Tag Archive: brock lesnar


2K and WWE announced last night on Monday Night RAW that former two-time United States, WCW Tag Team, WCW World Heavyweight, and WWE World Heavyweight champion Bill Goldberg will be this year’s pre-order bonus for WWE 2K17.

A product of the WCW Power Plant, Goldberg ran roughshod through WCW in the late 90s, feuding with the likes of the nWo, Diamond Dallas Page, and Sid Vicious, and putting together a (heavily inflated) undefeated streak of 173-0.

“My son was a big part of this coming together, and I can’t wait for him to see his dad kicking ass in a WWE ring through the magic of video games,” said Goldberg in a statement. “I encountered the likes of The Rock, Triple H, Brock Lesnar and Ric Flair during my WWE career, and now through WWE 2K17, I’ll be taking on the biggest and baddest Superstars of today—showing them once and for all that I am still ‘Da Man!’”

Goldberg joins the ranks of Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sting, and the Ultimate Warrior as pre-order bonuses for the WWE 2K series. There will be two versions of Goldberg as part of this pre-order: one from his WCW days, and one from his time at WWE. The pre-order also includes two exclusive playable arenas in the forms of WCW Monday Nitro and Halloween Havoc. You can check out the reveal trailer below.

WWE 2K17 will be available in October for Xbox One, PS4, Xbox 360, and PS3.

Even after a relatively weak showing last year, I had hope that the second new-gen outing for the WWE’s annual wrestling franchise would be able to right the last game’s wrongs and bring the series to a new level. After all, it’s very common that yearly sports releases require an extra year or two before they hit their stride with new technology. Unfortunately, if everything I saw at the hands-on reveal of the game at SummerSlam this year was any indicator, WWE 2K16 is still a ways away from being a main event attraction in gaming’s always crowded fall season.

The demo we were given had access to two modes. The first is your standard Exhibition, which allowed us to tussle with a dozen or so revealed wrestlers from the company’s massive roster. We could do your standard one-on-one face-off, or wrestle as a tag team. I quickly set up a match between current WWE World Heavyweight and US Champion Seth Rollins (who I controlled) and Brock Lesnar, creating a rematch of sorts from the WWE Battleground PPV from a few weeks ago.

As soon as Brock started making his way to the ring, I was able to try out one of the new features the game touts—which gives wrestlers the option to run out during their opponent’s entrance to sneak attack them. With the element of surprise on my side, I began pounding on Brock as we slowly fought our way down the steel ramp. To my chagrin, after a couple of minutes the referee called off the match, much like he would on Monday Night RAW, and the match was declared a no-contest.

When offered a rematch I took it. This time, when I jumped Brock (again, not mandatory, but I was embracing my heel nature), I ran into the ring after clotheslining him, and Brock followed suit. After a quick, but very awkward cutscene that automatically positioned each wrestler on their starting marks—and which suddenly changed Seth’s clothes from his pre-match attire to what he more traditionally wears in the ring after a series of oddly timed cuts—the match started, with Brock at a slight disadvantage.

The idea of being able to run out during another wrestler’s entrance is a good one. It adds an element of unpredictability when playing with friends, and a sense of authenticity when compared to the product we see on TV every week. I think players need a better sense of when the referee is about to call the match off, because had I known that at first, I would have run into the ring much sooner in my first match—but otherwise this is a welcome addition.

Once the action got going in the right, however, I noticed an alarming problem: all the wrestlers felt particularly sluggish. In every match I played over the course of the evening, with different wrestlers from Wade Barrett to Daniel Bryan, it felt like they all had cement shoes on. This wasn’t just a problem in terms of speed, but also in how fights flowed. Gameplay was relatively unresponsive, with most matches devolving into the counter-fests that had plagued previous iterations of the game. We can only hope that everything is tightened up in the two months before launch, but this was disappointing to see to say the least.

