WWE 2K18 for Switch Review
By Mitchell Saltzman
Updated: Dec 11, 2017 2:21 pm
Posted: Dec 9, 2017 1:05 am
In my review of WWE 2K18 on the other platforms, I had a mostly positive experience with the still-solid wrestling gameplay but criticized it for not addressing the modes and features that needed the most work after WWE 2K17, and for the especially underwhelming MyCareer and Universe Modes. I gave it a 7.0, for Good. Unfortunately, the Switch version of WWE 2K18 is an inconsistent, buggy mess, and even if the wrestling was as strong as Mark Henry, it still wouldn’t save what is one of the worst ports in the Switch’s library.
It’s to be expected that a Switch port of WWE 2K18 would have a pretty dramatic graphical downgrade, and sure enough, wrestlers look much less detailed, there’s not as much animation in the crowd, and various lighting and other visual effects are turned off. It’s noticeable at first, especially coming from the other versions, but I got used to it quickly. The big problem with WWE 2K18 on the Switch is that even with the graphical downgrade, it still performs terribly.LoadingWhenever there are more than two characters in a match, the frame rate slows to a nearly unplayable crawl. And the more characters you add, the worse the slowdown gets. That makes match types like Elimination Chamber, Hell in a Cell, and Ladder Matches an absolute chore to get through. Eight-man matches have been totally removed, for obvious reasons.
The slowdown even ruins entrances. Every wrestler’s entrance is affected by characters moving at about half speed while their music plays normally, leading to these awkward moments where actions are completely out of sync, making the sequences take twice as long as they’re supposed to.
An overall lack of polish permeates every single aspect.
On top of the performance problems, you can add on audio crackling when the crowd gets loud and even more bugs than ever before. Every single multi-man match that I’ve done I’ve had at least one wrestler continuously run into either the turnbuckle or the apron for extended periods of time, and Michael Cole or Corey Graves on commentary will start talking about a wrestler, then abruptly stop before finishing the thought. There’s just an overall lack of polish that permeates every single aspect.
The very faint and dim light at the end of the dark tunnel that is WWE 2K18 is that at least 1-on-1 matches are fine, for the most part – though backstage brawls take you to slowdown city if you ever go into split screen by entering a room or hallway that your opponent isn’t in. And there are a few smaller arenas where the slowdown isn’t as substantial, allowing you to at least play triple threat or fatal four-way matches.
WWE 2K18 for the Switch wasn’t ready to be released, plain and simple. The degree of slowdown in any match type with more than two people in the ring at the same time is simply unacceptable. Add onto that the weird audio glitches and an overall lack of polish, and the underwhelming single-player modes that impact all versions of WWE 2K18, and you have a Switch port that even the biggest of wrestling fans should stay far away from.
WWE 2K18 for Switch Review
Stay far away from the Switch version of WWE 2K18. Awful performance problems and bugs make it all but unplayable.
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Is WWE 2K18 really the worst game on Nintendo Switch?
We’ve had a lot of requests for this over the last few months, and having finally sampled WWE 2K18, we can see why. The Switch port has built up quite a reputation since its release in early December last year – in fact, many believe it’s the worst game available for the system. There’ve been reports of terrible performance and game-breaking slowdown, but the game was patched recently, so we thought we’d dip in to see whether there’s been any improvement. First impressions suggest not, and out of all the multi-platform Switch titles we’ve experienced, this is easily the worst port we’ve tested.
And it is indeed a pretty basic port by nature, as opposed to a bespoke project tailored to Nintendo’s hardware. WWE 2K18 is a multi-platform release so in assessing the Switch version we felt it was important to put it into context. The standard Xbox One is the next machine up the console power ladder, and in comparing the two, it’s fairly clear how the Switch game was nipped and tucked. There are the basics: a 60fps target frame-rate drops down to half that on Nintendo’s hybrid. And of course, there’s resolution too. Both versions tested use dynamic resolution scaling, so a 720p-900p range on the Microsoft machine drops down to 540p-720p in docked mode on Switch (we’ve have like to have tested the portable config, but mysteriously, the developer disables the system level screenshot function).
So essentially we’re looking at around 50-60 per cent of the resolution and a maximum 50 per cent of the frame-rate in transitioning down from Xbox to Switch, but the developers still aren’t done. Switch is shy a couple of gigs in terms of available memory so texture quality is downgraded, and some of the most compute and bandwidth-intensive passes in the renderer are strategically shaved: general shading quality is lower, with ambient occlusion and shadow quality in particular pared back tremendously. To give the game its due though, geometry is pretty close between both versions.
Fundamentally, Switch is a very different proposition to the Sony and Microsoft consoles. In terms of feature set, its GPU is just as robust, but it is a mobile chipset with a significantly reduced power level and some severe bandwidth constraints. Current-gen ports aren’t easy and need a certain degree of care and attention – an approach we’ve seen pay off tremendously on a range of excellent ports from Yooka-Laylee to Doom 2016 to Snake Pass to Lego City Undercover (and many others). For all its cutbacks, WWE 2K18 on Switch fundamentally fails because despite its patches, the performance simply isn’t there – with disastrous impact on gameplay.
