WWE 2K18 Review

  • First Released Oct 13, 2017
  • PS4
  • XONE
  • PC

Hard times.

Spectacle and showmanship are as vital to professional wrestling as its storylines and in-ring action. Fans will fondly remember a Superstar's distinctive mannerisms, or the pageantry of a glorious entrance, just as much as a five-star match. WWE 2K18 takes this aspect to heart with a substantial leap in visual fidelity--further complementing developers Yuke's and Visual Concepts' adherence to wrestling authenticity. However, the game's cosmetic advancements fail to cover up stagnant gameplay mired in technical issues.

WWE's superlative lighting, character models, and motion captured animations bring each star of the squared circle to life with startling accuracy. And while there are some disparities between the poor saps at the bottom of the card and those at the very top, the gap isn't as significant as it has been in previous years, with entrances remaining a dazzling highlight. Small details, like stretch marks and surgery scars, also contribute to WWE 2K18's graphical showcase. Muscles are defined and flex when a Superstar heaves an opponent over their shoulders, veins bulge under the strain of submissions, and even Finn Balor's demon paint gradually peels off over the course of a match. As a visual representation of the product we see on TV each week, it's definitely impressive, and this devotion to realism extends to the gameplay, too. This is nothing new, of course, and if you haven't enjoyed the series' methodical pacing and restrictive over-reliance on counters in the past, WWE 2K18 is unlikely to change your mind. This is essentially the same game as it was last year, with a few incremental additions edging the needle closer to the authenticity the series strives for.

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Hot tags have been modified to be a more natural, momentum-injecting part of tag team matches, and a new carry system gives you more options on offence, allowing you to forcefully haul your opponent around the arena and execute a variety of context-sensitive actions with ease. This is particularly enjoyable if you're playing as a giant like Braun Strowman, since you can hoist smaller opponents over your head and launch them directly out of the ring--which is certainly impactful in Battle Royales and the Royal Rumble. Speaking of which, eight-person matches are also new this year, adding an element of chaos to any over-the-top-rope shenanigans. The only downside is that so many Superstars duking it out at the same time has a negative impact on the game's frame rate, with the slowdown enough to disrupt your timing on counters.

This isn't WWE 2K18's only technical issue either. While the AI is passable at best and dim-witted at worst, there are also myriad glitches spread throughout its various match types and game modes. From Superstars getting trapped inside inanimate objects and being teleported around the arena; referees not counting pins in eight-person tag matches; the Royal Rumble completely breaking due to Superstars failing to appear when their number is called; or the way the Elimination Chamber acts as a proverbial cooking pot for a concoction of ludicrous glitches, WWE 2K18 is a messy experience. Sure, a number of these mishaps are funny, but there are others that actively ruin the experience on a larger scale, whether it's the game crashing every single time there's a promo in Universe mode, or the way MyCareer struggles to keep track of your allies and rivals, even forcing you to wrestle yourself in championship title matches. This series has always suffered from its fair share of glitches, but they're especially egregious and plentiful this year.

Meanwhile, MyCareer still tasks you with creating a character and climbing the ranks of the WWE, however, there's still no option to create anything but a male wrestler, which is disheartening. Some light RPG elements do at least attempt to spruce up the action in-between matches, and you're now free to explore the backstage areas, chatting to your fellow Superstars and picking up side quests that will further your alignment as either a face or heel, unlocking specific perks for each. The aforementioned glitches create problems here, however, as you might be asked to cut a promo on Enzo Amore, only to call out Cesaro instead, and then be told backstage that Dean Ambrose knew your plan. It's a mess, and a struggle to keep track of. These backstage segments are overly lethargic due to the regularity and length of their loading times, which mean you'll often spend more time watching the game than playing it.

This series has always suffered from its fair share of glitches, but they're especially egregious and plentiful this year.

Beyond these issues, the writing in MyCareer remains its biggest problem. Even if you excuse the juvenile insults and complete lack of voice acting, there's nothing here that carries any weight or interest. The writing lacks character and individuality, so it doesn't matter who you speak to backstage. Bray Wyatt might be an occultist hillbilly with an anomalous promo style, but he'll still speak with the same verbiage as Seth Rollins, who will in turn sound just like John Cena. And this carries over into the promos, too. These work much the same as they did last year, tasking you with picking from a number of dialogue options, and then trying to maintain a cohesive tone throughout to achieve a high score. The dialogue options aren't quite as vague as they were before, so it's easier to craft a coherent promo, but the terrible writing and silent pantomiming rob these moments of any impact. Last year, the promo system felt like a flawed first draft with room to grow, but there's been very little progression one year later.

