Wrestling game for diehard fans

Stone Cold Steve Austin, who shot to stardom in the late 1990s, is featured in the game.
Stone Cold Steve Austin, who shot to stardom in the late 1990s, is featured in the game.PHOTO: 2K SPORTS

"Raise some Hell" is the slogan for the latest release of the longest-running wrestling game. This is one of many quotes of the iconic World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) wrestler Stone Cold Steve Austin, who graces the cover this time. He shot to stardom in the late 1990s, during The Attitude Era when WWE began its eclipse over World Championship Wrestling and Extreme Championship Wrestling. If these terms sound familiar, this game is aimed at you.

This release is the game's second instalment for the latest consoles. It has a raft of improvements compared with last year's rather basic entrant. It also has a new approach and strategy.

To make it feel like the action you see on TV, changes have been made to some moves. The upgraded animation makes delivering kicks and punches feel more satisfying. However, pursuing your opponent relentlessly will deplete your character's stamina and make him vulnerable to counter-attacks.

The crowd-pleasing reversal moves are now limited and players need to decide whether to use the move - which will expend their energy - early on to gain an advantage, or save it for a crucial moment.

Chain grappling is now a rock-paper-scissors-style mini game. Depending on how adept you are with the thumbstick, this can lead to a tug-of-war of grapple holds. But once you get the hang of it, the flow of moves looks great on screen.

  • 8/10

  • RATING

    PRICE: $69.90 (PS3), $84.90 (PS4, version tested), $69.90 (Xbox 360), $84.90 (Xbox One)

    GENRE: Wrestling simulation

Executing submission moves is a cat-and-mouse chase that requires you to twirl the thumbsticks, but it is still manageable.

The hardest move is breaking pinfalls. If you cannot press the button at the precise moment and keep yourself from losing, all your efforts to fulfil the specific objectives in the match will be wasted.

The Showcase mode makes you feel nostalgic with archived video feeds. But its repeated objectives and quick sequences demand undivided attention.

The visuals and animation are vastly improved from previous versions. Most of the 120 superstars look true to self. There are a few exceptions, though. Remember the celebrity announced as "Enforcer" in Stone Cold's match at Wrestlemania XIV? He is an unknown person in this game.

As before, more superstars and add-ons will be available through downloadable content in the future.

The much-awaited My Career Mode allows you to create your own avatar through a website and also using an upcoming mobile app. If you have the PlayStation camera, you can use it to do so.

The customised character will embark on a journey from rookie to hall-of-famer, complete with interview segments and interference opportunities to further carve out his personality.

My favourite is still My Universe, which allows editing of current stables and title holders. At the time of writing this review, Seth Rollins, the current champion, was reported to have an injury and might miss the next Wrestlemania. As a result, new contenders and rivalries may arise. My Universe allows me to edit the roster to mirror the actual line-up of superstars on TV. This makes the game current.

• Nizam Mohd is a freelance writer

• Verdict: WWE 2K16 improves on its previous version and rewards diehard fans who are adept at its technical gameplay. Casual gamers might struggle initially, though.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 25, 2015, with the headline 'Wrestling game for diehard fans'. Print Edition | Subscribe