Another issue that has troubled the WWE series is glitches, and this demo was chock full of them. The awkward resetting of the wrestlers at their starting marks was just the beginning; clipping issues, broken animation and ragdoll effects, and awkward cutscenes and replays happening in inopportune moments—like when I was going for a pinfall against my opponent—were all prominent throughout my playtime. While all of these are things that will hopefully be fixed by the final version, with 120 wrestlers on the roster, it’d be shocking if they all could be cleaned up by October’s launch. Even some of the wrestlers themselves seemed unfinished, with the quality difference between characters models for guys like Wade Barrett and Brock Lesnar being extremely evident.

Once a given match gets underway, whether you jump your opponent or not, the combat is the same as it has been in years past. Last year’s stamina meter returns, along with three health bars. You still use the face buttons on your controller to perform a series of strikes, grapples, Irish whips, and finally the pin. The only difference I noticed immediately in the ring is the quicktime grapples that started matches last year have been removed. It’s unclear whether or not they can be turned back on in options, but they were clearly missing from the demo we had.

There is also a brand new pinning and submission system, with the latter being similar to what was seen in EA Sports UFC, where each person has a bar in a circular icon. The hold applier is trying to overlap the defender’s bar, and if they do so for a long enough time, the defender will tap out. It’s a nice change from the button mashing system of years past but definitely takes a few attempts to get used to.

The pinning system is still a timing-based mechanic similar to previous games, but instead of holding a button and then releasing it when a meter fills into a “sweet spot” (resulting in a kick out), there’s now a spinning bar in a circle that only requires a tap of the button in hopes of landing in the target area. The more health you have, the bigger that sweet spot is, but both myself and my opponents found it easier to kick out with this method. In fact, I was kicking out of pinfalls even after three of Brock Lesnar’s F5s, and the other player after two Pedigrees from me.

The tag match I played with Tyson Kidd and Cesaro versus the Lucha Dragons played out similarly, but the one observation I made there is that the AI for your partner is much smarter than it used to be. Whenever I went for a pinfall, my teammate would often intercept the opponent’s tag partner and prevent the pinfall from being broken up—whereas, in last year’s game, I often had to take out both opponents before I could attempt a pinfall. As long as I went for the pin closer to my corner than the opponent’s, there was a great chance my partner was going to jump into the ring and make sure we got the win.

The other mode I got to go hands-on with was 2K’s Showcase mode, which this year follows the career of Stone Cold Steve Austin. Besides tapping into that nostalgia factor for those of us who grew up in the Attitude Era, Austin had some of WWE’s best matches in the late 90s and early 2000s. The first of the mode’s sixteen chapters sees Austin in the finals of the 1997 King of the Ring against a hobbled Jake “The Snake” Roberts, who was reeling after receiving a Vader Bomb in the semi-finals. Just like previous years, meeting each match stipulation results in a full cutscene, and rewards that would be fitting for the Texas Rattlesnake, before unlocking the next chapter.

The new aspects that are trying to be added to WWE 2K16 this year seem like steps forward, but with foundational elements—like how the wrestlers feel and look when you play—still needing to be fixed before the game launches, I’m admittedly worried about this year’s entry. With a couple of months still before release, I’m hopeful the bumps can be smoothed out and that we’ll see a higher level of quality in the game modes we’ve yet to encounter. If not, WWE 2K may need to take a long look at itself as a franchise before being sent back down to a developmental territory to work on its gimmick.

Best for business

Back in August, when I got to go hands-on for the first time with WWE 2K15, 2K revealed that the series would fall more in line with NBA 2K and feature a career mode for the first time. This past week, I was able to go hands-on with MyCareer mode for WWE 2K15 for about 45 minutes and take a look at life in the squared circle at three separate stages.

First, however, I must say that I was a bit disappointed I wasn’t allowed to play at all with the customization features for which the series is known. Of course, you’ll be able to do this in the final game, but “my” wrestler was pre-made. Although the couple of created characters we played with gave a nice overview of different hair colors, body types, and luchador masks, it wasn’t really the same as actually being able to dig through the creative options.

