If you’re holiday shopping for wrestling fans out there, there are two certifiable A+ products that are absolutely worth picking up to guarantee you won’t be going through a table when it’s time for said fans to open their gifts.
I’m writing this entry in our Holiday Gift Guide the day after WWE 2K17’s cover star Brock Lesnar was decimated in less than two minutes by the game’s original pre-order character, Bill Goldberg. The duo locked up for the first time 12 years, which also happened to be the last time that Goldberg had actually wrestled a match. Fans were talking about how the fantasy warfare that WWE 2K17 had provided was suddenly coming to life. And for a brief moment in Toronto, Canada at the 2016 Survivor Series, it did.
There’s a lot more to WWE 2K17 than fantasy warfare to make it a solid present for sports entertainment video game fans. The game has an incredibly deep roster, ranging from wrestlers of yesteryear from WCW and WWE to the newest crop of talent making their names in NXT. The renderings of wrestlers range from just ok (Bret Hart) to absolutely stunning (Samoa Joe might be their greatest video game wrestler I’ve ever looked at). After last year’s grievous oversite, The Four Horsewomen have made their way to a WWE video game as well, including Bayley, the NXT favourite who recently made her way to their main roster along with Charlotte, Sasha Banks and Becky Lynch.
While I still believe that Wrestlemania 2000 and No Mercy for Nintendo 64 are the high benchmarks for wrestling video games, I have enjoyed the game play in WWE 2K17. There’s a decent flow to a match that makes a lot of sense – you have to wear down your opponents, and there are multiple methods of building up your strengths and hitting your finishing moves. Timing is of the essence if you want to reverse an attack, but it’s not hard to trigger them.
Truth be told, I haven’t spent too much time with the online component of WWE 2K17, other than to download the created superstars that other players have generated. While I don’t have the patience of inclination to spend the time it would take to create wrestlers, I’m very happy to be able to access other people’s creation (there are some great CM Punks out there).
If you’re a sports entertainment fan, or know somebody who is, and they’re a gamer, WWE 2K17 is pretty much a no-brainer for them this holiday season, whatever platform they’re playing on.
Also new this season and equally, if not more essential for fans is the latest edition of the WWE Encyclopedia of Sports Entertainment, a massive hardcover tome from the folks at DK. Written by noted WWE experts Steve Pantaleo, Kevin Sullivan and Keith Greenberg, the 400+ page book is as advertised, covering wrestling as a whole, not strictly WWE. There are entries on various other companies from over the decades, and wrestlers who rarely if ever actually laced up their boots in a WWE ring. It’s that celebration of the industry as a whole that makes this edition of the WWE Encyclopedia the most successful and compelling one so far. This is an easy recommendation and a must-have for fans.