WWE 2K24 Hands-On Preview Event
This past weekend, I had the privilege of being invited to an exclusive hands-on preview event for the upcoming WWE 2K24. I flew well over 5000 kilometers to attend, but hey, that’s the kind of sacrifice we gaming journalists enjoy to make! The WWE has been enjoying a massive resurgence in popularity, thanks to a roster full of amazing Superstars and incredible business deals like their recent one with Netflix. This will likely translate to even more attention on the upcoming annual wrestling game, WWE 2K24. And deservedly so! Last year’s WWE 2K23 was met with very strong reviews – showcasing one of the best WWE games in recent years. With WWE 2K24, the developers looked to expand on what made 2K23 great, by including some fun new additions and an overall theme inspired by the upcoming 40th anniversary of the greatest event in sport’s entertainment; WrestleMania.
A Brief Disclaimer
Before we dive into the preview, it’s worth mentioning that the fine folks at Visual Concepts have requested we don’t discuss a handful of things in this preview. For example, we can’t discuss all the different 2K Showcases that’ll be available in game. We can’t reveal any WWE Superstars that may appear in WWE 2K24 unless they’ve already been featured in official marketing material thus far. So, that means we can confirm you’ll see Cody Rhodes, Bianca Belair, and Rhea Ripley – the three coverstars. 2K games have also shared on X that both Solo Sikoa and Becky Lynch will be included in the roster. And we can’t share any of the Superstars’ ratings. We will absolutely respect these requests. There will be many reveals leading up to the game’s launch, and it’ll be absolutely worth the wait. With that said, there is still plenty of content we can share. So let’s dive right in.
As we noted in the disclaimer, the 2K Showcases are making a return. These are iconic matches ripped from the WWE history books and recreated in stunning detail on screen. Utilizing 2K’s impressive Slingshot Tech, the live-action footage of these historic matches will morph seamlessly into gameplay, and back again. You won’t be recreating every moment in the match, move for move, just like in previous years, you’ll have plenty of freedom to play out the match as you wish. However, there will be specific prompts encouraging players to accomplish certain feats. While I’m not able to share all the different 2K Showcases that’ll be featured in WWE 2K24, I can reveal three. First up is Ultimate Warrior vs Rick Rude from WrestleMania 5. Next up is Rhea Ripley vs Charlotte Flair from WrestleMania 39. Finally, there is Roman Reigns vs Cody Rhodes, also from WrestleMania 39. All three did an amazing job of really capturing the look and feel of the era.
Someone Call 9-1-1!
Of course, there are plenty of new and returning Play Now options for players that just want to create their own custom matches. The Backstage Brawl match has returned and is even better than ever, with a larger area to fight in, including a working elevator to move the fight to higher ground. Heck, there’s even a vending machine that dispenses sodas that you can throw at your opponents. Have you ever been hit by a can of pop? I can’t imagine that would feel very refreshing. However, the coolest new addition is the Ambulance Match. Wrestlers will square off in the ring, with an ambulance parked not too far away. Wear your opponent down as much as you can and throw them into the back of the ambulance. At that point, you’ll engage in a little button-mashing mini-game to close both the ambulance doors. Close the doors, win the match.
And yes, in that previous paragraph, you read that right; you can throw sodas at your opponents. In fact, you can now throw any weapon at your opponents. This includes all the classic weapons like chairs, but also includes new weapons like trash cans, guitars and microphones. Throwing weapons is an easy way to do a little damage from a distance.
New Ways To Inflict Pain
There are some additional gameplay improvements that’ll have you dealing more damage to your opponents. One such feature is the Super Finishers. These are finishers that take pain to a new level, beyond the traditional finishers we’ve all grown to love. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to see any of the Super Finishers in action. However, there was another addition that makes for some fun moments during matches; the Trading Blows mini-game. The Trading Blows mini-game pits both wrestlers against each other in a punch for punch battle. When it’s your turn, you’ll have to time the punch meter just right to lay a hit. Then it’s your opponents turn. This goes back and forth until someone messes up, which will leave them stunned and open to further attacks. These Trading Blows mini-games will pop up at random, or can be activated, but only once per match. It took me a bit of time to get the timing down, much like getting out of a pin or a grapple hold.
A Worthy Celebration of WrestleMania
If you’ve been sitting on the sidelines for a good wrestling game, WWE 2K24 might be just what you’re looking for. The visuals have received a nice boost from WWE 2K23 – especially the Superstars, they’re so beautifully detailed! The controls, while not exactly “pick-up-and-play”, shouldn’t take fans too long to master. In my 3+ hours with WWE 2K24, I was feeling pretty confident in my ability to handle the vast assortment of moves. The new additions, such as the expanded Backstage Brawl and Ambulance matches are very welcome. And I always got a kick out of throwing a weapon at my opponents. The overall theme, celebrating 40 years of WrestleMania will make fans new and old quite happy. WWE 2K24 is shaping up to be a worthy entry in the series. WWE 2K24 launches March 8, 2024 on Steam, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, and Xbox One.