After the success of WWE 2K22, bringing the franchise back on track, 2K Sports has now released WWE 2K23. Instead of mixing up and changing the formula for the new release, 2K Sports has decided to polish the established formula of 2K22.
The features of 2K22 have been expanded for WWE 2K23, and you can enter a familiar game that is still new enough to make it interesting to explore it once again. WWE 2K23 offers a much richer experience to anyone, whether they have played 2K22 or coming in fresh into the series.
First of all, a round of applause to 2K Games for enhancing the MyGM mode in WWE 2K23. When I played 2K22, my main complaint with the mode was the restrictive match types I could set. In a universe as vast as WWE, sticking to one-vs-ones and tag teams only made the mode extremely repetitive. The number of mid-card matches was too low, and players were forced to move to higher difficulties to get more mid-card matches.
For 2K23, MyGM mode allows you to set 1v1s, 2v2s, Triple Threat and Fatal Four Way matches. You also have greater freedom in choosing the match type, including everything from Extreme Rules, TLC, and Ladder, all the way to Tornado Tag, War Games, Iron Man and much more. I was surprised to see the sheer variety of matches I can now set up in MyGM mode to take the brand of my choosing to another level.
MyGM mode for WWE 2K23 also sees the return of the beloved WCW brand, and the choice to manage the brand as Eric Bischoff. It might be a missed opportunity that even though WCW was reintroduced, the brand is a shadow of its former self. The pay-per-views are replaced with premium live events and all of the championship belts from the brands have been removed.
2K23 could have taken on the opportunity to bring back the major Interbrand belts like the WWE World Heavyweight Championship and Intercontinental Champion belts, allowing the said brands to compete for these titles, yet we are again restricted to the selected brand’s Men’s and Women’s Champion Belt.
Unfortunately, MyGM mode doesn’t have an online multiplayer mode, and if you want to compete with your friends, you have to set up a local multiplayer connection. For a mode that takes so long to go through, especially if you are actually playing the matches yourself instead of stimulating them to get better ratings, being stuck with local multiplayer can be limiting. When you consider the fact that 4 players can play together to compete in MyGM mode, this exemption of online multiplayer seems like a huge miss.
Another massive leap forward for MyGM mode will be to remove Triple H’s stupid demands and goals that plague MyGM mode. Now it does seem somewhat more realistic that the management is kinda annoying for GMs to manage, Triple H’s requests sometimes directly interfere with your Premium Live Events in the game, particularly when you have spent the time establishing rivalries to boost your PLEs. Other times, these requests and goals don’t even make sense.
Why would I send my least popular fighter on a main event, why would I set up a Hell in Cell Match on a random episode of SmackDown when I’m trying to keep my star’s stamina up for the main events of PLE and why would he literally veto my top popularity star from fighting on a PLE, especially when he is the Men’s title holder and I have a level 4 rivalry set up for him to resolve. Triple H needs to be toned down a bit.
After MyGM mode, I decided to test the WWE 2K23 Showcase, featuring John Cena. Normally, Showcase mode takes one Legendary Superstar from the WWE Universe and shows their moments of truth, the hardest battles that they fought in their entire career and came on top. The Showcase for WWE 2K23 came with a twist on this.
Featuring John Cena, the Showcase focuses on Cena’s biggest defeats rather than focusing on his achievements and victories. You play as John Cena’s opponents, rather the playing as John Cena, fighting Cena, filling objectives that the game offers that show the moments Cena remembers from his matches and all the objectives transitioning from gameplay to the footage from the matches, showing the great twists and turns of the match.
WWE 2K23 Showcase offers much greater variety in terms of gameplay. You get to play as legends and the greatest superstars in WWE Universe ranging from Rob Vam Dam, to Roman Reigns and many more. Most of the Showcase stories show Cena’s times of arrogance and his dream matches, which he admits himself in the cutscenes for the Showcase.
I do believe some of Cena’s more memorable rivalries like Big Show, CM Punk and Bryan Danielson could have been included in the Showcase, but unfortunately, these were absent from the Showcase matches lineup.
After you have seen John Cena’s greatest falls in his career, you can move to MyRise mode to start your own ascent to the top of WWE Universe. This year, MyRise mode allows you to pick different modes, one focused on a female superstar, who is the prodigy of her aunt in WWE, or a male superstar, who came into WWE with a huge push and is said to be the next big thing for WWE Universe. Both the storylines do differ a bit from each other but have the same general core concept.
One of the features I noticed for WWE 2K23 MyRise mode as I played through it was the number of upgrade points I got. 2K22 had me begging for optional fights to upgrade my character properly, but 2K23’s MyRise main story quests, which are differentiated from side quests properly thank god, now gave enough skill points for me to properly progress with my character’s attributes as well.
One thing I believe was unnecessary in MyRise mode was the pointless objectives in each match. It would have been better to let the player make their own decisions in matches at least, but I had to follow the objectives to move forward in the story properly.
Lastly, the MyFaction mode has you build your own roaster by picking from all the WWE Universe superstars and then using them to fight with other players, who in turn have their own rosters. Though the mode is entertaining, it is riddled with micro-transactions. The grind for getting Superstars by playing is too steep. This was all to be expected, as the mode is an online-only mode.
For Universe mode, it has everything that players can expect from it, the most consistent mode though out WWE 2K series history. You play through different matches on the card and go through matches and experience the stories of the WWE Universe and their shocking twists and turns.
The only new thing that was added is the addition of Wargames, which lock wrestlers and every wrestler that is pinned or submits is eliminated until only one remains. All other match types and variants are present for players to pick and play themselves.
Now, 2K23 didn’t change the gameplay drastically. 2K22 was excellent in its mechanics, and 2K23 only improved upon it rather than changing it altogether. The same combo system and inputs are used in 2K23. Things have been improved this time, as you don’t have to button mash out of pins, moving to a kick-out scheme where you have to tap the input at the right moment to kick out of a pin. For submissions and when the opponent is dragging you, you still have to mash the input to break free.
Graphically, 2K23 looks much better than 2K22. The character models in the game are more accurate and look closer to their real-life counterparts. The characters also feel much more alive than 2K22. You can feel the exhaustion the characters go through in a match, and their walk, speed, and even simple standing poses change after a long match.
There were a few moments where the player character and opponent’s texture blended and bend in awkward ways, mostly during complex reversals or grapple moves, but nothing too big that breaks the game, although the immersion is broken, or cannot be fixed through a basic patch.
WWE 2K23 not only stood to the level established by WWE 2K22, but surpassed it in many ways, keeping the perfect mechanics while also improving and expanding upon them. Finding your way through WWE as a newcomer, building your brand and learning through failures have never been more engaging in a game