WWE 2K15's Brock Lesnar Problem

Eat. Sleep. Surprise. Repeat.

The idea of the perfect wrestling game is something that exists, but the details change depending on that individual fan's perspective on what makes professional wrestling the entertaining spectacle it is today. For some, that perfect game focuses on the technical. The methodical use of holds, throws, strikes, submissions, counters, and other maneuvers that demand respect for the level of physical agility and stamina they require--those displays of athleticism that make some fans defiantly refer to it as wrestling and not sports entertainment.

WWE 2K15 marks a push in that direction, but perhaps just a small one in the grand scheme of things. On the surface, this is represented by some of the most detailed wrestlers to ever appear in a game, thanks in large part to the player-scanning technology Visual Concepts uses for its NBA 2K games. The screenshots do an excellent job of conveying the level of detail they're going for, but seeing the game in motion is an entirely different experience. It's that kind of thing where, at a glance, the game is easily mistaken for a TV broadcast.

That being said, some wrestlers look better than others, at least from what we've seen of a very limited roster. Randy Orton and Cesaro shine as the more impressive representations of their real-life counterparts, while John Cena's Cro-Magnon-like forehead, and CM Punk's relatively indistinct visage, don't quite hit that high mark. Animation, across the board, is impressive, especially when low-stamina factors in and wrestlers start crawling for pins or using the ropes to pull themselves up.

Dig a little deeper beneath the visuals and it becomes even clearer how WWE 2K15 takes up the mantle of wrestling simulation, not unlike NBA 2K and Madden have done for their respective sports. Let's start with punching. While it's still possible to throw a flurry of fists, there's a more methodical and measured approach to landing them this time around. I often found myself jockeying for an optimal angle before throwing a punch, and if it missed, I briefly stepped back and regrouped. This slower, more deliberate pacing also extends to the new collar-and-elbow tie-up system that exists in the opening moments of every match.

In fact, this system is probably the biggest tell in terms of taking WWE games in a more serious direction. While you can bypass it entirely by weakening an opponent with strong strikes (particularly those aided by momentum coming off the ropes), it seems far more likely that you won't. At the beginning of the grapple, a prompt asks you to press one of three buttons--each corresponding to a different, automatic transition move that equates to rock, paper, or scissors. If you select "rock", it'll defeat "scissors", giving you the upper hand as the game transitions into chain wrestling.

The goal of chain wrestling is to smoothly transition from one move to the next, much like what you see in a fair share of matches. WWE 2K15 accomplishes this by displaying two images of a right analog stick, one for you and one for your opponent. If you successfully rotate the stick to find the "sweet spot" (which turns from blue to red) before your opponent does, then you will successfully transition into the next move. If the opponent gets there first, then he or she will eventually break the chain.

Of course, this begs the question, "What about this is a simulation?" It's true that what amounts to a series of quick-time events doesn't necessarily offer the associated depth of a simulation, but the existence of the tie-up is based around the idea that it slows down the early moments of a match because that's what you see on Monday Night Raw or during various pay-per-view events.

More importantly, this kind of gameplay exists because wrestlers don't execute their finishers 30-seconds into a match, except when they do. This past Sunday at SummerSlam, former UFC champion Brock Lesnar faced off against then-WWE World Heavyweight Champion John Cena. It's fair to say that most fans probably thought that this match would be a grueling back-and-forth, as it was hyped up to be. Instead, Lesnar executed his finishing move, the F5, less than 30 seconds in and subsequently dominated for almost the entirety of the match. Outside of Lesnar's win against the Undertaker at Wrestlemania, it was one of the most surprising things I've seen in my 30-something years of watching wrestling, and it's something that probably can't ever happen in a wrestling videogame that isn't just a recreation of that match.

The match sent a powerful message that resonates with the audience because it opens up some potentially interesting storylines, but it also illustrated that professional wrestling (even as a scripted event) is regularly unpredictable in the details. To put it in a different context, NBA 2K and Madden have buzzer beaters or last second fumbles in their respective sports that tell a dramatic story all their own. In wrestling, the similarly unforeseen moments of drama, like Lesnar's last few matches, are usually what keep even the most cynical fans tuned in week-after-week, year-after-year. They also make the perfect wrestling simulation a near impossible goal.

