WWE 2K23 Review
- Story And Setting
- Visuals And Performance
WWE 2K23 is one of the best games in the series, and one that quite frankly may surpass 2K’s other franchises in terms of polish and gameplay.
- Polished Gameplay
- Redefined Creative Suite
- QoL Improvements
- Large Roster
- Showcase Mode
- Tedious Lock-On
- Lackluster MyFaction Mode
- Face Models Look Weird
Whether it’s a rich storyline culminating in an emotional brawl, or just the larger-than-life spectacles of Wrestlemania, I’ve lived long enough to experience some of wrestling’s finest moments. And as someone who’s also a fan of the WWE games, it brings me immense pleasure to know that I was chosen for this review of WWE 2K23.
The game manages to polish most of the minor issues that the previous entry had, and adds quite a few quality-of-life improvements in order to enhance the wrestling simulation experience even further. So let’s dive deep and discuss everything you need to know, starting with the premise.
Story And Setting
Traditionally, the WWE 2K games do not feature a narrative aspect aside from featuring WWE content from the past year, but in terms of coherent storytelling, the showcase mode takes center stage as it is technically a campaign mode of sorts. Showcase mode is essentially a way for the player to recall the most important events of a certain superstar, their journey to stardom, and what ultimately made them the way they are right now.
While I definitely enjoyed the Road to Wrestlemania modes in the Smackdown Vs Raw games as a kid, as well as the previous showcase modes which featured more of my favorites such as Daniel Bryan and Rey Mysterio, the new 2K23 one might be a contender for my new favorite.
The new showcase mode is all about the man who endlessly preaches Hustle Loyalty and Respect, John Cena, a superstar who has won the hearts of countless fans from around the world, and cemented himself as one of the greats. So the mode highlights almost every integral moment in Cena’s career, whether it was his chaotic rivalry against Edge, or even the iconic championship match against Rob Van Dam at ECW One Night Stand 2006.
However, the only twist is that not only are these matches narrated and described by Cena himself, but you will also be playing as his opponents, who managed to pull a victory against the best of the best in the industry. Matches will play out in a scripted sequence as always, so you will need to complete objectives in a streamlined manner.
Thankfully, the mode isn’t too restrictive either, as you may find some surprises in there too, one of which the developers added as a clever easter egg as a nod to ‘Super Cena,’ where John Cena is occasionally remarked as a superstar who will win any match.
Lastly, other forms of story content also include the returning MyRise mode, where you create your own superstar from scratch. But this time, the male MyRise mode is called “The Lock” while the female version is called “The Legacy”. While I did scratch the surface here, starting from developmental territories, and making it all the way to NXT, the mode is basically more of the same as what we saw last year. It emphasizes your growth using your social media following, and most of the segments weren’t too unique to keep me interested in playing it too long.
If you’re a fan of the story mode content present in most WWE 2K games, then the showcase mode is easily something that you will love digging deep into in order to access a fair portion of unlockables. But aside from that, let’s now go over and discuss the real meat of the piece here, the simulation-focused gameplay.
Gone were the days of arcade brawling in WWE games, as WWE 2K opted to use a dynamically shifting simulation system for their games after 2K14. In retrospect, this system greatly benefitted hardcore fans who were looking for a nuanced basis for gameplay, but to this day, there are still fans who miss the traditional free-flow brawler combat where you could recklessly play in any manner you wished.
Still, WWE 2K23’s gameplay is a major stepping stone for the series, one that almost makes me think of forgiving the company for pushing out the atrocity that was 2K20 a couple of years prior. While on the surface, you might not immediately notice the improvements taking place after coming off from the previous game, the overall physics for one have been tweaked, and you will now notice minor details such as the ring ropes shaking when an impactful move has taken place on the mat.
Other quality-of-life improvements that made me appreciate the polish included the fact that you can now adjust each wrestler’s behavior in a match, whether it’s restricting giant superstars who use unorthodox high-flying moves, or even the rate at which they gain their finishers or signature moves. There is also a new pin system in place here, but thankfully, there is still an option to revert back to the old one if you so wish.
Almost every single older gameplay mode is present here, but you will mostly be excited to jump back into MyUniverse, which has been a staple ever since the Smackdown Vs Raw games. MyUniverse allows you to create your own shows and events all throughout the year and so forth, managing storylines of every individual superstar along the way so essentially you can create your dream matches. The creativity in this mode never ceases to impress me, as there have been a few improvements made here as well.
Speaking of which, the creative suite modes are back again in this game, and you can find yourself spending dozens of hours creating your own custom shows, championships, stages as well as arenas, which you can then post in the community and use any way you wish. Creating custom entrances never got old for me as I found myself tweaking current superstar entrances for my favorite wrestlers such as Roman Reigns or even The Miz.
Now I assume everyone has been up-to-date with the game’s release till this point, but even if you weren’t, I’m pretty sure you will be excited to know that out of the various match types present within WWE 2K23, the brand-new Wargames one is certainly a highlight.
One which delivers on the promise of allowing you to experience the chaotic bout of 3v3 or 4v4 in a giant cage across two rings. While the more recklessness came from me trying to switch targets during the match due to the poor lock-on system, this match will fulfill the dreams of many of having their favorite group of wrestlers duke it out in a fierce brawl.
The roster is also greatly improved, more so than in any WWE 2K game in the past, with a variety of wrestlers to use at your disposal, including Legends like Bruno Sammartino, and even newer other stars such as the American Nightmare, Cody Rhodes. If you’re like me and had a blast with WWE 2K22 from last year, then make no mistake, as this one feels like a re-defined successor in terms of the polish that went into the gameplay mechanics as well as the creative suite modes like MyGM and MyUniverse.
Visuals And Performance
In terms of graphical fidelity, there have been slight changes made to a few models and other wrestlers here and there, but many may not find them noticeable at first glance. They become apparent mostly during the entrances as well as during matches themselves. You may even spot some new lightning and enhanced textures, which can provide a significant upgrade to the visuals.
Now regarding the performance, the game ran smoothly without any issues on my RTX 3060Ti at high settings with a locked 1440p display offering crispy visuals. You may run into a few stutters here and there, but hopefully, those will be fixed soon or you won’t even notice them affecting your enjoyment of the game since it is optimized fairly well for most systems.
WWE 2K23 introduces a bunch of improvements that enhance the gameplay of the series, especially compared to last year’s entry. While you may be inclined to just play 2K22 and wait for a price drop for this one, for someone who played both the previous installment just a few months prior and then this game, the new elements introduced here were more than enough for me personally to make it worthwhile.
WWE 2K23 is one of the best games in the series, and one that quite frankly may surpass 2K’s other franchises in terms of polish and gameplay. Whether you require a casual title to just kick back with, or a professional wrestling simulation, look no further than this game, as it delivers on the realism factor, while still maintaining the dumb fun of wrestling games.
This has been our WWE 2K23 Review. While you’re here, consider checking out some of our other articles.
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