WWE 2K22 Early Review: Does It Hit Different?


I’ve already spent some hours with WWE 2K22. After being starved of pro wrestling games for two years, does the latest installment hit different?

Finally… WWE 2K has come back to consoles. The latest installment of the franchise, WWE 2K22 features a new game engine, an impressive roster, improved physics and some incredible graphics.

But the million-dollar question is: Does it really hit different?

Well… yeah, mostly. There’s a lot to like about WWE 2K22. 2K was kind enough to send me a review copy and I’m happy to report that I’m having a great time with WWE 2K22.

Below, you’ll find my thoughts on various aspects of the game, but these lists (and the review as a whole) is certainly a work in progress. I’ve spent roughly 10 hours with the game thus far.

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The Good

  • The game is absolutely beautiful. Lighting saw some massive improvements and it truly makes a difference.
  • Entrances have been re-worked with new angles, more movement from the camera and a more active crowd. The entrances feel like something worth watching every, single time.
  • Crowd/audio tweaks create some really cool moments. Sometimes things still feel a little flat when hitting your finisher to end a match, but hearing the crowd count out punches or suplexes is pretty cool.
  • The new in-match camera angle is great. Being closer to the action makes things look and feel more dynamic.
  • If you’re using a wrestler from another era, you’re going to get a much more accurate model. No more 60-year-old Undertaker face on Undertaker 1998’s body.
  • The Showcase is done differently this year, with the gameplay syncing up with real highlights seamlessly. Rey Mysterio commentates the matches and keeps it fun (and keeps kayfabe). I’m usually not someone who plays Showcase, but I wanted to earn the unlockable arenas and wrestlers (unmasked Kane!).
  • The new controls are different. I wouldn’t say they’re too difficult, but they are different. When you pull off a combo, or a combo breaker/reversal, it rewards you with an incredibly smooth-looking animation. However, veterans of wrestling games are going to need plenty of time to adjust. That being said, the game feels GREAT to play.
  • MyRise is the mode I’ve spent the least time with thus far, but I’m having fun with it. The social media function is funny and provides plenty of side missions, the writing is solid (meaning, I wouldn’t be surprised to see some of these storylines get used on Raw… for better or worse).
  • MyGM mode isn’t what most fans were hoping for. This isn’t the same GM mode from the old SmackDown vs Raw games. It’s something entirely new, and I enjoyed playing it. Balancing the roster styles and skills is fun. If you’re wanting this to be the old mode brought back to life, you’ll be disappointed. But if you’re open to a newer take on a classic mode, you’re going to have fun.
  • The soundtrack is awesome and feels very much wrestling-appropriate. Plus, if you’re like me and spent the last three years playing 2K19, you don’t have to hear ‘BLOW MY MIND, BLOW MY MIND.’ Ever again. It can’t hurt you anymore.
  • Load times are practically non-existent.
2K /

The Middle

  • MyGM isn’t incredibly deep and the longest season you can play is 50 weeks. Plus, you only have two champions per brand. The base is here for something great, but ideally we wouldn’t be saying that after a two-year wait.
  • MyFaction is fun. I know I shouldn’t like opening up card packs and giving companies extra money… but I can’t help myself. However, there’s no online play with MyFaction and the virtual currency is standard 2K pricing. So… that’s a bit odd.
  • The new controls will take awhile to get used to. I’ve been playing professional wrestling games since SmackDown: Shut Your Mouth and usually have no problem turning my matches into squashes. But that’s not happening here. In my opinion, that’s a good thing, but I can understand that some people might be turned off by the new controls.
  • Universe mode didn’t really get any additions, outside of being able to select one superstar and only play their matches/promos/storylines. So if you liked the sandbox mode before, you’re going to like it now. But more additions would have been appreciated.
  • Depending on how you feel about ol’ Vinny Mac’s releases over the last two years, you’re either going to be pleasantly surprised or bitterly disappointed by the roster. In my opinion, getting as many of the released superstars in there is a GOOD thing, but I was a little surprised that I could nearly field a full 30-man Royal Rumble with released talent. But, keep in mind, that if it were solely up to the developers, everyone would be in. It isn’t up to them. If the WWE doesn’t want to pay someone royalties… like my dude Bray Wyatt (how did The Fiend only end up in the worst game?!?), then they won’t be in the game. But scour the creation suite and you’ll likely find what you’re looking for.
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The Bad

  • There are occasions when animations get a little wonky, or a wrestler will get caught up in the ropes. This happened constantly in 2K20, but it is much more rare in 2K22. And there’s nothing game-breaking.
  • Sometimes there are some questionable camera angles in key moments. The most glaring example for me was seeing Hogan from the back when he’s tearing his t-shirt. Well, let me tell you something brother, that ain’t it.
  • The soundtrack we have is good… but NBA 2K22 has so many more songs. Why do the wrestling fans get stuck with a dozen or so tracks?
  • Some creation suite features have been removed because they were apparently causing crashes with the game. That means no advanced entrance creation, which is a real bummer.
  • This isn’t 2K’s fault, but there are some key Rey Mysterio moments omitted from the Showcase. The 2006 Royal Rumble was seemingly teased (which was crazy if you look at who participated in that Rumble), so I figured they would’ve found some sort of workaround. Also, because Kurt Angle isn’t licensed, that means no Mysterio vs Angle at SummerSlam 2002 and no Wrestlemania 22 triple threat match.

Final Thoughts

WWE 2K22 lives up to its tagline. The game really does hit different. You might need some extra time to get accustomed to the controls, but you’re going to love the way the game plays and looks. The addition of the new modes provides enough variety to keep you entertained and MyFaction gives you something to grind away at, if that’s your thing.

Overall, 2K has done a great job of creating a foundation for next-gen professional wrestling games. This title will make you forget about how bad 2K20 was.

You can order your copy of WWE 2K22 now. 

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