2K18 on the Switch is a terrible port of a game that already has problems.
I was very eager to play WWE 2K18 when it was announced to be heading to the Switch. It was the first WWE game released for Nintendo systems since WWE 2K13 for the Wii, and as a fan of wrestling, I was looking forward to playing a console experience on the portable Switch. Unfortunately, the port of 2K18 on the Switch is an awful mess, full of glitches and massive slowdown that makes it one of the worst ports I’ve experienced in quite some time on any recent Nintendo system.
The good news is that everything you’d come to experience in a recent 2K game is here -- create-a-wrestler is diverse with plenty of customization. Created wrestlers can even be downloaded so you can fill in the gaps of those who didn’t make the cut as you like. Modes like WWE Universe can showcase this greatly, where you can bring everyone from the past and present into one mode where you can create shows and edit them to your enjoyment.
What I’ve always liked about the WWE 2K games is that developers Yukes and Visual Concepts do a great job of combining past content with its current product. If you wanted to play as Ric Flair or a older version of Triple H or Undertaker, you can. If you wanted to fight in a number of memorable arenas ranging from last year’s WrestleMania to the WCW/New Japan Supershow arena that only the hardest of the hardcore wrestling fan would remember, you can. So much waxing of the nostalgia is present in 2K18, so plenty of fun can be had just going through the roster and seeing who you can face off against.
MyCareer is the main story mode where you take a created wrestler and start at the bottom, wrestling and training in WWE’s developmental league NXT to main eventing WrestleMania. Nothing is inherently wrong with this mode, but I found it kind of boring, no real pizzaz to it. The highlight is probably running into a number of WWE stars in backstage areas where they usually talk with on-the-brand type of exchanges that come off as kind of jarring, or dialogue that completely doesn’t fit their real life character. For example, I found it odd that Asuka talked to me in great detail about how delicious pizza and cupcakes were when in real life she speaks little English.
Controlling and working a match is simple and straightforward. Once you go through the tutorials, it shouldn’t be too hard to control the match. The problem I have with the gameplay is the reversal system -- it relies heavily on QTE button pressing when you aren’t in control of a match and want to escape. It’s so intricately timed that more often than not, you can either be too early or too late in getting a reversal completed, which is annoying. The submission system is also very complicated, enough where it feels like a chore to get it right. I’d appreciate the gameplay a bit more if it didn’t feel so overly complicated and tedious.
A lot of glitches are peppered throughout as well. Too often, I’d hit the ropes or try to enter the ring and then be sent to the other side. I saw glitches in my playthrough where wrestlers got stuck to objects, especially in the backstage area, and even saw wrestlers sometimes twist and contort unnaturally after taking moves. The level of polish here is pretty bad, so much so it’s easy to go on YouTube and see a compilation of all the weird glitches you can come across by just playing 2K18.
Worst of all, the Switch version comes with something not seen in the other console versions of WWE 2K18 -- massive slowdown. When just playing a one versus one match, everything is fine. Add any more, and gameplay slows down to a crawl. I’m not sure how Blind Squirrel, who developed this port, didn’t realize just how bad the slowdown was when doing a six-person tag match, because it’s borderline unplayable. That takes a lot of the fun out of modes like the Elimination Chamber or even something standard like a tag-team match. Even when Superstars make their entrance, the timing feels off due to slowdown. That doesn’t sound like a big deal, but in WWE, a lot of their content is about presentation. When it’s off, it’s extremely noticeable.
It's a real shame that WWE’s return to Nintendo systems is such a poor port of a game that already had problems. Alongside the glitches and bugs known in the other releases, we have a bevy of issues here, not limited to the terrible frame rate (especially in multi-man matches), the graphics downgrade, and tedious gameplay. Fans of both Nintendo and WWE deserved better than what we got here in this port.