Beyond this, though, WWE 2K15’s MyCareer mode impressed me in a lot of ways. I began my journey as a wet-behind-the-ears rookie with a 55 overall rating. Without any pomp and circumstance, I was thrown into one of the seven rings available at a digital re-creation of the WWE Performance Center in Orlando, Florida, the company’s new home for training up-and-coming superstars.

And who was there, immediately barking orders and telling me how awful I was? WWE head trainer Bill DeMott. Now, Mr. DeMott is a very nice person, and I was fortunate enough to actually meet him at the Performance Center last week. But when you’re one of his students and you step into one of his rings, things change, and my created wrestler had Bill’s ire fall upon his head several times—and it was awesome.

As I worked matches in the ring, I received a one-to-five-star rating based on how I did in the and the show I put on for the crowd (if there’d been an audience besides good ol’ Bill). A match’s ebb and flow is also taken into consideration, so dominating against a jobber might not be best for business when you’re trying to tell a story in the ring. This made the new stamina bar (which I’ve now confirmed cannot be turned off) make a lot more sense, since it allowed my opponent a chance to get in a few strikes and provide at least a little bit of offense as I tried to catch my breath to perform my finisher. After the match, I got points to spend on my wrestler and level up his in-ring abilities, such as arm strength, speed, and stamina.

Once I was done messing around with my rookie, I flashed forward in my career and made it to the main RAW roster. At this point, I’d only been on the show a few weeks. It was immediately evident that no matter whether I won or lost, MyCareer mode would carry on and adjust accordingly. If I was in the midst of a rivalry, matches against other wrestlers weren’t as important, but they helped set up the story—a rival might interfere with our match or try to get in a cheap shot when I wasn’t looking. And even if I lost the match against my rival, I could still elevate my status in WWE and try to become a main-eventer.

Since the WWE had clearly invested a lot in me, though, in order to help elevate my brand, they wanted me to start a feud with an established star—and, in my case, I drew Daniel Bryan. I had the choice of shaking his hand to start a friendly rivalry or giving him a low blow. I gave him the low blow, which promptly started a “No!” chant led by my character.

I then flashed forward one more time to almost seven years into my career. By this point, I’d won a few titles, including the WWE World Heavyweight Championship, and main-evented some pay-per-views. I was still wrestling at a high clip, but then Brock Lesnar decided to show up and demonstrate what he thought of me by F5’ing me in the middle of the ring. This prompted a Twitter feud between Brock’s advocate, Paul Heyman, and me, where I could choose to respond to Heyman via a couple of options—much like I had the choice on how to kick off my feud with Bryan. Meanwhile, in the ring, over the course of several weeks, Brock and I continued getting in each other’s faces—until finally, Heyman said the two of us would meet in a no-disqualification match at the next PPV.

Though I only saw a brief glimpse of MyCareer mode, it definitely feels like something that I could play again and again just to see how my superstar’s career could change each time based on decisions I made. Also, storylines you might see in real life started to unfold organically, which made it feel like I was watching actual WWE programming and not just playing a game. If MyCareer can give me this feeling for hours on end, WWE 2K15 now has a mode to elevate the franchise to the next level—and I can’t wait to really dig into it on the new generation of consoles.

King of the Octagon

Up to this point we had seen the new Amateur control scheme and the Pride rules set for UFC Undisputed 3. But the elephant in the room had been “What about the career mode?” since we all knew that would comprise the bulk of the game. Well, the elephant is loose and I had a chance to go hands on and try to tackle the behemoth that this mode has become with all the changes that have been introduced to it.

The first thing you’ll notice when entering career mode are new live action movies that highlight everything you do. From first deciding to become an MMA fighter, to your first victory, to your first defeat, to your first championship, all the major moments of your career come with a short video revolving around a similar moment of either a UFC Hall of Famer or current superstar. Some of the footage has been repurposed from previously released UFC DVDs, but some stuff is completely original for the game.

