WWE 2K22 review — the best wrestling game we’ve seen yet

WWE 2K22 is the best release from the series yet

WWE 2K22 review — the best wrestling game we’ve seen yet
Editor's Choice
(Image: © Visual Concepts)

Laptop Mag Verdict

WWE 2K22 is the best release from the wrestling game franchise, and the one fans have been waiting for.


  • +

    Realistic graphics

  • +

    Accurate wrestling combat

  • +

    Intuitive and easy to play


  • -

    Music playlist limitations

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WWE 2K22 is developed by Visual Concepts, and it’s evident that everyone on the team understood the assignment. It boasts a fully redesigned game engine, new controls, upgraded graphics, and new game modes. 

It’s been two years since WWE 2K20 dropped, which was an underwhelming follow-up to WWE 2019. When I saw the first trailer for WWE 2K22, I was blown away and couldn’t wait to see the improvements myself. I thoroughly enjoyed three consecutive days of playing WWE 2K22 on my PS4. It’s everything I imagined it would be and hard to put down. 

2K Games was not kidding — WWE 2K22 looks, feels, plays, and “Hits Different” in every way. 

WWE 2K22 pricing and availability

WWE 2K22 prices start at $59 for the Standard Edition, $99 for WWE 2K22 Deluxe, and $119 for the WWE 2K22 nWo Edition. It’s now available for PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X at select game retailers.

WWE 2K22 Superstars and Legends

WWE 2K22’s roster is packed with nearly 200 playable characters from today’s WWE Superstars to trail-blazing Legends. The game’s 12-song soundtrack is curated by Machine Gun Kelly who will also be available as a playable character in an upcoming DLC pack. It features MGK’s “concert for aliens”, Wu-Tang Clan’s “Protect Ya Neck” which is my personal favorite, Bad Bunny’s “Booker T”, and the Weeknd’s “Heartless”, just to name a few. Although you can customize your song rotation, it would be great if we could upload songs and create our own playlist.

(Image credit: Visual Concepts)

Pro wrestlers are known to reinvent themselves, so some even appear in WWE 2K22 as two or more characters. For example, you can play as Finn Balor or his alter ego “Demon Finn Balor,” and Mia Yim or her other persona, “Reckoning,” 2K Games offers DLC packs for nWo faction members and WWE Hall of Famer the Undertaker, who has three additional playable characters (Phantom Mask Undertaker, Lord of Darkness Undertaker, and Boneyard Match Undertaker). 

As an alternative, you can create your own Superstar from scratch or upload an image using WWE 2K22’s Creation Suite. This advanced custom builder has tons of templates to choose from. Fine tune every detail of your Superstar’s appearance like eye color, hair style, blemishes, tattoos, and even the material of their ring gear. 

WWE 2K22 graphics

WWE 2K22’s graphics are fantastic, noticeably improving upon previous releases. Character likenesses are spot on with just about every Superstar on the roster. 2K Games did a great job at making them look hyper-realistic. They nailed facial structures, features, hair, and body types. Ring entrances and signature moves in the ring are remarkably fluid and life-like — it’s as if you’re watching an actual wrestling match. 

(Image credit: Visual Concepts)

During testing, I was in awe at the game’s realism on my 1080p TV and imagined how breathtaking it must look on a 4K display. The game’s animation is a huge step up from WWE 2K20; it brings you closer to the feeling of watching a live show. 2K Showcase perfectly illustrates the games’ fluidity. In a one-player objective mode, you play as Rey Mysterio reliving his most iconic matches. Segments of gameplay smoothly transition into video footage from classic PPV events. 

WWE 2K22’s overhaul of the backstage area, parking lot, and arena environments are accurately represented. When you’re grappling opponents in the squared circle, you can clearly see the faces, t-shirts, and signs in the roaring crowd of attending fans. WWE props are more finely tuned. Kendo sticks fray, tables break, and barricades collapse on impact as seen on TV. 

Not uncommon among new game releases, I came across a few minor glitches which I hope an update will fix. In one instance, my opponent suddenly disappeared into the top of my TV screen. Another time, the referee got stuck in the corner, preventing me from climbing onto the turnbuckle for a frog splash. 

WWE 2K22 gameplay and animation

One major overhaul that makes the game so immersive is how realistic character move sets are. Visual Concepts completely rebuilt gameplay and animation for this new WWE 2K release. Movement looks buttery smooth from how characters kick out of pinfall attempts to executing intricate finishing moves. 

Thanks to new intuitive game controls, WWE 2K22 is easy to pick up and play. The game starts you off with a fun, short tutorial to teach you the fundamentals of offense and defense. On the PS4 controller, to block hits, you simply hold down the triangle. While the buttons for some attacks remain the same from WWE 2K20, new functions allow for better control.

