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WWE 2K23 Review: You Want Some? Come Get Some!

Richard Lee Breslin

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WWE 2K23 Review: You Want Some? Come Get Some!

Featured Image Credit: 2K Games

WWE 2K23 is finally here and it's the biggest wrestling game ever - literally.

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In terms of content at least, the developers at Visual Concepts (and Yukes before that) have always done a splendid job of topping the previous year. Well, apart from WWE 2K20. That game was such a mess that 2K decided to skip 2K21 to fix the series.

But with the arrival of WWE 2K22, this series was truly back in form and with Yukes leaving the helm, it gave Visual Concepts the perfect opportunity to make their mark like a steel chair shot to the head by The Rock to Ken Shamrock.

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While much of WWE 2K23 remains the same as its predecessor, ultimately along with a few subtle tweaks and improvements, it certainly proved that decision to switch devs has been best for business. This series has always been packed full of characters, modes, match types, customisation and more. WWE 2K23 is no exception. Let’s talk about what this year’s release brings to the table.

In recent years, my favourite mode has been the Showcase. Previously, we’ve played out the careers of Rey Mysterio, Daniel Bryan, and Stone Cold Steve Austin. Usually, we’d play through a career with some of the featured Superstar best matches, with them narrating the story in documentary form.

That's still the case in 2K23 for the most part. However, instead of playing as the featured Superstar, we play against the featured Superstar. In this case, it's cover star John Cena. It certainly offers a unique perspective, and it's a blast battling it out against various forms of ‘Super Cena’ completing bonus objectives and unlocking new content along the way.

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WWE 2K23 / Credit: 2K Games
WWE 2K23 / Credit: 2K Games

When you’re done with Showcase, 2K23 has plenty more to keep you busy for the months to come, such as MyFACTION. This is a surprisingly fun mode which is kind of like a 2Ks version of EAs Ultimate Team, only a lot less egregious.

Granted ,it does attempt to encourage some engagement with the game's microtransactions to build your dream stable and acquire the best Superstar cards and gear, but I’ve never once felt tempted to make an additional purchase. MyFACTION has a variety of challenges, including Daily and Weekly events which will gift you plenty of rewards and packs, keeping things continually fresh.

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Other main modes in WWE 2K23 include the MyRISE which once more lets the player create a male or female character, each with a unique story or if you choose, select one of the fantastic community creations. This mode has branching story paths offering a decent level of replayability.

Speaking of creations, 2K23 has upped the ante when it comes to creative choices with more options than ever before. You can not only create characters but also entrances, move-sets, PPVs, Money in the Bank matches, championships and much more. Last’s year's release saw some awesome community creations and I’m sure 2K23 will offer no less in the coming months.

MyGM which is WWE 2K’s management will have you taking charge of shows including rosters, Superstar happiness, PPV events and so forth. You can play this mode on your lonesome or you can challenge up to three other players for brand supremacy. Sadly, MyGM is not playable online, but hopefully, that will come in a future title.

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Universe mode makes its return, which I think of as a casual blend of MyGM with fancy exhibition matches. This fun sandbox mode will also have you managing shows, rosters and more. You can sit back and watch the action unfold or jump in to take control as a brand manager. What’s more, if you don’t want to manage shows, you can assume the role of any Superstar, effectively offering an additional career mode.

As always, exhibition mode has loads of choices from standard matches, tag teams, hardcore, Hell in a Cell, Royal Rumble, and much more. Most of which can be played online. However, the new star of the show here is the addition of WarGames which originated in 1987 under Jim Crockett’s NWA, before making its way into WCW and later, WWE.

WWE 2K23 / Credit: 2K Games
WWE 2K23 / Credit: 2K Games

WarGames sees two rings placed side by side with a surrounding cage. Players can pick between 3v3 or 4v4 with each Superstar entering at set intervals and once all Superstars are in the ring, it’s utter chaos. It may be a little chaotic keeping track of what’s going on, but it's a lot of fun nonetheless. It also gives you the opportunity to have epic faction dream matches such as The Bloodline vs the NWO.

I must also give an extra nod of appreciation to the audio design of WWE 2K23. Pro wrestling is a lot about style and presentation and this year's game is no exception. While the commentary still remains quite repetitive, the noise from the crowd is as good as it's ever been. Hearing the crowd echo the theme songs of Cody Rhodes and Seth Rollins is something that I’ll never grow weary of.

All in all, WWE 2K23 doesn't change a lot compared to its predecessor, and I’m totally fine with that. For better or worse, I’ve mostly been happy with the control schemes and the gameplay mechanics of the WWE 2K series. However, last year’s entry evolved the series to a new level, with its more refined gameplay, improved visuals, as well as a wealth of characters, modes and match types.

Yet, even when this series has a decent year in terms of quality, in most cases the following entry would totally change the controls, seemingly for no good reason. Thankfully, that is not the case with WWE 2K3. So other than a few adjustments to its gameplay, this is mostly the same game with subtle tweaks and improvements. As the old saying goes, don't fix what ain't broke.

WWE 2K23 might not be perfect, but the series trajectory continues to evolve into one of the best wrestling video game franchises there ever was, then, now and forever. Simply put, WWE 2K23 is a must-buy for fans of the squared circle.

Pros: Easy to pick up gameplay with enough depth for those wanting more, incredible amount of modes, match types and customisation, looks gorgeous at times

Cons: AI is not quite advanced enough to deal with the WarGames chaos, repetitive commentary

For fans of: Pro Wrestling

9/10: Exceptional

WWE 2K23 was tested on PlayStation 5. The game releases worldwide on 17 March 2023, for PC, Xbox consoles, PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5. Read a guide to our review scores here.

Topics: 2K Games

Richard Lee Breslin
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