The truth is that as a product WWE seems to have gone downhill in recent years. The reasons are many and varied, but cannot be analyzed beyond the scope of this text. Among the methods McMahon is pursuing to be able to stimulate it is the dynamic return of the video game series. So that's how we got the 2K series, which is doing mediocre at best. After the fiasco of the 2020 version, 2K decided to work an extra year and directly release the 2022 version. To give you an idea of how much of a failure 2K20 was, the Steam version we received wasn't functional for about two months, and even today it's still quite problematic.
So back to the present day with 2K22. The betting version of the series, which through various means is called upon to regain lost ground. It claims it through various tricks, some of them quite substantial. And it's not just the technical aspect that has been upgraded but the overall experience, having come to where it should have been years ago.
Starting with the usual flaw of the series, the visual part. The models as well as the movements of the superstars are truly on another level, both visually and in their representation of the actual movements we would see in the ring. So we have high paced matches, quite impressive and highly entertaining. That being said, and unlike the acting that takes place in WWE, here the whole spectacle is presented as real, also giving the feeling of a more realistic fight. Along with the bit of impressive entrances, often relevant to the theme at hand, and the sportscasters giving change, we have what are surely the best matches in the history of the series. Even on occasions where I just had to get the win and be done with it, the atmosphere was so strong that I was carried away without even realizing it.
And speaking of the fighting atmosphere... The fights, as in reality, take place both inside and outside the ring. And by outside, I don't just mean the perimeter of the playing field, but also the backstage, with the usual dramas that are built there to support the scenario at hand. Aside from the classic 1vs1 and tag team, we'll see several other options, with the famous cage of course stealing the show. And while there has been generally good match management, the higher the number of fighters, the more the ball is dropped.
The on-screen chaos, combined with the camera's visuals and the way the HUD works make the game marginally unplayable. Additionally, the AI is never quite cooperative enough, resulting in it ending up being overly difficult to win matches with more than 2 people on each team. More specifically, the only tactic that seems to work is having to completely eliminate all of your opponents so that you can take out the one in the ring.
And because combat alone isn't enough, 2K has some interesting modes for us. The most important of these is of course that of myRise, formerly myCareer, where we start our own superstar and from scratch try to build a career worthy of our dreams in one of the available WWE leagues. What tries to steal the show here is our interaction with other members of the sport via social media.
So, depending on how we treat them in the first year we will build our personality and in the second year we will cultivate our respective relationships. Of course all possible scenarios don't make that much difference between them, since the game will push us towards our hated enemies and also our scientist friends, and in the end all we have to do is fight for victory.
Of great interest to WWE fans is the Showcase which continues exactly as it has in the past. This time we relive Rey Mysterio's tremendous career from the ring to the living rooms. Here the show is not so much stolen by the script, which is narrated by Mysterio himself, but by the switches we see from the graphics engine to the actual match footage and back again. A recipe that certainly evokes quite a few memories for us old-timers.
But can a sports title be made without its own gold mine? Probably not. So we have the introduction of myFaction, in more of a FIFA style than a NBA 2K. This is exactly what I'm sure you've assumed. Invited to set up a team that will sweep everything in its path, we collect various cards. And because collecting the classic way takes ages, 2K has made sure to help us out by lightening our pockets. That is, if one wants to see serious progress without having to waste endless hours, one has to reach into one's pocket, and relatively deep. This philosophy alone makes myFaction come across as completely incongruous and incapable of evoking even one positive emotion.
On the other hand, we have myGM, which returns completely revamped. In perhaps the freshest mode, we're invited to take on the role of a WWE agent in one of the sport's available categories. We certainly won't get into too much depth with this particular option, but it's a prime opportunity to be able to experience the behind-the-camera set-up of a match and realize that what matters most is first and foremost a good show. And once we've prepared everything, we can either enjoy the race from our chairs, or we can take over the handling of our athletes to ensure the final result.
As in the past, no one expects WWE to stand up as an unadulterated single player game. It's always been more about having fun with company, like most sports games, but what 2K22 achieves is very important. With so many options, it comfortably stands as a single player title, in which coop/multiplayer feels more like a supplement than the obvious. 2K has tried to stimulate the overall experience through various ways, but just as it tired the real WWE, repeating the same threads here leads to saturation faster than expected.
On the other hand, we can't help but admit that it managed to create perhaps the most complete title of the series and despite any hiccups it certainly entertains enough to be recommended to people with little involvement with the genre or even an interest in sports martial arts.
We would like to thank CD Media for providing the review code.