Hands-on Preview WWE 2K16 – Reversal of Fortune

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We were invited to get some hands-on time with a build of WWE 2K16 that was 90% complete but 100% improved over its last iteration.

While WWE 2K15 was an ok game and fun to play, it didn’t bring much new to the ring over its predecessor and felt more like a mandatory annual roster update than anything else. Luckily for wrestling fans everywhere, the same can’t be said about WWE 2K16.

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Wanting to check the game out as quickly as possible, another member of the press and I sat down and started a head-to-head match. While I was watching the entrances of our selected fighters, my opponents fighter decided to attack me before I even made it to the ring. The new dynamic entrance allows for the match to begin before the folks even make it all the way to the ring and can ramp up the action in a hurry. One second I’m watching the video screens and admiring Andre the Giant’s swagger as he walks toward the ring, and the next I’m seeing The Macho Man beat down on him relentlessly, and the bell hadn’t even rang yet. Once I got a few shots in on Savage’s head I was able to toss him over the ropes and into the ring so the match could start properly.

The first thing I noticed was the revamped reversal system. Where before you could use the reversal feature endlessly, causing what felt like more of a button mashing reversal fest, you are now limited on your reversals so you’ll have to be more selective and strategic when using them. There are two types of reversals, minor and major, with the major using more of your reversal stamina than the minor, but also is more effective against your opponent. R2 (PS4) executes a reversal but timing is key, so just mashing that R2 button like crazy will probably get you pounded into the mat.

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Locking up with an opponent got reworked a bit as well and now uses a rock-paper-scissors style of gameplay. When locked up you’ll have a small window of time to choose between three buttons, where let’s say circle beats triangle and triangle beats square but square beats circle, with the winner getting an advantage in the outcome of the hold.  It’s a pretty cool take on Ro Sham Bo and an interesting way to decide who gets the upper hand in a given situation.

Once you have been beaten down and your opponent decided to try and pin you, the pin system was reworked a bit to make it flow a little better. You’ll have three chances to kick-out by using a circular meter where you’ll have to time your button press by hitting it when your cursor lands in the blue area of the meter. How fast that cursor moves and the size of the area is determined by your health and stamina, but if one is fast enough, they could make a match last a long time.

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MyCareer mode got reworked a bit as well and is probably the mode I’m most looking forward to. The game does have a face scan feature but we couldn’t test out how well the characters might resemble us yet. The level of customization for your character is insane. You can target specific body parts or just choose between a generalized fat, buff or skinny character. Clothes make the man (or Diva) and your clothing options are pretty vast.

MyCareer will have you starting out as a rookie and working your way up the ranks to bigger and better matches, and possibly all the way to the Hall of fame. Post fight interviews will give you an option to respond to questions with your choices determining how the world sees your fighter. Make a douche bag comment and the world will see you as a heel, but be a nice guy, saying the right things, and the world will see you as a face. The depth of your character will be determined by this as well over time so you’ll want to keep that in mind. You could be seen as a treacherous, back stabbing coward or as a loyal and bold counter-part worth having on a tag-team.

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The graphics and animations for the game are much sharper and are much improved over the last release, and with the game not even 100% finished yet, we can’t wait to get our hands on the final release. The roster is huge, with two versions of the Terminator, the action is fast paced and well balanced, and the game can’t get here soon enough.

The game hits the store shelves on October 27 for PS4, Xbox One, PS3, and Xbox 360. Pre-order your copy now so you can play as the aforementioned Terminator.