In the gaming segment, we have not seen really good wrestling games since WWE 2K13 and certainly not at the level of WWE Smackdown! Here Comes The Iconic Pain. It did not help that the company’s last big game, WWE 2K20, was a failure on every scale when I even refused to review it. After this mess 2K decided to stretch their waists, take a year off and develop a really good game for a change. Did it work for them?
The answer is a resounding yes, but there are many reasons for that, and let’s start with the biggest: the gameplay. In previous games, the control was very unintuitive. Not too complicated once you learn it, but with different combinations of moves and combat mechanisms and counters that required the player to learn the game properly, you had to play the previous games or at least the game that came out at that time to know how to play well. The new game simplifies the experience and transfers the game to a combo mechanism with a weak, strong attack and perception.
From weak attacks, you can start combos with a combination of weak attacks and perceptions. The combos can be blocked with a guess of the type of next attack when you can block most attacks with a long press on the triangle / Y key and if you pressed the key in time, you can counter your own attack.
It’s much simpler than previous games, but on the other hand, it’s also much more inviting to new players. One of the things that will frustrate me the most in previous WWE games is that it was very difficult to sit someone next to you, give her a sign, and tell her to compete in the ring. The new game gives new players a lot of abilities to do damage and also gives nice on-screen prompts that will help players know what they have done well and what they can do now. On the other hand, veteran players still have options to perform special and cool attacks like Lionsault for example, thus the game manages to give new and old players an option to enjoy the game.
As usual, not everything is perfect: the game contains an evasion button that is about as effective as Brandon’s role in “The Elite”. It is not necessary when there is a counter button that gives me the option to start my own combo. In addition, the combo breaker mechanism works very hard on guesses of the opponent’s next attack. There will be people who will love it, I’m not connecting to this concept since Killer Instinct. In addition, I had quite a few moments where the game decided to miss me a jump, a hit, or a catch for … reasons. It’s not that I was not in the right area or near the opponent, the game just decided to miss the blow. Of course, there is also the great part with Tag Battles with the AI of the game that decides to do what it pleases and destroy you battles that you have almost won. Bugs like this are something I’m already used to in WWE 2K games, but it’s not that it’s something that should be there.
But even with these bugs (and other bugs that exist there), this game plays great and most importantly – looks great. I think it’s the best WWE game ever looks, with the wrestlers themselves looking fantastic, the arenas great and the change in camera angle making the game feel more realistic. Not everyone looks amazing, Brett Hart has received a little less love than some other superstars (as usual, unfortunately), but for the most part, the work done with the revamped graphics engine is great and really noteworthy.
Viva La Rey Mysterio
It’s fun to see WWE pay homage to the wrestler he deserves and the showcase she made for the legendary Rey Mysterio is just great. The game takes you through key points and battles in Mysterio’s career, from his days in WCW and his battles in WCW to the many championship battles he has had. During battles, the game will ask you to make all kinds of different attacks thus promoting the battle as it occurred in reality. It was really amazing to see the game move from a battle in the game’s engine to a video of the battle itself in a way that was smooth – it’s the kind of thing that makes a player emit a “how cool!” By the way, the emphasis on Eddie Guerrero in Showcase thrilled me personally as a fan of the genre.
Would I like to have more interesting battles from his history, like his short time at ECW for example? Maybe – even though what was here was great, I feel like Mysterio’s history is much broader than what was presented here at WWE 2K22. Which is great here, but with big dropouts like his iconic championship fight against Randy Orton and Kurt Engel (the reason for that will appear later) and his incredible run in the 2006 Royal Rumble he won after entering the competition first, it’s hard not to think the developers missed an option to give Even greater respect for a wrestler greater than life. Still, if you like Ray Mysterio and want to learn a little more about him (and about different combos and attacks in the game), this is Maude’s beauty.
MyGM, you’re FIREDDD!!!
Before I touch on the brake MyGM disappointed me (as the title implies), a few words about the other major game modes of WWE 2K22. If there’s one thing I learned from watching the videos of the BDE and DenkOps YouTubers (Chris Danger), it’s not to be underestimated in the MyUniverse game mode, and to be honest with you – this is perhaps the most entertaining mod there is in this game. The option to draft your own for all kinds of superstars and see what happens to them over a period of a year creates really funny situations. The option to take your own wrestler and win various battles to advance in ranks and become a champion exists there, yes, but in all honesty: one of the reasons this review was delayed a bit is because I created MyUniverse with Bobby Ashley as a Mid-Card wrestler and try to see how quickly he achieves the US Championship ( Hint, really fast).
