video games are two forms of entertainment that are made for each other. On one hand you have staged performances with some of the most charismatic athletes on the planet, and on the other you have the perfect platform to replay and create all your favourite wrestling moments. WWE 2K18 is the latest iteration in a long list of yearly WWE games, and since the legendary WWE Chairman Vince McMahon continues to buy out his competitors, it now has a monopoly on the genre.

‘Be like no one’ is the motto for WWE 2K18, featuring cover superstar Seth Rollins and is the biggest WWE game to date. A record breaking roster, a graphics overhaul, and all new modes and story algorithms made WWE 2K18 a game that we were itching to play. Two new game modes include MyPLAYER and ROAD TO GLORY. Combining these with the WWE Universe mode, free play, and online/multiplayer, WWE 2K18 becomes the full wrestling package that fans have been longing for.

MyPLAYER is where you may find yourself spending most of your time in WWE 2K18. After you create your wrestler using the overhauled creation suite, you begin your story at the bottom in a WWE training gym. Once proving yourself, you move up to NXT, and onwards on the road to every pro wrestler’s dream: main eventing Wrestlemania. The creation suite is very intuitive, and while some players may spend hours finely tuning every last feature of their new WWE Superstar, you can take the quick path and be done in a few minutes with a fairly unique character. Choosing between a whopping eight fighting styles and then being allowed to scale your height, weight and muscle tone you’re soon pitted against a WWE Superstar to see just how good you are.

Here’s where things start to fall apart (and The Rock means ‘start to’). MyCAREER instantaneously becomes a slow painful grind with repetitious boring character interactions, dull side quests and a claustrophobic forced backstage routine. Each week you begin in the car park and head to speak to the guy that tells you what you’re doing on the show, and then you go out and perform. The problem is walking/jogging around the backstage area is horrible. The over-the-shoulder camera angle is frustrating, and worst of all none of it is skippable. You can skip the entrances into the ring, but you can’t turn them off meaning there’s a lot (and The Rock means ‘a lot) of loading and screaming at the TV while you wait to complete the next part of your MyPLAYER career. If you like ridiculously long slow grinds then this mode is for you, because even if you do spend money on loot crates to upgrade your wrestler faster you still have to go through all the motions.

Yes, WWE 2K18 has loot crates. What game this year doesn’t? Loot crates will grant you different moves and abilities and help you unlock parts of the game. A large portion of the game is locked when you begin WWE 2K18 and as you earn points you can unlock them the normal way, but given the sheer amount of wrestlers, moves, arenas etc that need to be unlocked it would take hundreds of hours to unlock everything. Iconic wrestlers such as The Rock, Goldberg and Mick Foley are all locked at the start, even in the quick play modes, but the nice guys at Yukes grant you 30,000 points to start off with so you can unlock quite a few of your favourites using this if you don’t spend it on anything else.

As mentioned, there are eight different fighting styles in WWE 2K18. High Flyer, Showboat, Striker, Technician, Brawler, Strong, and Giant. Each fighting style directly affects attributes and how much they can be upgraded and maxed out too. This works alongside the all new carry system in WWE 2K18, so instead of having Enzo Amore picking up Big Cass and tossing him outside the ring, he will instead get reversed every time he tries like in real life. The carry system works quite well once you get the hang of it, and it can be fun to use in the Royal Rumble and other specialty match types.

Speaking of the Royal Rumble, WWE 2K18 introduces eight-wrestler matches. Previously this number maxed out at 6, so having 8 wrestlers in the ring at the same time is new, daunting, but most of all chaotically hilarious. It used to be fun bringing the ringside steel stairs into the ring and knocking out everyone in a fatal four-way, now doing this to seven guys is side-splittingly entertaining. Unfortunately this is where chaos ensues. We’re not sure if it’s because there’s so much going on that the game’s physics start to wonk out, but it seems WWE 2K18’s programming wasn’t finished. In some of the bigger matches like the Royal Rumble, Hell in a Cell, Ladder Matches and others, glitches and bugs are quite common. We experienced a few, such as two wrestlers holding another over the top rope for more than two minutes until it was broken up by another. A quick search around the internet also shows many more bugs, some more amusing than others. We’re hoping Yukes and 2K can patch this all up quickly in the weeks to come.

