Tag Archive: Stone Cold Steve Austin


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.

Advertisements

Recently, I had the chance to talk with the legendary Stone Cold Steve Austin during the filming of his WWE 2K16 reveal trailer. What does the toughest man to ever step inside the squared circle have to say about being named the cover athlete? Hear what he told me in this behind-the-scenes video interview!

WWE 2K16 will be available on October 27 for Xbox One and PS4.

WWE Legend Stone Cold Steve Austin is turning WWE 2K16 into WWE 2K 3:16.

Stone Cold Steve Austin, a six-time WWE Champion, three-time Royal Rumble winner, and 2009 inductee into the WWE Hall of Fame will officially grace the cover of WWE 2K16 this year. Looking to raise some hell in video game form, the official announcement came via trailer this morning showcasing Stone Cold digging up a key aspect of his past, the Smoking Skulls WWE Championship belt.

Austin was one of WWE’s most celebrated superstars during the Attitude Era of the late 90s, cementing his status as an icon with classic rivalries against Bret “The Hitman” Hart, The Rock, and especially WWE CEO Vince McMahon.

WWE 2K16 will be available for Xbox One, PS4, Xbox 360, and PS3 on October 27.

A bionic redneck’s dream

I’ve been a wrestling fan for most of my life. It started with watching Hulk Hogan take on Andre the Giant with my grandfather. Then IRS came along and tried to make Tatanka pay his taxes. However, for a short time period I admittedly fell out of wrestling fandom. But with a crazed man from Long Island being flung from the top of a demonic structure and the rise of a certain bionic redneck, I was sucked back in and rarely strayed since.

These iconic moments in WWE history were just some highlights of what is now known as ‘The Attitude Era’. Stone Cold Steve Austin, D-Generation X, The Brothers of Destruction, and many other iconic men and women of that time period would cement their legacies as well as establish WWE as the dominate wrestling brand as they overcame WCW’s mid-90s advantage in the Monday Night Wars. And now, WWE 13 is having us relive some of those great moments like never before.

With cover boy CM Punk possibly marking the creation of a new era himself after last year’s infamous pipe bomb promo, it was only fitting that WWE 13 gave fans a brand new mode this year to replace past years’ story modes by using actual storylines from 1997-2000 and having players re-enact some of the most iconic matches of Stone Cold, The Rock, Kane, Undertaker, Mankind, HHH, HBK, and more. Not only does this give younger wrestling fans an overdue education, but it gives those of us who grew up in the era the most legitimate stories we’ve seen from the franchise since WWE No Mercy. It doesn’t hurt that it cranks the nostalgia factor up to 11 either, of course.

There are numerous other improvements to this year’s iteration of the WWE franchise though in terms of both presentation and game play. No, unfortunately not all of the hit detection and in-ring glitches we’ve almost become accustomed to were worked out. But besides these occasionally troublesome setbacks (its hard to suplex someone when they are cemented in the middle of the announcers table), there are new outside the ring features like ‘OMG!’ moments where you can sacrifice a stored finisher to spear a foe through the barricade or with super-heavyweights like Big Show and Mark Henry, actually smash the ring with a superplex.

Something the WWE franchise is known for, its creation features, has also seen marked improvements as additional layers and items have been added to wrestlers, like an individual layer for kick-pads on your shins. You can also now customize the stage and Titantron in Create-an-Arena, and even make your own Championship belt if you’re really old school and want to introduce something like the old AWA belt back into the mix. Altogether, this is amazingly the deepest creation suite we’ve seen yet.

There has also been a lot of fine-tuning in terms of the game play. Due to many matches from last year’s game seemingly ending much too quickly, many wrestlers health bars have been extended to help add some length to every time you step into the ring. This can sometimes lead to the precarious position of needing to hit a pair of finishers before your foe is in a weak enough state to the get the pin, but it definitely adds the desired length to matches. The counter system has also been tweaked, giving a larger window of opportunity for you to the hit the counter button in order to reverse your buddy’s maneuver. This allows many of the matches to take on a more natural feel as now even the most green of wrestling gamers can turn the tides should they be taking on a counter-happy veteran.

The online modes have also seen some major shifts as bots are now allowed into online matches meaning players no longer have to wait for six players to actually show up to do Elimination Chamber matches or the like. You won’t get any online experience in terms of moving up levels for beating a bot, but if you just want to have a match with some friends online and there aren’t enough for the match, this is a nice quick fix.

All things told it’s hard not to say this is the best WWE game of this console generation. Sure, there are still a few glitches, and the camera transitions aren’t as smooth as they could be, but when you consider everything that has been crammed onto one disc with the ‘Attitude Era’ mode, new matches like ‘I Quit’ and the King of the Ring tournament, the still stellar WWE Universe mode, the bevy of new customization features and improvements, and the high quality most of these improvements have been made with, if you are a wrestling fan this game is simply a must have.

SUMMARY: The bevy of unlockables, still stellar WWE Universe mode, even deeper customization features, and the nostalgia driven Attitude Era mode makes this the best wrestling game of this generation.

  • THE GOOD: Attitude Era mode hits every right note for long-time WWE fans
  • THE BAD: Still some seemingly ever-present glitches and hit detection problems
  • THE UGLY: That it isn’t an option to have Good Ol’ JR call ALL the matches

SCORE: 9.0

WWE 13 is available on Xbox 360, PS3, and Nintendo Wii. Primary version reviewed was for Xbox 360.