With the latest installment in this longstanding wrestling sim franchise now available worldwide, our WWE 2K23 review is here to break down all the good and bad of this new arrival. WarGames has arrived for the first time, but new features are littered across several game modes.
Whether you hope to become the MyGM master or spend hours in the Creation Suite, we’ll take a look at where each game mode went right and wrong in WWE 2K23. For players still spending their time in WWE 2K22 and those who haven’t picked up a wrestling game in years, our WWE 2K23 review will break down everything that’s changed and how aspects of older installments are returning in new ways.
In this review you will learn:
- The best new features and upgrades in WWE 2K23
- How the graphics and gameplay compare to WWE 2K22
- A quick WWE 2K23 review of every game mode this year
- All the details you need to decide if WWE 2K23 is worth it
- Our official WWE 2K23 rating
WWE 2K23 Review: How does it compare to WWE 2K22?
Like any annual release, the first question potential WWE 2K23 players will be asking is exactly how this year’s game is different from the now aggressively discounted WWE 2K22 released last year. Fortunately, WWE 2K23 brought a lot more to the table this year than an updated roster.
Right out of the gate, the graphics improvements of WWE 2K22 continue with the addition of ray tracing and lighting upgrades that make the WWE 2K23 graphics pop on a whole other level. These back-end improvements make entrances and gameplay shine even more this year, especially if you’re playing on PS5 or Xbox Series X|S.
While the core gameplay didn’t get any major changes, some refinement – including the adjusted stamina and fatigue system – certainly add more realism and level things out especially on higher difficulties. Most of the existing match types feel about like they did last year, but the newly emerging star of WWE 2K23 is the debuting WarGames.
The two-ring steel cage structure (once a staple of WCW) was heavily hyped going into launch, and having tried it ourselves we can confirm it does indeed live up to that hype. From the ability to brawl on top of the WarGames cage to the magical double-springboard you can do between rings, WWE 2K23 WarGames feels like the real thing.
Players who spent a lot of time in WWE 2K22 will feel right at home in WWE 2K23, but the refinements and improvements to gameplay and the game’s overall presentation really shine. On top of that, the menu design and user interface have improved, clean and sharp in WWE 2K23.
New features once again have MyGM and MyRISE in the spotlight
There were two star modes in last year’s revival of this franchise, and they each saw some significant refinement within WWE 2K23. After years of fans clamoring for it to return, the beloved GM Mode from the SmackDown vs. Raw era of games now comes into its second year for WWE 2K23.
WWE 2K23 MyGM majorly improves on last year’s foundation by introducing endless seasons, expanding match options, and adding new GMs and brands to choose from. While some of the week-to-week gameplay in MyGM feels quite similar to last year’s game, strategies feel very different now that long-term saves are an option.
If you enjoyed MyGM last year or the GM Mode of yesteryear, WWE 2K23 MyGM can provide endless fun as every new save can turn out very different from the last. For players looking to focus their journey on a single character rather than managing an entire brand, the career mode dubbed MyRISE returns with some streamlining of its own in WWE 2K23.
As for the actual story and experience, MyRISE provides a new experience that isn’t necessarily that much different than last year’s. You can choose to follow the male or female storylines, and some of the aspects of side stories have been simplified to tidy up a more linear mode for players.
However, there is one massive change that puts WWE 2K23 MyRISE far above last year’s iteration. One of this year’s best new features is the ability to import a created superstar as your MyRISE character. This includes any superstar you’ve downloaded from Community Creations, which is already being filled with classic stars and alternate attires by some of the many prolific WWE 2K23 creators.
For players that miss the days of being able to play as existing WWE stars or real wrestlers in career mode, MyRISE offers the closest analogue in years. The one catch is you’re stuck with the same recorded voice regardless of character, but you’ll still look like that classic star in every single cutscene and match.
Universe Mode and Community Creations get polished, but need more fixes
Speaking of Community Creations, it remains the anchor point for one of the most exciting aspects of the WWE 2K franchise. In recent years, creators have increasing becoming more and more skilled as it’s become clear that not being signed to WWE is really only a barrier for your entrance music to exist in the game.
AEW arenas and superstars were hitting Community Creations within hours of the servers going live for early access, and updated alternate attires are flooding in as creators ensure every existing WWE 2K23 roster member is playable with their most recent look. Much of this ties directly into Universe Mode, the sandbox where players are given ultimate customization on every level.
For some players, using the Creation Suite and Universe Mode may have been a fantastic experience that’s gone off without a hitch in WWE 2K23. Unfortunately, both seem to remain havens for frustrating bugs as many players have reported issues in each that went unresolved in the WWE 2K23 update 1.03 hotfix. Fortunately, 2K has been better in the last few years about trying to address these issues in post-launch updates and should provide further fixes in the coming weeks and months.
Universe Mode did see some definite improvements this year with the Rivalry Actions feature spicing things up and allowing for more detail from players, but it’s a feature that has taken some adjustment and already run into flaws for some. While our time playing the game didn’t run into any major issues aside from a single game crash after downloading from Community Creations that didn’t seem to hinder things while using that download later, players need to be aware that bugs could arise.
You’ll either love or hate MyFACTION and the 2K Showcase with John Cena
There are two game modes in WWE 2K23 that, perhaps more than any others, are either going to be adored or despised by most players. The first is the highly anticipated 2K Showcase featuring cover star John Cena, as your experience playing through these classic Cena matches may be heavily colored by whether you actually watched those parts of his career play out. The interviews with John Cena about these matches are the highlight, but the gameplay of the mode ends up becoming stale rather quickly.
