STAFF REVIEW of WWE 2K24 (Xbox One)

Friday, April 5, 2024.
by Peggy Doyle

WWE 2K24 Box art Wrestling is one of the things I’m passionate about. It brings me just about as much joy as gaming. That’s why, for the third year in a row, I am excited to be reviewing WWE2K for this site. WWE 2K24 has the tagline “Finish the Story”, referring to Cody Rhodes continually seeking to win the WWE championship that he has fallen short of in the past.

Loading into WWE 2K24 you are greeted by the cover star himself, Cody Rhodes, who cuts a promo introducing you to the game. You will jump into the tutorial where it was clear to me that the gameplay felt smoother and cleaner than the past years. I still struggled with checking off all the boxes/steps in the tutorial, so it took me longer to complete than other more skilled gamers, I’m sure. This gives you a basic understanding as to the types of attacks, defences, holds etc. that will be available and an overview of the basic gameplay for matches you will play. Without playing them side by side it looks like there are more moves for each wrestler as well. I was really impressed with how well each wrestler moved in the ring and how well their moves were represented in the game. The attention to detail when watching matches is obvious with each character attacking and moving in the ring like they do in reality.

Also with the controls we are all familiar with from previous years, new to WWE 2K24 gameplay is trading blows. This is primarily a mini-game within a match where you trade blows with your opponent mid-match. Holding the button down, aiming to hit the green zone to stay in the game, while hitting the gold zone will be an instant win. The standard blue and yellow bars, once filled, allow you to execute special moves or finishers.

MyRise is the story mode, returning this year with two separate and brand-new stories. Undisputed for the Men and Unleashed for the women. Undisputed starts with Roman Reigns vacating his title after having it for almost four years so he can go to Hollywood. What follows is a one-night tournament to crown a new champion. In Unleashed you are an indie darling looking to make their big break. You unexpectedly earn a WWE contract while competing at your local promotion. Multiple WWE talents have voiced their lines for WWE 2K24, and while it’s evident that some of them are not trained voice actors, it was nice to hear more voices than in previous games. Since there are multiple story and dialogue options for each of these, you can play through multiple times and earn a wide variety of unlockables. Both stories are unique and will each take about eight to ten hours to complete.

MyGM mode makes a return for WWE 2K24 with some extra options and features. This is a mode that isn’t for everyone as there can be an overwhelming number of statistics and modifiers if you want to dive into them, or you can throw caution to the wind and wing it based on your gut feeling. MyGM mode provides some tutorial options provided by the effervescent and charismatic Xavier Woods. The learning curve is steep but is one of my favourite modes as you get to control the day-to-day operations of running one of the brands. Drafting, hiring, firing talent, planning the weekly shows and PLEs (Premium Live Events), as well as dealing with anything backstage and budgeting are all part of the MyGM mode. Keeping your roster morale up, dealing with injuries, and trying to plan high-rated matches are all there as well.

There are a lot of details to look at to determine the best matchups for the fans, talent, and the company’s bottom line. While big stars may bring in fans, they also cost the most to keep on the roster. It’s all a game of balance and it’s easy to lose many hours in this mode. Unfortunately, while you can build feuds through your journey, it would be nice to be able to build feuds based on angles often seen on TV programming. Something similar to tag teams breaking up, or even strange relationship angles.

Universe mode returns where you can play through multiple match types. You can control a specific player in a match or completely run matches in simulation mode. This is where you make your dream matches, and your fantasy bookings, and create any stipulations you choose. I didn’t find this mode as enjoyable as others because it was just matches with no real objectives other than to win. Playing with title matches or running upcoming PLEs to have fun predicting outcomes was enjoyable though.

For those players really invested in creating your own world you can play in the creation suite. This is one of the worst parts in my opinion. There is a lack of options, specifically in things like hairstyles. However, you can create your own character, giving them a look, personality, entrance, move set etc. You can make them a heel (bad guy) or face (good guy) and have the fans cheer or boo for you. You can decide what signs the fans will have in the crowd too. You can create entrances with music, lighting, pyrotechnics, and even poses you will make when you enter the ring and when you win. You can create entire arenas as well. If you are not feeling creative you can download community-created wrestlers and arenas. Some players are extremely creative and have managed to create wrestlers missing from the roster.

