WWE 2K22 review

WWE 2K22 Review - 'I'm Not Dead Yet'

WWE 2K20 was nothing short of a disaster at launch. In fact, I reviewed WWE 2K20 and said that I did not think you should buy it. As a longtime WWE fan and a fan of wrestling games since the NES days, that’s never something I like to write. I won’t rehash everything else that has happened since WWE 2K20 launched, but the point is that WWE 2K22 has a lot to prove this time around, which leads into my WWE 2K22 review.

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WWE 2K22 Review

What I Like

Controls And Animations

There was some concern about the new controls and how they would impact the game, for better or worse. There was also a lot of worry out there about combos, how they would be used, and if they would be hard to pull off — somehow making this into a Mortal Kombat-style fighting game. Well, I think those worries are unfounded. The new controls are a boon to the game. Not only do they give it a fresh feel, they actually make the game more intuitive and more fun to play.

Combos are not hard to pull off once you get used to them, and they usually only involve two to three different buttons. However, one issue I have to point out is that in order to do an Irish Whip, you have to lock up first. This is rather counterintuitive. You don’t see this in real wrestling, and I think it interrupts the flow of matches at times. But, once you get used to it, it becomes just a thing you have to do, and now I rarely think about it. Overall, the controls are very responsive, and moves are easy to pull off.

I feel that Visual Concepts did a good job representing the real wrestlers’ movesets as well. What’s even more impressive is the animations that make up the moves. I’m seeing many new animations. The game really does flow better than any recent 2K game. At times, I was so impressed by the efficiency of the animations it made me forget some of the ghosts that have haunted this series in that department. Irish Whips look great, and the wrestlers seem to have more purpose coming off the ropes and pulling off various moves. The new animations create an environment where the flow of action is much more natural during most contests.

WWE 2K22 review

Some may like this, and some may not, but a lot of animations in the game are played out with little control after you initiate them. If you play NBA 2K, you’ll know what I mean. To me, I think this is a good thing. Not only does it make the matches flow better and look like actual wrestling, it also lets you enjoy seeing these play out like you see on TV if you are a wrestling fan. One example would be Rey Mysterio’s rope spots, such as his wrist lock rope climb and jumping off to flip the other wrestler. It looks fantastic in action.

That said, just like previous WWE 2K games, there are some misses here. Sometimes an animation won’t trigger if you are not in the right position. You might find yourself running at an opponent only to launch a diving attack that totally misses its mark and could stall your momentum (this was a big problem in past games). Regardless, from what I’ve played, these issues tend to happen much less frequently than in past games.

One final note is that Some may not like the movement of the wrestlers as they move around the ring. It struck me as weird at first, but it’s something I got used to pretty quickly and didn’t become a distraction.

Graphics And Presentation

WWE 2K22 Drew McIntyre

I think most will end up agreeing that the new graphics and presentation elements might be the strongest parts of the game. The models have been improved in substantial ways, the textures look fantastic, the crowd reactions are better, the entrances are great, the lighting is spot-on, and the arenas are solid. As far as faces go, they are more hit than miss, although there are a few outliers here and there. I’d say the faces overall are a big improvement as well. I also didn’t notice any severe graphical hiccups, and certainly nothing even close to the mess that was WWE 2K20. Even the hair looks much better. It’s not perfect, but it’s perfectly acceptable this time around.

One of the other parts I really like is the default camera. It brings you closer to the action and really shows off the upgraded graphics. I think this will be popular among players. Overall, I’d say they nailed graphics and presentation this time.

Since there weren’t any user-created wrestlers to download when I was reviewing the game, I can’t speak much about how they look as a whole yet, but I’m expecting more of the same great creations we get year after year. It’s also an area I’m sure I’ll focus more on in a future article.

Overall Gameplay

The simple way to put it is I think WWE 2K22 plays well. There are mostly seamless transitions, and the controls are intuitive and open up a lot of realistic spots. In other words, you feel like you have more control. The wrestler’s movements are more fluid, and it’s much easier to make a match feel more like pro wrestling.

Transitions are also well done, and I like the dodge mechanic as well. Reversals are now unlimited, which is a good thing because it gives you a chance to get back in the match at any time instead of just knowing your character has to take a bunch of abuse before you even get that opportunity. The breakers, which are a good thought, are a little less practical in practice, but still look good and feel rewarding when you can pull one off. Even CPU vs. CPU gameplay seems to be better. There is less standing around and wrestlers not knowing what to do. They will honestly wrestle in ways you see on TV.

That aspect builds into one of the biggest issues I’ve had over the past couple games, and that is that everything just felt so robotic before. I’m happy to say this is not the case anymore. Wrestlers no longer move about the ring in a zig-zag fashion, but I’m sure some will still not like how they look while moving around the ring (and that’s fair). They stay pretty grounded and move with more purpose. It still isn’t quite as smooth as it could be, but it looks and feels better.

Special moves and finishers are easy to pull off when you get them, although they may be a little easy to get depending on the difficulty setting. I do like the vitality meter, and also the fact that you have to completely deplete your opponent’s health meter in order for it to stop refilling to where it is when the match started. There has obviously been some form of this in past games, but it just works and feels right in this game.

