WWE 2K19 is a wrestling game available from retail stores and for download from the PlayStation Store for the PS4. Officially licensed wrestling games began in 1987 on Commodore 64 and Atari ST with Micro League Wrestling that was also ported to Amiga and DOS before an entire multitude of WWE’s previous WWF eras, WrestleMania focused games and numerous WWE games through multiple franchises. Can WWE 2K19 simultaneously deliver the most realistic and entertaining wrestling game to date?
Showcase mode returns; allowing players to relive Daniel Bryan’s incredible journey through his words via over a dozen videos were Daniel Bryan talks about his wrestling career, alongside video footage of some of his in-ring highlights. After Daniel Bryan introduces the feature; gameplay begins with Bryan Danielson vs. John Cena at Velocity on February 8th 2003. Each match includes objectives such as performing grappling moves from Daniel Bryan’s set of technical wrestling skills.
My Player mode works in harmony with a variety of modes including My Career mode to form a story driven career mode for your created wrestler starting out at an indie promotion named BCW with dreams of making it to WWE; Road to Glory pits your created wrestler against other My Player created wrestlers for a chance to qualify for pay-per-view events; and My Player Towers includes daily, weekly and multiple towers that provide rewards for successful progression through the My Player Towers.
2K Towers is an all-new mode introduced in WWE 2K19 that sees a WWE superstar or your created wrestler from My Player mode challenged to a series of gauntlet matches. All 19 towers comprise of 5 to 15 matches per tower, while containing a unique theme, match rules, win conditions and stipulations such as a last man standing, submission or tables, ladders and chairs match. Each tower is superbly constructed with the first few towers not being as difficult, but gradually building up to a roster of legendary wrestlers including Legends: Andre’s Ascent beginning 14 matches with a match against Vince McMahon at Raw is War; Legends: Randy’s Savages commencing 15 matches versus DDP; Legends: The People’s Tower starting 15 matches versus The Rock from 2001 in a last man standing match; and much more besides. Legends lore provides interesting facts about legends situated within the legends towers, while tower goals offer in-game currency for scoring a particular quantity of points upon delivering great matches for the crowd or completing all matches.
My Universe mode allows players to play through a multitude of matches in every within the calendar from May until the following April including Raw, Smackdown Live, NXT, 205 Live and major pay-per-view events such as all of the NXT Takeover events, Backlash, Extreme Rules, Money in the Bank, Summerslam, Hell in a Cell, TLC: Tables, Ladders and Chairs, Survivor Series, Clash of Champions, Royal Rumble, Elimination Chamber, Fastlane and WrestleMania. Players have the option of controlling any wrestler in every match or alternatively simulating matches, while customising their WWE Universe to form potential rivalries, elevate the intensity of rivalries and even re-introducing championship title belts in every category via purchasing them with in-game currency before integrating them into matches.
WWE Creations mode allows players to create or edit a superstar, move set, ring entrance, championship, an entire show, arenas, video sequences, victory celebrations, MITB briefcase involvement and custom matches. For instance, creating your own show allows the player to customise the show name; the event’s location; select event music from a range of WWE and WCW pay-per-view events; a referee; a commentary style; choose from a variety of arena, match-up screen, an image to represent the show, transition image, watermark image, replay screen design, show load and general screen designs. However, best of all the create a show customisation options has to be the screen filters including late 90’s, 1990’s, 1980’s, black and white, sepia, bad VHS, vignette, 8 bit and cel-shading filters that provide a totally unique look to the wrestling action. All of your WWE Creations can be shared with players from around the world, while you can also download other player’s creations.
If players want more from each game mode, then you will be delighted to know that there are a range of amazing and refreshing gameplay variations including big head mode, cel-shaded mode and 8 bit mode. However, be prepared to overcome the challenge of 14 legends culminating with Andre the Giant in Andre’s Ascent in 2K Towers mode in order to unlock big head mode. Meanwhile, cel-shaded mode and 8 bit mode is immediately available for selection within customisable create a show screen filter options.