Customising is the core of what WWE 2K games are all about, and most players will find themselves in the settings menu and creation suites long before they step foot inside the ring. Fortunately WWE 2K18 continues this legacy and allows for a crazy amount of fine tuning for difficulty settings and sliders. You can change the game in the settings menu making it the easiest slap in the face you’ve ever given Triple H, or the hardest most technical reversal-ridden “throw your console out the window Eddie Guerrero just destroyed me” difficult game you’ve ever played. Blood by default is also set to off, so adult gamers and old-school WWE/WWF fans will be wanting to head straight to the settings to sort that out.

The customising doesn’t stop in the settings menus, nor does it stop in the creation suite. WWE Universe mode allows you to fully customise each and every WWE show throughout the typical calendar. You can simulate matches, completely change the match types and wrestlers, or stick to the preset formula to see what the game decides. This can lead to some interesting Pay Per View main events (we had Triple H vs a cruiserweight nobody at Wrestlemania), so a bit of tweaking here and there can go a long way to making WWE Universe mode more entertaining.

For the first time in a few years, WWE 2K18 has received a massive graphics overhaul finally bringing it in-line with other next generation titles. The arenas look amazing, the wrestlers look amazing, the interaction the wrestlers have with the ring and the ropes are fairly realistic (more so than previous games at least), and the crowd is now very immersive. That said, the crowd could still use some fine tuning. All the people that hold signs up all hold them up and put them away at the same time which becomes quite robotic. If you pay attention to the faces in the crowd you soon see they’re replicated quite often – perhaps Yukes could create some kind of randomiser for the crowd so that it feels more authentic?

This year the crowd’s participation in the atmosphere is supposed to be more prevalent with the use of chants, cheering and booing however we found a lot of them were poorly timed or unwarranted, and didn’t sync up with the commentary. There’s an all new commentary team featuring Michael Cole, Byron Saxton and Corey Graves bringing it more in line with what’s on Raw and Smackdown these days. They do talk to each other a fair bit but it’s hard to appreciate algorithmic commentary when the real life WWE commentary is so hard to listen to anyway.

Fans will appreciate the sights and sounds of WWE 2K18 though, and of course it includes all your favourite WWE Superstars’ theme songs and entrances. What’s more is they’ve used 2KMOCAP, 2K’s Motion Capture studio to capture a lot of the WWE Superstars’ entrances, signature moves and just general motion. This helps to create a fluid and seamless gameplay experience that fans will thoroughly enjoy.

WWE 2K18 is not the game we were hoping it would be. While it is indeed the most expansive WWE 2K game to date, and there are many memorable moments to be had, it’s stops miles short of being as good as it should be. Throughout all the harshities though, WWE 2K18 can and will be enjoyed by thousands of fans of the WWE Universe, and we have to remember WWE’s target audience these days is kids who may or may not care about glitches and monotonous career modes.

We do acknowledge that this year there were a lot of major changes and most of them are amazing on paper, so perhaps as the developers begin to work on WWE 2K19 they can address the key issues that plague this year’s iteration, starting with the core gameplay bugs and glitches and then looking at how to make MyPLAYER mode fun and not less tedious – just not tedious full stop! Hopefully by WWE 2K20 we get something truly special.


- A complete package of gameplay modes and customisables
- The largest roster ever
- Overhauled graphics look amazing.


- Super glitchy and buggy gameplay can really ruin certain match types more than others
- A lot of the roster is locked and it’s a huge grind to unlock everything
- Some wrestlers received far more attention than others in both the graphical and attributes sense.

Overall Score: