WWE 2K22 Review

 

 
Overview
 

Genre: Wrestling
 
Rating: M15+
 
Release Date: Out Now
 
Overall
 
 
 
 
 
4/5


 

Positives


-Offers a great variety of wrestling modes and content, including the return of GM mode and an expanded Universe mode
-Wrestling gameplay is simple to pick up, but enjoyable in practice, and easy to get into with friends to create entertaining matches
-Lots creation options

Negatives


-While there's plenty of content, no one mode feels especially polished to feel like the game's rasion d'etre, beyond being yet another iteration on the series
-Simpler mechanics across modes might stymy long-term enjoyment


Bottom Line

WWE 2K22 thankfully feels more or less like a return to form, after the disastrous launch of WWE 2K20, a disappointingly bug-riddled title that was developer Visual Concepts’ first solo-effort at the franchise, after long-time developers Yuke’s departure (who have since begun work on an untitled All Elite Wrestling game). 2K took a year off […]

Posted March 21, 2022 by

 
Full Article
 
 

WWE 2K22 thankfully feels more or less like a return to form, after the disastrous launch of WWE 2K20, a disappointingly bug-riddled title that was developer Visual Concepts’ first solo-effort at the franchise, after long-time developers Yuke’s departure (who have since begun work on an untitled All Elite Wrestling game). 2K took a year off from main WWE releases to ensure that 2K22 would be up to par, and WWE 2K22 certainly feels a lot more stable. That is, aside from a widespread major bug that’s been cropping up in the last week, currently causing crashing in Universe mode. Oops.

Hopefully, it’s an issue that can get sorted out with a patch. Because, that bug aside, there’s plenty of content packed into WWE 2K22 to keep wrestling fans busy, even if it doesn’t feel like a massive re-invention of the wheel. Not only are there two male and female-tailored campaigns for your user-created wrestler in MyRISE, but there’s also the return of GM mode in ‘My GM’, the ability to shape your own brand in Universe mode, and a collectible online card game (where the microtransactions are thankfully sectioned off into) known as MyFACTION. There’s also a suite of Creation tools for making your own wrestlers and entrances and so forth, as well as the ability to share them with others in the community.

Most prominently featured is Rey Mysterio’s ‘Showcase’ mode, highlighting the lucha legend’s career in professional wrestling with a timeline of key fights from the past twenty years. You can hop into any of the matches to give them a crack, but most of the content you’ll want to unlock from this mode comes from achieving specific objectives in each one, following the drama and storyline the game guides you towards, which might mean a few replays to get them all down pat. Luckily, most of the fights are pretty interesting, especially given context with some set-up from Rey himself in live-action interstitials.

MyRISE, on the other hand, feels a little more awkward, and not quite up to the single-player campaign quality of something like NBA 2K‘s MyCAREER mode. There’s plenty of cutscenes to sit through, but oddly staged dialogue sequences with awkwardly-inserted decision points and conversations make it hard to take seriously. Still, there’s quite a lot to do, and the actual wrestling arcs are enjoyable, but it does feel somewhat simple. My GM, on the other hand, offers a wealth of options for customising and modifying your own roster of fighters, pitting them against another GM’s rival brand to see who can become more popular, and should satisfy players looking for a deeper experience. Universe, too, gives even greater control over shaping a wrestling season, also offering a new ‘Superstar’ mode that lets you focus on the career of a single WWE character and guide them on a more personalised level.

The actual wrestling gameplay feels simpler than in the past, with easy combos made up of light and heavy attacks and grapples. With quick fingers you’re able to respond to short reversal prompts to turn the tables on an opponent’s moves, although the window for these varies from feeling too easy, to far too demanding. Combo breakers let you break out of an enemy combo by guessing the input they’re using at the same time they use it, and given the limited range of options gives you a decent chance of success. As the match goes on you deal damage not only to your opponent’s health bar but specific body parts, as well as building up your own special meter to execute signature moves or special finishers, to make pins more successful.

The result is a fighting game that feels like it’s equally about the spectacle and drama of the wrestling match, as it is about timing moves. It’s far more rewarding to be involved in a drag-out match with multiple changes in fortune, adventures outside the ring and broken tables, than it is to completely dominate an opponent with a quick pin. The presentation of WWE 2K22 helps immensely in this area as well, as while user-created characters and some MyRISE models still have a plasticine-like quality to them, the actual talent in the wrestling roster look great, as do the arenas they fight in and the authentic-feeling TV style graphics that make it feel like a real cable broadcast. The commentary as well is lively and usually accurate to what’s going on, adding some amusing colour especially to user-created wrestlers.

The best compliment we can give WWE 2K22 is that it’s a great return to form for the series, that provides a solid wrestling experience with a range of modes that isn’t a bug-riddled write-off like WWE 2K20. No one mode stands out as the highlight of the package and the reason to recommend it as a whole. Rey Mysterio’s Showcase mode is interesting for sure, but probably best enjoyed by his own fans. MyRISE provides two fine campaigns, but My GM and Universe mode are ultimately more interesting, although with an appeal to tinkerers who want to try to simulate the entire sport. Maybe it’s just nice to have a solid wrestling game after so many years, which looks and sounds great on next-gen consoles, although I can’t deny it’ll be interesting to see what Yuke’s can come up with in their All Elite Wrestling game. It took the failure of WWE 2K20 to allow the team to have the time and the drive to make WWE 2K22 a larger and better product – with some more competition on the market with an AEW game, it could mean some exciting times ahead for wrestling fans.


Adam Ghiggino

 
Owner, Executive Editor of Rocket Chainsaw. I also edit TV, films and make average pancakes.