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WWE 2K22

WWE 2K22

Written by Joseph Moorer on 3/20/2022 for PS5  
More On: WWE 2K22

I have to apologize in advance. This review is late. This review is late because WWE2K22 clearly vowed to never ever make the mistakes the franchise made with a previous entry in the series. You've seen them, you've heard about them, we all know, so that's the last time we mention the previous entry. And though you would think that all they would have to do is give us a game, and leave us alone for a while, 2K22 did the opposite. The press releases prior to WWE2K22 claimed this game hit different. And believe me when I tell you, it hits hard. WWE2K22 shows up, raises hell, hits us with a rock bottom, a stone cold stunner, and a tombstone power driver. It's so full of content and customization, this is quite possibly the most ambitious WWE game yet. 

Let's address the elephant in the...ring. There are 168 wrestlers total in this game after all the unlocks, downloads, special packs and so on. 168 sports entertainers. 168 superstars. Spanning across different eras. You have Andre the Giant, Hulk Hogan, and The Ultimate Warrior from the Titan Towers era. You have Shawn Michaels, Triple H, The Rock, Stone Cold Steve Austin and Trish Stratus from the Attitude Era. Booker T, Eddie Guerrero, John Cena, and JBL, from the Ruthless Aggression era. And Alexa Bliss, Roman Reigns, Seth Rollins, The New Day, and even Happy Corbin from the "PG" era. Everyone is here. Even those wrestlers that have been "future endeavored" are here. All that said, some of them are different versions depending on the era. Undertaker, for example, has been in wrestling since Hulk Hogan, and just retired last year. There are 5 iterations of him, all complete with each separate entrance and move set. It's a sight to behold. 

The game kicks in with a tutorial from Power Point presenter Superstar Drew Gulak. He takes you through learning the basics. He tells you to save all the crazy over the top high-risk maneuver stuff. He wants you to be Good at the Game (TM). Drew walks you through the face buttons. You have light and heavy attacks. You can use these for a combo of attacks. Light, Light, Heavy, Heavy can pull off the coolest of moves pretty easily. Each superstar has different combos and moves listed in pause menu, so they're easily accessible. You have a grapple button, which allows you to do big moves, or whip your opponent to the roped. You can also use this button with a combo. You have a block button too, which you hold to block. The block button also doubles as a counter button. If you hit it at the right time, you can counter your opponents' attack, no matter what.

There are other counters as well, or breakers. If you hit the same button as your opponent during a combo, you get a counter attack. There are other button and stick combinations, but these are the basics the game wants to teach you. The controls feel really good, once you get them down. You become more advanced later as you learn more, such as running and using the right stick to pick your opponent up or to pin. You can also use button combinations to do signature moves and finishers, per previous games. The mini games for submissions, or getting the title or briefcase in a ladder match got a little easier too, so that's a plus. All in all, it seems pretty accessible. 

You enter the Home screen, and it has 6 options to start from. Play, Showcase, Universe, MyGM MyFACTION, MyRISE. We will go through them all, because each mode is massive. If you click Play, you're opened to 12 different match types. From one-on-one to battle royals. Once you go into each option, another row of options pop up. Normal matches are available but so are Tables matches (put your opponent through a table to win) and no holds barred matches. You select your superstar, and you can choose your match options. You can select different arenas set ups from WCW. NXT, Raw and Smackdown, Summer Slam, and even Wrestlemania 37, which was this last year's show of shows. You can also choose one of your created arenas, if you so choose.  You can select what referee you want. You can even choose a virtual audience, which is how life imitates art. It's very weird, and very cool.

You can even turn your entrances off or on, and fight to make someone the new champion in the game to keep your rosters updated the long way. The play mode is where you're going to see the presentation in its fullest. The entrances are there and in full. All the pyro. All the smoke. All the music. The crowd gets crazy as the match gets more intense. They boo you. They cheer you. The commentary is pretty spot on. All the hits and the pounding of the ring keeps you immersed. It's VERY close to the TV presentation, with a few shortcuts here and there. There are still some oddities that happen, but nothing too major. And it's pretty cool to have up to 8 players in the ring at once with no slowdown or freezing. 