MyCareer's online counterpart, Road to Glory, fares much better than its single-player brethren. By following the real-life WWE calendar, it allows you to take your created character online to compete against others in daily match types in order to earn enough stars to qualify for pay-per-view events. This adds some purpose and impetus to online brawls, and the netcode this year is surprisingly good, with smooth matches and no noticeable input delay, even when you bump it up to a fatal-fourway.

It's fun seeing everybody else's created Superstars, but customisation in MyCareer is disappointingly limited by the inclusion of loot boxes. There are no microtransactions in WWE 2K18, so 2K isn't trying to urge you to part with more cash. But, honestly, that just makes this approach all the more baffling. The vast majority of customisation options, from hairstyles and T-shirts, to wrestling tights and even the vast repertoire of moves, are locked behind these loot boxes. You earn virtual currency throughout the game, and Road to Glory also has weekly loot boxes to unlock, but you're still at the whim of a randomised draw. If you want a specific beard or a finishing move, you're just going to have to hope luck falls on your side.

Fortunately, the creation suite outside of MyCareer is as exhaustive as ever, with everything unlocked from the get-go. You can tinker with every single facet of a Superstar's design and create new title belts, custom matches, and arenas, and download other users' creations to, say, fill out the NXT roster with the likes of Adam Cole, Drew Galloway, and Kairi Sane.

WWE 2K18's in-ring combat is fundamentally flawed, and will be as divisive as it often is. Yet there's no denying the inherent joy derived from performing your favorite Superstar's signature moves. Whether it's cracking your opponent over the head with AJ Styles' Phenomenal Forearm, or pounding the life out of Asuka's latest victim, there are moments of pure pro wrestling enjoyment to be found here. It's just compounded by too many frustrating issues, disruptive glitches, and a dearth of engaging single-player modes. This series has remained stagnant for far too long, and WWE 2K18 doesn't change things.

Back To Top
The Good
The visual upgrade is impressive
Mammoth roster of stars from various eras
Exhaustive creation suite
Road to Glory adds a purposeful spin to competitive multiplayer
The Bad
A plethora of glitches affecting every match type and mode
MyCareer is a dull slog
Terrible writing and impotent promos
Restrictive use of loot boxes
About GameSpot's Reviews

About the Author

Richard spent around 30 hours split between WWE 2K18's various game modes, which meant having to endure more than enough Kid Rock to last a lifetime. GameSpot was provided with a complimentary PS4 copy of the game for review.
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Avatar image for uninspiredcup

They want £54.99 on the Eshop for this shit.

Avatar image for DeviantCode

It's almost shocking that 2K is willing to put it's name on this game. The WWE team must be where they send all the employees who can't work on their good games before firing them. How can the same company that makes NBA 2K18 make this steaming pile of garbage?

If you want a fighting/wrestling game, get UFC 2. It's years older than WWE 2K18, but is still 100 million times better.

Avatar image for burnedandfrozen

Thank you for burying this game. It seems that all the reviewers on YouTube are praising the game and no one is telling the factual truth. I don't find it fun that the AI reverses every other move I do and is quite obvious when it happens because of the announcers reactions. The mini games included for submissions are too trivial and tedious than fun. Even kicking out of a pinfall is a chore. Going crazy with the controller to kickout of pinfalls was kind of made the game more fun and interacting instead of having to time a kickout like I'm playing a golf game.

Avatar image for brian_ghattas

Pretty sad that a 30+ year old game such as NES’ Pro Wrestling remains being much more fun than WWE2K18. Maybe it’s time to just give us a simple wrestling game instead of recreating the theatre of WWE. If you’re not going to bother to make maximum effort and offer voice work and good writing then at least make the gameplay of the actual wrestling enjoyable

Avatar image for romeothebeast

I always found it odd that WWE games are annualized. They clearly need a break in order to work on all these issues and one year isn't cutting it. You know it's bad when WWF No Mercy, Def Jam V, and older Smackdown games are more fun then the current gen offerings.

Avatar image for nyran125tk

@romeothebeast: I played no mercy, recently. It does have more in ring fun gameplay. The bizarre thing about it. Is it was ALSO aiming for realism.with the movement and the moves and the bouts could be 8-15 minutes long and it was pretty fun till the very end of the bout. The ai on highest difficulty, was brutal and not always easy to beat..that's something to note. The ai NEEDS to be as brutal as a really good player, in order for it to be truly challenging and rewarding and fun to play. I find with these new games, I'm always having to slightly give the ai some kind of advantage in some way purposefully , for it to win a bout, 85% of the time.

