Image: 2K Games
I hate the WWE games, as a general rule.
The controls are clunky, the graphics always feel a couple years behind the curve, and the flood of different modes and settings and characters leave me with an acute case of analysis paralysis. Of course, there’s also a more fundamental issue: I’m not super invested as a fan in pro wrestling.
None of that matters anymore, however. WWE 2K18 is coming to Switch. Say no more. I’m sold.
It’s not that WWE co-developers Yuke’s and Visual Concepts make bad games. This series gets annual releases for a reason: they’re dripping with fan service/wish fulfillment, and wrestling fans who are also gamers eat them up. I don’t get it, but rock on to those who do.
Why, then, is a Switch release the tipping point?
When I sit down in front of my TV and turn on a video game, I want to get lost in it. WWE breaks that spell because of how cumbersome it feels. It’s got all the usual hooks that would normally draw me in — absurdly deep character creation, an elaborate franchise mode, a huge roster of differently skilled fighters — but the actual wrestling plays awkwardly and usually devolves into button-mashing.
In other words: it’s stressful and annoying. There’s nothing to relax with.
Switch offers a compromise that works for me: I’m not tethered to my TV anymore. Mindless button-mashing is a great way to kill time on a commute. So is obsessing over my custom-crafted wrestler’s musculature, hairdo, and attire. Or plotting out a TV schedule in the franchise mode. When I’m in my own, little bubble on the subway, all of that sounds very appealing.
I tend to think the Switch is living its best life in its mobile configuration. Playing those games on a TV is fine, but the real appeal — for me, at least — is having the ability to carry around the sort of higher-fidelity gaming experiences that have, in the past, been limited to the living room.
WWE is exactly the sort of game that I’ve always felt would get me more excited if I could take it on the road. Now, I can. And so, for the first time in ages, I’m genuinely excited for the inevitable fall season return of professoinal wrestling’s go-to video game.
Here’s an announcement trailer featuring Seth Rollins, if you’re into that sort of thing. You can also find more details on this year’s game right here.