Just to note, there are no new match types this year. That said, multi-man matches flow a bit better, but they still suffer from most of the same past issues. In short, it’s really hard for me to find anything that is really hampering things in the ring right now. I would guess some may not like the gameplay because it may not be different enough for them, and that’s fine. They didn’t reinvent the wheel, but they put shiny new rims on it and inflated the tires.


WWE 2K22 review MyRise

To sum it up, it’s fantastic. I think this is where the game might shine the brightest this year. But keep in mind, it’s deep. Each story is at least 25 hours long and that doesn’t include match times. You basically start off as a new recruit and are thrust into action. I won’t spoil anything here, as the story is good so far from what I was able to play during the woman’s story.

You have everything from social media to deal with, plus training, building up your attributes, and branching storylines. One of the best things I noticed was that the commentary is actually pretty good. They focus on your journey, and it sounds concise. You can also basically customize everything about your wrestler.

There’s a lot to like here, and I think this blows away the previous couple story modes from these games. I need to play it more to make sure it doesn’t get repetitive, but so far it has not. Like the creation suite, I will have an article covering this mode in more depth soon. It deserves its own piece for sure, but in general, I love the mode and think most people will as well.

What I Don’t Like



It pains me to say this, but MyGM could be so much better. It’s very bare, which is somewhat understandable being the first time it’s been included in a 2K wrestling game. That said, with two years of development time, I feel like it could have been better.

You first select which GM you want to be, or you can create a custom GM. The default choices are Adam “Postman” Pearce, Sonya Deville, William Regal (who is now in AEW like half the game’s roster), Shane McMahon (whose own dad fired him), and finally Stephanie McMahon. Each one will give you a power card to start with. These include things like morale boosts, special things like not letting the other brand’s top stars wrestle for some reason, and bonuses for certain things like purchasing show upgrades.

You first start with an eight-round draft, and you can continue to draft if you would like, but you need to watch your budget as you only start off with 2.7M and each wrestler is in the six-figure range. You also have to make sure you have money for things like match types, arenas, production, and advertising. You are also checked up on by Triple H after every show because he is the commissioner. He will ask you to do certain things or don’t do certain things. You can basically respond with a yes or no answer.

Wrestlers will come to you with requests or general feelings on something. If you don’t make them happy, they will lose morale. If they lose enough, they may want to leave your brand. But the problem is, it’s hard to make everyone happy. You only get three matches and two promo spots per show. It’s important to note, you don’t get to see these promos. You just get a rating for them. At the end of each show, you get a breakdown of your financials and show ratings.

The game also wants you to match up certain styles of wrestlers, which to me can be weird. They want giants against cruiserweights, bruisers vs. specialists, and so forth. Sometimes I think people want to see evenly matched wrestlers go at it, but nope, you pretty much get scolded for that. Also you need to make sure you have babyfaces vs. heels. I forgot to mention, you also start in a dingy high school gym. You have to wait weeks to unlock real WWE arenas. I’m just not a fan of that. And speaking of weeks, you can only have 15, 25, or 50 weeks.

In closing, GM mode isn’t great. It’s shallow and has some questionable decisions baked into it. Either way, I hope this is a big focus going forward for the series because the potential is there in bits and pieces.


WWE 2K22 MyFaction

If you like card collecting modes, you will probably like MyFaction. However, those modes are not for me. Many people love them, and for those who do, I think you will like this one. It’s definitely not too dissimilar to NBA 2K‘s MyTeam, and so it looks like there will be plenty of single-player content here. Still, it just did not click for me. So while it’s a negative for me, it’s more just going to come down to personal preference here than anything. By comparison, I think the issues with MyGM will be more universal.


2K has been hit or miss with the Showcase mode in the past, and this one is probably going to be an eye of the beholder sort of situation as well. The match selections for Rey are solid, but obviously they can’t accurately do them all due to the fact a lot of his former opponents aren’t with WWE anymore. During the mode, Rey recaps what’s happening throughout the matches. They are a mix of cinematics and gameplay. I think there is enough here to make it just about right in length. That said, sometimes the objectives are hard to pull off and a little vague, and that can be frustrating.

If you’re a fan of Rey, then I think you’ll enjoy Showcase this year. If not, it probably won’t be worth your time.

Bottom Line

WWE 2K22 is fundamentally better than WWE 2K20 in just about every way. I also believe it’s better than 2K19, which I enjoy and I know has a cult following. This game is deep, and it’s part of why I did not try to cover everything here in this review and instead will have more articles in the coming days/weeks. Of course, it does still have its own set of shortcomings. GM Mode is somewhat disappointing, and I think the same holds true for Universe Mode where there is not a ton to cover other than it looks like promos have been taken out (but there is some talk about a patch for this). (On the topic of Universe Mode, there’s also some saying they’re getting cutscenes and others who are not, so we’ll keep an eye on that as well.)

Regardless, WWE 2K22 has many strengths. You have MyRise, which is a highlight for me. On top of that, the thought of how amazing some of the community creations will be has me excited as always. And last but not least, the gameplay is greatly improved. If you have been waiting on a great game of WWE 2K between the ropes, then yes, WWE 2K22 hits different after a long lull.

Related: Best Male Wrestlers in WWE 2K22 on Gamepur

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