Speaking of the roster, there are over 200 characters in the game, and that’s even before the first planned DLC drops that will include CM Punk returning after an absence of ten years. In general, the characters look good, although I did experience some clipping of clothing or body parts disappearing. The roster includes current RAW, Smackdown, NXT and past talent (if not working for other promotions currently) and even an extensive list of legends like ‘Rowdy’ Roddy Piper, ‘Macho Man’ Randy Savage, Andre the Giant and even Bad Bunny. Multiple Managers are also included. I was both delighted and heartbroken to see Bray Wyatt with a full entrance included in the game. It was fantastic to see him represented across multiple characters.

New match types have been added this year including Special Guest Referee Match, Ambulance Match, Casket Match and Gauntlet Match. Multiple weapons are in the game including some throwable options as well—trash cans, microphones, water bottles, shovels etc. Special moves that are new this year include special moves going to the middle rope (like Rhea Ripley’s Riptide) or being able to dive outside the ring onto multiple opponents. Matches with multiple titles on the line are also new. Gauntlets were extremely fun, allowing an option of a 30-star Royal Rumble where you can change the rules, so it’s decided by pinfall, submission etc. versus the traditional over-the-top-rope rule. Special guest referee has a meter so the ref can’t abuse their power, but you can turn it off for an extra dose of chaos. Playing as the ref is easy to pick up and you can influence the match. You can cause chaos, interfere, and even deploy a fast count should you choose. Interfere too much though, and you’ll be replaced. You can also choose to play as one of the wrestlers and choose a special referee from those available on the roster. Many recognizable referees are in the game as well.

MyFaction has made a return allowing players to collect and trade cards and manage and upgrade their stable of wrestlers. Online Quick Play as well as up to four players online all a variety of game styles to earn your rewards. MyFaction this year does allow certain unlockables (persona cards) to be carried over into other game modes. This gives more of a reason to hop into this mode.

Showcase mode is back for WWE 2K24 and this year it focuses on the best matches of 40 years of WrestleMania. Their trademark Slingshot tech, a blend of mixing gameplay and cutscenes, is even smoother this year. As in previous years, there were times I struggled to hit some of the objectives required to launch the cut scenes but thankfully they weren’t on a time limit. There is a diverse group of matches with a blend from the eighties, nineties, noughties, tens and even a few from the current decade. If you have a favourite match from one of those decades, it’s probably there since many of these matches are on best of lists consistently.

Unfortunately, Showcase also continues the tradition of censoring and blurring parts of the past. Many faces and logos are blurred out, and even though some people are obvious, like hearing JR and seeing his trademark cowboy hat, it’s also understandable to have them blurred out since they work for other companies now. Logos and beer cans not paying for marketing also make sense to be censored. Now, while talking about censoring I have to address the elephant in the room. With recent allegations involving former and current members of the WWE company, there are some surprises of talent left in the game, while others have been removed in certain modes only. The following quotes have been provided:

"We are always in lockstep with the WWE on how our game reflects what's happening in the WWE universe". "Certain personalities play a role in the historical 2K Showcase and in the narrative driven MyRise experience but are not available on the playable roster".

The soundtrack is everything you’d expect from WWE 2K games, created by Executive Producer Post Malone, and is a collection of songs across a variety of genres including rock, country, rap, electronic music, and pop. The sound effects were well done. The chops, bumps and sounds from weapons were all equally believable.

WWE2K24 has a lot going for it. Improved and smoother graphics are evident and there is a lot of solid single-player gameplay (which I enjoy). The roster is extensive, and I thought the MyRise story modes were both well done. It appears as though the team has worked on implementing a few features commonly asked for by the community although I really think the basic create a wrestler suite still needs some work.

**WWE 2k24 was provided by the publisher and reviewed on an Xbox Series X**

Overall: 8.7 / 10
Gameplay: 8.5 / 10
Visuals: 8.5 / 10
Sound: 9.0 / 10


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