We then entered into one of THQ’s staple character customization modes. Whether tweaking every fine detail of our fighter ourselves, or using a new “quick face” turn wheel with hundreds of pre-set faces laid out on it, the customization process has never been smoother. After choosing our weight class, we were then asked to select our MMA background. Whether we wanted to be a karate master, a Muay Thai monster, or an all-around MMA all-star, the choice was ours and different moves and move sets we would start with and could later learn would be affected by our choices here.

After deciding what path I would walk down, with UFC Play-by-Play man Mike Goldberg talking us through every moment, we learned about all the in-depth options we now had as we crafted our Ultimate Fighter. The first new feature was “Creds”. By participating in fights, and more so by winning them, we would earn Creds, which basically serve as currency in the game to unlock new gear and sponsor logos and better sparring partners and training equipment in order to increase the ceiling of where we could boost our stats to.

Then came the actual training. With 14 new mini-games, seven in the gym and seven in the octagon with a sparring partner, we could begin working on our stats. From tire lifting, working the heavy bag, and sprawl drills to working on our takedowns and clinches with our partners, the choice was ours in what areas to work on and when.

We were then shown six real world camps, including the legendary Greg Jackson’s American Top Team, where we could learn new maneuvers. From simple things like spinning back fists to more complex submissions, depending on where you study depends on whom you work with and what moves you can learn. After trying all the gyms, you’ll be locked into one and by training loyally at that gym you’ll unlock the right to learn even more involved moves.

Once learning some new moves, we were shown the game plan mode where instead of training, you could come up with a strategy against a particular opponent and if you succeed in the subsequent training, you’ll receive a huge boost to one statistic for one match. For example, if you choose the “Aggressive” game plan, you could end up with a +12 to your punches and kicks.

After all this, we finally got into the octagon and began our careers and played the game as normal. What is great though is that after you go through all the tutorial stuff of each activity you can do, you’re only allowed to do one or two of those listed activities above before your next fight. This still gives you the sense of control you’d want in personalizing your fighter, but it also keeps the action coming at a good pace so you don’t drown in mini-games trying to improve your submission defense stat or trying to learn a spinning back kick.

As you begin advancing up the ranks, that’s when things get the most fun as you start in the WFA and then you start getting a lot more choices about your fighter than the last game’s career mode. More opportunities to change weight classes along with the chance to go into the UFC or even Pride, which has been resurrected at least in this game, and earn their respective championship belts offers you the career management aspect many people have been looking for.

All in all, the Career Mode in UFC Undisputed 3 looks to have finally found that balance of fighting, character management, and customization that should allow players to feel like they are truly in the octagon themselves. This is shaping up to be a simulation worthy of making your wallet tap out and cough up some cash when it is released in February.

So what do you folks think? Are you pumped for the newest chapter in the UFC franchise? Are you excited about the new layout to career mode? Let us know with your comments below!

Ground and Pound

Originally Published: June 1, 2010, on Examiner.com, PlayerAffinity.com, and ESPNNewYork.com

They are modern day gladiators as fans cheer for knockout blows and bone breaking submissions. It is the fastest growing sport in America and is wowing fans with both the technical precision and sheer brutality its athletes need in order to just be competitive, never mind to try to reach superstar status. Of course, I am talking about MMA and its premiere league, the UFC. As with every sport in modern America though, you haven’t really made the full impact your capable of on the popular culture until you have a successful video game franchise. With that, I present to you the second video game installment of the UFC: UFC Undisputed 2010 from THQ.

The first thing you notice as soon as you pop in UFC: Undisputed 2010 are the near-flawless graphics. Accurate facial designs and tattoos of every UFC fighter through every division makes you feel as if you are watching a live Pay-Per-View event at times. Cuts gushing open, blood splattering and staining the canvas, and bruised ribs shine as highlights of a great visual package. Add in live movies of the UFC ring girls (I love Arianny Celeste) introducing the Classic Matches mode and the game is as beautiful as all those girls.

