STAFF REVIEW of WWE 2K22 (Xbox Series X)

Tuesday, March 15, 2022.
by Heather Webster

WWE 2K22 Box art Let’s Get Reaaddyyy To Ruummmbblleee!

That's right folks, they made us wait a year so they had time to improve, and maybe even master, the shortfalls and disappointments that were given to us in WWE 2K20. With massive improvements to the gameplay engine, new controls and well-improved graphics. WWE 2K22 might be the best improvement to come to the world of videogame wresting and the realism that keeps us so enthralled and always coming back for more matches!

This year, the cover feature is the global icon of Lucha wrestling, Rey Mysterio, the very man who created the path for many agile and high-flying superstars to enter the ring and make their way in a fast-paced incredible and entertaining sport. I applaud the designers and the team that bring us these games for taking the year to rebuild from the ground up and take the time to make this game everything that it could be without losing the basis of the core game. The nWo 4-Life Edition (which was provided) gives the inclusion of playable nWo Superstars, two awesome arenas, the nWo Wolfpac Championship & all of the bonus digital content included in the WWE 2K22 Deluxe Edition.

The single-player story mode is pretty cool, as there is an entire intro told to you by Rey Mysterio, telling you how it all began for him and how he made his way in the business, discussing matches and some of his most historical moments. With the use of the new 2K Slingshot technology, there is an almost seamless transition between gameplay and archival video to give a fully immersed feel. Happy Anniversary to Rey!

The improved visual concepts have made a world of difference to me from previous releases, and if I wasn't holding onto a controller in my hand I would believe that I was sitting watching the matches either in person or on the couch in my home. In previous versions, I have often found myself more frustrated and tempted to throw my controller because the controls were challenging to master. In WWE 2K22 I have been able to take what I feel to be full control over my motions and ability to improve my skills. For me, this improvement has made the game feel like it's better-rounded than previous years.

Another amazing feature of with WWE 2K22 is how they have tweaked the physicality of the objects that can be used, such as when you hit a table it will break more authentically to create that epic unpredictable moment that made me fall in love with wrestling as a kid all those years ago.

Have you ever wanted to be a general manager in the WWE? Well then give the new MyGM mode where you can take on rival GMs and fight to become supreme against the other shows managers by creating the best championship showdowns, pay-per-view events, and once you've reached the top, go back to being a superstar and still have the ability to call the shots from backstage.

This year the 2K series has included the MyFaction mode where you get collector cards of wrestlers, build a team with a manager and play in single-player mode to build a strong faction to rival the iconic nWo faction! Play weekly events and get regular updates so you can manage, collect and upgrade your superstars. Win matches to obtain points that are used to purchase more card packs and contracts. Obtain tokens to unlock more superstar cards and legends. There is an option to use a virtual currency in this mode but I find it rather unneeded because anything you can get with this currency is unlockable with tokens. Throughout the game, you also earn store tokens which are used to buy more wrestlers to use in the game that you don't get right away when you start playing for the first time, which I think is a cool aspect rather than spending a bunch of money on DLC content (which of course is also available though).

The MyRise feature of 2K22 is something I have always enjoyed because it gives you the chance to create your own wrestler and experience what it's like to be a recruit in the WWE and go through the performance center to train and work your way up the ranks to become the next WWE Superstar! There is also new this year, unique divisional storylines built in to give you the chance to interact with the superstars and experience your individual experience.

The character creation mode this year is really impressive because the customization makes it way more possible to create a realistic version of yourself in the game or someone completely different. Options include but are not limited to birthmarks/blemishes, eye color, skin color, scars, teeth and many more choices, which could leave you creating for hours if you want, or choose to simply create with the superstar wizard for a quicker build option.

Multiplayer is available online or locally and is as you would expect. Choose your wrestler, your match, your rules, weapons, arena and off you go. The one thing I found disappointing was that if you want to be on the same team as your friend, there does not seem to be an option to include a CPU player to wrestle against as a team. Otherwise, have fun beating up each other virtually instead of in-person... or do... I'm not the boss.

The visuals in this year's edition are by far the greatest to come out of the 2K studio, bringing a far more realistic look to the wrestlers and makes them look like they are supposed to, not just a shiny, poorly blended and a lack of definition style from the past. I really give kudos to the developers for taking the time to make this massive improvement as I find it makes a difference in the enjoyment for me when playing. I will however say that I think the hair details need a little more work as it still doesn't quite match the efforts that were put into the rest of the realism, but don't let that take away from the brilliance that has been included and worked upon.

Let's talk about the audio portion of this game, as the soundtrack curator is the “Devil” himself, Machine Gun Kelly! I call him the devil because of his feud with the Rap God Eminem. I have been a fan of both for a long time but so far I think that MGK has nailed the soundtrack for 2K. I find myself rocking out and headbanging my way through the game when I'm not fighting in a match. I might even make a playlist out of the songs chosen for the game, as for the in-game sounds of the crowd and the matches brings me right back to watching on TV back when I used to watch WWE every week. I honestly have no complaints in this department, so great job folks.

Over the years I have been such a fan of the WWE and everything they have brought to their fans, I have played many versions of their videogames, and up to this point I have enjoyed, but not really loved, to continue going back to the older games as I get discouraged by the more previous iterations. But all hail the WWE 2K22, because I do believe that this is the best version we have ever seen so far. I hope that 2K continue on this path of improvement and continue to blow my mind further every year with as many improvements as this had. The control system and playability have become more easily understood and better controlled overall, which I found to be a big bonus because I often get discouraged from playing if it doesn't have a well laid out and easy to understand button layout.

WWE 2K22 has been a total hit for me and I’m really happy that I was lucky enough to get this for review, as it is just Too Sweet! As the nWo often said, "Whether you like it or you don't, learn to love it, cause it's the best thing going today.".

**WWE 2K22 (nWo 4-Life Edition) was provided by the publisher and reviewed on an Xbox Series S**

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


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