Last year’s WWE 2K22 was 2K Sports and development studio Visual Concepts’ redemption after the nightmare that was 2K20. The extra year of development time was well spent and WWE 2K22 delivered in pretty much every department while also bringing back a community favorite with MYGM.
So now that the foundation has been secured, what could we expect from WWE 2K23? The answer is simple. Apply more to every mode and make necessary improvements to keep gamers coming back for more nonstop wrasslin action.
This year’s cover star is none other than Peacemaker himself John Cena. He is also the showcase mode superstar which means we will reenact some of Cena’s favorite matches while he provides match intro narrations. Now this year’s showcase has a few differences from last year’s with Rey Mysterio. The most obvious is that we will be playing as Cena’s opponents.
This change definitely freshens things up as we get to play various superstars instead of just time-period variants of Cena. Another key difference is the matches are not in chronological order. The first match is not him using the Prototype gimmick and instead is the infamous One Night Stand PPV vs RVD. I remember this match like it was yesterday and it was a fun trip down memory lane reliving this along with others in the showcase.
However, my main issue was with the number of rematches. You will face Undertaker, Edge, and Brock multiple times. One in particular while a memorable moment in Cena’s career really didn’t play out well in the showcase. This was Edge cashing in the very first money in the bank. You perform a handful of moves and the match is over. On the upside, completing all the objectives in each match will reward you with new arenas, wrestlers, and title belts. There are also two bonus matches, One vs Super Cena ranked 100 and the other that will have you play as Cena in an elimination match vs Hulk Hogan, Steve Austin, and Bruno Sammartino.
If there was one match type the community was asking and praying to the wrestling gods for it was the inclusion of War Games. Thankfully these prayers were answered. You can play 3v3 or 4v4. NOTE, there is a little number up top in each slot which indicates their entry number. Some superstar images cover this number and unlike the rumble, you cannot change the superstar’s entry number.
You also can’t assign a weapon upon entry. I tried to assign bats to all members of my team just to watch them show up empty-handed. On the upside, you can obtain weapons, tables, etc. from under the ring and toss them in before entering. The gameplay mechanics within the two rings plays similarly to a cage match. You can slam your opponent against the cage walls in a variety of ways as well as climb to the top to perform some insane dives in the ring. No, you can’t climb or dive out of the ring.
I also highly recommend using superstars with springboard attacks as they have the ability to jump from ring to ring. The highlight clips one could make are endless, especially if you get creative like setting a table on fire and knocking a superstar off the top of the cage onto it. You may also see some rather interesting behavior from the NPC as I noticed Roman Reigns climbed the cage and dived off to a grounded opponent to get the pinfall. It’s also worth mentioning War Games can be played online.
If there is any mode that received the most improvements it has to be MyFaction, and understandably so since it’s heavily focused on microtransactions. If you are a frequent reader of the Koalition, particularly my reviews then you know I’m a fan of FIFA Ultimate Team and go to great lengths to explain how one can have plenty of fun without having to spend any real-world money. The same applies in MyFaction even more so in this latest version.
You obtain coins for playing matches, win or lose, you will walk away with something. There are more events that provide challenges to unlock higher-tier cards or free card packs. For example, a weekly tower will consist of a variety of match types like table, extreme rules, ladder, etc. You will see your opponent’s card along with a rating and an objective MFP (MyFaction Points – 15,30, 45, etc.) goal to hit.
Basically, encouraging you to put on a badass match and not just go for the win. There is a meter in the top right that shows your match progress. Once you get that number you can go for the win. You will obtain a bonus coin for performing finishers and other activities during a match.
There are also bonus items you can attach to your cards such as +3 to aerial attacks or +5 to arm attacks. You can see the attributes change on the card and there are up to four slots per card. This is a great way to build up a lower-level card until you can obtain a better one. On that note, you can also pick up individual superstar cards using tokens.
These tokens are also earned by winning matches, completing towers, and other challenges. They can also be found in packs. I have about 45 tokens and the superstars in the first tier cost about 3 tokens each. Redeeming 12 cards from that tier will unlock the next tier of cards which will be of higher quality. You can also preview the card pack pool so you know exactly which superstars are obtainable from the current packs.
The one issue I have is that there are a good amount of superstar variants within MyFaction and unlocking the card does not make this superstar variant playable in other game modes. This was a complaint in WWE 2K22.
Thankfully, we have some talented CAW creators in the community that have figured out ways to port these over to the rest of the game. It’s just a shame this is not a feature out of the box.
MyRise also makes its return along with an additional story mode called The Lock. You create or import a created superstar and play as Lock, an indie star recently signed by WWE. Things don’t work out as planned and there’s a good amount of twists and turns that will send Lock all around the world. All NPC interactions are voiced including WWE superstars. You are also rewarded with some unlockables which can be used in other game match types outside of MyRise. Another great addition is the ability to import a new look and moveset at any point in the story. I’m currently playing as a CAW version of Kenny Omega and having a great time thus far.
Universe mode has also received a good number of updates most noticeably in how rivalries are handled. You now have more variety on what type of rivalry and when you want to start one. Just like 2K22, you can import your CAWs, arenas, and belts and create new shows. You can also now have a loser leaves the promotion match. The loser will be removed from that show and it’s up to you to assign the superstar to a new show. There are a bunch of other tweaks that prolong your time in Universe mode. The same can be said for MYGM which added more GMs to choose from, match types, seasons, and title belts to fill out your shows.
In regards to the presentation and performance, WWE 2K23 looks and feels like a polished version of WWE 2K22. The character models look more defined, and the addition of ray tracing has done wonders for the lighting from superstar entrances to the flaming table fire glow reflecting off the superstars. So far, I have not experienced any crashes or major game glitches outside of the occasional collision detection failing between superstars.
The overall menu and load time performance feels much faster than WWE 2K22, especially in regards to loading multiple CAW in a match. These would take some time to generate but now load in seconds. The new timing pin mechanic was fine but I preferred the button mashing mechanic so switched it back in the settings, and the high level of customization options is another feature that makes WWE 2k23 a blast to play.
Another example is you can now go into the settings and turn on the manual targeting of the referee. Purposely knocking down the referee can help you regain additional rest time on higher difficulties and will cause the referee to do slower three counts. From the multiple match types like Royal Rumble, TLC, Elimination Chamber, and War Games to the various game modes such as Universe, Showcase, MYGM, MyFaction, and MyRise. There are so many different ways to play and countless hours of wrasslin fun to be had.
With all that said, below is the season pass DLC release schedule, and stay tuned for my reviews for each pack.
DLC 1: Steiner Row Pack (April 19)
- Scott Steiner
- Rick Steiner
- B-Fab (Manager only)
- Top Dolla
- Ashante Adonis
DLC 2: Pretty Sweet Pack (May 17)
- Karl Anderson
- Luke Gallows
- Tiffany Stratton
- Elton Prince
- Kit Wilson
DLC 3: Race to NXT Pack (June 14)
- Harley Race
- Ivy Nile
- Wendy Choo
- Tony D’Angelo
- Trick Williams
DLC 4: Revel with Wyatt Pack (July 19)
- Bray Wyatt
- Joe Gacy
- Blair Davenport
DLC 5: Bad News U Pack (August 16)
- Eve Torres
- Wade Barrett
- Damon Kemp
- Andre Chase
- Nathan Frazer
This review was written based on a digital review copy of WWE 2K23 for the Xbox Series X provided by 2K Sports.