Back in middle school, I remember playing so much WCW vs NWO: World Tour and Revenge for Nintendo 64 at my friend’s house. We would have intense tournaments, Royal Rumbles, Battle Royals and all kinds of insane matches. I knew all of the WCW and NWO wrestlers back then, because of the game. It wasn’t until a few years later that I started watching the WWF (now WWE).
Wrestling video games were a big part of my life since those old school WCW games, WWF Wrestlemania games and I specifically remember WWF Attitude was a big one. I recently wrote about how I stayed up super late on a school night in middle school, waiting for my dad to bring home a copy of WWF Attitude, after work. At some point I stopped watching WWF, and stopped playing wrestling games altogether.
A few years ago, I tried out a newer wrestling game or game demo and the controls were way too complicated for me. I was still accustomed to the simple light/heavy strike and weak/strong grapple of past wrestling games.
Return to the WWE
I recently got back into wrestling, the WWE, as it’s now known. I attended a few live events (Smackdown, Raw and Livewire or something like that) as a kid and I’ve been wanting to go back to a live wrestling event for some years. I was just looking for the right friend(s) to go with. Last week, I attended my first WWE live event in over twenty years (Smackdown), with my buddy Shaun. You can read about it on my other site, Ferdi’s Learnings.
In the past two months, I became obsessed with the WWE once again. I started watching replays of shows to catch up before attending a live Smackdown. I also learned that the new WWE 2K22 would release just a week after attending Smackdown.
My favorite part of wrestling has always been the Superstar entrances. I even get excited when wrestlers I don’t like come out, just to see their entrance. I’d say about 90% of WWE Superstars have a memorable entrance, maybe more. So far, in my week or so of playing WWE 2K22 I have rarely skipped entrances, no matter how many times I’ve already seen them.
The last WWE 2K– game was released in October of 2019. That game was WWE 2K20, and it had a horrible launch. I didn’t have a chance to play the game, but I remember seeing videos and hearing stories of terrible and game-breaking glitches. The release was so terrible, that the studio had to take an extra year to develop the next game, WWE 2K22.
I’m surprised that the WWE didn’t strip the license from 2K Games after that horrible launch, and hand it over to someone else. I’m also happy they didn’t strip their license, because after playing WWE 2K22, I can say that this is a redemption story.
WWE 2K22: The Game
Since there was no WWE 2K21, this gave the team at Visual Concepts (NBA 2K21 & NBA 2K22) an extra year to redesign the gameplay and animation engine. The controls, which I briefly went over earlier, give players more control over every move. The Superstars look hyper realistic, thanks to the same scanning and animation techniques used for the NBA 2K franchise.
Controls + Gameplay
WWE 2K22 threw me straight into the Gulak Academy, teaching me the basics: Light Strike, Heavy Strike and Grab, some Combos, Blocks and Dodges, Reversals, Specials and Finishers and more. After completing the tutorial, playing a few matches, and replaying the tutorial I have a good grasp on the controls.
The controls in WWE 2K22 are much easier to digest. And, the more you play the more you learn. Plus, moves and combos are available in the pause menu during matches if you need help.
Even though certain moves and combos may activate cutscenes, I feel in control for the most part during matches in WWE 2K22. The chance to reverse and block most moves allows for the momentum of a match to continuously shift throughout the night.
I will say that any match with more than four Superstars can get out of hand. I participated in one Money in the Bank Ladder Match with eight superstars. Making it to the top of the ladder and grabbing the suitcase of money was looking to be impossible, so instead I focused on making sure certain opponents didn’t win.
So Many Superstars
The roster of WWE Superstars (past and present) is sort of insane. Plus, there are multiple DLC Superstar packs on the way, with a bunch more. The roster features wrestlers from all eras (WCW, WWF, WWE, NXT), so anyone who has ever been a fan of wrestling can come in and find someone they know and love.
I know AEW is working on their own video game now, and there are probably some wrestlers missing because of licensing issues or maybe they’ll be part of the upcoming AEW game. Wrestlers like Chris Jericho, The Big Show, CM Punk and others. Still, we’ll be getting Mick Foley (Cactus Jack), Rikishi, Ronda Rousey and Rick Boogs later this year.
There are many different ways to enjoy WWE 2K22. Whether you’re an old school or current WWE fan, you’re bound to find some of your favorite Superstars among this roster. There are also multiple game modes to choose from.
You can build your own legacy with a current or custom Superstar, play through some legendary matches in history, become a top-rated General Manager, or you can even fight random custom matches. There are also a couple of ways to wrestle online against opponents or with allies all over the world.
WWE 2K22 gives players so much to do. Let’s go through each of the game modes.
After completing the basic tutorial I first messed around in Play mode, which is your basic quick play option. Here you can choose between different match types and setups. You can even create your own custom type of match.
This is the best way to get a taste for WWE 2K22 and how the combat works. It’s also a great way to set up your dream matches between your favorite current and legendary Superstars.
Check out one of my first matches in WWE 2K22:
My All-Time Favorite The Rock vs The “Tribal Chief” Roman Reigns
The Showcase Mode celebrates Rey Mysterio’s legendary career in professional wrestling. In this mode you get to replay some of Rey Mysterio’s top matches, from the late 90s up until today. The first match was Myterio vs Eddie Guerrero. Throughout each match there are challenges to complete to unlock rewards.
The most incredible part of this mode is how it will seamlessly jump from gameplay to real match footage and back. I didn’t do a great job with the challenges though. At some point, one of the objectives was too specific and I couldn’t get it right. I know I will go back and try more of these matches.
