The consistent entry in the wrestling video games genre has its latest addition with WWE 2K23. The 2K publications, well known for their NBA games, release the wrestling video game every year (except in 2021). The game, developed by Visual Concepts, was released on 14th March 2023 on PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox S, and Xbox X. The game is built upon last year’s hit WWE 2K22, has minor upgrades and no downgrade from its predecessor.
The professional wrestling video game has no such competitions, as 2K publications release their 10th installment of the WWE game under their banner and 23rd overall. The wrestling games are not new, aging from the button-smashing RAW vs SmackDown era. With inclusions every year on graphics, game modes, and others, WWE games stand strong to compete on their own as the only wrestling video game.
WWE 2K23 is somewhat fresh although it is the same 2022 video game with an addition of a new roster and game mode. The disaster led by the 2020 launch got the next year’s game canceled and the developers returned with a complete modification and upgrade in the form of 2K22. WWE 2K23 has the same gameplay, same graphics, and same controls, as last year, yet it seems to be one of the best wrestling video games ever made.
The game starts with the all-time WWE pre-scene and caution banners. Onto the menus which are now easy to navigate and look like old FIFA games feel a bit boring and old school. On entering a match, the player is greeted with all new entrances of the superstars, including the new Cody Rhodes entrance, which is worth watching. All the entrances and pyro are worth no skipping. The gameplay is basically the same with no changes from its predecessor.
The movements and jump animations remain the same with few improvements on the new moves added.
The game relies on light attack, heavy attack, and grapple. Each of the buttons can be combined with another to provide specific combo attacks. Grapples can be converted into Irish whip or a grapple move assigned to the superstar’s move list. Players can always check the superstar’s moves and combo list to be sure of the attacks they hit. The stamina and vitality are shown on the HUD and each increases or decreases on the actions performed. Every attack can be reversed or dodged and can be countered as prompted on screen.
The only new addition is the window mini-game which appears during a pin. The previous button-smashing way to kick off was a mess and is predictable. Now you can switch that to a window mini-game where a sliding bar appears for each pin count. This helps in dramatic kick-off and is not predictable, increasing the tension during a match.
The graphics are the same as the previous year but changes have been made to the newly added superstars and attire of the old ones. The new superstar entrances are added plus the new anticipated arenas and the addition of war games. The character models are great just like last year. Brock Lesnar has that anger in his eyes while Bad Bunny has that usual flare. The arenas are redesigned although it feels a little deserted even with maximum population density. The War Games mode is the most anticipated addition with side-by-side rings and a cage surrounding them. The lights and shadows tune well with the ongoing match and the ringside. Moreover, the model expressions are stronger and the glitches are minimal.
The most awaited War Games is the new addition and is quite fun. The mode features two rings adjacent and surrounded by hell in a cell structure. Each superstar gets added after a cooldown and plays as a team until pinfall or submission by a player of a team. Every new player can enter the ring with a weapon to turn the tables on their side.
The other game modes include MyGM, Universe, Showcase, MyFaction, and MyRise.
- MyRise is the career mode including debuting as a wrestler and moving through to the top with decisions and fights.
- MyGM mode was added last year after a long time and it features managing budgets, picking drafts, and cards, booking, managing shows, and competing with rival managers.
- Universe mode is a sandbox managing rosters, storylines, and weekly and PPV shows.
- MyFaction brings card dominance gameplay which can be completed online with other players.
- The showcase features the John Cena story which is guided by the man himself along with cutscenes in between matches. The twist in the tale is that this time the player controls the opponent John Cena has faced over the years and lost which includes RVD, Rock, and others. The matches are choired with annoying music with grates fast.
Roster and Arenas
The ample amount of superstars on the roster is a treat for wrestling fans. Some of the new superstars include Logan Paul, Cody Rhodes, and Kurt Angle with pre-order exclusive Bad Bunny, and DLC superstars like Bray Wyatt and icon-editioned Brock, Cena, Batista, and Orton. The vast array of legends in the roster brings back nostalgia. The diva roster is also bigger than ever.
The arenas include weekly shows and current PPVs along with classic arenas like WCW, Wrestlemania ‘88, RAW, and SmackDown from the 2000s. Other arenas exclusive to MyRise are Motion Capture Studio, Club U.K., Japan Dome, Japan Hall, and Mexico Plaza.
The latest entry into the wrestling genre is polished and one of the best ones ever made. With minor upgrades to the already perfect 2022 game, WWE 2K23 is prodigious and the best in-ring experience. Further, the showcase is exciting but sometimes bland and monotonous with a jukebox you want to miss. A big array of modes and rosters is stellar and the much-awaited war games are fresh and enjoyable. The online microtransactions might be a headache still the game modes will keep you busy and worth exploring.