Game review: WWE 2K22 (Xbox Series X)
2K Games had a rough time back in 2019, thanks to the release of WWE 2K20, which was a buggy mess and was the worst received WWE 2K video game released to date.
The game was so bad it forced 2K Games to cancel the release of WWE 2K21.
With a two-year development schedule, all eyes are now on the release of WWE 2K22.
WWE 2K22 brings in new features such as MyGM and MyFaction. The game is also the first in the series to be released for the PS5 and Xbox Series X/S consoles.
The first thing that people will notice about WWE 2K22 is how impressive the graphics are. WWE 2K20 looked kind of ugly, but developer Visual Concepts has improved the character models and made the game look more lifelike.
The presentation as a whole is much better than what was given to us in previous games. WWE 2K22 features better camera angles, and finishers look more impactful and powerful, not to mention the crowd audio has been increased with different chants and cheers.
Even though the game features well over 160 wrestlers at launch, fans will be happy to know that all of their entrances have been left intact. Aside from a few inaccuracies, most of the entrances look like how you would see in real-life WWE programming.
In terms of gameplay, WWE 2K22 has made a few changes to make the game feel more accessible and fun to play.
In order to introduce the changes, Visual Concepts has finally added a tutorial mode that allows you to learn the controls from scratch.
From my experience, the changes are good as it makes the gameplay feel fast and fun. The developer has also made it easier for you to counter moves and added new combos.
The only thing that might displease some fans is that you still need to press two buttons to execute finishers. Finishers were easier to do in older games as you only needed to press one button.
That being said, I think this game allows you to earn signature and finishing moves at a faster rate. I also feel that the AI is less annoying in WWE 2K22 as they don't spam the counter button as often as they did in older WWE 2K video games.
Speaking of gameplay improvements, the Royal Rumble has had an overhaul making it easier to play. You can now throw wrestlers over the top rope using more moves than before. You also don't need to make a wrestler's health bar red to chuck them out now too. Even fresh wrestlers can be eliminated if they're not careful.
However, not every match has seen improvements. I had a very tough time trying to position the ladder when playing Ladder matches in the game. You can no longer drag the ladder in order to place it where you want it to be. Table matches have been improved a little bit, but they're not as interactive as they were in Smackdown vs. Raw 2011.
As for game modes, there are a ton of familiar and new modes that have been added to WWE 2K22. Returning modes include MyRise, Universe and Showcase. MyRise is quite fun because you can follow both a male and female wrestler's career. This mode features storylines that change depending on the choices that you make. It's quite lengthy, although the cutscenes and storylines are fun to play through.
Showcase mode revolves around the legendary Rey Mysterio. While it's nice to play as Rey in his memorable matches, a few matches are missing from this mode. WWE 2K22 does not feature Rey's WrestleMania 22 world title win over Kurt Angle and Randy Orton! Kurt Angle isn't even in the game, which is criminal.
Universe mode is similar to what it has been in past games, although you can focus on the career of only one wrestler this year. The latter option gets repetitive, though, because the game forces you to face the same wrestlers over and over again. For example, I was playing as Roman Reigns, and they forced me to face Angel Garza so many times!
Despite the repetitive nature, a ton of new cutscenes have been added to Universe mode. You can also ask to change shows or form a tag team if you want.
The biggest new game mode in WWE 2K22 is MyGM. Here in this mode, you assume the role of a WWE General Manager, and it's your job to book the wrestling shows. You have a budget to take care of, and you need to sign wrestlers to wrestle on your show.
Booking a show isn't easy because you are competing with someone else who is also signing wrestlers and booking matches. However, MyGM mode is quite fun because you need to manage your expenses while at the same time making matches that the fans want to see.
You will also need to look out for your wrestler's health and morale because they can get injured and unhappy if they're overused. It's a difficult mode to master, but I appreciate that 2K decided to bring this mode back into this newer game.
The last major new game mode in WWE 2K22 is MyFaction. This is a new mode where you collect card packs and hope to create the best faction in all of WWE. I was lucky opening my first pack because I managed to snag Rey Mysterio. As you play through the matches and objectives, you can earn more currency to open more cards in hopes of getting better wrestlers.
MyFaction is similar to the Ultimate Team modes that feature in EA Sports games. The only difference here in WWE 2K22 is that you can only face off against the AI in this game. You cannot compete with other factions with online players, sadly.
Fans will also be happy to know that there is a ton of creativity on offer here in WWE 2K22. You can choose to create your own wrestlers, entrances, belts, briefcases and more. The best part about the creation tools is that you can share your creations online for other people to download. Since I couldn't play as Kurt Angle, at least I was able to download him instead.
While WWE 2K22 is an improvement over WWE 2K20, it's still not a perfect experience. Some people may be disappointed that this game's roster is severely outdated. The game still features released talent such as Braun Strowman, Samoa Joe and more. However, you won't see any newer NXT 2.0 wrestlers like Bron Breakker or Cora Jade here.
Another main issue I had with WWE 2K22 were some annoying glitches and launch day problems. For example, I wasn't able to play MyFaction for a long time because the 2K servers kept dropping out on me. I also experienced a game-breaking crash when I played in the Universe mode.
Speaking of Universe mode, I kept attacking the referee for no reason because he would always stand in the way of my opponent. This only occurred to me when I was playing as Roman Reigns, and I was using his spear finisher.
All in all, WWE 2K22 is a better game than WWE 2K20, and it's a step in the right direction. The visuals and gameplay have improved, and the new game modes are fun. However, there are still some annoying flaws that prevent this from being a masterpiece. Still, hardcore WWE fans will love this year's effort despite the imperfections.
A code was provided to us by 2K Games for review purposes.