WWE 2K23

WWE 2K23 Review – Still Head of the Table

Visual Concepts continue to take the WWE 2K series in a great direction.

Last year’s complete revamp of the WWE 2K series was a much-needed breath of fresh air, receiving a proper rebuild from top to bottom. In WWE 2K23, Visual Concepts has smartly tinkered with what made 2K22 so good, improving the game in key areas where it needed small but necessary improvements. Because of this, 2K23 is more about slight reinvention than it is complete revolution. That’s not a bad thing, though, as WWE 2K23 is more of what made last year’s game so damn good, and then some. 

Those who have played 2K22 will feel right at home when they fire up this year’s entry. Tweaks and refinements have been made to general gameplay – such as using your momentum meter for signatures and other ring antics, like possum pins and payback moves – alongside the addition of the excellent WarGames match type.

WWE 2K23

WarGames pits two teams of three or four against one another in two rings side by side. As expected, this immediately transcends into pure chaos, but the moment-to-moment action is stupidly enjoyable. Memorable moments arrive in spades thanks to the sheer amount of action going at one time, which is further made apparent when you take the action online and against friends (or rivals). While some connection issues hampered the fun online, it’s still silly, hilarious fun that is a welcome addition to the plethora of content already available in 2K23. 


Aside from the sheer chaos of WarGames, the mode works because 2K23 controls excellently and looks great. Whether you’re a newbie, haven’t played a WWE game in a while or are a returning veteran of the series, the game caters for you and your skill level. And I can confidently say I’ve had more fun with this year’s entry than I have with any other wrestling game in over a decade. Whether it was performing something ludicrous off the stage ramp or hitting a perfect set of finishers to end a tough match, there was always something that captured my attention and made me smile. This also translated to the myriad of silly glitches I encountered throughout my time with the game, which were never too game-breaking to completely kill my enjoyment but certainly reared their head a little too much for my liking.

WWE 2K23

John Cena is the focus of this year’s Showcase mode, and I enjoyed my time with it. I particularly enjoyed the focus on Cena’s biggest losses rather than his victories, from his debut against Kurt Angle to getting properly dismantled by the Undertaker at Wrestlemania 34. Cena’s commentary provides some fascinating insight into his preparation behind these key matches, though there’s just not enough of it. This, combined with a lot of dead air during each match (thanks to the fact there’s no commentary, which is substituted for some truly awful b-tier rock music), makes for a fairly subpar experience on the presentation side of Showcase.

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That said, by taking control of Cena’s opponents throughout the years – following objectives and watching footage spliced in with gameplay as the match plays out – you’re never really doing the same thing twice, which was an annoyance of mine from last year’s Showcase mode. A lot of the matches have different opponents, meaning you’re rarely playing as a superstar more than once. This adds a decent amount of variety to the mode and kept me interested throughout, and while it was short (at around 2-3 hours) it was a nice trip down memory lane. 

WWE 2K23

If you’re sick of beating up John Cena, MyRise offers two stories to play through in 2K23 with a created superstar. Both are generally pretty enjoyable to venture through, giving you a handful of choices to make that slightly alter the story and encourage some replayability, while doling out some of the most cringe-worthy dialogue you’ll hear in a game this year. It’s not all that bad, but there was a certain point during The Lock’s story where I really began to hate my own character for being such a whiny brat. That said, I did enjoy the superstar cameos and variety of matches thrown my way during each story. 

A major gripe I had with MyRise were the loading screens, however. Loading screens were so consistent that I was constantly pulled out of any bit of immersion I’d had with the story. 2K23 is plagued with loading screens in general, but the issue really comes to a head when playing MyRise thanks to the consistency of them – whether you’re going between cutscenes or wanting to change your character’s entrance, moveset or look. They’re everywhere, and it was incredibly bothersome.

WWE 2K23

MyGM, 2K22’s flagship mode that puts you in the role of a GM competing with the other WWE brands, returns this year with some well-needed tweaks. You can now compete over the course of multiple seasons against up to three other players (whether that’s via local play or against AI), giving the mode some much needed longevity. It’s an absolute blast to play, too, though I do wish I was able to play against mates online in a sort of Mario Party-style format, as it seems almost geared for that. 

Even so, MyGM has been one of my favourite modes to jump into across both 2K22 and 2K23, and the addition of Hall of Fame and seasonal challenges, new match types and new GMs to pick from has made the mode a heck of a lot better. It’s a massive improvement over last year.

WWE 2K23’s Universe mode is the best it’s been in many years, too, giving players an unparalleled level of freedom to customise the WWE universe to their heart’s content. Whether you want to create dream rivalries and scenarios or bring in created wrestlers, shows, arenas or championships to spice things up, it’s entirely up to you. Both the manager and superstar modes in Universe mode impressed me with the amount of customisability on offer – there’s just so much to do and involve yourself in.

WWE 2K23

On the topic of customisability, the creation suite on offer in WWE 2K23 is unlike anything I’ve ever seen in a sports game. Returning customisation options, like the ability to create shows, arenas, championships and the like are great, however the welcome return of advanced entrance customisation options gives players an unparalleled level of freedom. There’s truly so much room for experimentation here that I felt constantly overwhelmed with the options at hand. Community creations have already blown my mind during release week, whether they’re bringing old wrestlers back into the game or creating brand new ones, and that’s a testament to the options available.

The most disappointing part of 2K23 continues to be its MyFACTION mode, which sees little improvement this year. Much like last year, the mode did very little to entice me to play when every other mode was more enjoyable, rewarding and fun to work through. The rewards in MyFACTION are relatively meagre and it can feel like a slog at the best of times, making for the weakest mode of the lot by a decent margin.

WWE 2K23

Even with some minor disappointments and some of the most frustrating load times in a current-gen game I’ve experienced, I’ve had an absolute blast with WWE 2K23. It continues Visual Concepts’ upwards trajectory of the series which kicked off with WWE 2K22, and improves on the formula in small but significant ways. The addition of WarGames, a great new Showcase, an awesome roster and welcome tinkering of MyGM make for a game that wrestling fans should get plenty out of. And that’s not even mentioning the creation suite, which I have no doubt will continue to boggle my mind throughout the year. Wrestling fans can rejoice – WWE 2K23 is a triumph.

WWE 2K23
WWE 2K23 is the best wrestling game in a long time. It’s packed with so much to do, a great Showcase and an unbelievably vast creation suite. Minor issues aside, wrestling fans should not give this a miss.
Excellent gameplay
Addition of WarGames
Enjoyable take on a superstar Showcase
Vast creation suite
So many loading screens
MyFACTION continues to be a slog