WWE 2K23 PC/PS5 review - A nearly flawless sports entertainment experience

WWE 2K23 is an amazing game for fans of all ages.
Fans of all age groups will have something to love in WWE 2K23 (Image via 2K Games)

WWE 2K23 is finally here, and has brought with it all the flash, glitz, and excitement that World Wrestling Entertainment is known for. Whether you call it “Sports Entertainment” or “Professional Wrestling,” the company's latest entry in the gaming sphere had a lot to live up to. Although 2K20 didn’t quite go as planned, 2K22 was more of a return to form. While the previous entry was enjoyable, the current title has been a joy to play.

It’s fairly clear that WWE 2K23 was written and produced by people who know and understand the essence of the product. From the dialog to social media posts, everything just feels right. While there are some minor problems worth discussing, this has been an incredible experience for a long-time fan of the Sport of Kings like myself.

WWE 2K23 builds upon the success of the previous iteration

In almost every aspect, WWE 2K23 has improved on the success of the previous game. Boasting gorgeous visuals, the gameplay is fast and action-packed. The cast is definitely stacked, with popular personalities from Asuka to Cody Rhodes showing up. Plenty of legends are in attendance as well, with a wide range of modes and match types to tackle.

One of the biggest updates to the game, for me, has to be the MyGM mode. The gameplay style is similar to 2K22’s, but has been expanded in some truly great ways. Instead of controlling a generic GM, you can pick one of the WWE’s most familiar names in WWE 2K23.


Once you pick from a list that includes the likes of Stephanie McMahon, Eric Bischoff, Paul Heyman, and Kurt Angle, you must also pick a show. This game is far more than just Raw vs. Smackdown. Featuring WCW, NXT, NXT 2.0, Raw, Smackdown, there’s certainly a nice variety available. Each GM and show has its own special effects that can be triggered, making every season different.

Of course, there are certain combos that will work better together, but the main possibility here is to create some of the most amazing rivalries of all time. If those choices weren’t enough, you can also play with four players to make things really intense.

Furthermore, you also have MyRise, which is another genuine highlight of WWE 2K23. You can play one of two stories, each with its own twists, turns, and challenges. There’s the female character’s story (The Legacy) and the male character (The Lock). I spent more time on The Lock’s story, and without spoiling anything, both options are very interesting.

This is where I learned that the writers of the game really knew the WWE product. From Shawn Michael’s “Trust the process” line to numerous one-liners between the wrestlers, it never felt forced. However, it did feel silly, but that's the general idea.


I’ve watched enough wrestling to know how things are written these days. Even the male character complains about how his name “The Lock” sounds far too similar to “The Rock”, with his lock and chain necklace strangely reminiscent of John Cena’s look. In the game, he's supposed to be the “Next Big Thing” and was an international phenomenon before coming to the WWE.

He now has a new name, and when this was discussed, it sounded very much like the company's line about indie darlings. Nevertheless, it all came together nicely, and his story was a fun one to explore. Justine, the star of “The Legacy” has a family member that was a WWE Legend/Hall of Famer, and it’s up to you to determine whether she uses that to her advantage or forges her own path.

Both stories have branching paths, so you can definitely get replayability out of the two options by trying different things in fresh playthroughs of WWE 2K23. MyUniverse is where you can play as an established superstar or a created character, and go through storyline after storyline, where things can often be chaotic. Alternatively, you can play the "Classic" mode to have complete and total control over all WWE shows.


This doesn’t feel quite the same as Raw and Smackdown, but the gameplay is quite fun. For example, The Usos were split up for a fair chunk of my early story before they were reunited without explanation.

In about five matches, I was the Universal Champion, overcoming Roman Reigns handily. This will probably be the mode that sees the most playtime for me. Then, of course, there’s the general “Play” mode, where you pick a nice, wide variety of match types. An interesting new addition is the “Wargames” match, which is just as chaotic and violent as it is in real life.

There’s also the MyFaction mode, and here’s where my major complaint about the game arose. You build a faction of superstars from packs of cards, like you would a card game, or from FIFA’s FUT mode. You create this faction and then use them to wrestle in matches, both online and offline.


That’s where the problem is revealed. You can buy these with real money, so it feels dangerously close to a pay-to-win system. Fortunately, you can unlock all of the cards by completing matches and challenges. Sure, you still have to be good at the game, but the rarer characters have superior abilities that can trigger in matches. While you can't pay-to-win, you can 'pay-to-go-faster.' This isn’t the only online play mode though, as you have a few other ways to battle on the internet. If you prefer, you can completely avoid this mode.

The 2K Showcase is the real headliner of WWE 2K23

While I love the variety that the game has, this year’s 2K Showcase is one of the biggest aspects of the game. 2K Games did something fairly different this year. Instead of focusing on the rise of one of the sport’s biggest names by taking a walk in their shoes, you get to control John Cena’s greatest opponents instead.

It’s a brilliant idea, and it doesn’t hurt that you can play as some of the biggest and most familiar names across WWE history. From Rob Van Dam to The Undertaker, you get to relive some truly iconic moments. Sure, you can wrestle the match however you want. But in WWE 2K23, John Cena highlights moments in the match that you should keep in mind to make the match true-to-life.


If you choose not to do these, it’s perfectly fine, but completing the objectives of a match unlocks a variety of cosmetics, including alternate character designs, rings, and more. Another highlight of this mode is how seamlessly it transitions between gameplay and actual footage from the match you’re playing out.

