WWE 2K24 Review: Finishing the story

WWE 2K24 box art (Image: 2K)

WWE 2K24 does what most annual sports games do, tweaking around the edges and adding a few new features – with mixed results – but it’s still rather easily the best current-generation pro wrestling game money can buy.

Pros Cons
Visually spectacular presentation Lots of weird blurs on archival in-game footage
Huge roster of WWE Superstars and Legends to play as Button mashing is still quite prominent in-game
Lots of modes whether you prefer storylines, management or (eugh) collectible cards I really dislike the whole collectible card sports game thing… with a passion.

Score: 4/5


WWE 2K24 box art (Image: 2K) Buy WWE 2K24! Buy On Amazon

My personal passion for professional wrestling derives directly from video games. Sure, as a kid I was aware of it, because in 1980s Hulk Hogan was everywhere, but it wasn’t until I wrestled with video games that I got hooked, whether it was the arcade appeal of Mat Mania or WWF Wrestlefest, or games like WCW vs NWO World Tour, No Mercy or Fire Pro.

I’m fussy about my wrestling games, because they really do need to be good, especially if you’re going to pump them out year after year.

WWE 2K24
Also, I have to be able to play as, or create Eddie Guerrero.
That can’t just be me… can it?

That’s what 2K had been doing for years up until WWE 2K20, which was a legendary disaster for them. Developers Visual Concepts took a few years off, came back fairly well with WWE 2K22 and even better with WWE 2K23, which I reviewed over at Digitally Downloaded:

Also Read:
WWE 2K23 Review (Digitally Downloaded)

WWE 2K24 does what most sports titles do when there’s an annual title to get out the door and into customer’s hands, mostly playing it safe, updating rosters and tweaking around the edges with a few new matches and some subtler changes to the game’s core play mechanics.

It sees the return of MyGM mode if you’re of the management type, Universe mode if you want to jump in to the WWE as a sandbox, and also (sigh) the return of the collectible card based MyFACTION mode.

WWE 2K24
More game modes than you can swing a steel chair at.

Look, I may as well get this out of the way right now; I hate collectible pay-to-win card deals in video games.

They infest sports games especially, basically because EA made ALL THE MONEY from FIFA (now EA FC), and I really do feel they’re a very bad deal for gamers indeed. If that’s what lights your passion, more power to you… but I’ve honestly only dipped my toes into MyFACTION, because it just isn’t for me.

Then again, dipping toes is what you do with WWE 2K24, because there’s a lot of content here. If you prefer your grappling action storyline-based for your own creations, there’s two gender-based storyline modes under the MyRise banner; Undisputed for the male wrestlers, Unleashed for the female combatants.

WWE 2K24
Remember kids, don’t try this at home.
Though if home contains flaming tables, maybe consider leaving home.

The storyline plotting is just as ridiculous as real WWE storylines – so it’s fun there – and this year you get actual voiceover work from a selection of WWE superstars as part of each storyline. Their performances are fine, though there’s still something oddly puppet-like about the way their character models “talk” in MyRise mode.

If you prefer the way that WWE games of recent years have dipped into historical bouts, this year’s “Showcase” mode is the “Showcase of the Immortals”, highlighting specific classic Wrestlemania moments throughout its 39 year history.

I’ll just briefly touch on Showcase mode here, because I’m a fan of the history, and the generally-amazing way that the game engine segues from in-game animations to match footage. It’s kind of magical, or would be if it weren’t for the onscreen blurring of certain filmed elements.

Long term WWE fans are probably all too used to blurred turnbuckles for WWF logos, but this extends to nearly every referee face, most commentators and even “Mean” Gene Okerlund’s face. I get that likeness rights cost money, but you couldn’t spring for Mean Gene? Really?

WWE 2K24
The classic battle between Hulk Hogan and Andre The Giant.
Also featuring a referee in the witness protection program.

Showcase mode is hosted by Corey Graves, and while he’s not my favourite announcer, he does a very good job here of setting the scene for each match and why it matters. It’s a little odd for extended video sequences if he’s not talking, because the original commentary is also missing.

You don’t quite get 39 different matches, one from each Wrestlemania, with certain choices having been made. I can’t say I agree with all of them for both match quality and (cough) “other” reasons, but there’s a decent selection here in the main, and a great conclusion that I won’t spoil at all.

Like prior years, it does feel a little more like a rhythm music game, because you’re set in-game objectives that split between the video scenes, rather than free-form wrestling, though you can always bounce to the next match anyway simply by winning even if you don’t hit all those objectives.

WWE 2K24
This review will now pause to acknowledge him.

WWE 2K24 has a lot of content to get through, but what I always tend to focus on with iterations of wrestling game franchises is the core wrestling engine, because that’s by and large what you’ll actually be playing with.

Last year’s WWE 2K23 presented fairly well, adding in the WarGames match as the key new hook. I didn’t love WarGames – it’s back again this year – mostly because it can be a little clunky visually, and hard to follow once everyone’s actually in the match.

What is actually new here are tweaks around the way finishers (and new Super Finishers work), some changes to dives to give them a little more kinetic oomph, and a timing-based mini-game for trading blows between combatants.

WWE 2K24
The trading blows mini-game is nicely kinetic and fun.

