(I give this a 6.7/10, but 7 is fine, I guess.)
I'm sure me liking this game may ruffle a few feathers, but I do genuinely believe that this game offers just enough enjoyment to stand on its own. It was never great, as it lacks in many areas that even PS3 games didn't, but at its core, it's still a good time with many refinements and excellent modes. The visuals are fantastic and they do a great job in bringing the WWE into the 8th generation. Of course, they don't look as good as the likes of 2K18 and 2K19, but I would argue that they hold up a little better than the visuals in 2K16 and 2K17. They also look better and are much more consistent than the visuals in 2K20, so there's that, too. The gameplay is the best it's ever been up to this point, as everything flows a lot better than any game beforehand. It balances simulation with fun very well, in my opinion. The 2K Showcase modes are fantastic. They play close to the same as 2K14s "30 Years Of WrestleMania" mode, but instead, you play through 2 iconic feuds, being CM Punk vs. John Cena from the early 2010s and Triple H vs. Shawn Michaels from the early-mid 2000s. They offer a ton of relatability to the game, and the stuff you unlock and how you unlock them is all good fun. My Career mode, while admittedly cryptic at times, is actually pretty decent for it being the first of its kind. The fact that you get to have a custom wrestler be the main focus of the mode, as well as take him on the journey to WrestleMania is really cool. It's not great, as it can drag on a bit, but it's a neat mode, nonetheless, and one that would get better with each game (with the exception of 2K20). The universe mode did get much better with a much more user friendly interface and awesome structure. Gone are the days of having most of the mode squished to one side of the screen, because now, everything is more centered and more inviting, and I know that may sound minor, but it makes a bigger difference than one would think. The ability to fully customize the attire of the in game wrestlers is just awesome, and is the one part of the creation suite in this game that's better than any game beforehand. However, this is where the game, in my opinion, falters the most. There's no beating around the bush when I say that the creation suite is just bad. If you want to create divas, arenas, championships, videos, original entrances, finishers, stories, or logos in this game, then I've got some bad news, as the options of creation are only limited to superstars, move-sets, superstar attires, and entrances from other superstars. In terms of other flaws, they're not as major. The smaller number of match types is incredibly unfortunate, as it puts a big damper on the longevity of the game in terms of casual play. It doesn't necessarily ruin the entire game, mind you, as universe mode offers a lot of longevity on its own, but it's still a big bummer. The roster is decent, but not as good as 2K14s. Most of the legends from the previous game are nowhere to be seen, and there aren't enough big standouts to really make an impact. There's mostly everyone you would expect at the time with a few legends from the Showcase modes, but that's about it. Serviceable, but nothing special. Aside from that, this game is something of a wasted opportunity. What could've been an easy improvement over 2K14 is ultimately held back by a terrible creation suite that only offers the absolute bare minimum and missing match types. Something we haven't seen since games from the N64/PS1 era, which is kind of sad. Hell, even if the creation suite was the exact same as 2K14s, it would've helped, but since we got so little to do, it stings. However, if there's one thing time has been kind to, it's this game. Sure, if you compare this to the likes of 2K19, then it's almost laughable, but thanks to it not only being cheap nowadays, but also being affected the least when the servers turned off (since the creation suite wasn't good to begin with), I can say that this is definitely worth it nowadays for wrestling fans. I'm not saying it's great, as it stumbles hard in many areas, making the criticisms towards this game well deserved, but I would argue that it's still a much better time than 2K20 as of me writing this review. For around 5-10$, the amount of stuff in this game is definitely enough to keep fans of the WWE happy, which is why I recommend anyone who's a wrestling fan who hasn't played this yet to check it out, as the excellent story modes and the few improvements over 2K14 really help this game stand on its own, even if it's nothing to write home about. It's not brilliant by any means, but it's a pretty good time with the right mindset.