WWE 2K22 Expert Review , new Visual Concepts, fighters, more features

Review | WWE 2K22 – We keep repeating this sentence, but it’s just a fact: WWE 2K20 was a disaster. We do have some understanding that it turned out so badly given developer Yuke’s quite abruptly stopped developing the WWE series and Visual Concepts had to take over. The result was terrible and left the series a big dent. Now with WWE 2K22, 2K and Visual Concepts have done what should have been done in WWE 2K20: skip a year and even take some time afterwards. You can normally expect sports games with the year 2022 in 2021, but Visual Concepts has taken its time and released the game a little later. And that turns out to have been a good choice.

unexpected angle

What was previously known as MyCAREER has been renamed MyRISE in this edition. So this is the narrative part of the game. Besides a name change, Visual Concepts doesn’t seem to have stopped there alone. In MyRISE, of course, you play a novice wrestler who wants to make his way to the top of the WWE, but the story is less linear than before. This time we are presented with choices that affect the entire course of the story. Think of influencing things like who your next opponent will be, who you are friend or foe with or whether a fight becomes a single or double match. Ultimately you work your way towards an imprint such as NXT or Smackdown and your story ends with your favorite.

WWE 2K22 Expert Review , new Visual Concepts, fighters, more features

The theme of alliances and enemies is also reflected in the MyGM mode. In this mode, you step into the shoes of a WWE executive and have to put on the best show possible on a budget. While you also have to lure viewers away from other branches of the WWE. You can also choose whether you want to represent RAW or Smackdown, for example. The game offers you some standard options from well-known GMs, but you can also craft your own if you want to make it completely personal. In MyGM, strategy is important. For example, a match with two wrestlers having an ongoing fight will attract more viewers than two random wrestlers competing against each other.

Back to basics

If we can say one thing about WWE 2K22 that makes us very happy: the feature creep is gone. Other iterations eventually had so many bars and elements that you had to take into account that wrestling in itself became more of a job than just fun playing a game. Of course there are still some meters in your image that you have to take into account, but they speak for themselves. For example, there is still a meter that keeps track of how badly your body has been damaged, which in turn influences the way your wrestler plays. After all, it is not so easy to get up with broken legs. There is also a meter that builds up by dealing striking blows and converting that energy into a special. These can be executed by pressing R2 combined with another button. WWE 2K22 excels in its simplicity and makes the overall combat system more accessible to outsiders again. For example, playing a game on the couch with some friends is suddenly a lot more accessible.

WWE 2K22 Expert Review , new Visual Concepts, fighters, more features

And then we haven’t even mentioned how smoothly the game plays. The way of moving around the ring and how blows arrive, it just makes sense. Just like the counters are no longer plagued by crazy glitches. This doesn’t mean that WWE 2K22 is completely glitch-free, but this is the most polished wrestling game we’ve seen in years. “Easy to learn, difficult to master” is the right description, which is perfect for a title that lends itself so well to an evening with some friends on the couch. As icing on the cake, there are also thirteen types of matches that you can choose from. Think of classics such as Steel Cage, TLC (Tables, Ladders & Chairs), Iron Man or throw all the rules off the table in Backstage Brawl.

Snag in the grass?

For a moment we were afraid of the MyFaction mode. We are of course familiar with the MyTeam principle from the NBA 2K series, something we are not exactly a fan of. MyFaction therefore also works with cards, but is a single player mode. By playing matches you unlock new cards or booster packs which in turn will result in a random selection of wrestlers that you can add to your faction. You get points for these booster packs by playing, but can also be purchased with the well-known Virtual Currency. Since it is a single player mode, the push to buy these packs is a lot less, because you don’t get a big advantage compared to other players. MyFaction nevertheless feels more like a mandatory number to us, given that a lot of money can be earned with this, than a mode that really adds something to the game. As far as we’re concerned, the hours that the development team put into this could have been used for something else.

WWE 2K22 Expert Review , new Visual Concepts, fighters, more features

World Wrestling

For an online match you can start a game yourself or search for an existing match. This can be done with up to six players in the ring at the same time. Both before and after the newly released patch, we experienced few problems. Occasionally we lost the connection, although that was due to our opponent’s bad connection. In addition to the wrestling matches, you can also play the MyGM mode online and thus compete for the title of best GM. Online may be a bit less extensive than in previous parts, but this has definitely benefited the gameplay. With custom lobbies you can easily set up a match with only friends or with random other players. You can choose from the thirteen types of matches that we described earlier. After setting up a lobby, you can create chaos in the ring with up to eight players.

Living up to the name

We had to laugh in the last part that a developer with the word ‘Visual’ in the name had delivered such an ugly game. They have now definitely turned that tide. WWE 2K22 looks spectacular at times. We say in fits and starts, because there is an obvious difference in quality between the various wrestlers. For example, relevant wrestlers like John Cena and cover star Rey Mysterio look razor sharp, but legends like André the Giant and Macho Man Randy Savage look just a little less. What struck us the most was that the wrestlers’ hair can sometimes get a little crazy and clip through bodies. Despite that, WWE 2K22 is anything but boring to watch. We can actually describe the performance in one word: buttery tender. We played WWE 2K22 on the PlayStation 5.

The soundtrack was a bit mediocre for us. This will most likely have to do with our music taste rather than anything else. What we can appreciate about the soundtrack is that it partly consists of artists who have actually provided music for WWE matches and even a few have played in the ring. Where WWE 2K22 really excels is the stadium feel. The cheering or whooping of the crowd is nicely synchronized with certain events in the ring and that sometimes made us think that we were at a real match.

Reviewed on: PlayStation 5.
Also available on: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, PC.

Conclusion

We finally have another fun wrestling game. WWE 2K22 has been able to bring big grins to our faces quite a few times and this time because the game is simply good. MyRISE held our attention well, MyGM is a welcome addition and the core of the game, the actual wrestling, is very well put together. We’re not that big of a fan of MyFaction, but because it’s purely single-player and doesn’t have a big pay-to-win content, we can live with it. In the audiovisual field Visual Concepts has also lived up to its name, apart from some minor mistakes. Keep this quality and we will gladly step into the ring next time.

Pros

  • Refined gameplay and yet accessible
  • MyRISE
  • MyGM
  • Audiovisually well taken care of…

Negatives

  • …with minor glitches
  • MyFaction feels unnecessary

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