WWE 2K17 officially hit the market Tuesday, and while many hardcore WWE fans and gamers have already gotten their hands on the new title, others may be waiting for more information and feedback before committing.
Those people are in luck because the WWE 2K developers have been quite transparent and willing to both discuss and show some of the biggest features in this year's game during the lead-up to WWE 2K17's release, as well as now that it has hit shelves.
While there are tons of features and modes that promise to have players hooked, the meat and potatoes of any video game is the gameplay itself, which is explained in great detail in the following video, courtesy of WWE 2K:
Anyone who has played one of the WWE 2K games in recent years is familiar with the controls and shouldn't have much of an issue picking up the controller and getting right into a match.
First-timers may need a bit of an explanation, but it doesn't take long to get acclimated since the strikes and grapples are set up in such a way that it's difficult to make mistakes.
The bulk of the schooling comes down to the submission and pin meters since good timing is needed to avoid losing the match in critical moments.
There is nothing more frustrating than coming out on the wrong end of a hard-fought match because of a timing mistake, which is why it's advisable for those who are new to the WWE 2K series to partake in some exhibition matches to test out the pin and submission controls before jumping into matches of importance, such as those in MyCareer.
Although slight tweaks have been made, the core gameplay is largely the same as it was last year. The biggest changes occurred in a couple of specialized areas, one of which is the use of tables.
Tables have long been a staple in WWE and its video games, but WWE 2K17 makes them easier and more fun to use than ever before, particularly in tables matches, as seen in this video from WWE2Kdev:
There was previously a level of randomness to the breaking of tables, but WWE 2K17 added a meter so gamers know when the table is ready to buckle.
WWE 2K17 also features new and exciting ways to put opponents through tables, such as moves off the apron and even throwing a wrestler from inside the ring to the outside and through the table.
As a long time player of the WWE video game franchise, I've never been a big fan of tables matches due to how difficult and contrived it could be at times.
There were too many instances of having to grab a tired opponent and drag them around the ring toward the table, and it took away from the realism factor. With the new system in WWE 2K17, however, it is easier and more rewarding to put someone through a table from almost anywhere inside or outside the ring.
Also, the table meter means gamers now know exactly what they're working toward and how close they are to breaking the table, which takes away some of the frustration that was felt in previous games.
Tables matches aren't the only hardcore element that has undergone a makeover, however, as WWE 2K17 has brought back the ability to fight backstage and in the crowd.
That was once a big part of WWE video games, but after being absent for several years, gamers now have multiple environments available to them over the course of a match:
Falls Count Anywhere matches have taken on a new level of importance due to the ability to battle it out over the guardrail, on the ramp, in the production area, in the locker room and in Triple H's office, just to name a few of the possibilities.
No Mercy for the Nintendo 64 is considered by many to be the greatest wrestling video game of all time, and a big reason for that was the introduction of backstage fighting.
WWE 2K17 goes back to those roots to great effect and adds an entirely different feel to a game that was already a great representation of WWE without it.
The backstage element has been present in the game over the past few years, but it was a mini-game more so than part of the match itself, as the only way to win was by knocking out the opponent rather than pinning or submitting them.
WWE 2K17 actually allows a match to start in the ring and go anywhere in the arena, and assuming it's a Falls Count Anywhere match, it can end in any number of different rooms or hallways.
The in-ring action is great in its own right, but some matches and rivalries need to be settled outside the confines of the squared circle with weapons and brute force, and WWE 2K17 made that a reality.
Even though the gameplay itself doesn't deviate much from WWE 2K16, the additions made to WWE 2K17 in terms of table matches and backstage fighting make it a far more complete and rewarding gaming experience.
One of the biggest draws with regard to WWE is the idea that anything can happen on any given night, and WWE 2K17 captures that feeling well with its new features.
Even though gamers can still opt to play traditional matches if they so choose, the backstage combat likely changed the way many will play the game moving forward, and the creative freedom it provides should ensure that the replayability of WWE 2K17 is a major selling point.
Listen to Ring Rust Radio for all of the hot wrestling topics. Catch the latest episode in the player below (warning: some language NSFW).
Follow @MikeChiari on Twitter.