WWE 2K22 is the new era of wrestling video games | The review

La recensione di WWE 2K22: una nuova era per i videogiochi di wrestling thumbnail

Back to the wall for the WWE 2K franchise, which after having disappointed everyone two years ago, is now forced to present a title that could decree the rebirth or the definitive death of the series dedicated to wrestling. We tried WWE 2K22 thoroughly and here is our review.

WWE 2K22: it’s a New Day, yes it is!

Difficult, practically impossible, to do worse than WWE 2K20. The title was so unplayable that our first words were Don’t try this at home. Such a disaster that led the Californian developers of Visual Concepts to take a year off to redeem themselves of their sins, giving up the 2K21 edition. With hindsight we can say it: a choice that has definitely paid off. Not that there was a choice, however: with 2K22 it was mandatory to do well. There was a need for a great game and a strong signal of change. All things that, fortunately, have come with this spectacular new chapter. Has a new era finally begun for wrestling video games? Let’s find out with this review by WWE 2K22.

“It’s a New Day, yes it is” one would say. The first thing that amazes is certainly the graphic realism of the wrestlers and the shows, rendered in a masterly way were it not for a small but not negligible detail: the hair. Given the incredible effort to reproduce every single muscle and movement of the Superstars, I regret that such a poor job has been done on the long hair of the wrestlers, at times really unwatchable. Among the improvements, however, the quality of the commentary should be emphasized, with the broadcasters who now seem to really react organically to the actions. No more random phrases, more random than 2K20 physics.

The combat system has also been updated – for heaven’s sake, no substantial revolution – but small changes that make the more enjoyable gameplay. First of all, goodbye to all those unbearable minigames. A big welcome instead to the new combo and reversals systems. The latter is based precisely on the prediction of the opponent’s next move: by pressing the same button as the attacker during a combo you can counterattack. Other attacks, on the other hand, can be avoided with a dodge (R1 on PS / RB on Xbox) or a counter move (Triangle / Y). The other three buttons will be used to combine light (Square / X), heavy (X / A) and grapple (O / B) attacks. It will be the right combination of keys to create combos capable of knocking out the opponent. Nothing has changed instead to get out of the pin, in that case the strategy is always the same: destroy thumbs and controllers by compulsively pressing X / A.

Time for 619: Showcase Mode is dedicated to Rey Mysterio

There are essentially six game modes, and many of them are already familiar to fans of the franchise. Of course we start with the exhibition, in which we can play without too much effort as one of the over 120 Superstars included in the WWE roster. Match varieties include every conceivable federation stipulation, from the classic 1vs1 to the chaotic and unpredictable Royal Rumble. However, if you feel particularly creative, you can invent a match yourself with your own custom rules. Then there are many arenas available: ready to take a dip in the past and return to the giant fist of SmackDown! 2003? Yes, Ciccio Valenti, we are really thinking of you.

The very interesting modality is back Showcasewhich in WWE 2K22 is dedicated to Mistery King. Showcase allows you to relive (and replay) the key matches of the Mexican Superstar’s career, starting from the famous match against Eddie Guerrero in WCW at Halloween Havoc 1997 up to the present day. The journey is accompanied by the artist’s own narration of the 619, while players will have to follow the plot of the original matches, reproducing them through mini-missions. The mix between real images and in-game matches is simply incredible for its fluidity and rendering.

The modality has also been confirmed My WWE Universe, which allows players to imagine their own federation, create their own shows and play as the all-powerful Vince McMahon. However, the fanaticism for WWE towards card games remains inexplicable, so much so that the new mode My faction attempts, with questionable results, to replicate the mechanics of FIFA Ultimate Team in a wrestling key. We would have gladly done without.