MyRise is the biggest surprise of this game. This is more or less the story mode of the game that allows you to create your own wrestler and take him on a journey from the WWE Performance Center to the World Championships. See that a lot of investment has gone into this game mode as during the story you can make choices that will take your career in new directions when you do not have to fight all the battles and the game gives you to give up certain battles or perform them in other ways. Performing certain story battles will give you points with which you can improve your offensive and defensive abilities. As usual for the story modes of 2K sports games – the dubbing of the various characters is on the face and the writing is very cringy, but MyRise does the job properly – as long as you treat it as a complete Work from start to finish and less as a real behind-the-scenes WWE show.
MyGM is just a disappointment. Not that it’s a bad game mode, it’s just a lot simpler than I thought it was going to be. This mod allows you to do what MyUniverse allows you to do, with just complete control over the battles, promos, location of the battles and your superstars for a year. The mod itself is really cute and the fact that you can play it with another rival friend who organizes his battles is really interesting and gives you a real rivalry in order to understand which battles work with each other. Add to that little surprises like requests from superstars for special fights and the importance of keeping the wrestlers fit and you get a great mood for fans of the genre.
So why is he disappointing me? The truth is I just expected a lot more control over the stories. I expected to be able to automatically control who would win and who would lose and create rivalries and true stories and not just simulations of “who will win” when I had to touch myself on rivalries and decide who would lose or win by playing myself. Again, this is still a cool mod – I was just expecting more from him. Maybe in next year’s game. MyFactions is another cute mod that allows you to build a bunch of wrestlers who work together, or Faction, and help them take over the company. On the one hand, it’s a mod that is actually pretty good with nice challenges and a card collecting element (from which you will build your team) very addictive, but on the other hand, this whole mod smelled too much like the “micro-purchases” mod that the game lacked for it. At least it’s a single-player mode (even if it’s only online).
Someone send the game staff to Botchamania
Just before the end of the review, one last word about the staff of the game. In the last two years, WWE has released a lot of wrestlers and teammates according to what they call “economic considerations”. Let’s put aside for a moment what I think of these considerations relative to WWE’s tremendous profits in the Corona period, what it actually means is that a lot of wrestlers who were supposed to appear in the game did not show up as a result. While there is a list of people I am not surprised to not be on the game’s roster like Adam Cole, Bobby Fish, and Daniel Bryan (or Brian Danielson) who moved on to major rival AEW, the game does not contain as many legends as I would expect to find in a game like this.
I do not understand, why are legendary wrestlers like Ricky Steamboat and Kurt Engel not on the roster of the game? Why do some wrestlers who still work and perform in WWE-related places like Paige and Zalina Vega (who still wrestles for the company, by the way!) Not appear in the game? By the way, even some great tracks and entrance songs were left out like the great music of Undisputed Era or the truly legendary entrance music of DX. If it’s a copyright issue, it’s very strange. If the matter is time, then it was worth postponing the game a bit longer and putting it out with all this content. But unfortunately, I just assume it’s a matter of money and that some of the missing content I talked about will be released as paid DLC.
Here we can thank 2K and WWE for leaving the option to create characters and download them with the help of its Custom Superstars mechanism. Thanks to the large number of animations I mentioned at the beginning of the review, we got very good representations of wrestlers like Brian Danielson, Adam Cole and CM Punk, along with the option to download an entire program with logos and everything from AEW (it really is a hallucination to me). Of course, it does not solve the music problem, but it’s much more fun to take these characters to MyUniverse in the draft and let the imagination run wild with them. Besides, I’m sure the PC community will find solutions for us. Still, even with these options, this is one of the most uninteresting faculty that has been in this series of games for many years.
The bottom line
While this is not the perfect entertainment sports game we all wanted, WWE 2K22 does the job and is truly a fun game that WWE fans will want to play. The gameplay has received great improvements that make the game more accessible and fun for new players, the game less buggy than 2K20, the superstars look the best they have ever seen, and the MyRise and MyUniverse modes are fun and provide hours of addictive fun. The game does have serious palettes, especially in the MyGM mode which turned out to be a very basic and less exciting game mode than I thought it would be, and the superstar squad that took a hit thanks to WWE’s wonderful management, but it manages to make up for it by being a fun and enjoyable game for wrestling fans of all kinds. If you gave up WWE 2K20 and waited for the next big thing – then here it is. Let’s get ready to rumble.