WWE 2K23 Review (PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, & PC)
WWE 2K20 was a disaster. So much so that Visual Concepts skipped WWE2K21, focusing their development efforts on WWE2K22. And, my God, did it pay off. 2K22 was a blessing on all fronts, writing off all the damage 2K20 had done. Now, it’s that time of the year again when Visual Concepts is put to the test. Do they maintain the momentum, or does the pressure get to them?
Well, I’m happy to confirm that WWE 2K23 absolutely nails it. The game looks, feels, and plays amazing, with Visual Concepts wisely sticking to 2K22’s recipe and only improving on what already works. Now, that means WWE 2K23 is, more or less, the same game as WWE 2K22. Well, the core of the two games is the same, at least. What’s different is the elevation of already existing modes and the addition of new features to an already superb game.
And I won’t hold it against them, given that most annual franchises tend to stick to the same pattern of overhauling outdated gameplay, then polishing and adding fine touches over the course of a few subsequent sequels. At some point, we expect WWE to return to its glory in full stride. For now, though, we settle for the upward stride, however small the stride may be.
Having gotten that out of the way, newcomers and fans probably wonder what they can expect from WWE 2K23. Is it worth the buy? Should you wait for the next iteration? Here’s a WWE 2K23 review to help you decide.
The Wheels on the Bus
It’s no secret that the strength of WWE games lies in their game modes. Returning to the ring has its perks and adrenaline rush, but almost all other pro-wrestlers like Fire Pro and No Mercy will guarantee a good time in the ring. What sets WWE apart, though, is the stellar modes it offers and the consequent renovations that were done to elevate the experience further.
The modes in WWE 2K23 are a copy-paste from WWE 2K22. That’s the MyGM, MyFACTION, Creation Suite, Universe, Showcase, and MyRISE modes. MyGM is, by and large, the most exciting and guilty of snatching hours upon hours of gameplay from players. Though it’s hella fun, the hours’ sweep by with ease.
Anyway, MyGM is, essentially, a ring for the WWE general managers of pro wrestling. Each manager has a brand to uphold during the weekly shows by way of drafting rosters, managing budgets, signing free agents, booking matches, choosing match types, arena locations, and producing the events, and the duties just go on and on and on.
You can see where the hours go, all in the name of beating your rival GM in the ratings for the weekly shows. Now everything plays pretty similar to WWE 2K22, except that MyGM adds new features like new general managers, a custom one, new brands, unlimited seasons, and more. These are highly welcome changes, especially in the case of seasons where WWE 2K22 would come to an end after only one season.
Hall of Fame
Scripted or not, pro wrestling remains a highly skilled sports competition, not for the faint of heart. Some moves look daresome, so much so that watching them could make you queasy. But pro wrestlers are masters of their craft, and their real-world expertise translates into WWE 2K23’s in-ring action.
If managerial tasks feel like busy work to you, check out the in-ring action that is so diverse you’re less likely to get bored. As was mentioned earlier, WWE 2K23 maintains the core gameplay of its predecessor. However, what WWE 2K23 does differently is put its own twist on an already great game.
Take the showcase mode, for example. Previously, gamers would take on the role of a pro-wrestler, feeling what it’s like to be in their shoes as they battled their greatest matches of all time. However, WWE 2K23 focuses on a pro wrestler’s most significant failures instead. So, in this year’s game, you get to experience legendary John Cena’s greatest failures.
There’s yet another twist: You play not as John Cena but as his opponents. That means each battle is unique, with different mechanics and movesets to experiment with. This adds a great deal of fun to the game. Plus, it’s a great way to induct yourself into wrestling while getting a quick lay of the land.
The Meat to the Bones
Believe it or not, WWE 2K23 has a story mode, or at least a makeshift one. The MyRISE mode features two independent stories following a male and female wrestler. Players can freely create and customize their protagonists. Or, you can import your previously created wrestlers.
Although it’s a good initiative, MyRISE, even from previous entries, needs much work to compete with today’s story modes. The voice acting is wanting, and the dialogue can drag on for longer than a while. You at least get distracted by the option to make choices that affect the story’s outcome. However, it’s still insufficient to call it the main spectacle story.
You can try out the optional quests that earn you extra XP. These are handy when upgrading your wrestlers. If you don’t like a mapped-out story with objectives to fulfill, you’re free to check out Universe mode, where the world is more at your fingertips. Here, you can create your own storylines with various matches across the WWE universe.
Everyone’s talking about the WarGames that were recently introduced in WWE 2K23. I know, it’s surprising how war games have never been featured until now. All I can say is the war games are definitely worth the long wait. Especially since all the match types are the same as last year’s, with only a few tweaks here and there to create a smoother experience.
WarGames are two huge rings put side by side in a cage. With two players from opposing teams to start, a new wrestler from each team joins the fun every few minutes, one at a time, until they get to 3-on-3 or 4-on-4 single or multiplayer mode. For the single-player mode, the controls can get a little confusing, especially with the TV view the franchise is going for. However, there’s no denying the chaotic madness and ridiculousness that could potentially become an absolutely fun-filled night with friends.
Oh, and the extra players that join in later have the freedom to bring in weapons. So, you have fists and kicks slamming into you and tables, and chairs breaking off on you until one team pins the other or submits.
WWE 2K23 has significantly fewer glitches compared to WWE 2K22. However, the glitches are still there, and it would be appreciated if they got ironed out. That said, the existing glitches don’t break the game at all, so I wouldn’t even give much attention to them.
Verdict: Is WWE 2K23 Worth it?
It’s clear that Visual Concepts listened to the cries of the people and acted accordingly, because almost all of the aspects fans didn’t like have been overhauled in exchange for much smoother experiences. Sure, the core engine of WWE 2K22 and WWE 2K23 remains the same. However, there exist several iterations of the gameplay and the addition of new features to warrant a no-brainer better game than the last.
WWE 2K23 has more than enough content to keep your afternoon schedule blocked out. The superstars number a whopping 178, including 40 new ones not present in WWE 2K22. It’s hard to imagine next year’s iteration will have room for new content, which is a great thing as the focus can now shift to innovating.
If you played WWE 2K22 and loved it, you’ll, no doubt, play WWE 2K23 and go nuts about it. Okay, maybe not as much, but the effort would still be greatly appreciated, thanks to the developers placing their faith in their audience’s thoughts and views.
WWE 2K23 looks, feels, and plays amazingly across all the available platforms. It’s definitely a better counterpart to WWE 2K20’s massive failure and a definite improvement to its predecessor. If WWE follows this same trajectory, then the coming years will definitely shape up to be a glorious time for WWE 2K.
WWE 2K23 Review (PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, & PC)
A Much Bigger and Better WWE 2K to Date
If WWE 2K22 was the comeback for the WWE franchise, WWE 2K23 is the game that affirms the franchise deserves its seat on the throne. This is a pro-wrestling simulation game that has had its ups and downs over the years. Only recently has the franchise started to return to form, with this year’s entry marking their best achievement yet. If you’re thinking of ordering WWE 2K23, know that it’s filled with hours’ worth of content that will keep you engaged without fretting. The animations, moves, entrances, and more are realistically curated. Even the way the wrestlers behave on impact is top-notch. Quick, grab your copy out now on PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, and Microsoft Windows.