Published on March 4th, 2024 | by James Davie

WWE 2K24 Review

WWE 2K24 Review James Davie

Summary: WWE 2K24 is a fine game and it is showing Rhodes towards the wrestling videogames promise land, but right now it's nowhere near the Head of the Table.


Another year

Returning again to layeth the smacketh down on WWE videogame fans of all ages, WWE 2K24 presents itself as a very special entry in the WWE 2K franchise. Not only are we graced with the clean babyface mug of the American Nightmare Cody Rhodes on the cover, but this year’s edition of the 2Ks flagship wrestling franchise celebrates 40 years of WrestleMania, so there’s plenty of pressure resting on this year’s game, mirroring the expectations resting on Cody’s shoulders as he strives to finish his story by putting a halt to the unstoppable title reign of the almighty Head of the Table Roman Reigns, and the entirety of The Bloodline stable. Does WWE 2K24 receive an invite into the Island of Relevancy, or will it be banished in disgrace like Sami Zayn and Jey Uso?

Upon booting up WWE 2K24 you’re swept into optional tutorials starring wrestling know-it-all Drew Gulak, who shows you the basics of wrestling in WWE 2K24, easing you in so that you can unleash a can of whoop ass and walk it dry on anybody who gets in your way. The sense of humor and minor callbacks to previous entries does much to soothe you into WWE 2K24 and is a nice start to what is otherwise a disappointingly derivative WWE 2K outing.

The main attraction of WWE 2K24 is the new Showcase of the Immortals mode, essentially another 2K Showcase staple fans will be familiar with from previous entries. This time however, you’re taken on a whistlestop tour of key WrestleMania matches from the previous 39 years hosted by WWE announcer Corey Graves. Showcase of the Immortals celebrates gargantuan feuds such as the literal gargantuan Andre The Giant versus Hulk Hogan from WrestleMania III, the first ever ladder match at WrestleMania X between Razor Ramon and Shawn Michaels, the unforgettable WrestleMania X-7 clash between superstar stalwarts The Rock and Stone Cold Steve Austin, all the way up to the epic first matchup between Roman Reigns and Cody Rhodes at last year’s WrestleMania. There’s plenty to sink your jaws into here, though this year’s 2K Showcase mode continues to prove why 2K should come up with a brand new way to present their marquis mode to us.

2K Showcase modes have long been monotonous games of Simon Says, where the player is encouraged to complete objectives as listed on the screen in order to receive unlockable rewards for successfully complying with their commands. 2K24 is unfortunately no different, enticing you to complete tasks inside or outside of the ring so you can unlock goodies after the match. These tasks include landing combo and grapple attacks in specific places to trigger cutscenes that leap you out of the game so you can experience a living colour transition before returning to the in-game engine so you can complete more objectives before you’re allowed to finish by either pinning or submitting your opponent, or otherwise getting into a position to trigger a final transitional cutscene that finalizes the matchup.

Simply put, 2K Showcases are messy and they encourage players to follow a script. There’s nothing thrilling about following orders to unlock old tat, and it’s about time 2K gave us an innovative alternative to the run of the mill 2K Showcase because they’re aging faster than Ric Flair’s ability to obtain medical clearance to compete. There is a pleasant documentary-style allure to 2K Showcase modes, and the bonus match for this year’s offering is a good way to celebrate 40 years of WrestleMania, but 2K24 ultimately decides to shuffle along predictably instead of shocking and surprising with any tectonic changes to the rote formula. Oh, and for some reason manager A.I has a strange obsession with unlacing the turnbuckle padding-they must enjoy how cushy they feel.

A lack of polish penetrates a lot of the WWE 2K24 experience, but to be fair 2K has mainly focused on adding new features instead of refinements since the franchise returned in 2022. This year’s entry adds in a range of fan-pleasing insertions that are small and moderately pleasing, but fail to deliver an almighty Bobby Lashley-sized wallop.

One notable improvement comes in the form of timed fisticuff trading sequences, so when a match reaches a dramatic point, both superstars in a singles match can throw fists at each other, and a tiny minigame prompt appears where you need to hold down the face button until a notch reaches a green zone. Successful blows will register but if you fail the timing, your opponent will land, and the sequence will keep going until one of you gain the advantage. This subtle flourish to the gameplay doesn’t add much besides heightening the in-ring drama, but it’s a wrinkle that can contribute to the overall epicness of a match, so is indeed a welcome addition.

2K24 does add several new match types to freshen up the series some. Ambulance matches make their long-awaited WWE videogame debut and are a welcome addition-although admittedly they should’ve debuted in Smackdown vs. Raw twenty years ago. Your main goal in these matches is to incapacitate your opponent, stuff them into the back of the ambulance and close the doors. They’re great battles of attrition and a welcome addition, but the button-bashing minigames break the flow of what an Ambulance match is meant to be because when you’ve successfully shoved your victim inside, they shouldn’t be able to rise up like The Undertaker and start door-wrestling with you. The ability to climb on top and leap off the ambulance is a great touch though.

Casket matches return for the first time since Smackdown 2: Know Your Role, and their appearance is definitely welcome. The gratification of slamming and thudding your adversary’s spine and head off the casket is tremendously crispy to behold. Just like the Ambulance Match, Casket matches include a lid-jostling minigame, meaning that you can’t easily flop Rey Mysterio’s corpse into the box, meaning Dirty Dominik will need to keep his cool and keep his angsty teenage mannerisms at bay cos Mami won’t be happy if he doesn’t get the job done. That Eddie Guerrero haircut may do many things, but it won’t plant Dom’s pint-sized daddy into his resting place.

