WWE 2K15 is the first title in 2K Sports’ wrestling series series to hit the Xbox One, with aesthetic and performance upgrades across the board. The aesthetics are most immediately pronounced: The development team at Visual Concepts motion-captured specific movements of WWE superstars, and the technology it’s developed for the NBA 2K series – which produces near-photorealistic lighting, reflections, and skin tones – bring the action to life in ways not possible before. The increased animation means hits connect more realistically, and moves performed near the edges of the ring will cause wrestlers’ bodies to bounce convincingly off of the ropes.
The gameplay has evolved as well. WWE 2K15 features an innovative chain wrestling element, whereby specific button presses will contest holds and locks, effectively creating a game within the game. This happens toward the start of the matches, enabling an element of ring psychology, initiating a rock-paper-scissors contest between the two wrestlers. Each selects either a head, wrist, or waist lock; the winner ends up in a dominant position, but both players must try to find a sweet spot with their right stick before their opponent does. If the dominant wrestler wins, they perform a move; if the defender wins, they move into the dominant position. A new three-tier stamina meter helps dictate a more realistic pace to matches, and the submission system and finisher processes have been completely revamped.
While there have been career modes and story lines in previous WWE 2K games, 2K15 bodyslams things up a notch. MyCareer mode lets you create a wrestler and take them all the way from the WWE performance center to WrestleMania; your decisions affect your character’s progression, as do wins and losses. The new 2K Showcase story-driven single-player campaign is based on the rivalries between CM Punk and John Cena, and Triple H and Shawn Michaels.
You’ll relive one of WWE’s most epic rivalries, playing through all of the most famous bouts from their legendary feuds, and unlocking things like documentary episodes and exclusive interviews. The game’s Season Pass program is focused on additions for 2K Showcase – and those who purchase the Season Pass will get exclusive access to WWE diva Paige. Want to get it all in one package? Grab the WWE 2K15 Digital Deluxe Edition for the ultimate WWE experience all year long.
Finally, commentary is being provided by Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler, who recorded their voice-overs at the same time (rather than in solo sessions), making for a more naturalistic WWE audio experience. 2K is emphasizing storytelling in the ring, as opposed to merely describing the action.
All told, WWE 2K15, out now for Xbox One and Xbox 360, is the most realistic wrestling game yet. Are you ready to step in the ring?