Sunday, April 16, 2023

Game Review: 'WWE 2K23'

 With a hefty focus on cover performer John Cena, "WWE 2K23" refines the well-worn formula refined in previous versions of the annual release, continuing the steady progression for the 2K Sports wrestling sim.

Games with cover athlete-focused modes usually spend a significant amount of effort inflating the ego of his star and PR squad, but this one takes the opposite tack. The storyline in the interactive documentary focuses on several of Cena's most crushing defeats over his two-decade career. 

The Cena stuff is exciting and, to a bizarre degree, educational, but an impressive array of other big-name wrestlers steal share the spotlight with Mr. Hustle, Loyalty and Respect.

Supporting stars include the likes of Ronda Rousey, Brock Lesnar, Stone Cold Steve Austin, Cody Rhodes and Roman Reigns.

Outside of the Cena doc, the marquee mode is WarGames, a rousing three-on-three or four-on-four slugfests in side-by-side rings within a steel cage that are set up for dramatic momentum swings and exciting finishes.

World-building management modes include the likes of "MyFACTION" and "MyGM," which allow you to craft alliances and schedule bouts and career arcs, as though you are a WWE writer or producer. The online multiplayer aspect of card-based "MyFACTION" recalls the parallel experiences in EA's sports games.

"MyRISE," meanwhile, is the single-player build-your-own character mode that lets you go through the grind of the wrestling miners and showboat your way to Cena-like status. 

While there isn't a whole lot to draw you back into "WWE 2K23" if you're still satisfied with last year's version, this year's is a must for Cena fans. And anyone who isn't needs to watch "Peacemaker."

Publisher provided review code.

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