WWE 2K19 (Xbox One) Review

By Neil Flynn 21.11.2018

Review for WWE 2K19 on Xbox One

WWE 2K19 is here to show the world that things are exactly as they seem. That is because 2K has built upon years and years of iterations from this world-renowned sports entertainment franchise, but can this new version reform what fans hated from 2K18? Straight out of the gate, it continues to top itself with the incredible plethora of modes, wrestlers and deep layers of customisation. This won't cease to surprise anyone who has played the 2K series recently and, like many other annual franchises, 2K is building upon the foundations of its predecessors; however, minor tweaks to the wrestling mechanics have somewhat helped with pacing and flow of matches.

In WWE 2K19, there are limits on how many times a move can be reversed by creating a rechargeable cool-down reversal counter, which stops hold after hold being reversed. Another clear improvement is the addition of the Payback system. Again, another meter is stashed next to the name of the in-game HUD, which varies from wrestler to wrestler but enables grapplers to unleash their chosen Payback ability, whether that is a mighty comeback or health recovery. Payback abilities also verge on heel territory of wrestling, with options such as brass knuckles and poison mist, although if caught by the referee, the offender will be disqualified.

Screenshot for WWE 2K19 on Xbox One

These two systems alone change the ebb and flow of matches, which is definitely an improvement over 2K18's rather unbalanced gameplay. Nonetheless, the issues of previous iterations still exist: namely, dumb AI, clipping, strange physics, and commentary that's completely way off the mark. These issues have persisted through the 2K series of games for years now and they are a testament to what is an unfinished product, due to perhaps the overambition by the developer. Commentary does show signs of improvement, with added stories about wrestlers and new lines of dialogue; however, it evident that Michael Cole is watching a different match, often calling the play-by-play completely wrong to what is transpiring in the squared circle.

Graphically, the 180+ wrestlers can be hit or miss, with some character models looking phenomenal and others looking somewhat weird. The roster still, though, represents the current locker room and legends of yesteryear, but it will take some time to unlock the entire list. The presentation is on point with entrances, audio, and arenas looking like their real-life counterparts, and there are numerous custom elements to create all of these things, as well. If 184 wrestlers weren't enough, then to add to it, the ever-growing Create a Wrestler mode continues to be one of the most dynamic and comprehensive creation tools of any game ever.

Screenshot for WWE 2K19 on Xbox One

The level of detail that can be applied to the CAW is downright impressive and 2K19 continues to change things up by introducing new Player Skill trees to update attributes. However, updating attributes in this manner feels clunky, slow, and difficult to grasp what actually has changed. It can feel incredibly tedious even if it does add another layer of customisation in. Depressingly, the downside to all of this is that the vast majority of the costumes, outfits, hairstyles, move-sets, and more, are locked behind loot-boxes. True, this was evident in 2K18, and 2K19 has now added the ability to cherry-pick items to purchase from a list, but buying items individually is considerably much more expensive than paying for loot-boxes. Thankfully, this only uses in-game currency but makes the grind for such items a chore to go through. It does somewhat feel that 2K is gradually working its way towards introducing paid loot-boxes in future iterations, or by pushing the Deluxe Edition, which comes with a starter pack of virtual currency.

Screenshot for WWE 2K19 on Xbox One

On the plus side, MyCareer mode is an incredible improvement from anything that 2K has offered in the past, putting in a fully-fledged voice acted story mode depicting the CAW's rise through the ranks at a small indie promotion to hitting the big time. Matches have certain goals to meet, adding in a little extra challenge to adhere to. Universe Mode continues to grow with additional options to make a customisable roster, show, titles, and matches into any player's fantasy booking. Towers is essentially a themed gauntlet match that changes with live updates and pits particular wrestlers against others in a variety of challenges.

Finally, the pièce de résistance is the long time absent Showcase Mode, which tells the story behind Daniel Bryan and his rise to fame within WWE. The story is pieced together by cut-scenes of Daniel Bryan narrating his life-story, alongside WWE archive footage of his matches. In-game is a similar affair by having to faithfully recreate spots that happened in those landmark matches. The only downside to this is that some matches can be arduously long and one mistake can cause defeat, forcing the player to start all over again. Despite this, WWE 2K19 cannot be accused of having a lack of content; if anything, it is perhaps a tad overwhelming, but also what hardcore fans have come to expect from the series.

Screenshot for WWE 2K19 on Xbox One

Cubed3 Rating

Rated 7 out of 10

Very Good - Bronze Award

Rated 7 out of 10

They don't all come out a perfect ten, but WWE 2K19 has improved on its predecessor. Even if the changes are somewhat small, they do make a difference. Unfortunately, to fully enjoy MyCareer and CAW, a lot of content has to be unlocked via randomised loot-boxes or sheer dedication to earning in-game currency. Aside from over gate-keeping the unlockables, WWE 2K19 has a lot of content under its hood, which should keep any wrestling fan entertained for quite some time.


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C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  7/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   


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