Avatar image for burnedandfrozen

@nyran125tk: I don't understand how hard it could be to adapt the gameplay formula from WWF No Mercy and Def Jam Vendetta and replace it with the awful gameplay mechanics that have been used the past 5+ years. AKI laid the ground work years ago all the developers need to do is study the work and possibly try to seek their help if the original AKI developers are still around today. The presentation of the game, graphics, art style of arenas, etc. are great but the gameplay and announcing need to be redone from the ground up.

Avatar image for malaclypse

Excuses beforehand since English is not my native language.. 5/10 is imo too high in it´s current state. Do under no circumstance buy this "game" until at least it´s patched ( whenever that may be.. most likely around the first dlc when there´s money to grab) I really want to like this game, a lot of stuff looks great ( at least to me ). I didn´t play the series since THQ made it, and had no experience with 2k-Games. Silly me, if only I had looked up the 2k-Forum-Threads from the previous games.. wouldn´t have bought it that early.. So much annoying and gamebreaking bugs, the constant crashes because of..well because of nearly everything.. Do a promo in Universe? Muahaha here´s a crash! Have a cut-scene? Hahah..crash! You want progress in "My career"? Well, how about a nice Loop of infinity in a Sidequest, just to annoy you with something else rather than crashes..? Holy sh** - what a mess and what an awful experience this is so far. "Be like no one?" Well - since everything is hidden behind Lootboxes, you´re forced to be like everyone. And the system itself is ridiculous.. I used a cheat-engine and got lots of Ingame-Credits and put a few hours just into opening these boxes.. guess what.. I spent a huge amount of credits on it, way more than you will ever grind if you play this legit and I still do not even have access to a quarter of the available stuff.. you will have seen the whole Universe in No Man´s Sky before you have unlocked everything in this game without cheating, believe me. Regarding the little payoffs you get for your Matches and Promos this is next to impossible. Hell, I even had Loot-Boxes with 4 of 5 Items beeing the exact same stuff. This system has pay-to-win written all over it. Mark my words- by the end of the year they will come with "250.000 Credits for only 49,99 $".

Just have a look at the 2k-Forum ( which in my opinion is only there, to keep the complaints out of the rest of the internet as much as possible) but don´t bother writing there since no one is going to answer.. The truth about this game is, we paid money to be beta-tester for it. It´s nearly impossible that this game had any proper testings before release, if it had, it would still be in development right now.

Yeah, I know, me complaining here doesn´t also change a thing. Doesn´t matter, just wanted to get it off my chest. First ( and probably last ) 2k Game I have ever bought.

Avatar image for TheGreatGhoul

@malaclypse: No you speak the truth.

One of the worst 80$ I ever wasted in my life.

I should have brought Persona 5 instead but I was seduced by my friend crying who really wanted me to buy this game...

Avatar image for devjmoore

This will be the first edition I haven't bought in years. Last year, I was so happy they improved the targeting system, but even that was nullified by a sucky submission system.

Avatar image for Jimbowesker

I will just wait a year or so for the price to drop or be on sale!! 2k & Yuke's need to totally reinvent the wheel as far as their approach to making a good wrestling game. Also bring back the Superstar Best Rivalries Career Matches (cant remember the name of the Mode)!!!!

Avatar image for AyatollaofRnR

If the gameplay is fundamentally the same, this is a hard pass. They still haven't come us with a system as good as No Mercy. Pick up and play, with depth - not a chore to execute whatever big match moment you could think up.

Avatar image for PETERAKO

"Restrictive use of loot boxes"

welcome to the future.

Avatar image for devjmoore

@PETERAKO: Please no. I hate loot boxes. At first, I thought it's because I'm old school. So it's comforting to know that the new gen hates them too.

Avatar image for illnova1979

Dear Fire Pro Wrestling World (PS4): Can you please save us?

Avatar image for swantn5

@illnova1979: i bought it on steam 20 bucks my PC can barely run anything but it runs fire pro wrestling world i suggest downloading the bench mark test to see if it runs on your pc

Avatar image for TheGreatGhoul

@illnova1979: Do you know when it will come out for the ps4?

Avatar image for HarlemVIP

Okay, I'm just gonna delete the game and not install it at all. After reading what everybody is saying, there's no damn way I'm gonna be wasting drive space on this thing. I don't know what the problem is with 2K games. The NBA games have always had the same issues and with each passing game it's like whoever is hired to test the games thinks it's cool to never, EVER have the ability to simulate games like every other basketball game. The technical issues just STAY there, no matter the year. And the player creation feature gets worse every year.

