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WWE 2K24 review: Best in class shines again Dot Esports

Making an impression as a sports game and an annual release is no easy task, but WWE 2K24 bounces back from the ropes with an impressive display.

The franchise has gone from strength to strength in recent years, turning things around after the much-maligned WWE 2K20, and the latest installment provides developer 2K with another opportunity to flex its muscles.

In a market where sports games are very much rinse and repeat year after year, WWE 2K24 benefits from being able to pull inspiration from the weird and wonderful world of the WWE to showcase impressive story elements.

Undisputed kings of storytelling

A story screen for MyRISE showing Roman Reigns in WWE 2K24.
A new champion emerges. Screenshot by Dot Esports

MyRISE is back once again in WWE 2K24 to provide a create-a-superstar mode with branching narratives and decisions that impact the path that lies ahead, played out in front of a star-studded cast that includes voiceover performances from Roman Reigns, Cody Rhodes, Dominik Mysterio, The Miz, and many more.

In the male story, Reigns has surprisingly vacated his WWE titles, paving the way for you to take over as the new undisputed champion in WWE, but you face a fight to retain that honor. There are big decisions to make along the way, including who to align with when Kane makes a return and whether to stick it out on Smackdown or make a fleeting visit to NXT.

In my experience with the mode, I enjoyed a variety of match types and scenarios, including a Casket Match, a Special Guest Referee clash, and a King of the Ring-style tournament to kick things off. I’m yet to try out the female story, though the storyline crafted in Unleashed sounds just as interesting.

If creating a Superstar isn’t for you, you will have no doubt noticed WWE 2K24 is heavily marketed around the 40th anniversary of WrestleMania, which is the stage for this year’s Showcase mode. While previous editions have singled out a single superstar, like Rey Mysterio and John Cena, WWE 2K24 instead puts the focus on WWE’s flagship pay-per-view event.

Over the course of 21 matches, followed by a bonus clash against all the giants, you take a trip down memory lane to experience some of the greatest moments in the history of WrestleMania. A personal highlight gave me fond memories of my first WrestleMania and childhood—but I won’t spoil any of that for you.

As ever, the feather in the cap of WWE 2K24 is Universe mode, where you get all the tools to create your own Sandbox experience in the WWE. I have already begun my quest to revive some of my favorite storylines and rivalries in WWE history, including Randy Orton’s Legend Killer Persona, Guerrero’s feud with JBL, and John Cena’s showdowns with Kurt Angle. This is where WWE 2K24 truly shines, giving you the scope to craft out all the stories you can imagine in ways other sports games simply can’t.

Rough around the edges

The Rock holding up a belt at WrestleMania in WWE 2K24.
Can you smell? Screenshot by Dot Esports

While I have thoroughly enjoyed my time with WWE 2K24 so far and will continue to play well beyond this review, there are hiccups I cannot ignore and, at times, break the immersion.

Some of those, like getting stuck in collisions with opponents in the ring or wonky mechanics that see ladders and tables jitter around when hit, have been present for a while in 2K’s franchise. They issues seem unlikely to go away anytime soon but, thankfully, aren’t game-breaking.

Other (larger) problems did rear their head, though. I experienced several crashes, potentially because servers aren’t properly established ahead of full release, and a character got stuck at ringside during a Showcase event—which was a big issue because I needed to perform a specific move on them to complete the next objective and continue the event. Thankfully, a quick reset resolved this.

I also can’t help but feel that Showcase mode didn’t fully delve into WrestleMania’s history as, though I found every match enjoyable and there were great moments to relive, the majority weren’t that long ago. Though I can’t go into specifics, you won’t be spending too long in the distant past.

The biggest problem for WWE 2K24, however, is an issue that plagues sports games every year: there isn’t an awful lot to differentiate the latest edition from last year’s entry. However, while WWE 2K23 didn’t quite grab me in the same way WWE 2K22 did, for reasons I’m still unable to put my finger on, WWE 2K24 has managed to make amends for that.

Number one contender

Batista celebrating victory in WWE 2K24.
Batista bomb. Screenshot by Dot Esports

All in all, WWE 2K24 does exactly what you would expect. The new MyRISE stories and enjoyable Showcase matches are enough reason to pick up the latest entry in the franchise, while the introduction of exclusive, unlockable Personas for other game modes makes MyFACTION more rewarding, too. Currently, I only have Sheamus ’09, which I think was a standard reward to introduce the new concept.

While WWE 2K24 may not be pulling up trees and earning accolades at the end of the year when compared directly to the best titles in 2024, I’d certainly go out on a limb and say it is the best sports game I’ve played in the past 12 months.

7

Pros

  • Showcase is a feast of fun.
  • Universe mode continues to shine.
  • MyFACTION now has a reason to be played.

Cons

  • Minor bugs with collision mechanics, again.
  • Showcase could, and should, have been bigger.
  • Same old sports problem.

A copy of this game was provided by 2K for the review. Reviewed on Xbox Series X.

Josh Challies

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