WWE 2K19

Game review by
David Chapman, Common Sense Media
WWE 2K19 Game Poster Image
Violent wrestling game takes the sports entertainment crown.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages

Players are encouraged to create their own custom characters and play them in either a heroic (face) or villainous (heel) way. Players can use certain options to "cheat" to win, getting disqualified if caught. The Showcase mode also features a strong focus on hard work and determination, as shown through the career of Daniel Bryan.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Showcase follows the career of Daniel Bryan in a documentary-style presentation, highlighting key moments in the wrestler's career, focusing on the obstacles he's had to overcome and his determination to never give up. The main roster of WWE characters runs the spectrum between "good" and "evil," often shifting sides along the way.

Ease of Play

There's a lot of complexity here, and not only in gameplay. Customization tools for characters, attire, matches, etc. require a lot of patience to navigate through a host of options. Main gameplay also has a learning curve. Simple button mashing won't work, because game uses moves that require specific setups, locations, situations.

Violence

Violence is a key part of professional wrestling, with characters beating each other up using a variety of physical moves, including punches, throws, and kicks. Players can also use items like chairs, sledgehammers, other items as makeshift weapons. Characters are shown getting injured; occasional moments where blood's shown on-screen.

Sex

Some lines of dialogue are suggestive. Male characters are often shown in just trunks or tights, and female characters generally have revealing ring attire. Parents should also be aware that custom user-generated content could expose young players to potentially offensive content.

Language

Mild profanity pops up from time to time, including "ass" and "bitch." It's also possible that user-generated content could contain other potentially offensive material.

Consumerism

Latest game in this franchise, promoting the shows and performers of the WWE. This includes regular weekly television shows as well as pay-per-view specials. The characters also appear in all kinds of licensed merchandise, including action figures, clothing, and other collectibles. Finally, the game itself features the option to purchase additional content, including new roster additions and additional in-game currency, with real-world money.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Some dialogue makes references to drinking alcohol, as do some crowd signs seen during matches. Also, user-generated content could potentially expose players to other instances of drug or alcohol references.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that WWE 2K19 is the latest entry in 2K Games' professional wrestling video game series for the Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and Windows PC. The game is based on the World Wrestling Entertainment franchise, with a roster made up of WWE stars from the past and present. Characters fight a variety of matches against each other, using everything from punches and wrestling moves to makeshift weapons. There's some blood occasionally shown on-screen, and some dialogue includes mild swearing and suggestive comments. Wrestlers also wear a variety of revealing clothing, from trunks to tights and all shades in between. Parents should also be aware that online play, coupled with the ability to create custom content for the game, could expose younger players to potentially offensive content.

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What's it about?

It's time to return to the squared circle with WWE 2K19, the latest entry in 2K Games' best-selling sports entertainment franchise. You can replay classic matchups or create new rivalries with a massive roster of more than 190 WWE superstars from the past and present, as well as future superstars eager to rise through the ranks. Players can use the in-game tools to create their own custom matches, events, and even title belts. There's also the option to play through the single-player Showcase mode to follow the career of Daniel Bryan, from his early days in WWE development to his first championship title win, and from his heartbreaking forced retirement to his triumphant ring return against all odds two years later. Better still, you can create your own wrestler and forge your own legacy, as you rise through the ranks and fight your way to headline the grandest stage of all: WrestleMania.

Is it any good?

The best way to describe the action in this WWE game is one part comic book, one part live stunt performance, and one part B-movie acting ... and fans wouldn't have it any other way. WWE 2K19 brings that showmanship home once again with the biggest entry yet in the sports entertainment franchise. There's no denying this game is bursting at the seams with content. The roster has more than 190 superstars from WWE's past and present, not counting any future downloadable content. The game features more elements to create your own custom content, from wrestlers to belts to events. There's a much more authentic MyCareer mode that actually (and finally) features voice-overs from the wrestlers, and WWE 2K19 also marks the long-awaited return of the single-player Showcase mode, which has been absent the past couple of entries. All of this adds up to make WWE 2K19 a heavyweight in terms of in-game content.

But just like in the WWE, a good gimmick will only take you just so far; it's how you perform in the ring that counts. Thankfully, WWE 2K19 is a pretty strong performer, though this is mainly due to experience more than anything. From a gameplay perspective, WWE 2K19 seems to follow the "If it ain't broke" philosophy. Most of the changes are incremental polishing and tweaks added to a tried-and-true formula. That's not to say WWE 2K19 is perfect. Far from it. Sure, the visuals are a little more detailed, the controls are a little more responsive, and the movements are a little more fluid, but occasional glitches still rear their ugly head. A character might get stuck in the ropes for a few seconds, or a punch that seems wide might connect in a physics-defying way. These are minor nuisances, but they exist nonetheless. The simple truth is that the series has gotten to the point where there's only so much that can be done without a complete overhaul. In the meantime, WWE 2K19 still rules the ring and takes home the championship belt as the best game the franchise has seen to date.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about violence in video games. Is the impact of the violence in WWE 2K19 affected by the fact that many of these moves and performances are staged instead of intentionally being used against people? What are the possible risks of imitating the moves performed in the game or on television? How do WWE superstars train to perform without serious injury, and what dangers can they still face?

  • How do customization options give players a more personal experience when it comes to creating characters and events? What sort of characters are you most likely to play: a heroic babyface or a villainous heel? 

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