Perhaps the most frustrating detail in our experience was that the 2K Showcase was anchored by a lack of commentary and instead given generic background music during the matches. Trying to knock out each of the objectives in Showcase becomes a bit of a chore, and having the same few-minute long generic background track buzzing along with not a single bit of commentary during the gameplay doesn’t help.
If you’re a newer fan or didn’t see much of Cena’s rise for yourself, the matches themselves are great selections. The blending of match footage with the actual action is well crafted, and players learning about Cena’s history for the first time may find themselves more engaged and captivated by the 2K Showcase. Fortunately, the bonus matches at the end of the 2K Showcase should be a blast even for players who don’t love the bulk of the mode. If you do race through, you’ll also get the option to rewatch all the Cena interviews as a single uninterrupted movie in the mode’s video library.
As for MyFACTION, just keep in mind that any card collecting mode is ultimately a microtransaction machine. If you enjoy the race for new packs and releases and the slow power creep throughout the year as new drops arrive, MyFACTION received all of the upgrades it needed this year to make it fully become the Ultimate Team of WWE 2K23.
After keeping the mode offline and relatively bare bones in year one, MyFACTION is fully online this year and brings with it most of the features that fans expected when last year’s game was announced. It should be a blast for players who enjoy these game modes, but it can be ignored entirely by those who prefer to spend their time in MyGM, MyRISE, and Universe Mode.
WWE 2K23 release date, platforms, editions, price, DLC, and microtransactions
Now that our WWE 2K23 review has taken a closer look at how the game did and didn’t deliver, it’s worth covering some of the logistical details about the title and what players should keep in mind as they decide whether this year’s installment is right for them.
While the title dropped via early access on March 14, the worldwide WWE 2K23 release date was March 17, 2023. Just like last year, WWE 2K23 is available on PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, and PC.
The WWE 2K23 Standard Edition is $69.99 on PS5 and Xbox Series X|S and $59.99 on PS4, Xbox One, and PC. If you’re on a past-gen platform and plan to upgrade any time soon, the WWE 2K23 Cross-Gen Digital Edition is $69.99, the same cost as the new gen Standard Edition while providing copies on Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S or on PS4 and PS5. The WWE 2K23 Deluxe Edition is priced at $99.99, and the WWE 2K23 Icon Edition is available for $119.99.
The following purchasable DLC is already available for WWE 2K23, some of which is included in the Deluxe and Icon Edition of the game:
- WWE 2K23 Season Pass (includes all five post-launch DLC character packs, the MyRISE Mega-Boost pack, and the SuperCharger) – $39.99
- WWE 2K23 Ruthless Aggression Pack (unlocks Icon Edition exclusive characters) – $19.99
- WWE 2K23 MyRISE Mega-Boost (extra Attribute Points in MyRISE) – $4.99
- WWE 2K23 SuperCharger (unlocks all base-game legends and throwback arenas) – $4.99
While not yet listed on digital storefronts, the five post-launch DLC packs coming to WWE 2K23 are expected to be available individually for $9.99 each. Virtual Currency is also once again available, and here are this year’s WWE 2K23 microtransactions for VC:
- 15,000 VC – $4.99
- 32,500 VC – $9.99
- 67,500 VC – $19.99
- 187,500 VC – $49.99
- 400,000 VC – $99.99
In WWE 2K23, VC is exclusive to MyFACTION and is primarily used to unlock new packs and cards as you grow your collection, though you can bypass the need for microtransactions by grinding for MyFACTION Points (MFP), which can be used for the same purpose as VC. WWE Points are earned via gameplay that can be used for the unlockables the SuperCharger would normally give you.
WWE 2K23 Review and Rating: Is it worth it?
With the dust settling on our WWE 2K23 review, there’s still the looming question of whether this year’s game is actually worth the investment. That answer is sure to vary from player to player, but there’s no denying that WWE 2K23 is packed to the brim with content for players to enjoy.
MyGM and MyRISE both offer enough variety and customization that you should be able to enjoy multiple playthroughs with slightly different experiences depending on how you go about things. If you’d like a little chaos, the combo of Community Creations and all the changes you can make yourself in the Creation Suite mean that almost no idea is completely out of reach in WWE 2K23.
Universe Mode, MyFACTION, and the 2K Showcase are modes that aren’t necessarily aimed at the same kind of player, and you’ll have to decide for yourself if what they bring to the table is enough to make them worthwhile for you. There are a few bugs still being addressed, but players having flashbacks to the WWE 2K20 debacle can rest assured the glitches aren’t even remotely close to that bad.
No game is perfect, but WWE 2K23 is closer to perfect than is usually the standard for what many fans worry can become repetitive annual releases. With the exception of a few bugs, most of the issues in WWE 2K23 will actually come down to personal preference and figuring out which way to play is most enjoyable for your own tastes.
After years of the WWE 2K beginning to feel like an afterthought, WWE 2K23 has proven the success of WWE 2K22 was no fluke. This franchise is here to stay, and it’s only getting better. For fans new and old alike, there’s no denying that WWE 2K23 is worth your time.
Official WWE 2K23 Rating: 9 out of 10
This WWE 2K23 review was based on gameplay from the Standard Edition on Xbox Series X|S.
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