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WWE 2K23 preview: Small changes make TV-quality brawls

WWE 2K22 built the series from the ground up, in an attempt to right the wrongs of WWE 2K20.

It made sense then that the upcoming WWE 2K23 isn’t throwing all that hard work out, but instead building on it, hoping to get back in the rhythm of annual releases.


John Cena is the target in Showcase matches.Credit: 2K

Gameplay improvements are mostly refinements, small changes that give a smoother overall experience.

This isn’t an insult. They bring the game closer than ever before to the wrestling you see on TV.

Roman Reigns’ entrance is a great example. He now has a double-championship entrance, wearing both belts over his shoulders.

Some moves have been combined, helping to keep the pace of rounds, and new finishers have been added to add some pizazz.

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Payback moves are also back. These are secondary moves that allow a number of bonuses.

They may let you kick out of a pin, or spit ‘poison mist’ in your opponent’s face.

These moves can turn the tide on matches, and they are integrated better than ever before.

Payback moves are now tied to your momentum bar, which is also used for signature moves. 

This adds a layer of resource management into the mix, that will help deter button mashing.

The biggest introduction is the new WarGames match type, which fans have asked for endlessly.

Despite introducing two rings of wrestlers fighting at the same time, the team has done a fantastic job at making it work.

As each athlete enters the ring, it adds an extra layer to each match.

Players can throw as many weapons as they want, which captures the absolute chaos of the real thing.

While everything looks promising so far, there is still room for improvement. 

By the time the final wrestler enters the ring, the initial fighters are so worn out they can be pinned easily and the match is over. 

We also had the chance to try out Showcase matches, where you fight against John Cena.

As you get to try out a number of his former opponents, it’s a huge improvement from 2K22 where you only played as Rey Mysterio.

However, these matches still have you filling out a checklist of moves you have to complete, which isn’t particularly fun.

You are rewarded with a cutscene of how the match played out in real life, which is a nice touch.

Overall WWE 2K23 does exactly what it needs to, which is take the goodwill established in 2K22 and hold on to it.

It doesn’t make any major changes, but improves upon what fans enjoyed in the last game.

People are sure to enjoy it, even if it doesn’t break new ground.

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Written by Ryan Woodrow and Georgina Young on behalf of GLHF.

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