If you have been keeping up with the WWE shows, you know that there have been many changes recently, especially with the introduction of new title belts and additions to the roster.
These moves keep things fresh and attract new viewers. But there are always seasoned fans who root for their favourites from past eras.
This year's release of WWE 2K17 caters to both old and new fans, with new modes, features and gameplay upgrades. Its expanded roster presents more than 135 playable characters - up from 120 - from past and present, including a pool of young talents known as NXT.
The menu display has been simplified and sports a clean look that makes browsing a breeze. However, the loading screens are still present when you dive deeper. You will be required to install a large patch during installation, but a thoughtful feature allows you to explore the non- online features while waiting for the download to complete.
With the PS4 version of the game, most of the athletes look lifelike. Character models have been tweaked to show better hair, fabric and streamers physics. Accessories and clothing texture look more profound.
MyCareer mode makes your created male rookie work his way up to stardom from the lower-rung matches. But you can't do the same with a custom-created female contender.
PRICE: $69.90 (PS3, Xbox360), S$79.90 (PS4, version tested; Xbox One)
GENRE: Wrestling simulation
There are more options for character enhancements, so players can create famous personalities.
Improved lighting makes crowds appear three-dimensional but their animation is still repetitive. The same goes for the recycled commentary of past anchors.
Controls are mostly the same as last year's version of the game. However, using the same reversal method can yield a more detrimental effect if you are able to counter your opponent's critical moves, thus adding a layer of strategy to the gameplay.
The objective is to clock as many points as possible as you progress. These points can be used to buy additional content, ranging from character traits and abilities to superstars as well as manager personas.
Interview sessions with Renee Young is back but in text display.
In addition, characters can cut one of those rousing WWE promo speeches, either solo or against another superstar. The audience will react to what you have created, and you will be scored based on the audience response.
In earlier releases of the game, there is a Showcase mode that allows players to re-enact iconic matches of superstars, and enjoy snippets of archived footage from the days of VHS tapes, but I did not like its dictatinghow matches should be played. This mode has now been replaced by the Universe mode, which gives players full control over the running of matches.
But I can still put together fantasy matches with the game's robust collection of legends, historic belts and arenas. There is also the Hall of Fame Showcase, which will be made available in future as downloadable content.
- Verdict: WWE 2K17 expands on the winning formula from last year's upgrades and features, but with some minor setbacks.
- Nizam Mohd is a freelance writer.