WWE 2K19’s roster of wrestlers is vast as if you have a favourite wrestler or manager from WWE’s Raw, Smackdown, NXT or 205 Live rosters, then that wrestler is most probably in WWE 2K19; complete with their official likeness, move set, realistic overall quality and paybacks such as AJ Styles’ 91 rating, instant recovery and resiliency, alongside each wrestler’s entrance video and music. Move sets are realistic to each wrestler as the quality of the move will depend on the usual inclusion of the move within that particular wrestler’s skill set. Finishing moves also play a huge part in differentiation of each wrestler’s moves set such as AJ Styles’ Styles Clash and Phenomenal Forearm, Bobby Roode’s Glorious DDT and Pumphandle Slam and Sting’s Scorpion Death Drop, Scorpion Deathlock and Stinger Splash. As for managers; you can expect to see Paul Heyman and Drake Maverick who fans of indie wrestling will know as Rockstar Spud. There are also quite a few legends, although they mostly have to be purchased utilising in-game currency including Sting from 1991, 1998, 1999 and modern day for 5,000 in-game currency each; The Rock from 2001 and modern day for 5,000 each; Stone Cold Steve Austin for 6,000; Kurt Angle from 2001 and 2006 for 5,000 each; Bret Hart for 5,000; Batista from 2010 for 5,000; Goldberg for 8,000; King Booker for 5,000; Kevin Nash and Diesel for 3,000 each; and more besides including the late, great Andre the Giant for 3,000; Eddie Guerrero for 5,000; Randy Savage for 3,000; and the Ultimate Warrior for 5,000 in-game currency.
There are a vast quantity of match types beginning with one on one, two on two, triple threat, fatal 4-way, 5-man, 6-man, 8-man, handicap, royal rumble and tournament; however there is a range of match type variations including a normal match, falls count anywhere, backstage brawl, extreme rules, ladder, table, TLC, hell in a cell, steel cage, iron man, last man standing, no holds barred, submission, battle royal, tag team equivalents and custom matches. Customisable tournaments provide players with the opportunity to form a tournament for any championship from past or present, choose an arena, any one on one or two on two match type and select from male or female wrestlers, alongside the capability of randomising superstars and having damage retention on or off for the duration of the tournament. Elsewhere, custom matches revolve around your custom match options from WWE Creations mode.
There are many current and recent venues and arenas complete with the ring design including the WWE and NXT Takeover pay-per-view events, 205 Live, Main Event, NXT, Raw and Smackdown Live events from 2018, alongside Clash of Champions 2017, Extreme Rules 2017, Hell in a Cell 2017, Mae Young Classic 2017, Summerslam 2017, Survivor Series 2017 and TLC: Tables, Ladders and Chairs 2017. In addition to the current venues and arenas; there are half a dozen classic venues and arenas including Raw is War from 1998, Smackdown from 2000, Summerslam from three decades before WWE 2K19’s release, WCW Halloween Havoc from 1998, WCW Monday Nitro from 1998 and the outdoor WrestleMania arena that each cost 1,000 in-game currency.
In-game currency is referred to as VC that can be spent on unlocking superstars, arenas, championships and in improving your customised wrestler in My Player mode with players starting out at 30,000 VC. In-game currency can be earned during exhibition matches, My Player mode, WWE Universe and in online multiplayer matches.
My Player mode allows the player to create a wrestler including a choice of five core fighting styles including technician, powerhouse, giant, cruiser and striker that each contain unique attributes specific to that style; accompanied by a narrated video guide to the move set within the chosen fighting style. The player can also customise their wrestler’s name, abbreviated name, entrance name, presentation name, crowd reaction and more besides, alongside numerous face, skin tone, hair style, facial hair and eye colour options for your created wrestler’s appearance followed by choosing any weight between 170lbs to 320lbs, a height of anywhere from 5 foot 10 inches to 6 foot 5 inches and multiple muscle definition tones. Attire allows the player to equip their wrestler with outfits, although more outfits can be unlocked in Road to Glory and through purchasing loot packs such as a Minecraft inspired zombie. Your created wrestler immediately has a complete move set based upon your chosen fighting style, while you can add signature moves, finishing moves and taunts, alongside more moves being unlocked through My Career and Road to Glory modes. Meanwhile, entrance and victory animations can be chosen, while a wider range of victory animations can be unlocked through purchasing loot packs. Further customisation involves spending style points on tree nodes to increase attributes and unlock skills, abilities and overcharge points, while striving to reach higher prestige ranks in order to unlock more tree nodes to increase your created wrestler’s statistics to an entirely improved quality.
