July 19, 2024

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Step Into The Technology

5 Things That Make WWE 2K22 the Best Wrestling Video Game in Years | Bleacher Report

6 min read

0 of 5

    WWE 2K22 "hits different" in more ways than one.

    WWE 2K22 “hits different” in more ways than one.Credit: WWE.com

    WWE had a lot riding on the latest installment of its 2K video game series following its disastrous predecessor, and WWE 2K22 has delivered.

    The game was met mostly with rave reviews up its widespread release on Friday. It had been two-and-a-half years since the release of WWE 2K20, which was widely regarded by the gaming community to be among the worst WWE video games of all time.

    The wait for WWE 2K22 was long but worth it for hardcore and casual gamers and fans alike. While far from perfect, it’s easily the most playable game WWE has put out in several years thanks to its many new features and revamped gameplay.

    As someone who has owned every WWE-licensed video game since the SmackDown vs. Raw days, it’s been a blast to do a deep dive into everything WWE 2K22 has to offer, from the entertaining, Rey Mysterio-centric Showcase mode to the return of general manager mode in the form of MyGM.

    My sole goal with the WWE 2K series has always been to have fun, and this game excels in that area. For all of its flaws, it’s still a strong effort and offers an immersive experience that can be enjoyed over and over again.

    Let’s look at the five ways WWE 2K22 indeed hits different.

1 of 5

    One of the biggest knocks against WWE’s 2K series for the longest time seemed to be that the gameplay was too convoluted for its own good. The attention to detail and inclusion of new techniques and whatnot were appreciated, but it became almost impossible to keep track of what the controls were regardless of the system.

    That was especially the case for those who don’t consider themselves hardcore gamers and only purchase the annual WWE games. The controls were constantly changing, but thankfully, a sense of simplicity has finally returned.

    Before getting underway with WWE 2K22, all players are encouraged to take part in a tutorial led by Drew Gulak. He takes you through what’s new, and remarkably it isn’t more difficult than it needs to be.

    Countering moves is relatively simple, along with hitting finishers, targeting different opponents and connecting with combos. It should only take you a match or two to get everything down.

    It was imperative that the developer improved the gameplay process to ensure it was smooth sailing from the get-go, and it managed to make it one of the game’s greatest strengths.

2 of 5

    Take a moment to appreciate the WWE 2K22 roster for what it is because upcoming installments are going to have the tall task of topping it.

    This game was released at a perfect time in that it features the best of both worlds: virtually every notable name from the active roster as well as a whole heap of talented competitors who have either left or been released over the past year.

    That includes, but isn’t limited to, Jeff Hardy, Keith Lee, Johnny Gargano, Isaiah “Swerve” Scott, Karrion Kross, Kyle O’Reilly, Braun Strowman, Samoa Joe and John Morrison. Adam Cole and Daniel Bryan were excluded because they signed with All Elite Wrestling early enough that they could be taken out, though no reason has been provided for why Bray Wyatt and Bronson Reed didn’t make the cut despite being let go after other people.

    Nonetheless, the presence of all of those Superstars is appreciated despite the roster being vastly outdated. They match up well against the talent of today, as well as the many legends who are featured.

    Say what you will about WWE’s real-life roster lacking star power, but WWE 2K22 doesn’t have that issue. Other obvious omissions such as Kurt Angle and Lita were a bit disappointing, but that’s about it. The deep pool of Superstars creates endless match possibilities and storyline scenarios in MyGM and Universe Mode.

3 of 5

    Based on how Rey Mysterio has been booked in WWE in recent years, the average viewer wouldn’t think the company views him as a legend, even though he undoubtedly is one. Thus, it was only appropriate he got his just due as WWE 2K’s cover athlete this year.

    It was done to commemorate the 20th anniversary of his WWE debut. Almost everyone is aware that The Master of the 619 is one of the greatest to ever do it, but his Showcase mode only further proves that.

    Showcase lives up to its name by celebrating Mysterio’s career over the past two decades and beyond. From his legendary series of bouts with Eddie Guerrero in WCW to his bitter rivalry with Batista, players get to experience it all.

    There are cool challenges along the way, as well as the opportunity to unlock the likes of JBL, Eddie Guerrero and alternate versions of The Miz, Dolph Ziggler and others. The only nitpick is that with Kurt Angle not included in the game, Mysterio’s World Heavyweight Championship victory at WrestleMania 22 is essentially ignored.

    MyRise is equally entertaining, as it provides players with a chance to create their own wrestler, start out at the Performance Center and work their way up through the ranks. Both modes are fun for fans for different reasons.

4 of 5

    When 2K announced back in November that “stunning graphics” would be among WWE 2K22’s top features, it wasn’t wrong.

    It’s a drastic difference from 10 or 15 years ago, of course, but the improved graphics are also noticeable even when compared to WWE 2K20. Although that was to be somewhat expected seeing as how there was a two-and-a-half-year gap in between installments, it’s still surreal to see just how lifelike everything is now in game form.

    The simple menu makes everything easy to navigate, and the the soundtrack—featuring the likes of The Weeknd, Machine Gun Kelly, Wu-Tang Clan, Bad Bunny and Motorhead—is the strongest it’s been in years.

    Above all else, it’s infinitely less buggy and doesn’t lag nearly as much. Seriously, you couldn’t get through five minutes of a multi-man match in WWE 2K20 without running into some sort of an issue or the game crashing all together.

    WWE 2K20 was such a botched installment that it cast considerable doubt on WWE’s relationship with 2K Sports going forward. It’s possible that is still strained and could end regardless, but the positive feedback to WWE 2K22 so far should be enough to convince WWE to continue working with the publisher for many years to come.

5 of 5

    GM Mode was one of the best features WWE conceived for its video games, starting with SmackDown vs. Raw 2006. They perfected it the following year but didn’t do as well with it in 2008 and scrapped it all together by 2009.

    Once the brand split went away and the SmackDown vs. Raw series title was retired, it made sense for GM Mode to not be as much of a priority. However, the brand split returned in 2016, and thus it was logical for fans to assume GM Mode would follow suit.

    It took several years, but the feature has finally returned to WWE’s video game series. Now known as MyGM, the extensive game mode allows players to choose from any of WWE’s biggest brands and build up a roster in order to compete with an opposing show.

    Prior to 2K22’s release, many fans took exception with how midcard championships wouldn’t be included and that only singles and tag team matches could be contested. As limited and as basic as it is, the pros of MyGM far outweigh the cons, and it’s still super-addictive.

    The makings of a great GM Mode are there with 2K22’s MyGM, assuming the promotion and developer decide to continue featuring it and expand upon it. If so, 2K could have something even more special in store with the game’s next installment.

    Either way, WWE 2K22 still stands on its own and is a welcome return to form for the series.

                      

    Graham Mirmina, aka Graham “GSM” Matthews, has specialized in sports and entertainment writing since 2010. Visit his website, WrestleRant, and subscribe to his YouTube channel for more wrestling-related content.

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