‘WWE 2K16’ is a new day for wrestling games

By Austin Miller, @AMiller_DE

Glass shattering is usually a bad thing.

But with “Stone Cold” Steve Austin on the cover and an entire mode dedicated to his career, “WWE 2K16” hits as good of a note as his iconic entrance music.

One year after “WWE 2K15,” one of the most disappointing wrestling games ever made, “WWE 2K16” greatly improves upon its lackluster predecessor.


Boasting the largest roster of any wrestling game, “WWE 2K16” lets fans play with more than 130 different superstars. Many of those are the same wrestlers with different attire, which does pad the numbers a bit, that still leaves about 100 different grapplers to use.

Current generation stars like Kevin Owens can battle stars of old, like Bam Bam Bigelow and his tattooed head. Nearly every major WWE character of the last 30 years is in the game, well, except for racist Hulk Hogan.

All of the characters look pretty good with the improved graphics. However, some character models look deformed.

Chris Jericho looks like a squirrel with acorns stuffed in his mouth, who then decided to get Botox. The late “Macho Man” Randy Savage, who many believe attended SIU, looks like some random bearded trucker you might see at Denny’s at 3 a.m.

But the worst of all is backstage interviewer Renee Young. Young was a delightful addition in the improved career mode. After a match, created wrestlers are interviewed by Young, where players can choose one of several dialogue options. But it is jarring to see such a beautiful lady turned into some kind of swamp monster. 

With that said, this year’s career mode is miles ahead of last year’s. “WWE 2K15” had players spend years on NXT, the developmental system, and then forced them to retire after one match at WrestleMania. “2K16” lasts much longer and is not a chore to get through.


The package is improved with awesome presentation. Even people who don’t like or appreciate wrestling can realize WWE nails the pomp and circumstance of its events, and this game is the best to translate that onto a console.

Loading screens between entrances are gone, making it feel as if you are actually watching Monday Night Raw. Dark and sinister characters, such as Bray Wyatt and the Undertaker, have atmospheric and ominous entrances, and the game matches them perfectly

Actual audio, like Daniel Bryan yelling, “Yes” as he bounces to the ring, were added, making it even more realistic.

This presentation is greatly presented in the showcase mode, which highlights the career of “Stone Cold” Steve Austin. Chronicling 29 of the Texas Rattlesnake’s most iconic matches, it serves as an awesome walk down memory lane.

But even the great presentation cannot save some of the terrible gameplay.

The awful chain wrestling mini-game from “2K15” returns and is still just as dumb. Players must participate in a rock, paper, scissors knock off to gain advantageous positions, and then find a random sweet spot with their thumb stick. It is just as dumb as it sounds and adds nothing to the game.

But that can be excused because it is possible to not to do it.

Submission moves have possibly the worst mechanics. Before, players would smash one button to fill up a meter, which would force the opponent to tap out when it filled — very simple. Now, there is a circle, where one player gets a red section and the other gets blue. To tap them out, you must stay in the opponents section for certain amount of time.

This mechanic is infuriating and stupidly difficult. It is reminiscent of previous UFC games, but even worse. It makes players only want to win by pinfall, which makes game monotonous.

I have no desire to use Daniel Bryan’s Yes Lock, his signature finisher, to win.

It is easy to harp on negatives like this and player models because they appear most frequently. But, as a whole, “WWE 2K16” gets a lot right.

Some fans say this the best wrestling game ever. I would disagree because the nostalgia of “WWF No Mercy” will always hold that crown for me. However, I would say it’s the best wrestling game of the last decade.

And that’s the bottom line, because Stone Cold said so.

Stars: 3.5 out of 5