The latest installment in 2K’s pro wrestling video game series, WWE 2K23, lives up to the hype as it truly is “Even Stronger” than its predecessor. The new game features the majority of WWE’s current Superstar roster, Legends, and NXT Stars (with more already announced in upcoming DLC). There’s been significant improvements in character graphics, expanded features, and overall gameplay.
Aside from the updated character models, the arenas themselves truly stand out in regards to the Titantron, entrance ramp, and particularly the stage. The controls, although different from the most popular classic controls in games like Smackdown vs. Raw, are fairly manageable and allow for incredibly realistic match pacing. Reversals are a bit easier than in previous games and the new pinfall escape system is very promising. Referees however, at times get in the way of match flow, and are sometimes slow to get in position for three counts.
The long awaited debut of the War Games match really lives up to the hype, and was hands down my personal favorite part of the game. In classic War Games fashion, players partake in a four-on-four (or you can set the match to a 3-on-3) matchup. Members from respective teams are released from the cages positioned in the audience at nearly perfectly timed intervals. Once all participants are inside the cage a winner is declared at the first pinfall or submission. This match was a ton of fun as team members would randomly bring in tables, chairs, and even sledgehammers into the mix. Players can utilize the small area between the two rings, and can even climb to the top of the cage to perform high risk dives. This match is just pure chaos and fun.
This Year’s 2K Showcase is based on the career of arguably the most popular WWE Superstar of all time, John Cena. Cena narrates a series of matches in his career, but also chooses to shine the spotlight back onto some of his favorite rivals. In an absolutely brilliant move, Showcase mode allows you to play as many of Cena’s rivals in matches that he lost instead of playing as Cena repeatedly throughout the 2K Showcase. Cena goes on to say this time around, “You Can’t Beat Me” and he’ll get it done with, “Roughly 5 Moves,” poking fun at his “5 Moves of Doom.” Fans can play as RVD, Kurt Angle, Edge, Undertaker, and more to unlock new items and playable characters.
Cena, who graces the cover of this year’s installment, also curated the soundtrack which includes tracks by Metallica, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Post Malone feat. Ozzy Osbourne & Travis Scott, Doja Cat, and more.
The featured story mode in WWE 2K23 entitled MYRISE gives the player two career paths to choose from. That of an up and comer who’s family member is a legend in the business in “The Legacy,” or have the pressure of being the next big thing in the WWE in “The Lock.” Both modes provide a fun, solid story mode for a custom Superstar of your creation.
The create modes in WWE 2K23 are much more user friendly and easier to navigate than in WWE 2K22. Facial features are particularly improved and realistic looking, while hair and hair movement continue to be the running issue through the WWE2K franchise. At least for the PS4 version of the game. Create An Entrance and Create A Moveset are straight forward as well with a plethora of options to create your perfect WWE Superstar. Additionally custom arenas are now playable online for the first time ever.
The fan favorite MyGM mode returns and is appropriately hosted by Up Up Down Down’s Austin Creed (WWE Superstar Xavier Woods) and Tyler Breeze. As always this alternative game mode allows fans to play fantasy booker and create dream match scenarios. The draft to start MyGM mode is a lot of fun with running commentary by Michael Cole and Corey Graves.
Other alternative game modes include Universe Mode which allows total control in “Sandbox Mode,” or “Superstar Mode” conversely, which focuses on taking control of one WWE Superstar. Much like the recent Madden Games, WWE 2K23 also features a card collecting mode known as MY Faction where players can collect cards of current WWE Superstars and Legends to create the ultimate faction, with new card themed packs released throughout the year.
As always this installment of the WWE2K series offers a TON of game modes, unlockables, achievements/trophies, and even a few unexpected surprises along the way. Aside from the classic fun of having straight up Quick Play matches with friends, it’s the little things like, the announcement of guys like Joe Gacy for upcoming DLC, “Rebel Heart” being Gargano’s featured entrance theme in the game, or Cody Rhodes’ “Cody-vater” entrance being available for custom entrances. 2K absolutely went the extra mile for this one, which will certainly leave fans of WWE2K feeling very “UCEY.”
WWE 2K23 is now available on all your favorite video game platforms, online and in retail stores.