Out of all the WWE 2K games recently pulled from digital storefronts, WWE 2K19 was the most surprising and impactful removal for fans of the long-running wrestling franchise. This detailed guide will explore why 2K19 got removed, how its features compared to other titles, and what options remain for players to still enjoy this classic WWE game.
WWE 2K19 Delisted Without Warning
In June 2022, publisher 2K Sports suddenly and quietly removed WWE 2K17, 2K18, 2K19 and the panned 2K20 from digital retailers on consoles and PC. Of these, WWE 2K19‘s delisting came as the biggest shock.
WWE 2K19 received solid reviews upon its 2018 release, earning a respectable 8/10 score on GameSpot for its faster pace and improved controls. Over 1 million copies were sold – the most for any WWE 2K title since 2K took over the licensing in 2013 according to VGChartz. The game remained popular right up until its removal, with over 10,000 daily players on average per SteamCharts.
Features That Made 2K19 a Fan Favorite
As an avid WWE gamer myself, I consider 2K19 to be the pinnacle of the franchise. It struck the perfect balance of authentic wrestling simulation coupled with arcade-like accessibility. Let‘s examine some of the key features that made 2K19 so beloved:
Refined Gameplay and Controls
WWE 2K19 gameplay was noticeably faster and more responsive than previous clunky entries. Strikes and grapples flowed smoothly, while reversals were still possible but required precise timing. I loved how I could pull off combos fluidly once I got the timing down pat.
Revamped Skill Tree and Payback System
2K19 introduced a new Skill Tree for upgrading your chosen WWE superstars. This gave a great sense of progression. The upgraded Payback system also added special comeback abilities that could turn the tide in matches – like hulking up as The Ultimate Warrior or hitting a flurry as Ronda Rousey.
Return of 2K Showcase Mode
This excellent story-driven mode let you relive Daniel Bryan‘s career milestones and feuds. Unlocking match scenarios and behind-the-scenes videos made you feel invested in Bryan‘s underdog journey.
Massive Roster of 200+ Playable Characters
With a roster topping over 200 across Raw, Smackdown, NXT and legends like The Hardy Boyz, 2K19 featured the biggest WWE roster ever at the time. No matter your favorite wrestler, they were likely included.
The deep Community Creations suite allowed downloading virtually any wrester or arena imaginable, expanding possibilities exponentially. You could recreate dream matches and fantasy scenarios.
How WWE 2K19 Compared to Other Titles
To appreciate 2K19‘s brilliance, let‘s see how it stacked up against other entries:
2K19 vs. WWE 2K20
WWE 2K20 is considered one of the weakest entries due to bugs, glitches and dead weight mechanics like the wonky 2K Towers mode. Though 2K20 expanded character customization, its bigger women‘s roster didn‘t compensate for botched execution.
2K19 vs. WWE 2K18
WWE 2K18 was an incremental improvement over 2K17 with some nice additions like 8-man matches and upgraded graphics. But the gameplay felt too slow and reversal timing was difficult to master. 2K19 surpassed it with faster combat and aSkill Tree.
2K19 vs. WWE 2K17
WWE 2K17 introduced the useful Promo Engine for cutscenes and the return of backstage brawling. However, it also had some of the worst loading times in the series. 2K19 ran far smoother while retaining customization depth.
2K19 vs. WWE 2K22
It‘s too soon to give a definitive verdict on WWE 2K22, but early impressions suggest it recaptures the magic of 2K19‘s gameplay while adding GM mode and WarGames matches. However, its roster omits legends like The Rock. Time will tell if it equals 2K19‘s status.
Options for Playing WWE 2K19 Today
Since WWE 2K19 was pulled from digital storefronts, I‘ve been asked countless times if it‘s still possible to enjoy this classic entry. Here are a few options:
Buy a Physical Disc Copy
Your best bet is tracking down a used physical copy for Xbox One or PS4 via resale sites like eBay. Disc copies run $15-25 depending on condition. Make sure to specify you want original case and manual.
Check Local Classifieds
People in your neighborhood may be reselling WWE 2K19 discs on Facebook Marketplace or Craigslist. Meet up locally to inspect condition.
Rent from Local Video Stores
Brick-and-mortar video game rental shops that carry used titles may have WWE 2K19 available. This lets you revisit the game without a permanent purchase.
Borrow from Friends
If you know any PlayStation or Xbox owning friends who picked up WWE 2K19 back in the day, ask to borrow their copy for old time‘s sake!
Just keep in mind that without digital access you‘ll miss out on online play, DLC characters, and Community Creations. But the robust offline modes still capture 2K19‘s spirit.
The Bottom Line
WWE 2K19 represented the pinnacle of wrestling video game greatness with its fast-paced, yet strategic gameplay, wealth of customization tools, and almost absurdly huge roster. That‘s why it was so devastating for fans when 2K19 got pulled from digital storefronts. While it takes some effort tracking down now, WWE 2K19 remains absolutely worth playing for any fan of wrestling games. Just get your hands on it while you still can!