No one wanted to be in Visual Concepts’ shoes after the disastrous release of WWE 2K20. The pressure was on for WWE 2K22 to not only be a better game but also an overhauled experience. Anything less than great wouldn’t cut it here, but how does this latest wrestling game compare to its memeable predecessor?
Graphically superior with an “interesting” roster
Everyone remembers the memes from WWE 2K20—even the WWE superstars who shared screenshots of their deformed avatars from the game. The good news is WWE 2K22‘s graphics are no laughing matter this time around. The superstars and sets haven’t looked this highly detailed or authentic before. In fact, if you’d walked into a room for the first time, you would have to double check to make sure it’s a match in progress and not a cut scene from a live event.
An unintentional bonus is the roster here. While the WWE has undergone numerous talent cuts and releases in the past 12 months, the developers have kept many of these released wrestlers in the game. So even though Keith Lee and Jeff Hardy might be across the pond and All Elite right now, you’re still able to play as them here. That said, there are some newer superstars, such as the NXT champion Bron Breakker, who might have exploded in the WWE in the past six months but haven’t quite made into the game yet but could still be added at a later stage via DLC.
It’s time to play the game!
Bravo, Visual Concepts. Bravo! Whoever decided to overhaul the entire gameplay mechanism deserves a gigantic freakin’ raise. For the first time in a long time, a WWE video game feels like fun again, choosing to be the right blend between arcade fighter and pro wrestling title.
The complex reversal system’s timing? Gone. The terrible grappling system? Gone. The inability to pick up any momentum after suffering a simple move such as a dropkick? Gone. Rather, WWE 2K22 goes back to the good ol’ days of SmackDown vs. Raw where the action is frenetic, fast, and easy to get into with an intuitive gameplay system. Sure, the more time you spend with the game, the more likely you are to unlock a wrestler’s complete repertoire, but this makes it far easier for anyone to pick up the controller for the first time and have a low barrier for entry.
Acknowledge the modes
WWE 2K22 is rich in modes, with a variety of options for casuals to play a game against their friends or invested fans to build their own WWE career with all the (ring) bells and whistles. 2K Showcase is about recreating Rey Mysterio’s illustrious career, which will delight fans of the master of the 619, while MyCareer lets you create your own superstar and chart their path from rookie to the head of the table.
Much has been made about MyFACTION, which is effectively 2K Sports’ answer to FIFA‘s FUT and building a team to compete in all sorts of challenges and get points to improve your faction. It’s fine and achieves what it set out to do, but it simply cannot match Universe and MyGM since those two modes still remain the most authentic WWE experiences. MyGM, in particular, is the wrestling equivalent of Football Manager. You choose the GM, pick the roster, manage the budgets, and book the best possible programme in the world. Considering how many wrestling fans are armchair critics, this WWE 2K22 mode allows you to finally show off how you would do it if you had the chance. More importantly, it helps you understand why the WWE makes some of the matches it does based on the compatibility of wrestlers, the trickiness of budgets, and listening to fan reactions.
Does WWE 2K22 deliver the smackdown?
Thanks to WWE 2K22, the series has received its second wind. It’s the comeback that fans deserved after the previous game’s fiasco and proves that maybe a little time away is what was sorely needed. In fact, it makes you wonder what’s the point of yearly releases. Instead, give the developers time and space to create innovative experiences rather than derivative titles.
Tell us, are you looking forward to playing WWE 2K22? Let us know in the comments section below.