WWE 2K22 is out now for Early Access players; those who opted to pick up either the 'Deluxe' or the 'nWo 4-Life' editions of the game. We've been waiting a while for this one, as the series skipped a year following the reaction to WWE 2K20, before being delayed a further five months.
The result of all this is a far more back-and-forth type of wrestling, which feels a lot more like what you actually see on TV and, crucially, is significantly more satisfying to play.
WWE 2K22 regularly teases you with brilliance, only to throw in an occasional head-scratching heel-turn. Actually, the same is true of most Smackdown broadcasts, so maybe it's a subtle tactic aimed to mimic reality. Doubt it, though.
Digital Trends (3.5/5)
The most important part of a wrestling simulation is, of course, the wrestling. Luckily, this year’s edition gets the basic, one-on-one combat right. Gameplay primarily revolves around strikes and grapples, with combos leading to a variety of wrestling moves. It’s a bit of a button-masher, but that kind of works for this game. I love that I can hammer three main buttons and watch my wrestler suddenly pull off a Canadian Destroyer out of nowhere. It’s casually satisfying, but still has enough depth for people who want to nail its systems down.
Even better, everything’s simply more polished. You might still see the odd attack that awkwardly doesn’t hit its mark, or an animation that doesn’t look quite right due to character positioning, but we’ve seen nothing here that anywhere resembles the awfulness of WWE 2K20. There truly is a night-and-day difference, allowing you to simply get on with wrestling your opponent.
Not every new mode is a huge success, but additions like MyGM should become a series mainstay as they are fun additions that showcase another side of why fans love professional wrestling. The biggest difference maker is its refined gameplay as the series has never felt better to play. There are still reminders of the series’ rough past, as you’re bound to run into some errors with this many physics at play, but Visual Concepts has finally delivered the positive shake-up that fans hoped for once the company took over development duties from Yuke’s.
The average seems to be sitting at around a 7/10 then, although plenty of reviews are still to come. For now at least, it looks like the extended development time has let 2K avoid another 2K20-like disaster, but not much beyond that.
Are you planning on picking up WWE 2K22? Let us know in the comments.