That actually feels a little more NJPW/Fire Pro to me, honestly – the kind of thing that terms like “fighting spirit” get thrown around for – but in-game it’s quite fun, using a three-strikes system and gradually shrinking timing wheels to determine which wrestler will come out on top of a pitched chopping and punching battle.

There’s also a few new matches in play. The gauntlet match works as a test of endurance, almost Royal Rumble style but with pins and submissions in play, and kind of feels like it must have been the easiest thing to program in WWE 2K24. It’s a nice challenge for a single player, or in tag team configurations, though, because there’s little rest between opponents.

The other “new” modes… aren’t exactly new to WWE games. There’s a Backstage Brawl area, where winning is via finisher-assisted TKOs, Casket Matches, Ambulance Matches and Special Referee matches.They’ve all appeared in one form or another in WWE games over the years.

WWE 2K24
Iyo Sky objects to being played like a guitar by Rhea Ripley,
but there’s little she can do to stop her.

Special Referee mode works as it’s always done, best with a group of friends where you want to muck around with the implementation of rules, run fast counts and the like. I’ve long found that while the concept sounds fun, it generally descends into a bit of a mess, frankly.

The backstage brawl area is quite wide, and there are some fun interactive elements in there.. but not really enough. I kept finding objects I presumed I could interact with in interesting ways, only to discover that they were just clutter, not weapons or interactive areas in their own right.

WWE 2K24
Nice big backstage area to brawl in. Pity there isn’t more to do here, though.

The WWE 2K24 engine isn’t Capcom’s classic Power Stone, basically, but this is just year one for this creative team with backstage areas – maybe it’ll improve next year.

There’s more fun to be had with the Casket and Ambulance matches, because there’s a bit more interactivity, especially when you consider you can climb the ambulance and give and take moves on top of it. The catch here is the way that you finish these matches. It uses the same mechanics as used for submission moves, by default a lot of mixed button mashing to escape or enforce outcomes.

Want to close the lid on the casket, close the doors on the ambulance or cinch in that sharpshooter? Better strengthen up those button mashing fingers, especially against CPU opponents. You can opt for a held-button minigame instead to save the wear and tear on your fingers, but this still just exposes how this particular game mechanic just isn’t fun.

WWE 2K24Bayley does NOT want to stay in the Ambulance. Rhea has… other ideas.
Either way, button mashing or holding is how you play this out — and that’s not that interesting.

For one rather epic ambulance match between Rhea Ripley and Bayley, I spent the concluding minutes – several of them – just trapped in a button holding minigame. It was dull, reminding me of the worst days of the LJN SNES games… and nobody needs to go back there, do they?

Also Read:
Retro Game Of The Week: Super Wrestlemania (SNES)

Of course, Rhea Ripley won. Mami’s always on top, and all that, but it was far less thrilling than the match that preceeded it. For specialty matches I kind of get that you do need some kind of concluding mechanic, but I do wish there was something better.

For submissions, it’d honestly be better handled the way that classic games like No Mercy do it, with no visible submission meter at all. That builds tension, because while you still have to wear down your opponents, you never quite know when they (or you) will tap out. Here it become quickly apparent if you’re going to lose anyway, and your fingers won’t thank you for it.

It’s all but impossible to talk WWE games and not talk about glitches, especially in the wake of WWE 2K20. They’ve been mostly minimal in my experience; a few flickering limbs there, the odd haunted look on a superstar’s face mostly.

I did have one TLC match playing as Vader where a stiff chairshot at ringside sent me tumbling over the barricade into the audience.

At first I thought that was kind of cool, until I realised it wasn’t intentional and I had no way of rejoining the action. I waited to let the CPU “win” the match, because it had been pretty brutal up until then, and here the game revealed another kind of glitch, somewhat showing off some rubber-banding in four-way matches.

My other 3 CPU opponents could have climbed the ladder… but they didn’t, for minute after minute after minute. My best guess is that the in-game AI is more reactive to what you do around ladders, so instead they whaled on each other extensively.

WWE 2K24
Vader gets his own spotlight… but he cannot actually get back into the match.

Eventually, switching control over to R-Truth (sadly, I could see Little Jimmy nowhere in the roster… though I guess maybe I NEVER WOULD!) allowed me to try to win, only to be betrayed by Jake “The Snake” Roberts stealing the win.

Jake Roberts, a dastardly heel? Who could have seen that coming?

WWE 2K24: Alex’s Verdict

WWE 2K24
Is this a good game? YEAH!

Is WWE 2K24 the best wrestling game of all time?

No, not quite.

It’s rather easily the best looking, but that should be a given for the biggest brand in sports entertainment and the current state of console technology, but I’d still put titles like No Mercy and Fire Pro D ahead of it for their commitment to smooth gameplay action.

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Both of those are retro titles that we’ll (sadly) never see re-releases of, however, and if you’re after something current for modern consoles, you don’t have a lot of choice. AEW Fight Forever was a noble effort, but even last year 2K23 bested it – and WWE 2K24 is even more refined.

WWE 2K24
Rather like Pro Wrestling itself, WWE 2K24 is at its best when it’s at its most ludicrous.
Side thought: There was a time in the early 2000s where WWE could have booked this exact match.
No, really, this could have happened.


This review was based off my own testing using Xbox Series X/S code supplied to me by 2K Games for the purposes of review.

WWE 2K24 box art (Image: 2K) Buy WWE 2K24! Buy On Amazon

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