I was always a massive fan of wrestling growing up. I consider myself fortunate that while growing up, the WWE (known as the WWF back then) was going through a time that everybody loved, the Attitude Era. Since then, I’ve always been on and off with it. I’d watch it for a good few months, go to some live shows when they toured the UK and then stop watching again for a while. The one portion of the WWE and wrestling in general that I have always stuck with, is the games. Of course, my favourite is WWF No Mercy on the Nintendo 64, as I’m sure it is to most people that have played that game. But I’ve played a lot of the other releases over the years on every console so I feel that I’m in a decent enough position to spot a good wrestling game when I see one.
I’m not even going to beat around the bush, WWE 2K18 on the Nintendo Switch is bad. Really bad. I’ve genuinely had tons more fun playing the old NES wrestling games that had two buttons that did virtually nothing but punch and kick. Matches that are 1V1 can be fairly okay, at times, but even then it’s still way short of what 2K Games should be putting out. Characters are unresponsive and sluggish so it causes the matches to be really tedious to get through. I should say it again, that is just 1v1, don’t even get me started when you start throwing more wrestlers in there during tag team, 6-man and Royal Rumble matches. It’s quite frankly unplayable. I have no idea why any publisher, let alone a big publisher like 2K Games would be okay releasing it in this state. The framerate is that bad it’s as if I set the game to play in slow motion, it’s truly indefensible.
There are other pretty big issues present also, you have a ton of audio issues during matches, some out of sync wrestler entrances and really bad opponent AI. On top of that, you also have the matter of needing an SD card to play the game as it comes in at a whopping 24GB even when owning the physical version. I’d honestly feel so bad if anybody has to pay for an SD card solely to play WWE 2K18, as you’re having to fork out even more money on a broken mess of a game. It also has a pretty lacklustre soundtrack too, but that’s the least of its worries.
Believe it or not, WWE 2K18 does do a few things which are actually worth praising, the downside is it doesn’t make the game any better as it is all content based. Firstly, there are plenty of match types to choose from, such as fatal 4-way Hell in a Cell matches, TLC 6-man (3v3) tag matches and up to 30-man Royal Rumbles. You can also set up your own rules too, so if you wanted it to be submission only then you can. The problem with a lot of these matches though, as previously mentioned, they don’t work because they have more than two wrestlers on screen at once so the framerate suffers so badly, that you can’t enjoy them.
Moving on from that you have the sheer amount of wrestlers to choose from. Seriously, I was actually impressed by how many are in WWE 2K18. Because I haven’t been watching it recently there are quite a few that I have no idea who they are because they’ve only really just broken through from NXT and as such, I’ll never play as them. But regardless of that, there are still so many wrestlers in here that I loved watching through the years.
Wrestlers before my time such as Larry Zbyszco and Andre the Giant. Pre-Attitude Era wrestlers like Lex Luger and Bam Bam Bigelow. And the Attitude Era is, of course, represented greatly with icons such as Mankind, The Rock, and Stone Cold Steve Austin. What is also really cool is certain wrestlers, mainly the big names, have a few different versions of the same person, but from a different time in wrestling. For example, the Undertaker has five different versions, the original from ’91, ’98, ’99, the American Badass gimmick he had and the most recent version. Each also has their respective ring entrance and music. There are well over 150 to choose from, it’s just a shame that you’ll probably die of old age if you tried to play as them all, with how long each match takes because of the framerate.
There’s plenty of Championship Belts that have appeared down the years on offer. It even has titles such as the Million Dollar Belt, the Brahma Bull Belt, and the Smoking Skull Belt, which long-time fans of the WWE will appreciate seeing. I do also like that when you win a championship with a wrestler, they will come down to the ring with that belt on, regardless of whether the match is for that title or not. It’s not a big thing I know, but it’s something that a lot of games in the past haven’t done and has always bothered me.
That’s about as far as the good parts of WWE 2K18 go, unfortunately. And again, all of these good aspects are content-based, it doesn’t change the fact that the main aspect of the game is still awful. I still don’t know why publishers release games in a state like this and think it’s okay, but there may be some ray of light for Nintendo owning wrestling fans though, as I have no doubt that there will be a performance patch at some point down the line, as the same happened with 2K Games’ other Switch game, NBA 2K18. But still, that’s not a guarantee. Until then, stay well away from WWE 2K18. Just like the WWE tell us in their promos, don’t try this at home, school or anywhere else.