WWE 2K19 is available as a standard edition, a Deluxe Edition that also features the season pass and digital content from the Collector’s Edition for £79.99, although the Collector’s Edition centred upon Rick Flair titled the Wooooo! Edition includes the Deluxe Edition game, season pass, further character packs such as Ronda Rousey and Rey Mysterio in a double pack and the Wooooo! Edition pack including arenas, attires and wrestlers such as Dusty Rhodes, Rowdy Roddy Piper, Randy Savage and more that would both otherwise cost £6.49 per pack, a Rick Flair Pop figure, an individually numbered replica Hall of Fame ring, a commemorative plaque with a piece of Ric Flair’s robe that he has wore during his ring entrances, QR code items for both Ric Flair and Charlotte Flair and incredible packaging focusing on Ric Flair wearing his different robes with a price of over £100 or $129.99.
WWE 2K19 has multiple downloadable content packs including a season pass at a price of £24.99 comprising the Rising Stars Pack that includes Candice LeRae, Dakota Kai, Lacey Evans, Lio Rush, Maria Kanellis, Mike Kanellis and Ricochet, while the Titans Pack includes Bobby Lashley, EC3 and War Raiders (Rowe and Hanson) at an individual price of £7.99. Meanwhile, the New Moves Pack includes more than 50 in-game moves such as Jeff Hardy’s Atomic Drop into Double Leg Combo and Matt Hardy and Bray Wyatt’s Assisted Twist of Fate, Avalanche Splash and Side Effect Combo, alongside the Senton and Leg Drop Combo. Players gain all launch day unlockable content from the game’s VC Purchasable section and the capability of deciding the overall rankings and attribute levels for all playable characters through the accelerator pack or for a cost of £3.99; unlock and boost My Player ratings and attributes at launch as part of the game’s My Career mode; and unlock all clothing at launch that provides attribute boosts in My Career mode through My Player KickStart that separately costs £7.99.
It is disappointing to not see WWE 2K19 ported to the Vita as it was pretty much the final opportunity for the wrestling genre to arrive on Vita which is rather odd in itself as there were at least seven WWE games that released on PSP including WWE Smackdown vs. Raw 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011 and WWE All Stars, although at least remote play is a consolation for WWE 2K19 on Vita. WWE 2K19’s remote play performance is excellent as it retains the quality of graphics, audio and general performance from the PS4 version. There are no remote play control optimisations resulting in sprinting and reversals being mapped to the top left and top right of the rear touch pad respectively. However, WWE 2K19 is still very playable during remote play after a bit of adapting to the rear touch pad controls.
WWE 2K19’s control scheme is far more technical in comparison to previous WWE games and wrestling games in general. Players will undoubtedly have to learn and become more familiar with techniques that are unique to each wrestler’s style, signature and finishing moves by pausing gameplay and looking through your chosen wrestler’s move set, alongside the general techniques that are needed for every match. For instance, every match will inevitably have some pivotal moments decided by the appropriate timing of a reversal by pressing R2 within a very short period of time, while escaping from a submission hold can be attempted through the right analogue stick or alternatively the much easier method of repeatedly pressing a sequence of face buttons. However, the most technical component of the control scheme is timing your attempt to kick out of a pin as only a small part of the circular reticule will be highlighted for you to press X within or otherwise the referee will continue their count, so there are only two or three chances to kick out of the pin, although the highlighted area of the reticule will be larger when your wrestler has more stamina or recovers from the opponents’ offence.
Graphically, WWE 2K19 features lifelike wrestler character models with excellent wrestler animations for each move and their unique signature moves and finishing moves, alongside an excitable crowd, while performance is mostly pretty good and consistent in frame rate and physics.
WWE 2K19’s presentation is some of the most polished in wrestling game history as character models of WWE wrestlers are situated next to the selected menu in their respective action poses such as AJ Styles flying through the air and Bobby Roode’s glorious entrance pose. Players can navigate menus such as play mode, My Player modes, WWE Universe mode, WWE Creations, local multiplayer, online multiplayer and more with support for navigation via the left analogue stick, d-pad and face buttons, while tapping the touch pad displays a description of the highlighted menu or option.