The Showcase mode is a 12-match story arc narrated by cover superstar Rey Mysterio Jr., ranging from 1997 to 2020. Rey has had many matches throughout the world, and it's kind of cool to see his journey up to this point. To play it, though, is really really cool. During the match, the game cuts you back and forth between the in-game graphics and the original footage of the match. Through this showcase, you learn more advanced attacks, all while listening to Rey tell you what he thinks about all these memorable matches with the late Eddie Guerrero, Shawn Michaels, The Undertaker and more. You can also unlock different versions of superstars and arenas in this mode. If you've been watching wrestling for a long time, like I have, then you'll love the perspective of Rey as you progress through. It's damn cool. 

The Universe mode is where this game starts to tread in the deep water. In Superstar mode, the game allows you to go into a regular WWE schedule. Depending on what superstar you pick, you begin on that show. This mode is the linear way to play, as all your customization is set to auto. You automatically get rivals, and you can customize your rivalries as well. There's also a curation menu where you can ask for a title shot, or call out another wrestler. This mode is definitely "jump in and fight the AI, with championship stakes, with your favorite superstar". The show you're on begins, and it will simulate each match until it gets to your superstar. You can make the curation mode pop up with the frequency of your choosing as well. Classic mode makes the curation menu pop up automatically, but also allows you to schedule shows, and allows you a lot more customization. I admittingly didn't spend too much time with the classic mode, because I knew I had GM Mode ready for me to dig in. 

My GM is the general manager mode, and it has been totally revamped. You start off by picking which of 5 GMs you want to take control of. Each has their own power card that they bring to the dance. Adam Pierce allows all your superstar rivalries to increase by 1, while Stephanie McMahon allows you to play the card that makes you twice as much money in the arena for that one week. Then you get to choose between 4 shows, which also come with their own power cards. This mode then lets you choose who you want to go up against - AI, or a human player - and you get to pick which GM you wanna go up against, as well as the opposing brand. You can even choose the duration of the GM mode between 15, 25 and 50. You can also manually draft your superstars to your respective shows. Now you're in the deep water. You get to book the show. Your opener, mid card, and main event. You can book which characters want to come out and talk trash, and what type of trash to talk. You can have them call other wrestlers out, or even turn them into a face (good) or heel (bad). At the time of playing, I could only book one-on-one or tag team matches, but I could do 5 different match types. I can even have someone on my roster interfere in the match.

And this is just the first part. Your show needs Show Logistics. Where is the show? A high school gym, or a stadium? What kind of road crew do you need? The basic road crew gets you started, but the veteran crew makes your show better. What about your special effects, or advertisements? The better you pick, the more perks you get when your show is finished. If you meet the optional goals, you get more perks. You can manage your roster at anytime. You can hire and fire people. You can sign free agents and legends. You can use the power cards available to you, or buy new power cards to improve on your show or make it worse for your opposing GM. There's a ratings tab to see how much money you have, and how many fans you have. At the time of writing, I have 1,800,000 fans watching my Smackdown show. The journal tab keeps you in the loop of all the info you've gathered before and after each week. Did social media say that Becky Lynch is great at table matches? Did you have a conversation with Ricochet about putting him in a championship match at the next pay-per-view? It's all here. And you want to keep your wrestlers morale up, and you want to please the commissioner, and you want to make sure your show goes on under budget. This is all in this mode. All of it. And you can even watch some of the matches you put on, but they tend to last longer than you want them too. All of this is summarized in the end of each week, and the game shows you how many fans you gained and how much money you made, based on the decisions and matches you put together. GM MODE! 

