Aside from Mario and Zelda, the first year of the Nintendo Switch saw a host of games to grace the console that we never thought would release for it such as Doom, Skyrim, LA Noire, and even FIFA 18. For most part, these were solid ports of games made for more powerful hardware. WWE 2K18 for the Nintendo Switch doesn’t fall in the same category. In fact, it could be used as a reason to avoid multiplatform games on the Nintendo Switch.
First up, even if you buy WWE 2K18 on cartridge, you’ll need to download 24GB to play. It pretty much defeats the purpose of buying a physical copy of the game and makes buying a microSD card necessary as the Switch’s built-in 32GB of storage leaves you with a mere 25.9GB of usable space. Considering there’s no pause download button on the Nintendo Switch, it also means you’ll need a reliable Internet connection.
Things only go downhill from there. For example, you have to contend with poor visuals on the Switch. Wrestlers aren’t as detailed, the crowd density and behaviour isn’t as vibrant, and lightning isn’t as sharp. The Nintendo Switch is underpowered compared to the PS4 and Xbox One, and expecting greater visual fidelity despite Visual Concepts promising the ‘same great gameplay’ is unrealistic, but it doesn’t hold up in terms of frame rate either.
Matches that had more than two wrestlers in the ring tended to crawl. Be it Battle Royale, Hell in a Cell, or even Elimination Chamber, the experience isn’t as fluid as it should be. Even Backstage Brawl which puts you up against wrestlers in locations such as locker rooms and offices suffers too. The controls aren’t as responsive either, making last moment reversals and grapple near impossible to pull off.
It doesn’t help matters that loading times are long. Clocking in at around 45 to 50 seconds, it isn’t as bad as Sniper Ghost Warrior 3’s five minute loading screens, but it feels like an eternity when you’re playing it on the go — which is perhaps the only way to play WWE 2K18. Running it in docked mode on the Nintendo Switch resulted in a game that clearly belongs in the early PS3 era with jagged edges and bland textures galore.
What’s worse is that this is all after a patch for the game hit. The improvements seem minor with wrestler entrances looking as they should minus any major slow down which was the case earlier. And the audio finally syncs with most of the actions on screen which wasn’t the case pre-patch.
All these issues appear to be symptomatic of a rushed job to get the game on shelves both digital and physical. Traditionally most games try to avoid releasing so close to the end of the year and it may just be that corners were cut to meet deadlines. Hopefully, publisher 2K Sports decides to fix these concerns with further updates, more so when you consider that its own NBA 2K18 was a solid effort on the Nintendo Switch.
The solitary bright spot is that barring Battle Royale being host to six wrestlers instead of eight, it’s more or less the same game on the PS4 and Xbox One, with no content being removed. That being said, WWE 2K18 on the Nintendo Switch is only worth considering if you absolutely must have your wrestling fix on the go.