It's the little things that really help pro wrestling go next-gen
Players have been told year after year that WWE games strive to recreate the feel of viewing a match from Wrestlemania or Raw, but the games have only gone so far in capturing the TV's interpretation of the events. Having played my first demo of WWE 2K15, I can say this entry is getting closer than ever to recreating that experience, thanks in part to some graphical improvements that make the roster look strikingly lifelike. You can see the HD detail in Randy Orton's tattoos and the dents in John Cena's head thanks to the same facial recreation tech seen in the impressive NBA 2K franchise, but WWE 2K15's upgrades aren't just skin deep.
The differences between this version and last year's can be seen in the subtle ways the wrestlers transition from one position to the next, like the little extra arm motions when Orton pushes Cena on top of the turnbuckle. The improvements are noticeable in the way the ropes respond to gravity in the PS4/Xbox One version of the game, shifting more believably under a wrestler's weight. The upgrades are particularly evident in the new Chain Wrestling system, a rock-paper-scissors style mini-game that captures the fast-paced series of grapples and headlocks at the start of most matches. The standard grapple system is faster paced as well, though it's also been simplified to a degree, taking a single button input to initiate and execute, instead of two..
As for all the side content and modes seen in previous WWE titles, 2K confirms that WWE Universe will be back, along with an expanded career mode that takes performers all the way from NXT to the Hall of Fame. Then there's the new single-player campaign that follows famous rivalries like CM Punk vs. John Cena--yes, despite an ugly exit from WWE in real life, a virtual CM Punk is still in the game. 2K seems to be saving the bigger details of its content to reveal later on (obviously before the October 28 release date), but at the moment I can say I'm cautiously optimistic by where 2K is taking the series in this new console generation.
Read on for more images of next-gen wrestling in all its glory.
Just look at John Cena's cheekbones to see the new-gen power on display.
Golddust is looking great these days, both in real life and in WWE 2K15.
The facial recreations go a long way in upping the variety of expressions for folks like Orton.
From speaking with them, I know the developers take pride in the level of detail in Randy Orton's tattoos.
I'm much more excited to play this match-up than see it for the four millionth time on Raw.
As Michael Cole would shout: "Vintage Orton!"
Speaking of Cole, he and Jerry Lawler recorded five times more commentary for this game than last year, often recording together in the hopes of getting a more natural performance.