The audio is spectacular as well. Great, fluid play-by-play and analysis by Mike Goldberg and Joe Rogan that even takes your previous matches into account when commenting, something no other sports game really does. Include Bruce Buffer as the ring announcer and quality audio clips from every fighter for pre- and post-match interviews, including UFC President Dana White, and the audio is well played all around.

As with every other sports sim, the storyline is really determined by the results of your own play as you try to write your own story in career mode. If you keep winning, you’ll get title shots and be able to change weight classes and maybe even become a hall-of-famer. If you keep losing, you’ll wallow in the depths of the unknown and remain a nobody.

The biggest questions I had with UFC: Undisputed 2010 came with the decisions made about gameplay. I understand how difficult MMA is. It’s not something you can just pick up and play. You can’t just go outside, tape up your ankles, and start trying to choke out your brother whereas most other sports you just need a ball. Video games though should be something you can just pick up and play and you cannot do that at all with this game. The tutorial is something you’ll probably need to go through three or four times before you can even begin to understand how to perform basic techniques like throws and submission maneuvers and the amount of countering down by the computer can become frustrating even on easier game modes. If you don’t put your time in to learn the basic moves this will turn into a old school button masher for you very quickly.

This lack of pick up and play is a tremendous negative in terms of trying to draw in casual fans. The hardcore fans though will appreciate the work that has to go into making your created fighter the best he can be. The deep, detailed career mode that can follow you from being a scrub to a superstar, including what sponsors take an interest in you as you customize your own gear, is probably the greatest individual career mode I’ve ever seen in a sports game. Include sim modes where you can use an already existing fighter, ranging from Brock Lesnar and Frank Mir to Chuck Liddell, Tito Ortiz, and BJ Penn, to go after their respective weight classes’ title, to a gauntlet like title defense mode where you have to whittle away twelve competitors in a row and there is enough depth to this game to keep the hardcore fan coming back. But there’s even more! The Classic Matches mode where you relive and, in some cases, rewrite classic UFC matches to earn customization rewards, gives you a rarely seen total amount of depth from a fighting game.

And you can’t forget about the online play. Not only can you take your favorite fighters, real or created, up against other people, you can even join or start your own MMA camp. You can invite your friends to train with you and hone your skills for online play as you try to let people know that you are not only the ultimate fighter, you’re the ultimate trainer as well.

After devoting much of my Memorial Day weekend to this game, I can say that if you are a fan of the UFC, you’re going to love this game. If not, the difficult control schemes could leave you frustrated enough that you might not want to pick it up again, even with the glowing positives that you’ll notice from the second you get to the title screen. If you are on the fence about this game, not being able to just pick up and play is a big enough negative that might make you want to rent this before you make it a full-blown purchase.

Ratings are based on a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being the best.

Graphics: 9.0: Near-flawless graphics in terms of rendering and arenas and the fighters are so detailed that you would think you’re watching an actual Pay-Per-View.

Audio: 10.0: Great music sets the theme for these modern day gladiators and when combined with tremendous voice over work from every person involved with the UFC makes this one of the better sounding games out there.

Plot/Plot Development: N/A: It’s a sports sim and therefore you make your own plot.

Gameplay: 6.5: The only real negative for this game is that you can’t just pick it up and start playing. Having to devote a lot of time to tutorials and building up your fighters and technique might turn off more casual fans.

Replay Value: 9.0: An in-depth career mode, title and title defense modes, and classic matches mode coupled with online play that includes building your own MMA camp will keep hardcore fans practicing their submission maneuvers long into the night.

Overall (not an average): 7.0: The lack of accessibility to casual fans and newcomers will turn this into something we don’t see much of nowadays, a button masher. Being unable to just pick up and play this takes it down a notch from a must buy to a must rent and is only recommended for the ultimate fan of the UFC.

UFC Undisputed 2010 is available now for PS3, PSP, and Xbox 360.

-Ray Carsillo