The other big new match type is the Gauntlet Match, which is where one superstar faces a series of opponents one after another, kinda like a fairer version of a handicap match. The endurance factor is vital in a Gauntlet Match, so preserving as much stamina as you can is crucial to your survival.

Many hallmarks of recent WWE games return including MyRise, where you take a male and female superstar through an unpredictable, crazy and zany career where anything cheesy, weird and dramatic could happen. This year’s MyRise is as weird and whimsical as it has been in the past and is a pleasure to play even without many revisions to speak of.

The much maligned MyFaction also returns, subjecting you to a healthy and routine grind that has long-lasting appeal, but much like Roman Reigns’ title reign, you wish it’d end sooner than later. Obtaining new superstar cars and Faction Wars still feel arbitrary and without merit, but if you fancy a long-haul investment then 2K24’s MyFaction has you covered.

GM Mode returns with a bunch of new cutscenes and match types added into the mix. If you didn’t like GM Mode these past couple of years, not a lot here will change your mind. The busywork of picking a General Manager and taking a brand to the top requires plenty of planning and consideration for the health and wellbeing of superstars, at least all of it can be simulated, but there’s not enough going on with this year’s add-ons to make GM Mode anything other than an minor iterative improvement over past efforts.

WWE Universe rounds out 2K24’s spread of game modes and once again, there are a nice crop of improvements and embellishments like the allowance for double title matches, as well as new cutscenes and storyline options providing plenty of meat to satiate avid players, but once again there are no bold strides forward, just molecular steps forward.

Playing 2K24 largely contains the same likes and gripes as prior instalments, with the physics-heavy wrestling and its multitude of button-plus-analog stick combinations likely to alienate longtime WWE wrestling videogame fans, but on the contrary the amount of moves and options are generally pleasing. As expected with yearly instalments, many new moves have been added from an array of spine-shattering avalanche variants like Rhea Ripley’s epic Riptide and Becky Lynch’s Manhandle Slam, along with the slew of new moves expected from the crop of new superstars that have arrived in this year’s game-of which there are over 200 superstars in this year’s game.

One of the biggest annoyances with WWE 2K games over the past few years, is that finishers don’t live up to their namesake as much as they rightly should. You could hit a thunderous Curb Stomp and send all of Seth Rollins’ fans into an arena-rattling frenzy, but only get a near fall-even on the easiest difficulty! Of course the emphasis on WWE videogame matches is to maximize drama and excitement, but near falls after finishers should be a rarity, not a frequency. The same can be said for the amount of times a finisher or signature is reversed, and yes there maybe sliders in the options menu to mitigate these issues, yet the fact is a reversal from your opponent can’t be countered or chained into a signature or finisher in some kind of monumental struggle for control. Suffice to say there is plenty of room for improvement, but what’s here is as satisfactory as it was last year, not bad and sometimes very gratifying and awesome, but certainly not groundbreaking.

On the visual front, 2K24 looks like last year’s game which looked like the game from the year before. At this rate 2K24’s appearance is looking Pretty Deadly for the franchise-and that doesn’t mean it’s starting to look ravishing with long manes and seductive British accents, it means that it’s looking stale despite an inherent quality that it’s still clinging onto like Gunther and his Intercontinental Championship. Clearly 2K24 is impressed with how it looks, seeing as it flaunts attractively at you whenever the Showcase of the Immortals documentary cutscenes return to the in-game engine. Such transitions don’t seem to have done any favours for Andre The Giant-go take a close look at how Andre is in the game alongside how he looks in documentary footage and you’ll see.

Soundtrack-wise, WWE 2K24’s OST has been left to the megastar rapping and singing chops of Post Malone. As has been the case since at least WWE 2K15, the 12-song soundtrack caters to all genres from gangster rap to hard metal, but Post seems to love a bit more country in this year’s setlist from the likes of Tyler Childers and Colter Wall, along with a smattering of other artists including Post Malone himself offering up two of his mega hits Chemical and Laugh It Off. As far as WWE 2K soundtracks are concerned it’s not a patch on last year’s Cena-curated setlist, but there are at least a few good ones in here…. except the Busta Rhymes song obviously!

Final Thoughts?

Another year another WWE 2K game going through the motions, although some of those motions are pleasing. For every good step this year’s game has taken to add fan-pleasing features, it does so on unsteady feet like it’s been stuck in Boston Crab for an entire week. 2K24 is attempting to tread waywardly onwards towards some kind of fully-featured salvation ensnared in a vivid vision of the ultimate WWE game, but doesn’t have the ingredients to realize it. The new 2K Showcase of the Immortals mode is a delicious offering with many new matches to replicate, despite the ancient 2K Showcase formula showing its wrinkles and grey hairs related to its dreary Simon Says antics . The new match types are exciting and worthwhile inclusions despite some minor gripes pertaining to how they’ve been implemented. And then you’ve got a boatload of subtle additions and tweaks that show admirable improvements, yet are still far too small to make a tremendous impact. WWE 2K24 is a fine game and it is showing Rhodes towards the wrestling videogames promise land, but right now it’s nowhere near the Head of the Table.

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