3 great reasons why WWE 2K24 is the best wrestling game in decades

Finally, WWE has come back to video games greatness

WWE 2K24 lead image
(Image credit: 2K Games / Future)

When Visual Concepts took over sole development duties from Yuke's on the WWE games, there were many who wrote the series off. And the studio's first main outing, WWE 2K20, seemed to justify such negativity. It was a bug-ridden disaster that failed to live up to fan's expectations.

However, after a two-year hiatus, the developer started to find its rhythm, resulting in increasingly improved WWE games that bore almost no relation to the previous misstep.

Now we have Visual Concepts' fourth standalone entry and, it has to be said, it has not only redeemed itself, we may have been presented with the best wrestling game in recent memory.

And yes, I include WWE SmackDown vs. Raw in that.

WWE 2K24 isn't really a massive generational leap, but it does feature plenty of improvements over each game mode that, when assessed as a whole, make for a truly excellent, well-rounded game.

It has a mammoth roster of past and present wrestlers (Superstars), that are available from the off or to be unlocked, and it features a vast, impressive array of match types and venues. Real Superstars, commentators and backstage cast lend their voices to their digital equivalents, and there's an overall polish that just brings the presentation up to the standard of the live TV shows and events.

Simply put, WWE 2K24 is a joyful experience, especially if you are a die-hard WWE fan like myself, and there are three great reasons why I think that...

1. The graphics engine and roster

Bar a few pre-release frame rate issues I encountered on a pre-release PS5 build, the game has benefitted from a big step-up in visuals.

What seems to be an improved lighting engine and a tonne of reworked Supertstar models makes the in-game action look far better. To use pro wrestling vernacular: "It really pops!"

Last year's game really upped the ante when it came to animation – wrestlers looked better in motion, with smoother transitions between moves and musculature that seemed more human. This time around, the game has tweaked this further leading to even more swish-looking interactions.

Specific Superstars also move more like the real deal. Even when just strutting around the ring, Asuka has an almost cat-like prance and step, which is translated perfectly into the game, whereas the slow and deliberate movements of the in-game Randy Orton truly bring him to life.

Not every character model is great – we're looking at you Becky Lynch and Charlotte Flair (who each look a little generic) – but considering there are 100s of playable stars, including multiple age and costume variations, I can excuse the an oddity or two.

Indeed, the roster is arguably the most impressive thing about the latest WWE game full stop. It is massive and, for the first time, includes licensed referees that you can play as. Many of the legends need to be unlocked in the new Showcase mode first, but once done, you have a huge variety of opponents to face.

There's one or two anomalies based on real-life gimmick or name changes, such as Butch being in the game rather than the "Bruiserweight" Pete Dunne, but there are remarkably few and far between. The overall lineup is spot on.

It really is a WWE fan's dream come true.

2. The new Showcase mode

Speaking of the Showcase mode, this is another area that has been vastly improved – in my opinion.

In previous years, the Showcase dealt with a single wrestler and their career. You got to play important matches from their WWE, WCW and/or ECW journey, while pulling off set in-ring tasks along the way to match the historical outcome.

That was all well and good, but always got a little samey. We liked it last year when you could play some of John Cena's opponents during his Showcase, rather than just Cena himself, but it still felt like the same matches time and again.

But in 2K24, thanks to Wrestlemania celebrating its 40th anniversary this year, the Showcase mode plucks numerous classic matches from the "Showcase of the Immortals", from Wrestlemania III all the way up to the 2023 event. And that means different wrestlers appear throughout.

Not only is this great for nostalgia, you get to experience different move sets, different finishers, and generally different playstyles. There is still the necessity to hit certain targets throughout, with matches interspersed with pre-roll video of the original fights (that can be lengthy at times), but it just feels fresher and more varied.

It is, in fact, the first Showcase mode I've felt compelled to finish – not least to unlock all of the legendary wrestlers used throughout.

That's not to say the other game modes are great or improved – there are a few welcome tweaks to the MyFaction Ultimate Team-style multiplayer mode, for example – but the new Showcase is the one that features changes that have enhanced my enjoyment most.

3. Create-a-wrestler

The final main reason I'm more enamoured with WWE 2K24 that many of its predecessors is that it includes the most comprehensive create-a-wrestler (CAW) toolset yet.

I'm a sucker for spending hours creating my own Superstar to use in the MyRise storylines and Universe modes, and this year's game allows you to build the most realistic avatar yet.

Quite aside from the fact that you can build a custom version of pretty much every aspect of the game – including championship belts, matches, arenas and entrances – there seem to be many more options and items to use to style your wrestler. Plus, the end result looks far closer to the pre-made Superstars, making matches look more seamless.

You can also create your own crowd signs, which is a godsend as it feels like the same collection of hackneyed signs have been on offer for the last decade.

The only criticism I have on the creation tools is that some of the generic music and entrance types are harder to find (hidden amongst the actual Superstar equivalents), but that's only a small quibble. Everything else is as good as it gets.

It's all about the game and how you play it

Ultimately, WWE 2K24 is a lesson in evolution than revolution, but every adjustment and enhancement has been so carefully chosen and implemented that they make for a hugely enjoyable experience.

Admittedly, you need to be a WWE fan to get the most from 2K24, but even if you don't watch the shows and events week-in week-out, I suspect this will encourage you to start. It is at its heart, great fun, with personality and character throughout.

I haven't felt this way about a WWE game for many years – nor any other wrestling title. I think you might end up feeling the same.

WWE 2K24 will be available on PS5, Xbox Series X/S, PC, PS4 and Xbox One from Friday 8 March 2024.

Rik Henderson
News Editor

Rik is T3’s news editor, which means he looks after the news team and the up-to-the-minute coverage of all the hottest gadgets and products you’ll definitely want to read about. And, with more than 35 years of experience in tech and entertainment journalism, including editing and writing for numerous websites, magazines, and newspapers, he’s always got an eye on the next big thing.

Rik also has extensive knowledge of AV, TV streaming and smart home kit, plus just about everything to do with games since the late 80s. Prior to T3, he spent 13 years at Pocket-lint heading up its news team, and was a TV producer and presenter on such shows as Channel 4's GamesMaster, plus Sky's Games World, Game Over, and Virtual World of Sport.