WWE 2K22 has some new promises that could be a game-changer.
WWE 2K22 knows that they are not the only game in town. With the release of The Wrestling Code and AEW on their bootheels, it seems they need a Hail Mary play to get them back into the competition. Let’s not forget that their last serious entry, WWE 2K20, had only 44% positive reviews on Steam and a whopping 43 score on Metacritic (though the PC market is very cruel to mainstream console games.)
WWE 2K games are not horrible (unless you count the one ported to The Switch), but they are very comfortable and easy to dethrone if someone were to give it a chance.\
The new trailer came out today and it tried to convey two things: new modes and the number of creative decisions the wrestlers had in making it. Even before this trailer, one dropped in November that shared some new controls and screenshots. Here is how it breaks down.
WWE 2K22 Graphics
It’s almost unanimous, the new footage displays very updated graphics that push the power of a PS5 or Xbox X. Just looking at Rey Misterio’s Titantron and entrance is impressive. The colors really pop and I am certain that it will look amazing in 4K. One of the biggest complaints in previous games was that the character design team botched a few models. The examples are shown of Goldberg and Drew McIntyre look spot on.
The release of WWE 2K20’s release had a graphical problem that needed to be patched more than the Titanic’s hull. Ref’s were losing control of their limbs and wrestlers were falling through the mats. WWE 2K22 does not want that curse to follow them.
WWE 2K22 Gameplay
The new tagline of WWE 2K22 is “It hits different.” The game is getting a brand new fighting engine and some polished hit detection. I have always complained that WWE games feel too floaty and have less impact. The videos of Undertaker performing a chokeslam look good. We won’t really know if it hits different until a controller is in our hand. If you freeze a screencap of the new controls you can see what is going to change.
- There are weak and strong strikes
- The Y or Triangle button will be for reversals
- The right shoulder button combined with a face button does different finishing moves
- The direction buttons do a crowd, brag or opponent taunt
- Holding the Y or Triangle button will be a block
It all comes down to how smooth gameplay feels and how the wrestling mechanics fit in. I am wondering if the reversal system is better than previous games. Will there be goofy mini-games for submissions and pins?
WWE 2K22 Modes
You can’t just have one main single-player mode anymore in wrestling games. Fans expect a career, story, general manager, and faction mode. WWE 2K22 seems ready to deliver on all of these. The trailers seem the most excited about GM Mode where you manage a group of wrestlers and take them to legend status. Fans have had problems with bad manager modes in the past so it makes sense WWE wants to restore your faith. Other modes include a Showcase Mode where players can replay famous moments in WWE history. The game showed a cutscene of Rey Misterio Jr giving an interview. Rey Misterio Jr seems to be the poster child of this game, which IS ABOUT TIME! Hopefully, 2K23 will have Booker T on the cover.
Other modes include a My Rise Mode, My Faction, and a My Universe Mode. My Rise seems like a single-player mode where your character of choice rises through the ranks. My Universe is just a whole year of WWE programming that you can play (I never saw the point of that). My Faction seems like a place where you can create the next DX or NWO and have them work in storylines.
WWE 2K22 brags that it has a creation suite, which is the make-or-break of any wrestling game since WWF Warzone. I have no doubt that content influencers will spend hours recreating AEW arenas and creating AEW matches to simulate.
WWE 2K22 Collaborating with wrestlers
The latest video suggests that the wrestling personalities are the ones running the show. In the video Sasha Banks and Rhea Ripley get into a feud during a playtest, Big E is in a mocap suit getting hit by a chair, and The Undertaker chokeslams some poor music director. The video does not give specific details about if the roster had any input in this game, but that seems to be a main selling point for modern wrestling games. Look at Kenny Omega’s involvement in the AEW game.
WWE 2K22 Hit or Miss?
With AEW’s game coming soon, WWE 2K22 gets one chance to make sure they make a fun and accessible game. If they botch it then I can see the media influencers making WWE wrestlers on AEW’s create-a-wrestler mode and simulating WrestleMania on that.