Like a lot of the sports video game franchises, WWE 2K¬†will release the next version in the series a little earlier this year.
Traditionally, the WWE 2K games have¬†hit stores in late October, but¬†WWE 2K19 officially releases on October 9. However, there will also be an early access period. This year’s game, which features WWE Champion A.J. Styles on the cover, appears to be teeming with new features and functionality, but there are also a few ommissions fans should be aware of as well.
For starters, this year’s game will not be released for the Nintendo Switch, but it will still be available for PlayStation 4, Xbox One and the PC. Usually, I talk about the 10 things you should know about a new game. this time, we’ll bump it up by five and break down the 15 things you should know about WWE 2K19 before you buy it.
Pre-Order Deals and Special Edition Pricing
You can still pre-order every version of WWE 2K19. There is obviously the standard edition which normally retails for $59.99, although you may be able to find it for a few bucks cheaper. The Digital Deluxe Edition has a suggested retail price of $89.99. The list of content included in this version is long:
Lastly, there is the Wooo! Edition. Inspired by Ric Flair, this version costs $129.99. It¬†includes all of the content that comes with the Digital Deluxe, plus:
Here is a visual on the contents of the Wooo! Edition:
As usual, there is a Season Pass which gives fans access to the Accelerator (unlocks all on-disc characters, belts, and arenas) and all DLC released after launch. The Season Pass is included in the cost of both the Digital Deluxe and the Wooo! Edition. It will be sold separately for $29.99 to fans who purchase the standard edition and elect to get the Season Pass later.
The following infographic¬†illustrates what’s included in each of the versions.
New Moves Pack
Rising Stars Pack
2K Showcase Returns
Daniel Bryan is the subject of the Showcase mode which returns to the WWE 2K lineup. This year the journey focuses on Bryan’s ups and downs since first appearing in the WWE, and it is all narrated by Bryan himself.
New MyCareer Story
One of the most noteworthy additions to this year’s game is MyCareer story. It is far more in-depth and all of the cutscenes have been voiced by real WWE Superstars and actors.
I had an opportunity to play through the first hour of the mode, and I can tell you already that it is the best version of MyCareer we’ve seen from the WWE 2K franchise.
No¬†Female Created Players in MyCareer
On the downside of the MyCareer scene, there still isn’t an option to create a female. This was a little surprising to me, as I thought this would surely be the year the series expanded into that area. That will likely be the focal point of¬†critics as this year’s game is being evaluated.
New Match Types
On the positive side, you can now have an all-female Royal Rumble. That’s just one of the new match types added. Here are the others.
The Creation Suite Got Even Better
The WWE 2K creation suite has always been one of the game’s best features. This year, it has added even more layers. You can now customize championship sideplates on title belts as well as the Money in the Bank briefcase. There are new environmental filters for Create-An-Arena. You can create Superstars with block bodies and when you’re constructing a character, you can now mirror an accessory from one side of the body to the other.
Last, but not least, 2K introduced the Create-A-Superstar Randomizer. You can randomly generate the most cohesively designed characters¬†because the system establishes and obeys a color scheme, which is also generated at random. You can also randomize single aspects of the creation like hats, gloves or footwear.
During my preview of the game, I spent almost 20 minutes flipping through this option. It was a blast.
Universe Mode Changes
I didn’t get an opportunity to test out the Universe Mode, but the following changes and additions are listed below, per 2K.
The championship system has been expanded to allow six championships per show ‚Äď compared to the previous limit of four.
New customization options make it possible to assign multiple women‚Äôs titles or tag titles to a show.
Money in the Bank briefcases, now fully customizable, will take a championship slot.
New Championship Divisions can determine which titles specific groups of Superstars will pursue. Championships can also now be vacated.
The new Superstar Save Profiles system lets players save changes to Superstar settings across MyWWE and multiple Universe saves at the same time. This includes Attributes, Skills, Abilities, Payback, Entrances, and Move Sets.
Custom Match Tables let users customize the types of matches used on each show and Pay-Per-View. Using sliders, you can determine the frequency for various match types in storylines and rivalries.
Managers are now available to assign to Superstars. In fact, you can assign up to three of them for any given Superstar. Managers will appear alongside the Superstars in One on One and normal Tag Team matches.
Promos now incorporate recent events. A former champion will talk about losing the title and ask for a rematch. Rivals will talk about wins and losses, interferences or blindside attacks that happened last week. Many new promo animations have been added. While every Superstar comes with a pre-set ‚ÄúPromo Attitude,‚ÄĚ you can customize any of them so that they behave the way you want.