(Image credit: Visual Concepts)

The core functions are light attacks, heavy attacks, and grapples. Combos and special moves are executed by mashing a sequence of buttons after a heavy grapple. The more damage you do to your opponent, the higher your power meter goes up. During gameplay, you’ll be prompted to select a set of buttons to unleash either a comeback attack or finisher. 

For example, you still tap the triangle button on the PS4 controller to perform a reversal or the circle button to grab. New controls in WWE 2K22 prompt you to tap square or cross to counter your opponent. And the fun part of that is, you need to guess your opponent’s next attack to decide which button to smash. As YouTube creator and WWE Superstar Austin “Xavier Woods” Creed so eloquently put it, “it’s like rock, paper, scissors.”

To my delight, my intuition served me well in many matches even when I felt close to losing a match. Bear in mind that timing is key and one good guess can work in your favor no matter how low your power meter is. 

WWE 2K22 from Rookie to Legend

Alongside Play mode, which lets you choose from all kinds of matches and supports up to four players, WWE 2K22 has five additional game modes. MyRISE mode is WWE 2K20’s MyCareer redesigned but now more engaging than ever. It brings unique men’s and women’s division storylines for the first time to the franchise. You create your own playable character and evolve from WWE Rookie to Superster to Legend. Throughout your journey, you’ll be booked in matches and offered side tasks to earn experience points. 

(Image credit: Visual Concepts)

I love this game mode because you get to choose the role you want to portray, either good guy (face) or bad guy (heel). These terms are used in pro wrestling “kayfabe” or the depiction of staged events. Your chosen role and outcomes of your matches, whether earned or fixed, determine how your story plays out. MyRise lets you create up to 10 different characters and experience a unique journey with each one.

WWE 2K22 relive and create history

This year’s 2K Showcase celebrates the 20-year career of WWE Superstar Rey Mysterio, where you play as his character in his most memorable matches. I enjoyed this mode’s fast-action gameplay, narrative story-telling and historic clips from iconic PPVs. 

(Image credit: Visual Concepts)

Universe mode returns to WWE 2K22 with Classic and Superstar sub-modes. Here you’ll play as a Superstar in a series of weekly matches and do what WWE Superstars do. Develop rivalries with other Superstars, start a tag team, create “right here, right now” matches and aim for the championship title.

WWE 2K22 run the show

The new MyGM mode places you into the role of a WWE General Manager, drafting Superstars, setting up matches, and creating rivalries to boost TV ratings. I chose to play as Stephanie McMahon in charge of Friday Night Smackdown and my rival is Monday Night RAW manager, Sonya Deville. Managing the show’s budget and booking matches fans will like is the tricky part. 

(Image credit: Visual Concepts)

The closest I’ve ever come to producing a show was working as a production assistant, so naturally my first run tanked miserably. Trial and error earned me better ratings on my following show, which gave me incentive to continue growing my viewership. You’ll enjoy MyGM mode if you’ve ever wanted to explore the behind the scenes creative side of sports entertainment. 

WWE 2K22 build your Superstar dream team

MyFACTION is basically 2K Games' WWE SuperCard mobile card game for PC and console. In this game mode, you build a four-person team of WWE Superstars and Legends from digital cards. Daily and weekly challenges earn you in-game currency in MyFACTION points and tokens.

(Image credit: Visual Concepts)

Points can be exchanged for card packs and contracts, whereas Tokens unlock WWE Superstars and Legends cards in the Token Rewards store. Although Points can unlock all these goodies, you may opt to purchase virtual currency. MyFACTION limited-time rewards refresh every month, while new themed card packs release often to keep things fresh and exciting.

Bottom line

WWE 2K22 is a fantastic follow up to WWE 2K20 and well worth the wait. The most advanced release from this 2K Games series yet, it features amazing new graphics, easy to learn controls, and new gameplay engine.

With customizable characters, a large roster of characters, and six game modes, there’s plenty to explore. The new MyRISE mode with men’s and women’s division options is a refreshing feature and provides fun and engaging goal-oriented storylines.

The game’s large roster of Superstars and Legends with more playable character DLC packs on the way, WWE 2K22 gives players more to look forward to. And while the curated soundtrack and jukebox is great, it’s unfortunate there’s no way to upload music to the game. 

Despite this one nitpick, WWE 2K22 is one of the best games I’ve ever played. If you like pro wrestling or fighting games, WWE 2K22 is a must-buy for your collection. 

Hilda Scott

Hilda Scott uses her combined passion for gadgets and bargain shopping to bring you the best prices on all things tech. She has a bachelor’s degree in film and media studies from Hunter College and 11 years of tech and entertainment journalism. Her work has been featured on Tom’s Guide, iTechPost, Examiner.com, Parlemag, Enstars, and Latin Times. When she's not scouting for the best deals, Hilda’s catching up on her favorite TV shows and pro-wrestling matches.