The journey of the WWE 2K games has been interesting over the past few years, to say the least. WWE 2K20 was a nightmare of epic proportions, thanks to poor development and the most laughable glitches this side of developmental school. But then, last year, the series returned with a vengeance with the much improved WWE 2K22, proving that, given the time and the talent, anyone can bounce back from a colossal mistake.
Now here we are, continuing down that golden path with the highly entertaining WWE 2K23. There are still minor things that come up when it comes to the game’s performance, but they dwarf in comparison to the cool stuff that remains. The gameplay is probably the most focused we’ve seen in the series, and the new additions – particularly the awesome WarGames mode – warrant several playthroughs. This is just the game you need if you’re a wrestling fan.
Gameplay and Feature Improvements
Like last year’s game, WWE 2K23 has a reliance on classic, fun gameplay. Instead of relying on a forceful counter system or anything of that nature, the controls feel more natural here, as you can execute moves, counters and finishers with the greatest of ease. There’s also a fun new tweak to the pin system, in which you need to kick out more based on timing than good ol’ fashioned button mashing. It’s a notable improvement.
On top of that, the modes packed within the game will keep you busy for some time. MyFaction returns, allowing you to create your own legacy and then even taking them online to challenge others; MyRise builds around story modes that help you drive your star to super greatness; Universe mode lets you craft stories of your choosing; and MyGM continues to see progress with the way you can create shows. The challenge factor against other managers alone will definitely keep you busy. (But we still showed you, didn’t we, Trips?!)
And, of course, you can wrestle in different types of matches as well. There’s a variety of good stuff here to put your dozens of superstars through (with more to come via the DLC packs), but the big feature is WarGames. Introduced years ago in WCW and revamped through the more recent NXT brand, it basically puts two rings together under a steel cage setting and lets all sorts of hell break loose. It’s immensely entertaining and the best addition overall to the game. There are some things we’d still like to see with minor improvement, such as adding more AI challenge in certain parts. But overall, WWE 2K23 gives you a lot to do, so you can use your time wisely.
Now That’s a Good Lookin’ Grappler
Last year’s WWE 2K22 mostly proved that the developers at Visual Concepts have their head on straight when it comes to visual prowess, after whatever the heck happened with 2K20. But 2K23 thankfully continues to push forward on the model, thanks to even better graphics and, most notably, increased loading times. No more having to wait forever to start a match!
The wrestler models look fantastic, complete with their entrances (Cody Rhodes gets me every time) and awesome crowd effects. The wrestling moves also come off (mostly) without a hitch, and the ability to change around camera angles in some cases is pretty cool. Not to mention the destruction level of going through tables and involving ladders.
Minor collision issues enter the fray, but as a whole, WWE 2K23 just looks as close as you can get to the real thing. And the ability to throw your create-your-own wrestler into the fray is a nice touch.
As for the audio, it’s not bad at all. The in-game effects are superb, the wrestler voiceovers are spot on, and it’s great to hear everyone’s intro music. There can be a bit amplified crowd noises in some places (like they reportedly use at some shows – no one wants to see Austin Theory, right?), and the commentary could’ve used some Mauro Ranallo (that’s right, I said it), but overall it’s solid.
Should You Get It? Oh Hell Yeah
It’s been a rough journey for Visual Concepts and 2K Sports, but I’m happy to report that WWE 2K23 continues to go down the right path. Everything you could want in a WWE wrestling game is here, and the competitive angle will keep pushing you to get that much better. Not to mention that you can put together a show however you see fit (Randy Orton in Wrestlemania!) and have a lot of fun executing some of the best moves out there. This is one wrestlefest you shouldn’t miss out on, brother.
The Bottom Line:
WWE 2K23 continues to show the best kind of positives to the series, with a packed roster, a superb presentation, plenty of features and awesome gameplay. And that’s the bottom line.
Need a new console to play WWE 2K23 on? We’re giving one away!
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