Tuesday, March 05, 2024

Game Review: 'WWE 2K24'

Compared to most other annual-release sports titles, there's little turnover from year to year in the top-level rosters. That means it takes a superlative effort from developers to make a new entry a must-buy every year. 

That's exactly what Visual Concepts sets out to do -- and largely nails -- with the kinetic "WWE 2K24."

Bringing the thunder with an engaging array of WWE superstars, storylines, move sets and game modes, "WWE 2K24" maintains the franchise's impressive reputation and considerable momentum.

As is often the case with the franchise, this year's edition strives to pay respect to the WWE/WWF's storied past.

Iconic moments from yesteryear pace the content, recreating memorable showdowns including Hulk Hogan-Andre the Giant, the Undertaker's grim dominance and the human highlight reel who was Shawn Michaels in his prime.

There are nods to various generations that built up the stature of the entertainment phenomenon. Luminaries including Stone Cold Steve Austin, John Cena, Roman Reigns and Rhea Ripley also join the stacked cast.

New match modes include Ambulance Match and Special Guest Referee Match, as well as a duo of MyRise selections. The all-around visuals and gameplay get significant spit-shines, with the vast majority of facial animations getting updates, a movable camera during live matches between AI opponents and a rousing new slate of combat mechanics.

Other enhancements include the addition of new weapons, Super Finishers, a clash-style Trading Blows minigame that gives the action a hint of "Injustice: Gods Among Us" flavor, and the presence of real-life WWE refs.

MyGM and MyFACTION continue to be modes that draw micromanagement-focused players back for daily sessions, even though some players may bemoan the continued focus on microtransactions.

The Creation Suite offers a remarkable array of design options, letting you compose arenas, signs, wrestlers and intros and outros to perfection.

The soundtrack, executive produced by Post Malone, sets a thumping tone to the proceedings, blasting your speakers with rhythms that echo the ribald action within the squared circle.

Even though I'm no longer a regular wrestling viewer, I continue to be drawn into the franchise through the video game backdoor. The opportunity to catch up with the WWE's latest developments and offer a creative hand in crafting my own experiences is empowering and invigorating. The game makes the WWE's future look every bit as bright as its past.

Publisher provided review code.

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