WWE 2K22 Review – Bad Times Don’t Last

After the unmitigated disaster that was WWE 2K20, publisher 2K Games took the bold decision to give developer Visual Concepts an extra year to work on the next game in the series. Annual sports games are very rarely, if ever, given a year off, but WWE 2K22 is proof of the benefits that can occur when development isn’t confined to a tight yearly turnaround. It’s a massive step up from 2K20, improving on nearly every aspect of the long-running series. The in-ring action has been reworked and improved, the variety and quality of its game modes has increased, and there’s been a major decrease in the amount of unrelenting glitches afflicting each and every facet of the game. Some legacy issues persist and not all of the new additions are successful, but WWE 2K22 still represents a recent high mark for the series.

This all begins once you step inside the ropes of the squared circle for the first time. WWE Superstar Drew Gulak is on-hand to guide you through all of the new changes, and his humorous and informative tutorial proves invaluable whether you’re a newcomer or a series veteran. This is mainly because WWE 2K22 takes inspiration from traditional fighting games by placing a significant emphasis on combos. Striking has been completely overhauled to fit this new mold, with light, heavy, and grapple attacks now filling out your offensive arsenal. You can execute light or heavy combos by mashing each attack’s respective button, or combine all three attack types to diversify your offense and keep your opponent guessing. Ending a combo with a grapple attack will see your character transition into a powerful wrestling move like a suplex or DDT, while ending with a heavy combo often launches into a canned animation that encompasses multiple hard-hitting strikes in succession.

Grappling has also been reworked, requiring you to clinch before being able to perform any wrestling moves. This expands each superstar’s repertoire since once you’re locked up with an opponent, you can now utilize either light or heavy grapples to inflict damage. Not only does this ensure more move variety, but it also factors into how defending works in 2K22. In previous games in the series, the reversal button was your only recourse for escaping an onslaught of attacks. It was too limiting and often resulted in situations where you were on the receiving end of attack after attack after attack. The same system still exists, only now you have additional defensive options when it comes to halting your opponent’s forward momentum. Not only can you dodge and block incoming strikes, but you can also counter both combos and grapples by correctly guessing whether your opponent is using a light or heavy attack.

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