Though I appreciate its inclusion, MyFaction mode was a little too off-brand for me. It is explained as a card game, where you can win in game currency by putting together a faction made up of superstar cards. The odd thing to me is that once you put these factions together, you get to play the matches. And the better the matches, the better the rewards. There are three different modes within. Proving grounds: put your cards against different superstars from different eras. Faction Wars: 4 VS 4 to win limited time rewards. Weekly towers: Has a new tower each week with different challenges. There's also daily and weekly challenges to do as well, such as "damage 8 opponents' torsos" to win some of the in game currency. The 4 versions of the in game currency can be used in other Non-Myfaction modes to unlock characters, or customization tools. You can view your collection, and even evolve your cards if you want more powerful superstars. It seemed like a mobile gatcha game, overall just unnecessary to the experience. 

The last mode available is the MyRise mode, where you can take a custom superstar to the top to grab that brass ring. You start off making your character, and I must say, the customization modes in this game seem ENDLESS. Facial features, hair, tattoos, clothing, anything you can think of is here for you to create your perfect superstar. You can make your own entrance, down to the video, the pyro, the signs seen in crowd, and what you do post match. You can choose a background, like amateur wrestling, MMA, and even Hollywood actor. The customization here is extreme, rivaling modern RPG games like Cyberpunk 2099. You can even choose what you want the announcer to call you, and having a name like Joseph, I geeked out when I heard it for the first time. I was able to choose which finger my superstar wanted to point when he's posing for his pre match. After that, you get to talk to people, and make choices. These choices determine whether you're going to be liked or hated backstage, which creates or destroys any opportunities for you to become champion. You can check your social media, and see if any wrestlers are talking trash about you. You can respond to these messages, and set up a rivalry or match for later. You can challenge a hall of famer right out the gate if you choose to be a cocky up and comer. As you progress, you get more and more involved in storylines, side quests, and more. This is definitely the Role playing game part, and I absolutely love it. For the record, my Superstar's name is The Professional Joseph M. Moore(r), and I just beat up a person in my first match after development on a mainline show. I have 4800 fans. My catchphrase is "Smacks All Around". 

Let me tie this up by talking a little more about the customization. You can create championships, entrances, move sets, arenas, shows, videos, and custom matches, all from scratch. You can move belts around to reflect the current real time championships. You can update the current superstars to their current clothing if you want. Or, if you want to skip all of this, go to the online tab. The online tab lets you play in lobbies so you can play random people on the internet, or your friends. You can also do quick play, and set up custom options, such as regions, or if you want to allow custom creations. The real winner in this mode is the Community Creations. These are a dream come true. Is your favorite superstar not in the game? Download it. You want an old arena? Download it. You can sort these by most downloaded or most upvoted, which bubbles the popular stuff to the top. And though they may not be the same as you remember, they always turn up pretty darn close. This is also a favorite of the series, for if you ever want a certain mighty morphin team to take on some universe masters, this is the way to go. 

There's so much more to this game. And I have the NWO 4 Life edition. There are 28 more characters coming in DLC packs. There's an in game soundtrack curated by Machine Gun Kelly. The weapons show damage the more you use them. I think it's graphically one of the best wrestling games out there, and while I question a few character models, the majority of them are spot on. WWE 2K22 is crazy fun, and it's going to be the go-to wrestling game for a while. Or at least until 2k23 comes out.

WWE2K22 has a TON of content that you wanted in a wrestling game. With revamped graphics, mechanics, and customization modes, this one will be hard to stop playing. MyGM and MyRise shine here, and while this title is going to be hard to top, but if this is the blueprint for WWE games going forward, sign me up. 

Rating: 8.5 Very Good

* The product in this article was sent to us by the developer/company.

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About Author

Joseph is the resident streamer for Gaming Nexus. He grew up playing video games as early as the Atari 2600. He knows a little about a lot of video games, and loves a challenge. He thinks that fanboys are dumb, and enjoys nothing more than to see rumors get completely shut down. He just wants to play games, and you can watch him continue his journey at Games N Moorer on Youtube, Twitch, Twitter, and Facebook gaming! 

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