WWE 2K22 Review: One step closer into the Hall of Fame

It has been almost a decade since 2K Games took over the mantle of bringing wrestling goodness to video games, starting with WWE’13 back in 2013.

After an unfortunate tumble in the reception of WWE 2K20 back in 2019, the franchise went back to the drawing board to review fan feedback. Developer Visual Concepts had worked on a redesigned engine that brings a new perspective to gameplay and animation.

You get to play the Rock or John Cena in WWE 2K22. (Photo: 2K Games)

Based on the groundwork done for NBA 2K series, much improvement is done to the visuals. Your favourite superstars and live crowd now look better than past iterations of the game. And with new camera angles, the presentation does look fresh.

SPECS
PRICE: From S$84.90 (PC; PS4; PS4; Xbox One; Xbox Series X|S, version reviewed), available in Lazada and Shopee
GENRE: Sports simulation

While the game is downloading, you can set up a quick match between limited characters. A new control scheme has also been introduced in order to be more intuitive.

Evidently, without running through the short in-game tutorial mode, I was able to execute some decent moves based on my familiarity with the controls from past titles.

However, it is best to get acquainted with the new combo layout because some matches contain specific objectives to achieve a better score or unlock new items.

You don’t have to worry about having to remember much button combinations, as you can easily pause the match to review your progress.

FOR
+ Refreshing visuals
+ Cross-platform Creation Suite
+ MyRISE single player journey
+ MyFaction debut
+ Redesigned controls

AGAINST
– Omitted features
– Micro-transactions

The thoughtful menu display shows pertinent information to fulfil the objectives of a current match. Presentation is crisp and realistic with the new engine, and the game feels just like an interactive television series.

There are many modes you can play in this game. For instance, the Showcase Mode focuses on a couple of hallmark matches from the long-standing career of Rey Mysterio. And having Rey narrating segments of the match makes the experience up close and personal. I love seeing specific moments that you execute during the match being transitted to classic footage.

Essentially, you are relieving the actual match, and fulfilling the required actions will unlock rewards. But you can choose to ignore the objectives and play the match the way you prefer instead.

The Showcase Mode is one highlight of the game. (Photo: 2K Games)

The only excuse to skip is some objectives are not easy to execute. For example, you have to position your opponent a certain way to achieve an intended result, but you may have encounter reversals or hit detection issues.

Sometimes, the tide of the match can turn against you unfavourably in an instant, causing you to replay the entire match from the beginning. For example, I missed out on the last objective and lost a match as a result. And none of the bonus items got unlocked.

MyGM was one of the highly requested modes for the longest time and it is finally re-introduced here. You play against rival General Managers, as you strive to increase the ratings of your show week after week while balancing your budget.

Down you go, buddy! (Photo: 2K Games)

Being able to set up rivalries and match types is great, but you can only meddle between two championship titles while other middle card and tag team titles are currently not available.

Other than unlocking two limited edition cards for the long-standing WWE Supercard game, another collectibles card game is built in through MyFaction mode. This is akin to the ultimate team mode in FIFA games whereby you put together your best team from a selected starter pack, and attempt to unlock more higher-tiered cards of superstars by winning matches of various difficulty levels. Better cards come with useful perks that aid the player during matches.

You will love these cards. (Photo: 2K Games)

Daily login and persistent play rewards help to speed up your progress, while getting the Deluxe or NWO 4-Life edition gives you access to exclusively ranked superstars. Performing well and winning earns more in-game credits to purchase new packs. There is also an option to buy more through micro-transactions if you like to indulge yourself.

MyRISE mode is all about playing as a created wrestler and working your way up to a WWE Superstar. From interacting with various personalities face to face or through the in-game social media app, you decide your next step and which match or challenge to take on. Points unlocked from winning matches are used to level up your character.

MyRise Mode lets you create your own avatar to rise to WWE stardom. (Photo: 2K Games)

There are various storyline branches to be discovered, making it worthwhile to play through as both genders. This mode also gives you access to special backstage matches.

Next, the Universe Mode lets you choose between two modes. Classic lets you go through weekly episodes and play as more than one wrestler, while the Superstar mode puts you into the boots of your favourite character.

Lastly, the one that got me excited in the Creation Suite. It allows players to create superstars, championship belts, arenas, shows, move-sets and more.

This feature is big for budding creators because all shared content will become available on all platforms. This means players from any platform can enjoy and appreciate the hard work put in by their favourite content creators.

Some of the Creations online that you can find. (Photo: 2K Games)

I love that you can upload custom images such as your face photo through wwe.2k.com browser in order to give players more options to customise. But the user interface could do with some improvement.

Once you get it to work, Creation Suite can make your roster unique and grow the roster beyond the 160-strong official line-up. As fans will know, the line-up is dynamic. It is not possible to keep up with the latest contractual and costume changes.

Dedicated fans may pick a bone with the omission of segments such as Create-a-Story, Create-a-Finisher and advanced entrance themes, possibly removed in order not to overload the in-game engine resources.

Gameplay is mostly bug-free, but having it updated with the latest patch online allows for more of the
important issues to be addressed.

Overall, regardless of which game mode you find joy in, there is much to experience and check out from this bundle, enough to keep you occupied beyond the Wrestlemania show in April.

VERDICT
Like an anticipated wrestler returning from a hiatus, WWE 2K22 makes a memorable comeback looking all buffed and polished and winning the hearts of its fans again.

RATING
8/10