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Review: WWE 2K17 is still lingering in the midcard

WWE 2K17 is the newest addition of the long running wrestling series. While it adds new features, it still fails to reach the main event. 

The first thing people will notice about WWE 2K17 is that one huge feature is missing. Over the past few years, 2K has been advertising its popular story mode called "2K Showcase". This year they decided to remove the mode completely which is disappointing. 

Actually, 2K Showcase still exists in WWE 2K17, but it's only accessible as future DLC. The 2K Showcase won't be available to those that don't fork extra dollars for it. 

Speaking of locked content, 2K has hidden some current wrestlers under a pay wall. The likes of Shinsuke Nakamura, Apollo Crews and Nia Jax aren't available in the base game unless you pay for them. Only those that paid for the expensive NXT edition have access to them at launch. 

That being said, there's still a lot to see and do in this game that will satisfy hardcore WWE fans. They've brought back the Highlight Reel and now you can create your own videos alongside customising wrestlers, entrances, belts and more. 

However, the Highlight Reel mode is missing a crucial feature and that's the free flowing camera. This is the camera that allowed you to view replays using your own angles. Now you are just forced to view them using their own preset camera angles. 

Customisation has always been the series' strong suit and this year it's not different. The WWE series has always allowed you to create a lot of literal cartoon characters and wrestlers from the past or future. You can still upload your creations online for others to download which has always been a cool feature. 

A returning feature is MyCareer mode and in this game it has improved a bit, although it still feels quite repetitive and very long to trudge through. The WWE MyCareer modes aren't as engaging as the NBA 2K video games and this is coming from someone that likes the scripted drama of wrestling better than NBA in real life.

The issue I have with this year's MyCareer mode is that it takes so long to get to every match. Each and every week you have to watch the intro videos of NXT, Main Event and others.  These are un-skippable and it's making me hate the NXT theme because I have to watch it all the time.  

Not to mention you're forced to redundantly skip all the matches on the rest of the card. It get annoying pressing the "simulate" button all of the time. I just want to concentrate on my own career as I don't care what is happening with the A.I. in other matches. 

Another thing that people will hate is how long it might take to unlock arenas, more wrestlers and more. Since the 2K Showcase has been scrapped, you have to use virtual currency (VC) in order to unlock new stuff. You pretty much have to grind it out if you want to earn enough VC to get all of the unlocked content. 

Cunningly, you can buy a microtransaction in order to unlock all the content from the start without lifting a finger. You have to pay real money for this, but only do this if you are the impatient type. 

MyCareer might get repetitive, but the new Promo feature is kind of cool. You can choose to be a Babyface (Hero) or Heel (Villain) to promote yourself. Sometimes you can even have a promo battle with another wrestler. 

The only disappointing thing about promos is that there are no voiceovers. You just have to read a bunch of text and this isn't as engaging as someone talking on a microphone. Reading text doesn't have the same effect. 

The audio is still disappointing when it comes to the commentary. You still have to listen to the dry trio of Michael Cole, Jerry Lawler and John "Bradshaw" Layfield. The commentary is mundane, boring and also outdated. Hopefully next year they bring in Mauro Ranallo or Corey Graves. 

As for the core gameplay, nothing has changed as it feels exactly the same as WWE 2K16. Only some things have changed as they made it a bit easier for you to grab items on a ladder. Gameplay mechanics for most modes such as the Royal Rumble and Hell in a Cell  are identical. 

The only somewhat new match type is that they finally brought back backstage fights. It's quite liberating that you can now go from the ring and walk backstage and even fight into the crowd. This type of freedom hasn't been featured since Here Comes the Pain back in 2003.  

However, they have added a ton of new moves into the mix thanks to the largest roster in franchise history. I love how they added every move for AJ Styles who is my personal favourite in the company right now. There are also a lot of female names too such as Asuka, Alexa Bliss, Sasha Banks and others finally making the cut. 

Graphically, WWE 2K17 looks great in some areas although some character models look shocking. The top stars look awesome such as John Cena, Triple H and Randy Orton. 2K however failed to make Dana Brooke and Lilian Garcia look pretty. Both of them look nothing like their real life counterparts. 

WWE 2K17 is still a very fun video game to play for wrestling fans, although the lack of a 2K Showcase mode does make the experience feel empty. Not to mention people that weren't satisfied with the gameplay in WWE 2K16 won't see many big changes as everything feels the same. 

Verdict: 7.5/10


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