In Universe mode you choose your favorite Superstar and rise through the WWE Universe week after week. I chose Xavier Woods and have been fighting on Smackdown. Even though I chose Kofi Kingston as one of my allies, my first matches were against him. Maybe that’s how our friendship was formed? This mode reminds me of a franchise or season mode in other sports games.
At first, I thought this was just a new match each week. It’s cool to see how rivalries are being created. My rivals have even come out to interfere in other matches I’ve been in. Universe mode turned out to be more complex than I thought it would be, which was nice.
MyGM mode is one that I thought I wouldn’t really care for, but it’s actually quite fun. It begins with a fantasy draft, where you must choose a roster of Superstars for your brand. Next, you plan matches each week, choose your promos, you even have to pick your venue, advertising budget and more. The money earned each week can be used it to make your show better, and add new Superstars to your roster throughout the season.
While I first thought this mode wasn’t for me, it became a bit more appealing since you can play the matches in your show each week — you don’t have to simulate all of them. Playing matches in MyGM is different, you have to control the tempo, have the Superstars go back and forth to get the best audience reaction. I never cared to try games like Football Manager and others like that, but this mode is different because you get to do both: the setup and the gameplay.
I do need to start over and draft a better roster next time. It’s important to have a mix of babyfaces (good) and heels (bad) Superstars on your show. You have to think of who works together as a tag team, and who should be against them.
MyFaction is the mode for the Ultimate team/collectible card game fans. Collect (or purchase) virtual currency to build the next great legendary faction and compete with nWo, D-Generation X and others that came before. You don’t actually have to spend real money in this mode, but I’m pretty sure that’s the quickest way to unlock even more Superstars.
I’ve never really gotten into these Ultimate team type modes in sports games. I’ve tried them, but lost interest pretty quickly. The menus are usually very busy and full of too much information. I just want to play the game, and I don’t want to pay extra.
Some of the challenges within this mode are pretty neat though. There are three ways to play: Proving Grounds, Faction Wars and Weekly Towers. Each has its own matches and challenges. The more challenges you complete, the more points and unlocks you earn.
The ability to create multiple factions is a nice perk. Instead of focusing on creating one single faction and testing out new Superstars, you get to have different factions and groups to try together.
MyRise is WWE 2K22’s “Story Mode,” where you get to create a Superstar and play through their professional wrestling career, starting from the Performance Center. Other sports franchises (Madden and NBA2K) have added a “Story Mode” in recent years. I’ve tried those out and while they’ve been alright, I think the world of Professional Wrestling lends itself better to this type of gameplay. Wrestling relies on stories, and with MyRise you get to see the story from all angles (backstage and in the ring).
In MyRise, you begin your career at the Performance Center, training under Shawn Michaels and “The Road Dogg” Jesse James. You compete against other young Superstars, allies and enemies. The choices you make shape who you become as a WWE Superstar. Along the way you get to be a part of all kinds of matches, with all kinds of Superstars and future Superstars.
This mode is also great for fans of wrestling video games, who don’t watch the WWE. You get to create your own unique wrestler and make your way through this story. You may even learn about some WWE Superstars throughout your journey.
So much can be customized within WWE 2K22. From each Superstar to custom matches and more. It’s wild how many attributes go into each Superstar’s rating. You can even change up any Superstar’s attributes to make them as good or bad as you believe they deserve to be. I’m not messing with any Superstar ratings, but I’m sure there will be “roster update” files to download.
It’s not just the Superstars that can be edited. You can create pretty much anything in the WWE Universe: Custom Matches, Superstars, Arenas, Shows, Entrances and more. The Creation menu in WWE 2K22, is sort of a game mode of its own. I’m excited to see what championship belts, superstars and arenas fans create.
As someone who just got back into watching the WWE, this is a great comeback into wrestling video games. This game is good enough to be the official WWE game for a couple of years to come. I don’t think we need to see a new game each year with slight adjustments and roster updates, like other sports games. These yearly updates are how these franchises run into problems. The team can just add new Superstars into the game every couple of months for now.
After trying out the different gameplay modes I know I’m going to stick with Universe (with Xavier Woods) and MyRise (with my custom wrestler). I’ll probably restart MyGM at some point too, and redraft with a good mix of Babyfaces and Heels for my show. I’ll also pay better attention to my money.
All through high school and up until a few years ago, I was always playing some kind of sports game — Madden, NBA 2K, FIFA. A couple of years ago, I dropped off of these titles. There was always a sports title rotating in my game lineup. That changed to racing games (Gran Turismo Sport) and Overwatch, or some kind of online multiplayer game (Rocket League, Splatoon 2, Fortnite). I think I found my new “Rotating Sports Game” and it’s WWE 2K22 (also, I just picked up Gran Turismo 7).
The only problems I came across in this game were when there were too many fighters in the ring. As I said earlier, it just gets too wild to keep track of. I did get better at switching opponents in Triple Threat matches, so maybe I’ll get better with this.
The second problem is hair. Long hair just looks weird in this game when it’s swinging around. There are times where the hair passes through a character’s face. While the Superstar animations and character design can be mistaken for real life at many points in the game, the hair is one thing that doesn’t look so perfect all the time.
I’m definitely going to keep playing WWE 2K22 for a while. I look forward to the release of new Superstars with the upcoming DLC packs. I know that once Rick Boogs arrives in the game, I’ll be starting a second Universe mode with the Boogs Man!
WWE 2K22 is now available on Xbox and PlayStation consoles, and PC. The game released last week.
*myVGBC.com was provided a review code for WWE 2K22