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A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that WWE 2K15 is part of the long-running WWE wrestling game franchise. Players take on the role of male or female wrestlers in pursuit of becoming champions. The sport is violent and dangerous, with many moves risking serious injury to both the performer and the target. Wrestlers' heads can be targeted and cut open by repeated attacks, with blood covering their faces. Weapons can be used to assault wrestlers, with arms and legs targeted and crippled for the duration of the match. Billboards and messages remind players not to attempt these moves at home. Wrestlers wear tight, skin-revealing clothing, with some using pelvic thrusts and gyrations as taunts to opponents. Some drinking and smoking references can be found in videos and are made by wrestlers in dialogue and on fan-made signs in the audience. The words "ass" and "damn" are frequently used in dialogue. There are serious privacy and safety concerns thanks to unmoderated multiplayer.
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What's it about?
For the first time in the history of popular wrestling franchise, WWE 2K15 hits the PS4 and Xbox One. Aside from a visual overhaul, lots of new animations have been added to provide a more realistic feel to every match. There are three other major additions to this year's game. The first is the WWE Universe mode, which lets players shape the events of a show by creating and controlling matches, as well as building the storylines that lead up to a pay-per-view event. The 2K Showcase mode lets you relive some of the most popular and celebrated rivalries in the modern era by playing through the memorable matches and moments that elevated these fights into legendary tales. Finally, the MyCareer mode lets you create wrestlers, then bring them up through the NXT development league with the goal of becoming WWE champions. All these new modes compliment the standard single and tag-team matches, as well as the more exotic match types, such as Hell in a Cell and the Elimination Chamber.
Is it any good?
WWE 2K15's debut on the PS4 and Xbox One tries to provide the richest experience to date for wrestling fans. The game is visually striking, and most look exactly like their real-life counterparts. The new chain wrestling system gives a "rock-paper-scissors" mechanic to grappling; it might sound strange, but this addition makes the technical maneuvers feel authentic. Subtle adjustments made to the animations, stamina, and momentum meter also add to the emotion of a match. But the clear star is the 2K Showcase. Players fight through key matches from historic WWE feuds, completing objectives to unlock bonus materials that can be used in other game modes. This is the kind of gameplay fans have been looking for in wrestling games.
Unfortunately, WWE 2K15 also suffers from some large missteps. Virtually all of the legendary wrestlers found in previous games are missing. The MyCareer mode concept is good but falls flat in execution; it's sorely missing storylines and cut scenes that make you care about your grappler's progress toward the main event at Wrestlemania. The same could be said about the WWE Universe mode; you can't customize the rivalries or storylines to specific wrestlers, and lots of match types are missing. It feels like a shadow of older games. Finally, the counter system is flawed; you need lightning-fast reflexes to successfully block or reverse an attack, and, even then, your success will be hit or miss. The end result is that, while WWE 2K15 shows a lot of promise, its rough edges keep it from truly becoming a star.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the difference between simulated violence and real-world violence. Why do you think some fans attempt to perform their favorite stars' moves at home? Is it because they don't understand the risks associated with most wrestling moves, which are choreographed and practiced over hundreds of hours by professionals?
Wrestlers work hard to look like they do, but do they represent something to imitate, or is their appearance an impossible goal for most people to attain? How do these body image issues affect the fans and viewers of wrestling?
- Platforms: PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One
- Price: $59.99
- Pricing structure: Paid
- Available online? Not available online
- Developer: 2K Sports
- Release date: November 18, 2014
- Genre: Sports
- Topics: Sports and Martial Arts
- ESRB rating: T for Alcohol Reference, Blood, Mild Language, Suggestive Themes, Use of Tobacco, Violence
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.