Now there's this game. From what I've read, people are saying the same things about this game that I've been saying about the basketball games. So I'm just gonna have to pass on this game. And that's a shame because I haven't seen a worthy wrestling game since the Smackdown titles on PS2. Even though they had their issues towards the end, They still AT LEAST knew what they were doing.

I've been complaining for years about 2K not having an NFL game. But seeing what they do with the NBA games, maybe it's a good idea they don't go that route.

Avatar image for fkguy300

last time I waste my money on this game.... btw 5 is far to generous for this title.

Avatar image for TheGreatGhoul

The game is beautiful and the gameplay is fun but it feel empty.

My career mode is boring and is a never ending grind forcing you to fight guys with an overall of 90+ who can end your life with two bodyslam while you try your best to beat them with your 54 overall and 150 hits from a steel chair.

Every wrestler you cross path with look like a zombie watching his cellphone and they have nothing interesting to say.

Every female wrestler do the same stupid move when they end a conversation, well if you can call the pointless things they say an actual conversation...

I understand adding voices could be complicated to a career mode but not it feel so empty, all you ear is the same songs over and over again even when you are fighting in the parking lot.

With all the glitchs and bugs that can ruin your experience like a frozen referee who refuse to count the pin or the wrestlers who teleport themself to grab you its really deceiving.

He is right, this game is not more than a 5/10 untill they patch some stuff and make a dramatic change to the currency/experience system.

Avatar image for Marky360

Ok so my question is where is the video review I have been waiting on Gamespot's review forever because IGN don't know 2 shits about wrestling but I am not seeing a video review here. Is it on YouTube perhaps?

Edit:Ok so no YouTube review either WTF gives GameSpot you take a week to deliver your review and STILL haven't posted a video review are you just not going to do one or what?

Avatar image for stuff238

This game also has loot boxes?!?!

Jesus! Don’t developers understand they are super annoying? They don’t actually extend the length of the game, they make me want to quit the game sooner because I can’t unlock anything good.

I won’t be buying this. I refuse to buy any game with loot boxes/crates or anything similar.

Getting random items is not fun.

Avatar image for superklyph

It's better than the last one, but it's just not that fun. It doesn't have a soul. Go back and play the PS1/PS2 Smackdown games or the N64 games and you'll see. Technically, 2K18 generally is better, but it just isn't as fun.

Also it has some crashing issues. The game sucks.

Avatar image for blablazer

@superklyph: WWE SmackDown! Here Comes the Pain i miss yukes. 😑😥

Avatar image for superklyph

@blablazer: Yukes co-developed the game.

Avatar image for HarlemVIP

2k just can't seem to figure out the meaning of "SOMETHING IS WRONG WITH YOUR FREAKING GAME!!"

Damn near every NBA game has the exact same technical issues, but they just say "screw it...looks good to ME" and puts them out anyway.

Avatar image for superklyph

@HarlemVIP: But they're fun to play. This game doesn't even have a season mode.

Avatar image for HarlemVIP

@superklyph: I'm sure they COULD be fun to play. I've never played a WWE 2K game before because I haven't had a chance to until now. I just downloaded the game for PC but haven't installed it yet due to not having enough space on my PC. But after seeing this review...I might just delete it.

Avatar image for uk_friday

not been a good wrestling game since no mercy on n64 and even that was fucked due to the save feature fail......i haven't bought this and from what people say i wont....if everyone done this then 2k would have to do something or a proper development team would come in and maybe make a decent game

Avatar image for romeothebeast

@uk_friday: I thought Def Jam Vendetta was well made. PS2 had some pretty fun Smackdown games also like Shut Your Mouth and Here Comes the Pain.

Avatar image for superklyph

@uk_friday: Yeah, the PS2 Smackdown games were good.

Avatar image for zaselim

I played the game for 2 days and one word "Agreed". The character creation sucks this year as well and will suck unless they add the previous body and face morph system instead of the moving around the face parts(eyes, nose etc) and the body morphs that were in the game upto wwe2k16.

Any why do you add old wrestler like the rock if you cant have him to do his moves himself i mean look at his signature moves (the ddts, sharpshooter, people's elbow his taunts) only the rock bottom animations look good.

But hey its my opinion.

The last good WWE game i played was WWE SVR 2010, Here comes the pain and shut your mouth are my favorite games though.

