WWE 2K24 Review

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WWE 2K24 Review

Finish The Story... 

WWE 2K’s ever evolving development has been fascinating to watch as a fan since the departure of long time studio attached to the SmackDown! series, Yukes, left the project in 2020. The fallout from the Japanese team leaving WWE 2K20 unfinished for Visual Concepts to pick up whatever scraps were left on the cutting room floor, to make a half-baked script were less than impressive. But with extra time and some TLC (oh my!), it made room for the establishment under the 2K umbrella to polish an indelible mark in sports-entertainment category of video gaming, with an unforgettable revamp that would ultimately give fans what they have been clamouring about for years, a pro wrestling experience that has remained unmatched since WWF No Mercy in the early 2000’s, and a fairy tale chapter that would indeed finish their story.

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The great thing about WWE 2K24 is it follows the motto, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. WWE 2K22 bought the boom we were looking for in a video gaming triumph, a comeback that would deliver answers than leave us with questions but there’s always room for improvement. While 2K23 slightly capitalised on said triumphs, WWE 2K24 is undeniably a monumental step in the right direction for the franchise, and is quite possibly the best it’s been in over a decade. The WWF SmackDown! franchise is trudging fast toward a thirty year long crusade across multiple platforms, but none more heralded than 2003’s WWE SmackDown! Here comes the pain, but WWE 2K24 has the potential to usurp the throne from the master with quite possibly the biggest roster, most detailed design and broadest in customisation that the series has ever presented fans.

This blood runs deep...

At its core, fundamentals remain the same but are refined. WWE 2K24’s gameplay is similar to its prior two iterations, but are given new mechanics to challenge the player into a more realistic approach in endurance. There’s no shortage in content from exhibition matches, showcase mode, a redesigned My Rise and of course the popular GM Mode that’s made a massive comeback thanks to its rise in popularity from the Up Up Down Down series starring WWE Superstars Xavier Woods and Tyler Breeze. Not seen since the PlayStation One titles, Guest Referee makes a comeback for more mayhem, with the player able to dictate the ebbs and flows of a match, with options to call it down the middle or cause a ruckus mid-match with some caveats that can be enabled or disabled, for example; a referee meter will show your superstar’s ethical popularity and gauge if they are fit to be impartial toward the superstars competing. If not, your meter will deplete and a referee will kick you out of the ring and you will be relegated to spectating outside until kicked out of the arena completely. 

As for physicality, getting involved whether you’re a referee or competitor there are new avenues to explore with said mechanics that have been given a fresh coat in some regard. Improved AI won’t have your CPU counterpart running in circles, WWE 2K24 is a great example of how to humanise a vs. CPU experience without it being a spammy episode of botch-a-mania. Clear and concise, the engine has new features such as a “punch for punch” QTE, that is less-than quick time moment and more of a challenge your reflex. The outcome all depends on how successful you are landing in the green on the meter displayed, and if both you and your opponent are on equal footing, it leads to a huge pop moment with both your wrestler and their opponent landing blows akin to a Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens potato-fest seen on WWE television.

Indication is key for these type of titles, and on-screen indication is clearly marked for gamers to see in all cases here. There was never a time I was confused as to who I was facing, or what I was doing or how to do so. Reversal alerts are perfectly placed for timing cues, and shown when successful or too late. This trains the player to understand when the right time is to land a refusal, but is limited to how healthy your stamina bar is at the time. While there is numerous qualities to ingest, it’s never overwhelming and easy to understand the direction the game is giving the player without throwing words on-screen. The game never had to say “STAMINA METER” on-screen for me to understand what it was, I just knew that the blue circle above my wrestler indicated so, and that the orange meter hovering above my opponent was their stun-lock. It just made sense.

WWE 2K24 is unequivocally essential for pro-wrestling fans across the spectrum of its hardcore, passionate and reaching audience.

