WWE 2K23 Hands-on Impressions

WWE 2K23 Hands-on Impressions

By  Mike Crewe - 22nd Mar 2023

Get your grapple on!

WWE 2K23 Hands-on Impressions

It’s time to strap on your wrist tape and flex those muscles, because WWE 2K23 is here! After redeeming itself last year with the much improved WWE 2K22, the annual franchise from Visual Concepts and 2K Games continues to provide an unrivalled wrestling (ahem, sports entertainment) simulator with all the pomp and circumstance we’ve come to expect from the biggest wrestling company in the industry.

Right away, the high level of detail is noticeable: everything from the arenas, to the roar of the crowd, and the superstars themselves look and sound as close to real-life as ever. The series has honestly never looked better, and it runs excellently, with zero frame drops or stuttering to be found outside of the odd online connection issues.

The list of playable wrestlers is huge, from current stars, such as Cody Rhodes and Rhea Ripley, to legends like Roddy Piper and Molly Holly, there are plenty of grapplers to play as in every mode. And although no new modes have been implemented this year, each of the pre-existing ones make a return, with a wide range of improvements, giving players a wealth of varied content to grapple with.

First is MyFaction, and whilst no major changes have been made, some extra timed challenges and the ability to play online have been added. Showcase is flipped on its head this year, as instead of playing as one wrestler throughout their storied career, you’ll be facing off against John Cena to hand him some of his most historic losses. MyGM is much more robust this in the prior installment, allowing for up to four general managers (computer or player controlled) to compete to see who can run the most successful brand. MyRise also makes a return, with both “The Lock” and “The Legacy” story modes feeling much more focused on telling a cohesive story this time around. Finally, we have Universe mode, which has never been more customisable thanks to the new options that let you pick exactly how a rivalry will play out!

All of this counts for nothing if the fundamental mechanics aren’t up to scratch, but thankfully, WWE 2K23’s in-ring action is the best it’s ever been! Sure, there are still the occasional clipping issues and unintentionally hilarious physics, but the moment-to-moment gameplay is absolutely rock solid. If you’re a returning player, then the controls work exactly as they did last year, although newcomers will find the tutorial (with Xavier Woods as the coach) more than sufficient to get to grips with the basics. 

As with each iteration, we see improvements to how CPU opponents perform, and gone are the days of them standing idly by to get counted out, or climbing up to the top rope only to climb back down again on a constant loop. It will certainly offer a decent challenge — particularly on Legend mode — and the “rock, paper, scissors” style of countering alongside the usual button-prompt reversals seen in the series for many years, will have you putting on five-star classics like it was nothing.

All in all, WWE 2K23 is easily the most enjoyable wrestling game out there. The attention to detail, huge roster, and plethora of game modes make this a well-rounded package that should keep you entertained until Wrestlemania, and beyond!

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