By Vince Ingenito on September 30, 2014,

Like a lot of WWE-loving gamers, I've given a lot of thought to what my perfect wrestling game might look and play like. Yeah, I can assure you, that game will never be made...mostly because the things I'd want would be so at odds with what a game needs to be a mainstream success nowadays. But it still makes me smile when modern games offer a piece or two of that perfect vision. WWE 2K15's MyCareer mode made me smile such a smile, because for the first time that I can remember in the history of virtual wrasslin, whether you win or lose is only as important as how good of a show you're putting on.

Let's get some facts straight first. MyCareer is a mode for created wrestlers only, and it has you starting out at the NXT Performance Center in Orlando, where Bill DeMott yells at you a lot. From there, it's a ride to the NXT TV show, the main WWE roster, various PPVs, and perhaps eventually, championship gold. The thing is, that ride can be either explosively fast or arduously long, and ultimately, it may never lead exactly where you want it to go.

And that's what I find most promising about MyCareer: its length and overall nature are up to how you choose to play your character as opposed to your win/loss record. Once you've gone through the basics, and made our way out of the performance center and onto the NXT TV broadcast, your progress is based on your social media fanbase. Your job, just like any current WWE Superstar, is to entertain the fans, and as you well know, winning all of your matches and entertaining people are not always the same thing.

Over a long enough period of time, winning every match might be enough to get you over, but even a loss can be great for your career, because each match you compete in is rated on things like move variety, memorable moments, back-and-forth momentum swings, and overall drama. So, you're good enough at the game's mechanics to squash John Cena in two minutes flat using the same move over and over? That's nice. My 15-minute long loss where we both kicked out of multiple finishers at the 2.9999 count is the match fans want to see though, so expect me to land on a PPV card well before you.

Even if you're putting on 5-star matches on the regular, your experience is going to be different depending on the decisions you make in-ring and out. Storylines, rivalries, and alliances aren't really “random,” but they are dynamic based on how much of a heel or face you are, how over you are with the fans, and how previous storylines have worked out for you. Did you give Daniel Bryan props on Twitter? Did you smash Roman Reigns into an exposed turnbuckle? These kinds of things can result in a different path in an ever-branching system of events. There is no fail state, and there's no restarting a match if it isn't going the way you want it to. You live with every decision, and I wouldn't have it any other way.

MyCareer also functions as a sort of RPG grind for created wrestlers. Good in-ring performances net you skill points to raise the multitude of attributes you have. The catch is that different attributes will have a hard ceiling based on the class of wrestler you've chosen. You can raise the maximum values one attribute at a time by spending “virtual currency” (VC) which you earn from hitting career milestones and achievements. This same currency allows you to hire managers of varying ability, hold training sessions with other Superstars to learn their move sets, and much more. You may end up wanting to “grind” in My Career to make your created wrestler a total beast rather than try to make it to the end as fast as possible.

Maybe the coolest feature of MyCareer though, is that there are storylines that incorporate the CAWs of people on your friends list. You can opt out, but if you don't, you may be suddenly attacked by a friend's wrassler under the CPU's control. It's a neat idea that keeps MyCareer feeling like a uniquely crafted story rather than a stock one.

November 18th feels like too long to wait to get my WWE career started, but it's nice to know that when I do, I'll be doing more than just winning a set series of matches until a belt magically appears around my waist. The best wrestling matches are the ones that tell stories, and by tasking players with building a fanbase instead of just winning, 2K15 provides incentive to do exactly that.

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