Even WWE 2K15 can't achieve that level imitation, based on what we've see so far, Visual Concepts is certainly trying to nail the foundation of the wrestling parts of WWE, and in-turn, push its game in a more realistic direction.

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Discussion

121 comments
Urizen316
Urizen316

You want to make it realistic? Bring back the match rating, 5 stars and all. That'll make people want to deliver good matches. Better yet, combine that with GM mode and we have a replacement for best wrestling game ever.

You're welcome.

Baroque Lesnar... OUT

will313
will313

There are actually plenty of games that let you do finishers first move of the match, they just aren't as popular or well known as this series. Fire Pro, King of Colosseum, Giant Gram(Series), just to name a few. Mind you they are all Japanese, but it has been done before. 

solideye11
solideye11

The people here in the comment section are so ignorant about Pro Wrestling it's hilarious.

youre_a_sheep
youre_a_sheep

"what amounts to a series of quick-time events"

And with that I will avoid this game like the plague.  I appreciate the effort to find something new-ish that works for a wrestling game, but QTE's are NOT it.  In No Mercy, going for big moves early usually saw them fail and get reversed, that's the system they should have gone for to force a more realistic pace.  I don't want meters on my screen in anything meant to be a simulation.

Megavideogamer
Megavideogamer

It has been a while since a great Wrestling game has been released. Hopefully this one will be excellent.

OGKNav
OGKNav

I stopped playing wrestling games after Shut Your Mouth (ps2). I enjoyed the story mode in PS1 Know your role, and when I realized it was never going to be like that again... that was a wrap. Then I quit watching wrestling all together after they seperated the shows/roster. 


...I just don't know anymore.

phenomfawaz
phenomfawaz

WWE along with pro wrestling in general is dead.

hotwog21
hotwog21

its cheaper to buy a ps2 and get "here comes the pain" and its way better and proven than hyped up rubbish!

mdign
mdign

I miss SmackDown vs Raw on PS2. Best wrestling game of all time. Your character had his own story that you could make decisions in like Mass Effect. Probably will never see anything like that again in wrestling.

Metallicwolf29
Metallicwolf29

Wrestling died in the mud 2000s. What's on today is beyond trash

crunchb3rry
crunchb3rry

Wrestling...the only "sport" where a pro gamer has more credibility than the actual "athletes." I get that wrestling is "entertainment," but so is burning ants with a magnifying glass.

christiaan1996
christiaan1996

Hope the ps3 and 360 versions have this kind of gameplay...would be great and more realistic...going to use Crow Sting, Triple H Retro, Kevin Nash, Hogan, Kane and Undertaker most of the time...so don't really care about a huge roster...as long as we can have more superstar heads and be able to customize their hair and facial hair I'll be more than happy to pay $60 for this on PS3 and 360...which would be $120...I'm a huge game collector so I am going to show comparison videos between the 360 and PS3 version...would've been cool if there was a pc version though...HHH The King of Kings 4 Life...

Pewbert
Pewbert

Wait, wrestling is not real?

jeremyc99999
jeremyc99999

I believe it was WWE 12 that had a cut-scene in the beginning of some matches that had the opponent sneak into the ring behind you and deliver a cheap shot, which gave them an instant finisher. Shawn Michaels beat me this way in under 30 seconds in my first ever title shot. I thought it was great and gave the game more authenticity. Would love to see that come back in the game.

prime_l
prime_l

This is my main issue with what I've seen on the mechanics so far. What if I wanted to do a squash match? The new mechanics make it impossible. Hopefully they'll tweak the quick/normal/epic match settings to address this.

spacecadet25
spacecadet25

@solideye11  Well yeah, not many of the people posting on here were even alive back in the day to play the classic "Pro Wrestling" game on the NES.  :)

les537
les537

Why are you commenting? Oh cause you have nothing better to do.

geekasauruswrex
geekasauruswrex

You should have played Here Comes the Pain. Best wrestling game on PS2

Sjalasvalten
Sjalasvalten

@hotwog21 Yeah, or even further back you could get No Mercy!!! That was my favorite as a kid.

geekasauruswrex
geekasauruswrex

The romance sections were cool too. Torrie Wilson was my onscreen gf every time. I miss Torrie and Trish, real divas those two.