Another excellent element is how John Cena narrates each promo before the match, generally speaking about how he thought he was going to shock the world or the arrogance he had in thinking he could beat some of these names early on in his career.

WWE 2K23’s Showcase mode is genuinely a unique experience, and for me, these were the hardest matches in the game. Trying to make sure that each objective was met could be incredibly taxing. After all, John Cena is still trying his best to win, but none of this really matters if the gameplay isn’t sharp.

How is combat in WWE 2K23?

The combat system’s pretty simple and fun, to boot. Each wrestler has an effective HP pool that’s more or less represented by the Stamina meter. As you take damage, your Stamina meter plummets, and it can do so pretty fast. This is shown as red damage, but if you avoid taking damage, you build stamina back up slowly.

You have a light strike, heavy strike, grapple, and a counter button. Like in previous games, you can use these in conjunction with directions on the stick to perform a wide assortment of attacks and grapples. Additionally, you have combos that you can create (or that already exist with real-life WWE superstars).


There are specific combos that you can use or simply attack as you see fit, mixing up light/heavy attacks and ending them with grapple moves. Each attack does damage, and you can see in the game's UI how much damage various body parts have taken.

The tutorial will go over all of this, and it’s quite thorough. The only thing that I feel the game hasn't covered sufficiently is standing wrestlers up, so you can attack them while they’re staggered. Interestingly, that may simply not be in the game at all.


In general, WWE 2K23’s actual gameplay feels rather smooth. Countering feels easier than in previous games, at least as long as you’re strong. It felt to me like the longer a match goes, and the more damage you take, the harder that timing gets. That might just be my imagination, but that’s how it felt.

Created characters are as powerful or as weak as you want them to be

This is my favorite part of WWE 2K23. I have so many fond memories of playing “Know your Role” and “Shut Your Mouth” with my closest friends. We all made characters, created factions, and wreaked havoc in our Story Mode together. I was delighted to see that there are tons of physical choices and clothing options.

You can unlock other cosmetics through gameplay, but the default options are plentiful. You start by picking a character class: Striker, Technician, Powerhouse, or High Flyer. All of these have strengths and weaknesses, alongside Payback Abilities. You can use these to come back, force a kick out, steal your opponent’s finish, and more.


You build the Momentum Meter for these, and once it’s full, you can use your Momentum abilities. This meter coincides with your Signature Moves, which differ from Finishers, as these have their own meters to fill in WWE 2K23. Considering that there are hundreds of moves available, it took me around a half hour to make one character, from top to bottom.

To be honest, I could have definitely spent more time with the process. Including everything from social media handles to stat points, you control it all. One of the best elements personally is that you can control the stat loadouts as well. This means that you don’t have to start off as a 50-point average nobody in MyUniverse.

Although each class in WWE 2K23 has particular stat caps, you can max them out completely if that’s what you prefer. I didn’t do so on my character, but it was very close! You get to control most of the facets of your character’s entrance as well. I would say this was one of the best character creation suites in the series.

The visuals and music is incredible, but beware of copyright strikes

The wrestlers and their entrance themes are all spot-on, except for one tiny nitpick. Some of the wrestlers’ eyes look weird. Doudrop looked constantly tired, and Liv Morgan’s occasionally seemed to wander off in the wrong direction. Other than that, the character models are fantastic. There isn’t much blood in the game, but you can bloody your opponents, or you can turn it off.

Seeing the wrestlers get sweatier as the match went on was satisfying. They visibly struggle to climb up to their feet while in a corner as they become overwhelmed by exhaustion and pain. Getting up after having their legs damaged, they sell this briefly.

The run speed feels weak, and a fair amount of the game's running attacks seem kind of underwhelming. Other than that, the animations are smooth, and I seldom saw glitches here. I only really saw a limb freak out when a much smaller character was trying to vertically suplex a bigger one.


WWE 2K23's music is solid, ranging from the copyrighted music to the classic WWE tracks. It should be noted that you really have to be careful when creating content, as there’s a fair amount of copyrighted music and WWE footage. You could have your content blocked in certain regions on YouTube and risk copyright strikes on Twitch if you stream or publish videos of it.

Thankfully, you can disable the copyrighted music in WWE 2K23 by simply going to the jukebox and adjusting the background music to only play what you want to hear. Most of the videos that I recorded for this game featured copyrighted material, so it might not be viewable in every country.

In conclusion

WWE 2K23 is an improvement in every single way compared to the previous year’s game. It’s a perfect evolution of content. The gameplay is fun, there are tons of ways to actually have matches, and the stories have alternating paths, so you have plenty of replayability. This is the first WWE game that I’ve really loved in years.

With sports entertainment, this game delivers in every way conceivable. Besides being fun, WWE 2K23 is well-optimized for PCs and, other than a few very minor frame rate dips, everything has looked, sounded, and played phenomenally. Fans new and old should have plenty to love in the latest offering from the leaders of sports entertainment.

WWE 2K23

If you enjoyed WWE 2K22, then WWE 2K23 builds upon that in many ways (Image via Sportskeeda)
If you enjoyed WWE 2K22, then WWE 2K23 builds upon that in many ways (Image via Sportskeeda)

Reviewed on: PlayStation 5/PC (Code provided by 2K Games)

Platforms: PlayStation ⅘, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, Windows (Steam)

Developer: Visual Concepts

Publishers: 2K Games, 2K Sports

Release date: March 14, 2023

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Edited by Atul S
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