Voice-overs include commentary from Michael Cole, Corey Graves and Byron Saxton that produces a realistic quality in the dynamic of their commentary during the build-up to a match, throughout the duration of the match and post-match as they inform players about recent and historic events that really helps WWE fans that have not had chance to catch up with all of the storylines such as the events leading up to Matt Hardy once again becoming broken and tag-teaming with Bray Wyatt. Sound effects include wrestlers landing their moves, signature moves and finishing moves on their opponents, alongside an audience cheering for their favourite wrestlers and booing their favourite wrestler’s opponents that provides genuine atmosphere; accompanied by authentic ring entrance music for every wrestler. There is no DualShock 4 speaker implementation that could have produced commentary, audience reaction or each wrestler’s ring entrance music.
The trophy list includes 47 trophies with 37 bronze trophies, 6 silver trophies, 3 gold trophies and 1 platinum trophy. Easier trophies include the He’s 100, Bruiserweight, Bay Bay and Being Part of the Undisputed ERA bronze trophies for winning a match as Andrade “Cien” Almas, Pete Dunne, Adam Cole and Kyle O’Reilly respectively in play mode versus an A.I. controlled wrestler. The majority of the trophy list involves familiarising yourself with certain gameplay elements including payback wrestler variations and maximising My Player attributes. Harder trophies include the YES! YES! YES! Gold trophy for completing all matches in Showcase mode; the Big Draw gold trophy for winning 50 matches in Road to Glory mode; and the All This For A New Van gold trophy for completing 14 chapters in My Career mode. It is estimated that depending upon skill and a good trophy guide to provide some helpful tips that it would take between 25 to 50 hours to platinum the trophy list.
There are four difficulty levels including easy, normal, hard and legend with the major differences being how the opposing wrestler will always provide a few seconds of respite for your wrestler to recover when on the canvas and primed for the pin on easy difficulty. However, opponents become far more aggressive in their relentless onslaught towards your wrestler during hard difficulty with an almost immediate pin attempt following the offence. Legend difficulty only gets even harder from there, but it is important to note that easy difficulty is even hard until you have learned some of the gameplay techniques such as defending against an opponents’ submission hold and kicking out of pin attempts.
Local multiplayer supports 2 to 4 players in WWE Universe mode, alongside every singles and tag team match type with tag team matches available in competitive or co-operative gameplay with a quality in performance that is equal to that of single player gameplay, although showcase mode, towers mode and My Player mode cannot be played in local multiplayer.
Online multiplayer supports 2 to 6 players with plentiful quantities of modes and match types, alongside offering players the chance to play as AJ Styles as he takes on some of WWE’s toughest superstars in the Million Dollar Tower and even experiencing the creative talents of fellow WWE fans in WWE Creations.
WWE 2K19’s replayability is incredible from Daniel Bryan’s Showcase mode, WWE Universe mode providing a full season of WWE action starting in May until the following WrestleMania and My Player mode focusing on your very own created wrestler’s career starting out at indie wrestling promotions to the introduction of Towers mode and the unlockable big head mode, alongside create a show’s cel-shaded mode and 8 bit mode and an ample quantity of local multiplayer and online multiplayer features. Replay value is even more significant, especially considering the amount of unlockable wrestlers, arenas, belts and further customisation options, while WWE Creations allows players to download everyone else’s creations resulting in infinite replay value for as long as the online servers are available to upload and download user generated content that will collectively have players returning for dozens of hours worth of wrestling action.
- Title: WWE 2K19
- Developer: Yuke’s
- Publisher: 2K Sports
- System: PS4
- Format: PS4 Blu-Ray Disc/PSN Download
- Cross-Buy: No
- Cross-Play: No
- Players: 1-4 (Local Multiplayer)/2-6 (Online Multiplayer)
- Hard Drive Space Required: 50.21GB (Version 1.02 – PS4 Blu-Ray Disc/PSN Download)
- Career Modes - 90%90%
- Gameplay - 90%90%
- Graphics & Sound - 90%90%
- Controls - 90%90%
- Difficulty - 90%90%
- Replayability - 90%90%
Overall, WWE 2K19 simultaneously delivers a more technical wrestling experience, while remaining entertaining and extremely playable. WWE 2K19 is highly recommended to fans of WWE, wrestling in general, wrestlers from the rosters of WWE, WCW and ECW and even fighting games due to its more technical gameplay.