Avatar image for playstationzone

I played game and can say why got 5. First all I played fall counts everywhere but I can’t get person down because keep getting up so I think it’s glich . The soundtrack bad and didn’t know where loot box’s until read review next year I hope won’t be loot boxes and bad controls and bad soundtrack . In this case give it 4

Avatar image for edwardnygma

Loot boxes? Pass!

Avatar image for csward

I got WWE 2k16 on a Black Friday sale a couple of years ago. It was the least fun wrestling game I've ever played. I really hope the WWE gives the license to another publisher.

I miss THQ...

Avatar image for superklyph

@csward: It's the same developer making the game now as it was with THQ.

Avatar image for playstationzone

@csward: I know feeling thq went bankrupt sold it to 2k games let’s hope next year better.

Avatar image for TheGreatGhoul

@playstationzone: We say that every year crying on the pile of poop they made.

No, this is the last time I buy a WWE game and I hope a lot of people will do the same to stop this madness once and for all.

Avatar image for nyran125tk

Seriously. All these sports games should be released every 2 years. Not every year. I just want the Ai to be interesting and random, So I feel like every match, never feels the same.

Avatar image for outlawfly

@nyran125tk: I don't think it would help that much. I mean EA UFC games are released every 2 years and they suck aswell, let's see if EA UFC 3 will be great. Competence is all that matters.

Avatar image for stealthy1

@outlawfly: ufc games dont suck. Guaranteed your just trash. I thought the game was aweful to till i figured the mechanics out.

Avatar image for outlawfly

@stealthy1: Typical respose from an typical immature kid, "well you're just trash". Well that's the main issue with the game which i think was the opposite. The more you played and figured the game out, the more you realized how fundementally flawed the game really is. I don't know a single person that really enjoys that game. Tell me, what's so great about the EA UFC games? The striking is an unbalanced/unrealistic arcadish slugfest, the clinch is restricted garbage with no takedown battles etc, the ground game has a good system but horrendous lack of content, i mean simple ground positions such as butterfly guard for example is not even avaliable and also tons of sub moves. Let me not even mention the career mode which is utter trash, hell even mycareer in wwe has more content. How flawed the wwe games is, atleast aside from career they give us universe mode, superior creation suite, tons of moves and the ability to edit attributes, stats and movesets. What do we get with EA UFC games? Absolutely nothing aside from ultimate team mode which only favor those who use microtransactions. Have you ever played Undisputed 3? That decade old game by THQ blows every EA UFC game out of the water, by a team that had far less manpower, resources, experience and development time. So obviously, extend the development time wouldn't exactly turn the wwe franchise into a better game, which EA team has proven with their UFC games which has twice as much dev time, resources etc.

Avatar image for csward

@nyran125tk: Agreed, they need a year or two off to refine the game.

Avatar image for alien33

This current trend with loot boxes in every god damned game has to end.

Avatar image for bluefox755

@alien33: It won't end until more reviewers start penalizing games for it.

Avatar image for csward

@alien33: Amen, brother.

Avatar image for ginxeno

i know it's not perfect or anything close to it, but i find it quite enjoyable if i'm playing it with friends or just spending time resting from other games, not that "mediocre" at least for me

but OOT a little, 2K this year is a bit of a letdown and starting to become another EA franchise company, i hope they come back next year with a better and polished games

i actually hoping they also join the Football (soccer) franchise competing with EA and Konami, plus american football, madden really need a competitor to be a better game

Avatar image for Gelugon_baat

@Xristophoros: I don't like the acted-out wrestling scene either, and I used to jeer at people who like this scene too.

But then, I learned to understand their viewpoint, especially through Giant Bomb's staff. It's a lot of goofy shit that can be amusing if one thinks about how much effort that the wrestlers put into hamming up their performance.

Here, just watch this recent Giant Bomb video.

WWE 2K18 More Info

  • First Released Oct 13, 2017
    • Nintendo Switch
    • PC
    • + 2 more
    • PlayStation 4
    • Xbox One
    WWE 2K18 will feature Seth Rollins as its cover athlete.
    Average Rating35 Rating(s)
    Please Sign In to rate WWE 2K18
    Developed by:
    Published by:
    2K Games
    Action, Wrestling, Fighting
    Content is generally suitable for ages 13 and up. May contain violence, suggestive themes, crude humor, minimal blood, simulated gambling and/or infrequent use of strong language.
    Alcohol Reference, Blood, Mild Language, Mild Suggestive Themes, Violence