Review: WWE 2K22 – Destructoid

Might not shock the world

It’s quite telling when the best entry for a particular annual franchise dates back decades. Whether or not it’s the 2000s wwf no mercy or 2003 WWE SmackDown! here comes the painchances are, whatever your favorite WWE licensed game is, there isn’t a number in its name.

Anyway, we reached what was potentially the main series nadir with WWE 2K20, which was a glitchy and horrible mess. So bad, apparently, that 2K’s in-house developer Visual Concepts did the unthinkable and skipped a year for the series. So here we are with WWE 2K22which they claim to be different, but is it different enough?

WWE 2K22 Hulk out

WWE 2K22 (PCS [Reviewed]PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X)
Developer: Visual Concepts
Publisher: 2K
Released: March 10, 2022
MSRP: $59.99 (PC, PS4, Xbox One), $69.99 (PS5, Xbox Series X)

On the surface, we’re looking at the exact same game. The customization suites feel the same, the UI is still boring work, and it still plays an initially far too superficial playlist of songs as you interact. It can be comforting, I suppose. If you’ve played the past half-decade of WWE titles, you’ll feel like you’re slipping into a familiar pair of tights.

However, there has been a lot of work on the game engine. I would like to preface this by saying that if someone had asked me what my priorities were for a better WWE game, an improved engine would have been somewhere near the bottom . Yes, I’m basically saying it feels like WWE 2K22 threw the baby out to play with the bathwater. He has yet to convince me to ditch all the custom wrestlers I’ve built in 2K19 just to do them again here.

Once again, when looking at the cream that made it to the top, the tools for customizing your experience are either dramatically unchanged or oddly reduced. Were you hoping for a return of custom entrance music? Prepare to not only be disappointed, but also crushed, as the custom entries might as well have been removed entirely.

Previously, you could put together other wrestler entrances to create one that matches your design. You can also tweak the lighting and pyrotechnics if you’re feeling sassy. Now you just need to choose the entry you are aping in its entirety. Then you can change the movies playing on all screens in the arena as if someone is paying a lot of attention to it. I would say the whole system has been razed to the ground so deeply that we are now at the token minimum.

Most of the other customization suites have not been changed. On the one hand, they were quite powerful to begin with, but on the other hand, they desperately need new navigation tools. I don’t know why I can’t apply a search filter when setting up my wrestlers’ moves. I should be able to navigate easily WWE 2K22 selection of Frankensteiners without having to scroll down to find obscure names like “Flying Frankensteiner” or “Splendiferous Frankensteiner”. This problem has existed for years and has never been solved.

WWE 2K22 Ladder Drop

However, it is time for me to admit that what has been added in WWE 2K22 is actually quite solid. While real wrestling still carries the bizarre philosophy that pro wrestling is a sport that should be simulated, it performs better than it ever has in the world. 2K series. You can definitely feel the altered physics at work, and they make wrestling with oiled competitors that much more satisfying.

There is the usual physical delirium; a lot, by the way. This can make backstage fights or ladder matches somewhat boring when objects are bouncing around. There will also likely be times when an entry doesn’t materialize with a particular wrestler and they float through the air. More disruptively, grabs and punches will sometimes land when they shouldn’t or miss for no reason. It wasn’t bad enough to make me scream at the screen, he just used to embarrass himself.

I felt like it better conveyed what I intended to do in the game. I don’t feel like I’m fighting with the game anymore to get someone through a table or the fight against the barrier. When I try to communicate to my wrestler that I want to throw his opponent outside of the ring, they usually do. It’s not even close to perfect, but it’s a step closer to it.

WWE 2K22 Mysterio vs. Guerrero

AI has been improved in WWE 2K22, which I feared would be forgotten. Many matches against computer-controlled opponents in previous WWE titles would often start to feel stereotypical, as it would be locked into a moveset and had no interest in bringing it out. Although I never had the illusion that the AI ​​was as creative as a human competitor could be, they had better reactions to what I was doing and apparently tried different tactics when the ones they were using didn’t weren’t working.

The modes that have been added are also appreciated. I’m mostly interested in MyGM mode, the new form of GM mode absent since WWE Smackdown vs. Raw 2008. It’s an addictive little business that requires you to hone your booking skills and build a talent pool.

I wish you could commandeer your own show in MyGM mode. You can create and customize your own shows and PPVs. If you’re like me, promoting yourself is almost the main appeal of the WWE Games. The Universe mode that allows you to do this is thankfully still available, but again largely unchanged. It would be nice if future titles merged the two modes to make it easier to have all your customizations in one place.

Mr. Murder vs. Sammy Sorrows

As much as I’ll admit WWE 2K22 is an improvement, it doesn’t seem like a step in the right direction. Rather, it feels like he stripped himself down, dusted himself off, and went right back to the philosophy he was following before; that the WWE games should be a kind of competitive simulation. Whether or not you think this is the correct mindset or not is going to be subjective, however, I feel like replicating the thrill of the performance might yield better results.

At the same time, I am hopeful. I think with two years of work they could have fixed some of the legacy issues that still plague the game, but I’ve supported them before and there’s no reason why I shouldn’t anymore. I just left here dreaming that their next priority will be tightening the screws and not just sticking new trim to the wall.

Going back to the criteria I mentioned earlier: a WWE 2K22 convinced me to rebuild my custom list? Hesitantly, I guess so. The actual in-ring gameplay is solid, and the MyGM mode is an addictive little slice of management. I want to keep hoping and believing that 2K and Visual Concepts will take the foundation they created and eventually build a wrestling game that doesn’t just look like a bunch of compromises. However, this is exactly what I’ve wanted for years, but they keep hitting the same.

[This review is based on a retail build of the game provided by the publisher.]