WWE 2K23 Preview
Let me talk to you. It took me three flights – all of which were delayed – to get to San Antonio, Texas this past weekend. But the opportunity to go hands-on with the latest build of WWE 2K23 was too good an opportunity to pass up and well worth the travel hassles.
I’ve been a fan of the WWE, to varying degrees, for the past 20+ years. My interest has waned a bit over the past decade, but I still catch the occasional episode from time to time. I also love catching classic matches on my TikTok feed. Wrestling games, however, haven’t been a huge draw for me for quite some time. Like most gamers my age, it seems the highlight for wrestling games peaked during the Nintendo 64 era. However, I also enjoyed the Day of Reckoning titles from the GameCube era. That’s not to say I haven’t played wrestling games over the past 10 years, I sure have. But there just seems to be a level of complexity to them these days that feels too cumbersome.
Fortunately, that seemed to change with WWE 2K22, last years iteration. And I’m thrilled to report that WWE 2K23 takes what made WWE 2K22 so good and expands on it.
If Ya Smell What 2K Is Cookin’
It’s worth noting exactly what I had access to when I went hands-on with WWE 2K23. There was essentially two modes we had access to; 2K Showcase and standard events. Within the events, we had access to standard matches, the Royal Rumble, and the brand-new Wargames.
Unfortunately, I did not have access to the MyGM mode, any of the creation modes, MyFaction, WWE Universe or access to any online features. The roster we had access to was also quite limited to about a dozen wrestlers. And no, I can’t tell you what their Superstar ratings are, those will be revealed at a later date.
The various events modes are pretty consistent with what we’ve seen before in WWE 2K22. However, new this year is Wargames. I honestly wasn’t familiar with Wargames, as I had never seen a Wargames match before. But based on my experience, there were two teams of three wrestlers and the ring was actually a combination of two rings, side by side, surrounded by a large steel cage. One wrestler from either team begins the match, and at regular intervals, their teammates are allowed to enter. Winning seems to be decided via pinfall or submission. It’s pretty chaotic but I anticipate some pretty wild and creative matches coming from this event.
The Champ Is Here
The highlight for me during my time with WWE 2K23 was the 2K Showcase. This year, 2K Showcase features the 20+ year career of WWE Superstar John Cena. The 2K Showcase is hosted by a dapper looking John Cena as he narrates the iconic matches he has competed in. During the preview event, we were allowed to compete in three different 2K Showcase matches. In this mode, we actually don’t play as John Cena, but rather his opponents. On screen, you will receive prompts about specific moves you’ll need to perform to carry the match along. You can win the match and move on to the next by beating John Cena, however if you complete all the specific objectives, you’ll receive a variety of unlockables – including WWE Superstars! This is a great mode for beginners looking to get some much-needed training without it feeling like a tutorial.
Visually, WWE 2K23 takes WWE 2K22 and gives it a welcome upgrade. WWE Superstars look even more authentic. Last year, the Superstars looked a bit too shiny. This year, that’s not the case, and the Superstars have never looked better. Arenas look great and the audience members look as realistic as they’ve ever been. Wrestler intros are on-point and provide the same epic vibe you get when you’re watching the televised programming. Unfortunately, the one visual blemish from my time with it was long hair. Long hair just looks janky and awkward. Hopefully, a couple more months of polish will help.
It’s True. It’s Damn True.
Without a doubt, if you were a fan of WWE 2K22, you’ll likely feel the same about this year’s brawler when it launches on March 17th, 2023. They’ve opted for the tagline “Even Stronger”, and it is 100% apt for WWE 2K23, as it truly seems to take everything that made WWE 2K22 good and ramped it up to be even better.
***Access to the WWE 2K23 preview was provided by the publisher***