Last but not least, you can go through matchups in your Universe and decide the winners and losers of the matches without having to play the match yourself or rely on a random result.
No Create-A-Story Mode
While there are some useful additions to the Universe mode, we’re still waiting on 2K to find a way to implement a new Story mode. The development team is aware that this feature is desirable, but haven’t found a way to bring it back in a way that is superior to the clunky, non-user-friendly version that appeared in other WWE games from previous generations of consoles.
$1 Million Challenge
One of the more celebrated incentives for this year’s game is the $1 million challenge. In a nutshell, here is how the contest will work:
You can see a complete breakdown of the rules and legalities here.
Paybacks and New Gameplay Mechanics
There are a few new gameplay elements in WWE 2K19. First and foremost, the framerates have been improved, which is especially noticeable in matches with multiple Superstars, or in Hell in a Cell or Cage matches. In previous versions‚Äďespecially WWE 2K18‚Äďthe action would slow down so much, it was hard to enjoy the game.
The Hell in a Cell environment has been shrunk to create more opportunities for damage, and it’s now easier to send opponents through the panels to clear a path to the outside and to the top of the cell. The steel cage has also been altered. You can now win by exiting through the door, and there are new mini-games to advance your progress in all of the potential winning aspects of the match.
Money in the Bank cash-ins has also been redone. In Universe mode, you can now cash in before, after or during a match.
Paybacks are perhaps more impacting changes to the gameplay. The Payback system is new to the series, and it’s designed to deliver the old “adrenaline’s pumping” moments that are often the difference between winning and losing for the top stars.
There are two levels and the different selections can be chosen at the beginning of a match, in a loadout type of an approach:
This adds a bit of strategy to the gameplay, but I’ll need more time with it to decide if it’s a good fit for a sports game.
I made reference to this when I talked about the $1 Million challenge, but the Towers concept goes beyond the chance to play and beat Styles for a cash prize. It’s a new mode that hearkens back to old-school fighting games. You take a character and attempt to fight your way to the top of a virtual tower by defeating Superstar after Superstar until you reach the boss.
Each Tower has its own theme and there will be new Towers added weekly with many of them exclusive to your MyPlayer. Some of the Towers will also have specific handicaps and other presentational characteristics. I did experiment with this mode, and my early takeaway was positive.
I found the Towers both fun and challenging. It’s easy to see this feature adding some longevity to this year’s game.
Fighting Styles and Sub-Styles
Fighting styles have been streamlined from eight to five, but each style now has a sub-style.
This was done to allow more hybrid-style Superstars for Road to Glory and MyCareer.
MyPlayer and Road to Glory Progression
There is now a new skill tree and progression system for WWE 2K19. That progression system has five prestige ranks:¬†Rookie, Superstar, Main Eventer, Titan, and Hall of Famer. Each rank has 50 notches, and once you reach the 50th level, you can move up to the next one.
As you prestige, you’ll unlock another branch on the skill tree. When the MyPlayer XP level reaches 10, you can choose one of two sub-styles (from the list above) to move toward. There is a third tree, which is called an Overcharge. This brings in the more over-the-top and dynamic in-ring abilities of a major Superstar.
Essentially, an Overcharge is a Level 2 Payback and can be upgraded. Here are the three Overcharges:
Also, the RTG content acquisition and loot pack system have been reworked. Here is how 2K explains the new system that now includes tokens and packs that are more transparent about the contents:
You‚Äôll also earn tokens and deluxe tokens along the way, which can go toward new loot packs. These are tailored to specific genres in WWE 2K19, as opposed to the wide-ranging loot crates in WWE 2K18. Open packs labeled with Create-a-Superstar parts, Taunts/Entrances/Victories, Moves, Boosts, or combinations so you‚Äôll always get a mix of the type of content you‚Äôre looking for. If you receive items you don‚Äôt like, scrap them to receive more deluxe tokens to spend on packs down the road. The rarer the item scrapped, the more deluxe tokens it will pay out.
Last year it was discouraging to spend VC on loot packs because too often you got useless things in return. This should allow you to get a higher percentage of what you’re looking for when open packs.
Lastly, the RTG mode will now feature daily challenges that offer daily boosts, VC and Superstar parts, and you’ll also be able to join a faction. You’ll still earn parts for the PPV incentives, and your MyPlayer can earn bonuses by participating in the Towers as well. New challenges have been added to the grind and completing them provides you with specific rewards. Completing them multiple times increases the level of the prize.
This probably isn’t going to be a selling point for most, but it’s pretty funny¬†to watch the ring walks. Take a look:
I’ll have a full review and other post-release content on WWE 2K19. This could wind up being a significant year for the franchise.