WWE 2K22 review: all the news of the Career mode

Finally renewed the career mode called My rise (My Rise). Let’s be clear, the concept is now the typical and stereotyped one of 2K games: you are a young independent fighter trying to establish himself among the stars of the WWE. Will you succeed? Of course yes, otherwise it wouldn’t be called My Rise. However, the new mechanics make the mode extremely unpredictable. First of all it must be said that they exist two different stories, depending on whether you decide to play a male or female wrestler. But above all, the development of the story will be dictated by your choices, for an enormous amount of variables and a high level of replayability.

In addition to interactions with other fighters in the locker room (which will influence the story) you will have a social platform available. This – which clearly incorporates Twitter – will allow you to reply to the posts of other Superstars (to generate new rivalries) and respond to the DMs of fighters and GMs, who will entrust you with tasks that you can decide whether to accept or not. It goes without saying that completing the tasks will give you points to spend to upgrade your fighter, and that every little choice will make you advance in a unique way in the story. The level of customization of the wrestler is also incredibly high (from aesthetics to movements, passing through the vast park of moves).

MyGM: the beloved General Manager mode returns

The real novelty of WWE 2k22 is the introduction of MyGM, a renewed version of the beloved GM Mode that has been missing from the company’s video games since 2008. Requested several times loudly by fans, WWE 2K22 has finally satisfied those who dream of taking on the role of General Managers to manage a WWE show. MyGM presents itself with a strategic / managerial approach and presents numerous innovations compared to the past. Initially we will be asked to choose which of the four WWE brands we want to manage (RAW, SmackDown !, NXT and NXT UK). At that point the Draft will start, which will allow us to spend the budget at our disposal to create our roster of fighters.

It will be important to choose the fighting style of the individual athletes well and to balance our brand with good and bad Superstars, as obviously the matches will benefit from the contrast between wrestlers loved and hated by the public. So far nothing too different from the old GM Mode, but in reality the news is coming now. The game will allow us to decide how long to make the mode last (starting from a minimum of 14 up to 52 weeks) up to WrestleMania, the most important PPV of the year. In general, everything is simplified compared to the past, but this does not mean that the modality is less interesting. We will no longer have to bargain for the renewals of our Superstars, but budget management remains important for organizing weekly shows and PPV events. In fact, we will be able to invest money in the production of the shows through 4 areas (choice of the arena, construction of the stage, special effects and marketing / promotion).

Compared to the past, the card will consist of only 3 matches (opening, mid-card and main event) plus 2 optional slots for promos. It will not be possible to employ the same superstar in more than one segment (sorry Roman Reigns), but it will still be necessary to take into account the fatigue accumulated by the wrestlers, in order to avoid injuries. Beyond the various stipulations, MyGM places a limit on us: only 1vs1 and 2vs2 clashes are allowed. No Triple Threat or Fatal 4 Way then. We will still have to manage the morale of the superstars, deciding whether or not to accept the requests that they will make us, and satisfy the tasks of the commissioner (Triple H) which will allow us to obtain bonuses in the form of consumable enhancement cards. These can be used to obtain benefits (such as immediate injury recovery and discounts on show production).

The aim is obviously to set up a better bet than the rival brand, in order to win the ruthless audience competition. Again, it will be important to monitor social media to receive feedback from viewers. Finally, if the budget allows, we can hire free agents (those excluded from the initial draft) e legends WWE (from The Rock to Steve Austin via Macho Man, Bret Hart, Hulk Hogan, Eddie Guerrero and many others).

A roster not really up to date, but many historical arenas and legends

However, hardcore fans will find it strange, if not embarrassing, the presence of some characters on the roster. Just think of William Regal, who just before launch officially switched from WWE to competition (the AEW). Or the fact that in the game there are fighters recently fired by the federation, such as Cesaro or Samoa Joe. For the sake of review it must be said that these are small details, which however show us how WWE 2K22, although very recent, risks appearing a little current title in the eyes of the most attentive fans.

A deficit that is however well compensated by the numerous legends present in-game, which is not always easy to obtain given the necessary licenses ….