Some might say you have to see it to believe it.
In a three on three match (perhaps mercifully, the four vs four option is removed from the Switch version) the action lurks in the low 20fps area, while dropping back to a standard one on one face-off sees performance rise to the 25-30fps range. But in putting numbers to the game’s rendering throughput, we still aren’t conveying how awful the experience actually is – and part of that is in how WWE 2K18 operates when performance drops beneath its 30fps target. The vast majority of modern games skip frames when this happens, but WWE harkens back to the Super NES era in that gameplay actually slows down.
There’s a literal slow motion effect when performance is affected, and this translates into unresponsive controls that make the game feel terrible play. And the lower the frame-rate, the more slowdown you get. As an experiment, we ran WWE’s intro sequences side-by-side on Switch and Xbox One – as you can see in the video above, you can see just how quickly the two feeds de-sync. This is perhaps not surprising bearing in mind the metrics: performance in the intros often remains markedly lower than 30fps and we actually reached a nadir here of a mere 13fps. Now, although it’s not preferable by any means, we usually don’t mind seeing some performance drops in non-gameplay engine-driven cutscenes. But these extended sequences only become more laborious to watch when so much of it is seemingly running in slow motion.
So is WWE 2K18 the worst game on Switch? Well, we’ve not played them all so can’t really provide definitive comment there, but based on the range of titles we’ve played it’s quantifiably terrible, and certainly out of the many cross-platform ports we’ve played, this is easily the least impressive. We’ve seen plenty of evidence that sensibly adapted PS4 and Xbox One titles can transition well to Nintendo’s hardware, but perhaps what WWE 2K18 demonstrates is that if you strip back so much and still can’t get a playable experience, perhaps the best way forward for all concerned is to throw in the towel.
WWE 2K18 – game reviews and ratings, DLC release dates, trailers, descriptions 004 Xbox One
Developer2K , Visual Concepts , Yuke’s , Yuke’s Co., LTD , Ltd. , YUKE’S Co.
Release date September 17, 2017
Release date on Nintendo Switch December 6, 2017
Release date on PC October 17, 2017
PS4 release date September 17, 2017
Xbox One release date September 17, 2017
Publisher2K Sports , 2K Games
WWE 2K Series
StorePlayStation Store 9 0003 , Nintendo Store , Steam , Xbox Store
Tagsaction , co-op , fighting , full controller support , local co-op , multiplayer , simulation , single player , split screen , sports , steam achievements , steam cloud , multiplayer , singleplayer , character customization , wrestling , simulator , sports game , Fighting
Digital Deluxe EditionThe biggest professional wrestling game series is back. WWE 2K18 Deluxe Edition includes the WWE 2K18 Season Pass, MyPlayer Kick Start, Accelerator, two playable versions of Kurt Angle, Cena (Nuff) content and more! After a hiatus of more than a decade, your Olympic Champion is back! Get two playable versions of WWE Hall of Fame Class of 2017 wrestler Kurt Angle: WWE “American Hero” (2001) and ECW “Wrestling Machine” (2006) skins. Celebrate the 15th anniversary of one of the most popular Superstars in WWE history! New exclusive digital content awaits you! Play as two of the legendary John Cena’s greatest rivals – Rob Van Dam and Batista! Plus, get two versions of John Cena (2001 and 2006)! About the Game The biggest pro wrestling game series is back. Cover wrestler Superstar Seth Rollins is waiting for you in WWE 2K18. Crazy dynamics, great graphics, dramatic turn of events, excitement, a variety of game modes and match types, creating your own characters and much more – in WWE 2K18 you will get even closer to the ring! Be Like No One. The most realistic WWE competition game ever! The most realistic WWE competition game just got even more fun with the addition of eight-man matches, a new grab and go system, a new weighting method, thousands of new animations and a large area behind the scenes. An all-new graphics engine has completely transformed WWE 2K18 and brought the dramatic events of the world of wrestling to the screen more realistically than ever! Experience wrestling action like never before as you freely roam and interact with WWE Superstars, forge alliances, make enemies, seek out missions and strategize upcoming matches. A completely new mode has been added to the game – Road to Glory! Compete against opponents online and develop your MyPlayer hero by unlocking game elements, upgrades and power-ups, participate in Special Events that take place simultaneously with real WWE events, such as watching pay-per-view broadcasts. Dynamic Creation Suite Customize your game like never before using an even wider set of customization tools and a new option for matches – Custom Match! The rich Creation Suite mode toolkit provides even more customization options for features for Create-a-Superstar, Create-a-Video and Create-an-Arena. Seriously, the BIGGEST ROSTER EVER awaits you! Win in the ring playing as many of your favorites WWE, NXT and legendary Superstars! We’re not kidding – WWE 2K18 features the most complete roster of the biggest and brightest WWE Superstars to ever fight in a WWE ring!
WWE 2K18 Coming to Nintendo Switch
Games in material
2K has officially announced plans to release WWE 2K18 on the Nintendo Switch .