WWE 2K23 review: Fun, challenging and immersive

WWE 2K23 delivers the best all-around WWE experience

WWE 2K23 John Cena screen shot
Editor's Choice
(Image: © Laptop Mag)

Laptop Mag Verdict

WWE 2K23 combines interesting storylines with new and fan favorite game modes for a fun and challenging button-mashing experience


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    Fantastic character likenesses

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    More fluid character movement

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    Additional match options

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    Two different career modes


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    Lengthy objectives

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    Excluded roster characters

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WWE 2K23 combines interesting storylines with new and fan-favorite game modes for a fun and challenging button-mashing experience.

WWE 2K23 is the latest pro wrestling game from developer Visual Concepts and 2K. It’s available in three editions — Standard, Deluxe, and Icon. Each game’s cover art features WWE Superstar turned actor John Cena posing in a different signature stance. WWE Icon offers the most bang for your buck with cover art created by WWE artist Rob Schamberger and all the bonus content. 

After seeing the trailer, and a first look at the playable character Bad Bunny, I was curious to see what’s new with WWE 2K23. For this review, I played the game on an HP Pavilion Gaming PC. My computer has a 3.9-GHz AMD Ryzen 5 5600G 6-core CPU, 16GB of RAM, Radeon RX 5500 GPU with 4GB of dedicated memory. I initially ran into a hiccup getting the game to start, but once it got running, there were no problems. 2K’s recommended system requirements are an Intel i7-4790 / AMD FX 8350 CPU, 16GB of RAM, and GeForce GTX 1070 / Radeon RX 580 graphics.

WWE 2K23 Pricing and availability

Pricing for WWE 2K23 starts at $59 for PC, PS4 and Xbox One consoles — it's $69 for PS5 and Xbox Series X|S. WWE 2K23 Deluxe and WWE 2K23 Icon cost $99 and $119, respectively on all gaming platforms. 

WWE 2K23 is available for purchase at AmazonBest Buy, GameStop, Steam, PlayStation Store, and the Xbox Games Store. 

WWE 2K23 Superstars and Legends

This year’s roster is packed with over 200 playable characters from WWE Superstars to the WWE Legends who walked so today’s talent could run. It features new and returning WWE Superstars Cody Rhodes, Roman Reigns, Queen Zelina, Undertaker, Bron Breakker, Chyna, Roxanne Perez, Stone Cold Steve Austin, Rhea Ripley, Drew McIntyre, Cora Jade, Bianca Belair, Carmelo Hayes and more. Grammy Award-winning recording artist Bad Bunny is also a playable character in WWE 2K23. 

Want to craft your own superstar? Hop into WWE 2K23’s Creation Suite to create your own Superstar or upload an image. Since two of my favorites who are no longer with the company didn’t make the roster this year, I can manually add them to the game.

WWE 2K23 Bad Bunny playable character game screenshot

(Image credit: 2K)

WWE 2K23 graphics

 WWE 2K23’s graphics are on par with the hyper-realistic character likenesses we saw in WWE 2K22. Colors seem to be more vibrant and faces in the crowd at the arenas are sharper. Ring entrances and signature moves are fluid and natural looking. 

In the one-player objective mode, 2K Showcase, you play as John Cena reliving his most iconic matches. Completed chapters seamlessly transition into vintage video footage from classic PPV matches. 

WWE 2K23 Roman Reigns holding a world championship titile

(Image credit: Laptop Mag)

WWE 2K23 gameplay and animation

WWE 2K22’s huge overhaul set the foundation for WWE 2K23 so you'll notice minor changes. Although the buttons and controls remain the same, there's a new pi kick-out mechanic and robust move sets for each playable character. The intuitive game controls we've come to expect from the WWE 2K return in this release. 

Whether it's your first time playing the WWE 2K series or you haven’t played in a while, WWE 2K23 is easy to pick up and play. To get you started, a short tutorial hosted by WWE Superstar and UpUpDownDown host, Xavier Woods teaches you offense and defense. On the Xbox Core controller, you simply hold the top RB button to block and move the joystick left or right to dodge. My personal favorite is the Y to perform a reversal. 

WWE 2K23 match

(Image credit: Laptop Mag)

WWE 2K23 Play modes

From play mode, you can choose from various kinds of matches and venues. And for the first time, War Games makes its debut in WWE 2K23. This action-packed match type is the ultimate multiplayer mayhem. Fight to win inside two side-by-side rings, surrounded by a double-steel cage.

MyRISE mode is back with new engaging storylines told from opposing sides. In one journey, “The Legacy” you climb your way up the roster on the path your famous family member paved for you. Meanwhile, as “The Lock”, you enter the WWE world as the next best thing. 

Your Superstar’s career path is based on the decisions you make as you rise from Rookie to exalted WWE Legend. Book matches and complete side tasks to earn experience points and unlock playable characters. 2K games does a great job of incorporating the good guy (face) and the bad guy (heel) of pro wrestling “kayfabe” method of storytelling. 

WWE 2K23 MyRise story mode

(Image credit: Laptop Mag)

WWE 2K23 2K Showcase

Last year’s 2K Showcase had us play as the legendary Rey Mysterio and this year’s 2K Showcase relives iconic matches of John Cena’s 20-year career. WWE 2K23’s "You Can't Beat Me" 2K Showcase flips the script and has us follow the game’s objective as John Cena’s opponents. This game mode feels more challenging than last year’s, but in a good way.

During gameplay, I lost to John Cena many times, as I worked my way through the list of objectives. Talk about ring rust. Even in the most frustrating losses, I swiftly smashed the rematch button, determined to win. “Never Give Up”.

WWE 2K23 John Cena screen shot

(Image credit: Laptop Mag)

Universe mode: You run the show

Universe mode returns to WWE 2K23 a reworked story system and new brands WCW and NXT 2.0. 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. 

I gave this game mode a try and achieved the second-highest show ratings of the four brands. You’ll enjoy MyGM mode if you’ve ever wanted to explore the behind-the-scenes creative side of sports entertainment. 


(Image credit: 2K)

WWE 2K23 MyFaction

MyFACTION returns to WWE 2K23 which is essentially 2K Games' WWE SuperCard mobile card game for PC and consoles. 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. 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 and new themed card packs roll out all year long. 


(Image credit: 2K)

Bottom line

WWE 2K23 is everything we love about WWE 2K22 and then some. Now featuring War Games, John Cena’s 2K Showcase, and two different MyRISE story mode options, there's always a new journey to explore. 

The game's 12-song soundtrack, curated by John Cena gets you hyped in between matches as you navigate your dashboard. It includes Metallica’s "Sad But True", Doja Cat’s "Vegas" Luciano’s "SUVs", and Joyner Lucas & Lil Baby’s “Ramen & OJ” just to name a few. There's still no way to add your own songs or link to your own playlist on Spotify for example. However, you can choose what songs to remove from the rotation.

Some of the game's objectives are lengthy and don't save where you left off. Similar to the patch of WWE's Superstars and Legends, it takes tons of practice and persistence to become great. Before you know it, you'll be winning matches and gaining popularity as you rise from rookie to WWE Superstar to Legend.  

Pro wrestling fans and anyone else who likes fighting games, will enjoy the WWE 2K23 experience.

WWE 2K23 story mode Justine

(Image credit: Laptop Mag)
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.