It’s Wrestlemania weekend, which is the best time to let you know that, if you love wrestling video games, WWE 2K23 does not disappoint.
I’ve had my copy for a few weeks now, and I’ve taken dives into most aspects of the game, from MyRise to the John Cena Showcase to the various matches available, including the addition of War Games, and I really feel that following last year’s excellent WWE 2K23, 2K has done an outstanding job yet again,.
It’s worth noting that the situation was grim just a few short years ago, when WWE 2K20 was released and, with its horrible graphics and lacklustre gameplay, nearly derailed wrestling’s venerable franchise. However, after taking a year off, the company’s rebounded with WWE 2K22, a next gen title that looked and played beautifully.
WWE 2K23 continues on from that return, with gameplay that’s been tweaked, but could probably be continually iterated in subsequent instalment. I’m still waiting for the No Mercy-style of playing, where it feels like you’re having a real match. It’s just about there, mind you, and it’s probably the old-school fan in me who thinks I shouldn’t be able to whip someone into the ropes in the first 10 seconds of a match. Your mileage may vary, though, and you may feel differently from me. Regardless, the gameplay is very, very good, and is near intuitive.
There are two big attractions in WWE 2K23, starting with the opportunity to play through the career lows of John Cena. Hosted by the man himself, this mode finds you taking on the roles of some of his greatest rivals. It’s a lot of fun, and is a pretty solid history lesson if you weren’t around when Cena was making his bones, as it were.
There’s also War Games, the two ring, multi-team setting that is absolutely fun to dive into. The concept, first established in WCW many moons ago, proves to work well in a video game, and is a match you’ll likely find yourself coming back to regularly.
While the WWE 2K23 is jam packed with superstars, legends, and NXT up-and-comers, what I absolutely love the most about this game, as well as last year’s, is the brilliant Create A Wrestler suite; mind you, I don’t create anybody myself, but there are fantastic creators out there who are making and sharing their work, which means I can download created stars from the past or members of the AEW roster for myself. The work that fans are putting into these wrestlers is simply outstanding, and makes the possibilities of matches and setting up shows endless.
For the time being WWE 2K23 is the only new wrestling game in town (it’d been a few years since the last Fire Pro Wrestling release), but the times are changing. At some point we’ll finally see the release of AEW Fight Forever, while fans (including myself) just kickstarted Ultra Pro Wrestling. Both those games will have a ways to go to unseat WWE 2K23 from its place as the reigning game for sports entertainment and wrestling fans alike.