I have always loved wrestling. Always, I love the art of it all. The story telling, the incredible levels of athletic prowess and most of all, the production values (and how different companies will display and showcase their product). So, I learned at a pretty young age to “say my prayers and take my vitamins” and that I wanted to enter every room I walked in to in a sparkly robe to my own entrance music. I had to make do with pretending to make my character entrance wearing my dad’s dressing gown and playing my theme music on cassette on the family stereo, much my mother’s amusement/dismay. So when the chance to review WWE 2K18 came up, I leapt at the chance faster than Shane O’Mac at a pay per view event.
The first 10 minutes of the game was attempting to head into Singles matches but it took longer than expected, mainly due to the fact the roster is enormous. If you’re old enough to be a wrestling historian you’ll notice a lot of familiar faces of the veteran big boys. Mainly, thanks to WWE having many different types of shows all having their own roster, I found myself pleasantly surprised and amused that Jack Gallagher could face off against Johnny Gargano, ‘HBK’ Shaun Michaels and Ricky ‘The Dragon’ Steamboat at the same time. The only downside really was the lack of consistency in player models, as some of the more popular characters looked a lot better than others.
Character models aside, this year’s instalment is absolutely stunning. Every single year we are told that this year’s game is the best looking yet, but typically those statements can often be an overstatement. Technically it is probably true as games engines and character modelling does look better but that increase is normally extremely small. However, this year the difference was startling, looking at the top members of roster the visuals are jaw dropping. Every entrance feels great and that’s a really key sentence, feels great. Yuke’s and Visual Concepts have harnessed the feeling of WWE’s larger than life big fight feel. That twinned with overhauled character models and some of the best use of lighting I have ever seen in a sports title WWE delivers visual authenticity by the truck load.