WWE 2K24 continues the year-after-year iteration established by WWE 2K22, which has seen the annualized franchise get better with every new addition. There are a lot of things that fans could still ask of WWE 2K24 and future WWE games, but it’s clear that the franchise is still on the right path. After a few hours with it, it’s clear that it maintains everything players love about the franchise’s core gameplay but improves in new, sometimes unexpected ways.
During a recent preview event, Game Rant was able to play three matches in WWE 2K24‘s Showcase Mode: WrestleMania 5’s Ultimate Warrior vs. Rick Rude, WrestleMania 39’s Rhea Ripley vs. Charlotte Flair, and WrestleMania 39’s Roman Reigns vs. Cody Rhodes. We were also able to play the new Ambulance Match, the new and improved Backstage Brawl, and standard matches to check out the new gameplay improvements too. There was a lot we couldn’t play, such as MyGM and MyRise, so it’s impossible to speak definitively about it as a whole. That said, it seems WWE 2K24 is on the right path to “finishing” the WWE 2K franchise’s story, and this chapter seems to focus on the hard-hitting, brutal nature of the sports entertainment business.
WWE 2K24 Reveals Cover Stars, New Match Types, Release Date, and More
Publisher 2K and developer Visual Concepts pull back the curtain on WWE 2K24, revealing various gameplay improvements, key game modes, and more.
WWE 2K24 Showcase Matches Bring the History of WrestleMania to Life
The defining feature of WWE 2K‘s Showcase mode is its slingshot technology, which blends gameplay with real-world footage. It’s always been a great addition to the franchise, but there’s something about it being applied to WrestleMania that is special. In the last two entries, fans sometimes got to see older footage of Rey Mysterio or John Cena, but experiencing the Grandest Stage of Them All through this lens is more all-encompassing. The footage of WrestleMania 5 was a real treat and will be for anyone who plays the game, even if they’ve never watched the match. Meanwhile, experiencing that all over again for WrestleMania 39 brought in a lot of nostalgia for the event. Presumably, that will be true for every WrestleMania match in the mode that players have seen on television or live, proving just how unique and hard-hitting it can all be.
What’s more, this year’s iteration has two major improvements from a gameplay perspective. The first is that the requirements of the game mode are telegraphed better, informing players how to do certain things that may not be in their typical repertoire. WWE 2K23 made some way in this regard, but if every match is like the three we played, fans will never be confused about what they have to do. Secondly, it improves on the variety seen in John Cena’s Showcase Mode. Because fans were playing those who’d defeated John Cena to emphasize his “Never Give Up” attitude, they were constantly facing him.
This year, there are more male and female Superstars at play, more variety in the matches presented, and more switching between face and heel to keep things fresh. Having varied playable characters, alongside more opponent variety, prevents it from feeling the same gameplay-wise because players take on the role of the winner. It’s a simple concept, but one that helps each match feel unique across the entire spectrum. Playing as Rick Rude, Rhea Ripley, and Roman Reigns gave each match a different game feel, provided unique and fun clips, ensured we were using new moves and dealing with different movesets, and felt like the best presentation of Showcase Mode to date.
WWE 2K24: Playing Ambulance Matches and Improved Backstage Brawls
WWE 2K24 is introducing four new match types—Special Guest Referee, Ambulance Match, Casket Match, and Gauntlet Match—alongside key improvements to Backstage Brawl. This is where the heavy-hitting element of the game comes in, as some of these match types and improvements are really about brutalizing an opponent. We were only able to play Ambulance Match and Backstage Brawl, but it seems like a safe bet that the same things were emphasized in many of them. For example, closing the casket works about the same as closing the Ambulance, and a Special Guest Referee is known for playing dirty. It remains to be seen exactly how the Gauntlet match is introduced, but it’s likely to be as intensive as the other new match types.
In an Ambulance match, the goal is to beat the opponent down enough to put them into the Ambulance and close both doors on them. There is plenty of time and space for reversals, while players have to engage in a button-tapping mini-game on both doors. Brutalizing the opponent makes this easier, and as a no-disqualification match, there’s plenty of fun to be hard here. Players can even get on top of the ambulance, duke it out, throw opponents off the top of it, and jump from it should they so choose. The fight can even spill backstage, letting players essentially turn the match into a Backstage Brawl using the backstage ambulance to win.
Speaking of, the standard Backstage Brawl now supports four players and has new elements like a working elevator and throwable sodas. The sodas are fun for a good laugh, but the more players, the more chaos. The mode is made even more brutal by this, and the working elevator makes getting up top less of a chore. There are weapons and interactions everywhere, so much so it was fun just trying to take note of everything and see how certain interactions play out. This match was the only time we saw an issue with the AI in our preview, where it seemed they would attempt to drag us to multiple interactions, getting confused along the way; they would end up standing around, not doing anything; or struggling to operate the elevator. It’s worth pointing that out but equally worth mentioning out that this was an in-development build. Either way, it was not really too harmful to the experience.
Ultimately, it seems WWE 2K24 is about emphasizing the most dangerous matches with these new matches. Alongside returning WWE 2K match types like WarGames, Hell in a Cell, and so forth, it seems WWE 2K24 is the most brutal game since the franchise’s rebirth with WWE 2K22.
WWE 2K24’s General Gameplay Improvements Go a Long Way
Complementing the sheer physicality of the new match types are a handful of great gameplay improvements, the Trading Blows mini-game being a highlight. There are a few ways it’ll trigger in a match, but once players end up in this chopping contest, they must go back and forth holding down the A button and releasing at a certain time. It goes until someone misses the timing three times or releases it in a smaller gold zone instead of a green one. The back-and-forth is a great gamified approach to Strong Style, and each hit made us feel like Gunther no matter who we were playing.
Super Finishers are an extension of this, with players needing to save up all three Finisher charges to execute them. Once players save up enough charges, they work like regular finishers in-game, but they have their own visual style and presentation, really emphasizing the damage being dealt. Players can also put themselves at risk by top rop diving into groups of opponents, utilizing new weapon types, and engaging in tons of hard-hitting moves. Another small improvement is on-screen visual cues if players are either too “EARLY” or too “LATE” to their reversal attempts, helping players hone their in-ring skills.
Overall, WWE 2K24 is another iterative take on the franchise, but it packs in plenty to justify its own existence in the series, something that can’t be said of every annualized franchise. That’s what fans expected, and should WWE 2K24‘s MyGM Mode and MYRise Mode hit these same benchmarks, it seems safe to say many fans will be happy with the final product.
2K and Visual Concept’s WWE 2K24 highlights a few of WrestleMania’s greatest moments through a Showcase dedicated to the legendary event. The game also has MyRise, MyGM, MyFaction, and many new and returning modes and features.
- March 8, 2024
- T For Teen Due To Blood, Language, Suggestive Themes, Use of Alcohol, Violence