Cappuccin0
Cappuccin0

@crunchb3rry there's still a lot of physical prowess involved, even if it's scripted.

huerito323
huerito323

@jeremyc99999 you obviously never played WWE Raw 2, it did it first. You have the option to attack an opponent during their entrance, it was awesome.

les537
les537

13 and 14 have that too.

deathblow3
deathblow3

@jeremyc99999 there where a couple of older games that also gave this ability. honestly though i haven't played a wrestling game in some time. as deep as they took customization's i want to to see stable creation comeback with your stable able to help you in matches some time. they did it on one of the early thq wwe games.

prime_l
prime_l

Yeah, I remember one year you could also interrupt enterences. They need to add that back in and add some variety some how if they want it authentic

Cappuccin0
Cappuccin0

@prime_l maybe the gameplay will be tweakable, like in past years? Personally, I liked last year's gameplay. The only qualm I ever had was graphics.

will313
will313

@solideye11 @youre_a_sheep not to mention it's ONLY at the beginning of the match...like in real life. The system actually makes a lot of sense when you think about it in that context. 

spacecadet25
spacecadet25

@geekasauruswrex  Those were both good.  I did play WWE 2013 (or whatever it was called), it was very good, and had storylines and characters from back in the attitude era.

erichostlie
erichostlie

@ggregd @phenomfawaz Everyone should tune into New Japan Pro Wrestling you will see it is far from dead. They also have very good sports-driven matches that tend to tell a much better story than some match from RAW. MMA learned alot from wrestling and vise versa. In Japan the two are very, very close. So close Sherdog tends to put shoot style wrestling matches that are worked on people's professional MMA record. 

digitalbath263
digitalbath263

@ggregd @phenomfawaz uhhhh MMA is pretty much dying as well just to let you know, people are bored with the Championship changing every match and the champions having records like 5-3 or 4-3 etc.  Champions in boxing at least have records like 40-1 or in Mayweathers case totally undefeated.  MMA is stupid and people are watching it ALOT less these days its just a fact.

youre_a_sheep
youre_a_sheep

@ggregd @phenomfawaz  That's one of the most absurd regular claims I hear.  As long as the majority of MMA fights are clinching and ground work, there will be an audience for guaranteed hurricanranas and superplexes.  That's how scripted wrestling came to exist in the first place.

Psycold
Psycold

@ggregd @phenomfawaz Neither was boxing but MMA killed that too, "professional" wrestling is dead because it is for white trash, and since the internet has been expanding over the past 20 years, more and more of these white trash find their way online and realize that the whole world makes fun of their favorite "sport", so they pretend not to like it anymore. Same with Nascar, which right now is suffering from a major decline in fans...praise jebus, 

crunchb3rry
crunchb3rry

@Sjalasvalten @crunchb3rry Physical prowess? That's the same tired-ass excuse everybody uses since they found out decades ago that this crap was fake to justify still being a fan. A lot of crap requires physical prowess. Dancing With The Stars requires physical prowess.

ggregd
ggregd

@Cappuccin0 Yeah, maybe, but unless they screw up they're not really hitting each other.  So it's athletic like ballet or figure skating is athletic.

les537
les537

No it is because the storylines just aren't that good anymore.

CraZkid37
CraZkid37

@Psycold I think it's dying because after all these years, they literally ran out of ideas. It's inevitable for something that is never intended to end.

jaymii
jaymii

@Psycold Dude, it's scripted drama. It's video games. It's comic books. They're all the same audience.

manbaku
manbaku

@ggregd 


Yes, because as we all know, falling face first on hard ass canvas 30 times a night, 5 days a week, 52 weeks a year, is the same as ballet and figure skating!(no disrepect intended to those sports either, as I'm sure they are equally difficult in their own way)