Publisher: 2K Sports

Developer: Yuke’s and Visual Concepts

Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PS3, Xbox 360

Released: November 18th, 2014

WWE 2K15 finally makes its debut on the PS4 and Xbox and while it sports some fantastic graphics and some overdue tweaks to its overall formula those improvements came at the expense of a slimmed down content package.

Let's talk about what WWE 2K15 gets right first: the graphics and gameplay. Taking full advantage of the technology from the latest gaming consoles this a great looking wrestling game. Capturing all the elements that make the sport of wrestling so entertaining is not an easy task to emulate in a video game, but VC and Yuke's do a good job with the overall presentation and delivering realistic in-ring action. Most of the high profile superstars on the roster are immediately recognizable thanks to the new face-scanning technology that was used for rendering. The detail that went into 2K15 is admirable. You'll see the faces on the wrestlers run the gamut of emotions from when they're in pain or smirking at their opponent. The movement overall looks far more realistic than in previous titles, with added rope interaction and the toning down of the arcade-like fast strikes.

The developers strived to create a wrestling game with an emphasis on simulation and this is one of those aspects that people will either love or hate. The players that want to just smash and bash will be disappointed with 2K15's slower pacing, but the technicians will appreciate how much stamina plays a factor in your strategy. A universal health bar keeps track of all the damage that is being absorbed and  a new stamina meter is tied to any big move you perform. Keep in mind the more big moves that are unleashed drains the stamina bar, once it is empty you will have to wait for it to recharge. An empty stamina bar also means wrestlers’ movements become slower and groggier toward the end of the match just like you'd see in a real match. If you're in a long and brutal battle and you finally put your opponent down on the mat, the flashy finish off the top rope may not be in your best interests. Your supertstar may be too tired to climb the turnbuckle and you'd be giving your opponent time to recover. Of course this all can be turned off in the options if you don't want to be bothered with the simulation elements. In previous WWE titles, the grapple moves felt cheap.  Any grapple attempt was reversed on you if you were playing against a skilled opponent or against the computer A.I. on the higher difficulty levels. 2K15's new quick-grapple controls makes it much easier to utilize more of your superstar's skill set.

As mentioned before, the thing that holds 2K15 back from being truly elite are the features that were taken out that were in past titles. Several exhibition match types didn’t make the transition from last-gen. Matches like Inferno, Backstage Brawl and I Quit have dropped from one on one and the table and ladder matches are missing from 4-person action. Customization has also not come away unscathed. The story designer has been removed along with the ability to create  arenas, custom divas, finishers, entrances and championships.

It's not all bad news though as 2K15 gets its own version of a MyCareer mode that became so popular in NBA 2K15. For a first attempt MyCareer isn't terrible by any means but it will take some time for the developers to really polish this mode. You begin by taking a character made in the Creation Suite to the WWE Performance Center to be trained by head coach Bill DeMott. Characters will then be led through a series of requirements and then move on to compete at the "NXT" level. Decisions made including your win/loss record in matches, will lead to branching storylines. 2K Showcase also makes its way over from last gen and this time it relives the rivalries of John Cena vs CM Punk (2011-2013) and Triple H vs Shawn Michaels (2002-2004). Each rivalry is viewed through documentary-styled cinematic packages of classic WWE footage.

The XXL Endgame

For its first crack on the new consoles WWE 2K15 flaunts enough potential to be encouraged about the series moving forward.  The visuals are excellent and the solid gameplay are two pillars for the title to build on. It's disappointing that so much was removed from the overall package but the bottom line is 2K15 is a fun wrestling simulation. —written by DJRhude (@DJRhude)

XXL Rating: L (Good)

WWE 2K15 was reviewed on a retail copy provide by the publisher