The traditional approach in building your finisher gauge stays the same in WWE 2K24, with the more you attack, perform successful manoeuvres or keep hold locked-in for a duration, three slots will build over time for you to use. For example, you will build toward a signature move that will give you enough of a boost to fill a finisher slot successfully. There you can utilise your character’s finisher or build all three slots to land a super finisher for that ultimate “WrestleMania-like” moment. A great example in this would be Cody Rhodes landing a springboard Cody-cutter, a Cross-Rhodes or for a super finisher, the Triple Cross-Rhodes. It’s a nicely added touch by developers that gives fans the ability to shape and simulate the pomp and circumstance of televised moments, reflected in the video game by players.

The Final Inning...

SOLID POINTS

✔️ The best in the series. The most refined wrestling experience in gaming today.

✔️ Broad customisation, new modes and returning match types leave players with no shortage of choice.

✔️ It’s the biggest and best it’s been since the PlayStation One.

❌ Showcase mode takes away the gratification of finishing the story your way.

So let’s talk about finishing the story for a second. This is where things get a little muddy for WWE 2K’s newest showcase. While the tag-line is apropos for fans wanting to end The Bloodline reign of terror that’s now been trumping superstars on television for over 1000 days as of writing this, the vision Visual Concepts has here I can respect, but it’s not exactly a gratifying one to say the least. It’s ironic that a pre-determined sport be given predetermined moments in its Showcase, retelling history wrist-lock to three-count, without the player themselves actually landing the final finish or pinfall. It takes away the fun fading to a cutscene showing the finish from a match instead of being able to perform that finish yourself.

It’s one of the few unfortunate gripes I had with the game, but it’s the standout that took the wind out of my sails from wanting to complete showcase entirely. But it gave me time to check out other modes like My Rise, which tells the story of a rookie’s Road to WrestleMania, after Roman retires from WWE undefeated as Universal Champion, and on his own path to Hollywood, wanting to dethrone The Rock as the world’s biggest blockbuster megastar on the silver screen. It’s a fun way to establish an original character from the indie circuit to the big stage.

The ambulance match makes its awaited debut here, where you throw your opponent into the back of an ambulance, struggle to close both doors shut for victory while also using everything surrounding the ring at your disposal including the vehicle itself. You can climb to the top, perform your finisher on the roof, throw your opponent off and dive off the top for a spectacular moment. Then there’s customising a wrestler’s threads, like an AJ Styles who has now converted to “The Dark Side” as it were, with his new gimmick on WWE TV akin to his TNA Aces and Eights “Vigilante” attire. You can remove the old vest and blue tights, and trade them for the all black jeans and leather coat he now wears. This is a massive plus for people wanting to give their superstars a personal touch or keeping them up to date, but also gives 2K and developers the opportunity to release bonus DLC later that lets the player update the wrestler’s look on the fly.

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Want to form your own faction with an original logo? Now you can with this broadened mode, or even your own “new” nWo faction with Cody Rhodes, John Cena and Seth Rollins? You now can, and it’s so cool to tinker with and create your own stories in My Universe. Make your own shows, book your own main events and create moments that you wish were seen on WWE TV. This is where I would say that it’s your story to finish. A trademark of WWE Games has always been its soundtrack, and 2K24’s is special with a playlist curated by the incomparable Post Malone, with some great tunes to back its clean aesthetic and design that’s real easy to navigate. The abundance of content and modes to glare at is astounding and will take weeks, if not months to actually digest completely. I don’t kid when I say that this is the biggest WWE Games has been, ever.

WWE 2K24 is unequivocally essential for pro-wrestling fans across the spectrum of its hardcore, passionate and reaching audience. Leave tribalism at the door, and step into this world of greatness where you can wrestle your favourite WWE Superstar, or create your own original character, or even download that wrestler that may be in NJPW, AEW or TNA. Get them to step into the ring with the Tribal Chief and see if they can stop Greatness on a different level – he may be in God Mode, but even the mightiest of titans fell. This is your chance, your path to glory, a new way to write an ending that may make your nightmare a dream, even an American Dream that has the American Nightmare finish his story. WWE 2K24 is Pro-Wrestling perfection.

WWE 2K24 Review

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WWE 2K24 is a professional wrestling sports video game developed by Visual Concepts and published by 2K. It is the twenty-fourth overall installment of the video game series based on WWE, the tenth game under the WWE 2K banner. 

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Story
7
Gameplay
9
Presentation
9
Sound
9
8.5

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