screenrant.com WWE 2K22 Review: A Solid Return To The Ring
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screenrant.com WWE 2K22 Review: A Solid Return To The Ring

After the divisive launch of WWE 2K20 back in 2019, 2K Games and developer Visual Concepts canceled WWE 2K21 and took two years off to reevaluate their approach to capturing the in-ring action of WWE in video game form. With this backlash still fresh in the minds of gamers, much is riding on WWE 2K22 as a return to form for the franchise - especially after recent rumors that WWE may give its gaming license to EA if things don’t improve. Thankfully, WWE 2K22 is a step in the right direction for newcomers and seasoned ring veterans alike.

WWE 2K22’s combat has been reworked from the ground up. Strikes, grapples, and counter moves are performed by pressing a single face button, with an additional press needed to decide what move to perform during a grapple. By stringing together attacks and grapples, players can pull off combo moves, with the final strike dealing extra damage. Once a specific meter is filled, wrestlers can perform their special moves and Finishers to end the match. Vitality and Body Damage determine how much more punishment an opponent can take, and pinfalls and submissions are carried out through a button-mashing minigame. AI can be quite formable at higher difficulties but computer-controlled opponents can falter in matches with multiple opponents.

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WWE 2K22’s single-player content is highlighted by this year's 2K Showcase mode, which features matches from Rey Mysterio's tenure in WWE and is punctuated by video footage of the legend himself. As players complete in-match objectives, the game seamlessly transitions to footage from the actual match and narration from Rey, providing an authentic sense of Rey himself telling fans the story of his career as they play through it. Meanwhile, players looking to chart their own path can build a custom Superstar in MyRise, which lets fans ascend the ranks of the WWE as a rookie learning the ropes. Players shape their wrestler’s ongoing narrative by making choices in social media posts and conversations with other wrestlers.

screenrant.com WWE 2K22 Review: A Solid Return To The Ring

MyGM Mode returns in WWE 2K22 and puts players in the role of a General Manager in charge of running a WWE Brand. Players can choose between multiple existing GMs to play as, each one with their own special abilities, and compete against the other GMs as they draft wrestlers to their show and set up matches to ensure that their show is the most profitable. Universe Mode is also back, and gives players free reign over a single superstar or the entire roster as they play through entire shows and manage every aspect of the action in and out of the ring. Finally, WWE 2K22’s content creation suite lets fans make custom wrestlers, arenas, titles, and even Money In The Bank briefcases.

New to WWE 2K22 is MyFaction, which allows players to build their own stable using collectible Power Cards to determine their group's members, logo, and manager. From there, players can test out their new faction by completing daily challenges and matches to earn points and unlock more Power Cards for their growing stable. New challenges and Match Towers are added online, but MyFaction oddly doesn't feature any multiplayer mode for would-be managers to pit their teams against each other.

WWE 2K22’s graphics are significantly improved over past WWE games, even though minor clipping issues and stiff animations persist. Pre-recorded commentary plays throughout the matches, with the announcers describing each wrestler as they walk to the ring and share factoids throughout the match. The game’s roster contains the usual mix of current wrestlers and legends of yesteryear, including a few Superstars that were recently let go as part of WWE's recent wave of layoffs. Legal issues do prevent some of Rey’s most memorable opponents from appearing in 2K Showcase Mode, however.

WWE 2K22 isn’t a perfect reinvention of 2K Games’ wrestling series, but it provides solid gameplay and plenty of variety in its many game modes, and the presentation throughout is top-notch. It’s clear that Visual Concepts utilized the extra time afforded to it by WWE 2K22’s longer development cycle well, providing wrestling fans with a worthwhile experience that redeems the franchise for its previous losses in the squared circle.

Next: WWE 2K22 Lets You Chokeslam Machine Gun Kelly: Why He's A DLC Wrestler

WWE 2K22 releases on March 11 for PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X and Series S, Xbox One, and Microsoft Windows. A digital PlayStation code was provided to Screen Rant for the purpose of this review.

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J. Brodie Shirey is just a simple man trying to make his way in the universe, but aren’t we all? He currently lives in York, Pennsylvania. He is a big comic book, video game, and science fiction fan, and likes writing articles for ScreenRant or scripts for some of his crazy TV show ideas.A graduate from York County School of Technology, he's self-published several books on Amazon, and once won 1st place at a regional computer fair for a CGI animated short. He might post it on Youtube someday. He hopes that working for this site will be his first step into the larger universe of online writing, since Megazord technology hasn’t been invented yet and he doesn't seem to have any Force powers. You can check out his work at The Uncanny Fox, purchase his books on Amazon.com, see his posted scripts on Script Revolution, or see his portfolio here or here. He can also be followed on Twitter @FoxUncanny.

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