2K22 manages to right most of the wrongs from it's last outing!!

User Rating: 8 | WWE 2K22 (nWo 4-Life Edition) PS5

WWE 2K22 Review (PS5)

Videogames have sadly been deprived of wrestling titles being released lately, in part due to the horrible debut of WWE 2K20. It was plagued with many bugs and issues & framerate drops. I can remember playing as Undertaker and floating above the ring as I played another in couch co-op. While alot of these issues were addressed, 2K boldly issued an announcement stating that they would need a full year off to fully make the next entry the game it deserves to be. Well, I can now say with clarity that they managed to pull it off, mostly.

WWE 2K22 comes into our homes free of the game-breaking problems that 2K20 suffered from. For the most part, it plays very smoothly. The graphics are at the series best, with superstars looking almost identical to their real-life counterparts. The audience, in some venues, are shown through cell phones and devices watching from home, much like the real thing during the pandemic. It is clear from the gate that 2K has spent a lot of time and effort to make things right after the travesty that 2k20 was.

I will start off with MyCareer Mode. You once again have the option of creating your very own superstar from scratch, and there is enough to pick from to please just about anyone's taste. With tons of different outfits and designs, you can really create a wrestler that looks like something Vince McMahon would come up with. You also have the option to pick what material you want certain parts of the wardrobe to be made of, such as satin or denim. Browsing through the options can get tiresome because there is so many but thats actually a good thing cuz there is sure to be something for everyone here. The same can be said about the move-set and entrances. They give you everything and complete freedom to do as you please. You even have the option to choose what kind of background or backstory your wrestler has. I chose ex-MMA fighter who has come to the WWE for something new. This is reflected upon greatly by Byron Saxton, Graves & Michael Cole as my superstar enters the ring. You can choose any type of background pose you want your wrestler to perform and this pose will be picture that represents your wrestler. So, now that I have touched upon that, I will talk about how the actual mode works. This years is much different from any previous games. You begin your career at the Performance Center and are joined by 3 others in training under the tutelage of none other than Shawn Michaels & Road Dogg Jessie James. The storylines are cool, also completely predictable, but after you finish that you get to choose which franchise you want to wrestle on. I chose Monday Night Raw, and it works much the same as Smackdown & NXT. Once you have made it the show of your choosing, the Hub area is where you can look at your cell phone and through social media you can choose different storylines to pursue. Big E may be looking for a contender to challenge for his United States Championship, or you can go the heel route and viciously attack someone backstage. There are multiple routes for you to engage upon but after a while they all become kinda stale. After you have seen about 20 different storylines, you basically have seen them all. Most of the time, these storylines contain the bare minimum voice acting, so you are reading most of the time which is kind of a downer. The MyCareer mode is ok, but sadly not the best the series has offered in previous titles.

Next up I will cover the MyFaction mode. This mode is a new one being introduced to the series. In it, you create your own faction, naming them and choosing cards to pick from which have different backgrounds and images. Basically, you can begin your very own New World Order-type group. You have to earn wrestler cards to be able to include that wrestler in your faction. Thankfully, the game allows you to begin earning these wrestlers very easily and reward you frequently for playing this mode. After just a few hours of playing this mode, I acquired 10 different wrestlers and many different images and backgrounds to customize my faction. While the collectible theme will bring many players back for more, there is not enough substance here for many people in my opinion. I do think its a good thing that you are constantly rewarded with new cards and it being easy to do without having to pay money out of your wallet to acquire new ones. Like I said though, there really is not alot here to bring veteran players back.

The MyGM mode is back and no it is not what many people hoped it would be. I did not spend a lot of time in this mode, but the little time I did, I got completely obliterated by the opposing AI controlled GM. You are given a certain budget and the opportunity to choose which superstars you want for your show. There are many, many different factors you have to take into consideration, ranging from which lights you want to use at your venues to closely monitoring your superstars morale. There is so much you have to watch and pay attention to and learn that it can quickly become overwhelming. Even after the detailed tutorial, I was reeling from all the factors and things to pay attention to. After I finally finalized my first complete Monday Night Raw show, you are given the option to play out these matches as you see fit. You can get rivalries started this way and getting the crowd behind you can feel a bit tough to do even if you are picking the 2 top superstars the industry has to offer. I thought I had a pretty good match card laid out and was still beaten pretty badly by the opposing GM. Overall, the mode feels a bit much for my tastes, but it may appeal to others out there who enjoy this kind of thing.

The Showcase Mode is back and the star of the show is Rey Mysterio. This is a well deserved focus on his career as he is one of the greatest Latino cruiserweights of all time. The best match by far is one of the very first ones, dating all the way back to WCW Halloween Havoc. Rey vs. Eddie Guererro, another legendary Latino cruiserweight. The game goes back and forth from real live footage to gameplay smoothly, and once again, you have to meet the objectives that are given to you. It is always a fun mode to learn the ropes of the gameplay and this years does not disappoint. The only downside is the rewards and the matches that 2k chose to represent it. The only plausible match that is here is the one I mentioned before. The rest are not all that great and do not depict the "highlights" of Rey's career. Many other matches that should have been here were not present in the game. You are rewarded with many different outfits for Rey and hardly ever any new superstars, which was a great thing of the older games, that being able to unlock new superstars through this mode. But all in all, it is a fun distraction from the main game and it should be played through by anyone who picks up this game.

WWE Universe mode is back and in it you get to pick whatever superstar you want and go through the motions of contending on your brand of choice. Triple H is who you interact with here and it's good fun to be had. The game keeps up with your winning streak and titles won/defended. It is fun to be able to step into the shoes of Stone Cold Steve Austin and re-live his career through re-enactment. So, many players will be thrilled to see that not much has changed here and that is a good thing.

The wrestling is what everyone is here for though, and with a brand new engine, you may be wondering how it plays. Well, mostly good. The new button layouts are completely different from past titles, this time focusing on stringing together combos with your punches and kicks. By pushing square, x, or o you can string together different combos. The reversal system works like this, you have to predict what button your opponent is going to press next. If you are getting punched by a combo, you can reverse by matching the button that your opponent presses, but if you press the wrong one you will continue to get pummeled. It is a fresh take on the button layout, which over the years had become stale. There are still plenty of grapple moves to perform and it finally feels new and fun to play. That said, the tag team matches can become frustrating very quickly. More often than not in tag team matches, you are not going to be able to pin your opponent because of the opponents tag team partner breaking up the pin. This happens alot in real life yes, but here it can make a 10 minute match go on for well past that. Also, the ladder matches can become a hassle too. Even if you have the ladder in the correct spot and all opponents laid out outside the ring, the second one of them enters the ring and even walks by the ladder it is going to fall fast. This becomes very annoying and can make matches go on forever. Also, the AI can be pretty aggravating. I was in a match with 5 other AI controlled wrestlers and each one of the AI goes out and throws a ladder in the ring. There ended up being 6 ladders in the ring at one time which may sound fun, but trust me, it isn't. It becomes a hassle to even land a move due to the ring being riddled with ladders.

All in all, the roster is great, even if most of the wrestlers that are in the game no longer appear on TV. You have the classics such as The Rock, Stone Cold, Hulk Hogan and the NWO here, and you also have some that are not as well known such as Keith Lee and T-Bar. The roster is suprisingly large though and this is always a plus in these types of games. The online modes can be a bit difficult to land in a match sometimes taking longer than it should. But once you do land a match, the game performs very well, even with multiple players at once. So, all in all, this is a step in the right direction for the franchise. Let's just hope that the developer 2K are able to produce the next years title on time.