May 25, 2024
2K24 takes it back to the start with a trip down Wrestlemania memory lane and whole lot more. WWE 2K24 - The Finger Guns Review:

It’s fair to say it’s been a while since I’ve found myself grabbing a controller to try out a new WWE game. Whenever the opportunity to review one pops up for the Finger Guns team, we tend to pass it around like a hot potato, as so few of us really keep up with the ongoing drama of burly wrestlers in spandex. This year then, it was my turn to see what on earth the WWE has to offer these days and fortunately, the focus on old-school Wrestlemania bouts and a roster so full I could pull off a match between Logan Paul and Muhammed Ali, my interest was certainly piqued. My inner child rather excited about what was to come. 

And they weren’t kidding. I’ve had an absolute blast with the 40 Years of Wrestlemania Showcase. Jumping directly into ‘my era’ of WWE back when it was WWF before the pandas got pissed about it. Yokozuna, The Ultimate Warrior, Bret ‘The Hitman’ Hart and his dear departed brother (sadly not represented in the game at all), the British Bulldog, Hulk frickin’ Hogan, The Undertaker before he had a midlife crisis and became a trucker or some shit. This is what captured my attention and I imagine it will do the same for many lapsed WWE fans who don’t particularly follow this brand of sports entertainment anymore.

40YoW Showcase then focuses on 21 popular Wrestlemania matches across its entire history, including Hogan vs Andre the Giant, Hogan vs The Ultimate Warrior, Hogan vs… look, there are a lot of Hogan matches in the early bouts and there’s a feeling the hardcore may feel that certain bouts from history have been overlooked in favour of stirring up some Hulkamaniacs (who I shut up quite beautifully with my boy, my childhood hero The Ultimate Warrior), but there’s no denying the attention to detail that is all over these matches – and the game in general, really – and as a fan there’s an absolute plethora of classic content to drool over. 

The other main change in 2K24 is this year’s Showcase mode. After last year’s John Cena-heavy Showcase which covered the fan favourite’s career, this time the theme is 40 Years of WrestleMania, with a selection of 21 matches spanning the event’s history.

And 2K’s ‘Slingshot Technology’ – which allows the game to switch between FMV footage and in-game at important moments – showcases the level of detail 2K are going for here and it’s pulled off in spades. I thoroughly enjoyed watching back the archived footage included, particularly as it had been a long time since I had properly sat down and watched any of it. The memories that came flooding back – normally begging my Dad to pay for Box Office so we could watch the Royal Rumble on Sky – washed a deep wave of nostalgia over me and well, that’s never a bad thing. To watch the footage and then be immediately thrown into the bouts was enormous fun and didn’t really get old for me, even as I progressed into the more modern matches for which I had no idea who was who but I was having a blast regardless. Knocking seven shades of shingles out of The Miz didn’t mean an awful lot to me, but it felt good regardless.

And it’s worth knowing that you don’t actually have to win these matches in order to move on or unlock some extra stuffs for MyFactions so if you’re struggling, don’t worry. 

Whilst the updates in yearly iterations are few and far between, it was the addition of this Showcase mode that caught my interest in the game and whilst I was taking a little break and learning how to play the game proper in the Performance Centre, a fantastic tutorial mode which breaks offence, defence and more into easily digestible and understandable segments, I explored how much the game as a whole has to offer and it’s safe to say it’s an absolute treasure trove for WWE fans. 

The highlight for me is My Universe. I was hugely impressed with a mode that allows you to literally write your own scripts for WWE and play out your own dream scenarios. I had a blast exploring this mode and watching as my wrestling dreams came to life. It’s a mode that again, isn’t a new one, but works as well as anything in the game adding yet more immersion into a simulator that does exactly what it says on the tin. That you can simply watch all of your drama play out in front of you without touching a button literally creates your own WWE series before your eyes and it’s a brilliantly imaginative way to use the licence. 

One area of the game I didn’t explore is MyFactions, purely because I don’t have any pull into game modes like this – which includes Ultimate Team and anything else that requires any kind of monetary inclusion to succeed – and whilst that’s where 2K are hoping the majority of the income comes from WWE 2K24, I argue that the sheer amount of content included in the game without even touching MyFactions was enough to have a great time with it. If you’re one of those players though, and I’ve never done this before, but might I recommend Chris Scullion’s WWE 2K24 review over at VGC which has a superb deep dive into the new additions to the mode. 

Perhaps I’m too old to get it, but much like FIFA (or FC), I love me a Career Mode, or a simple kick-off tournament I can play with my mates that keeps me coming back to the series year on year, despite minimal improvements. As I was exploring WWE 2K24 as my first wrestling game since, well, WWF No Mercy on the N64, it’s fair to say this is the ultimate WWE simulator ever made. It’s tricky to fault it because it’s pulled me in as a new player due to the focus on the classic era, but the sheer amount to explore and play across the game will keep any fan busy for months on end and all but guarantees sales through the roof.

I can’t imagine wanting much more as a fan of WWE than this. It’s staggering and at times overwhelming. Once I had completed the Showcase I simply didn’t know where to start. And well, the Creations tools are on another level. I spent damn near an hour making the chairs in my brand new arena look unfathomably cool, not even realising that nobody would ever see them because the crowd would simply get in the way. It doesn’t matter. I know how cool they look and that’s all that matters.

Whilst not a revolution then (but when are yearly iterations of games anymore?) WWE 2K24 is a superbly realised evolution of the series that keeps the fans more that will surely keep the hardcore fans more than satisfied with the sheer amount of content on offer, and will even perhaps bring in lapsed WWE fans thanks to its focus on the era they remember as kids. It’s difficult to not get caught up in the drama of it all, and the over the top nature of what’s on offer.

Throwing Logan Paul off the top of a Hell in the Cell cage will never, ever get old.

Also, you know where the byline is from, right? YOU DON’T? Well…allow me to introduce you to THIS.

WWE 2K24 raises the bar again for 2K’s signature franchise, ensuring another cracking year for fans of World Wrestling Entertainment. The Wrestlemania Showcase mode is a major highlight for fans of the old-school era all the way up to now, and the frankly enormous amount of content available throughout will keep any fan satisfied until the inevitable WWE 2K25 arrives. Until then, this is about as definitive as it gets.

WWE 2K24 is available on March 5th 2024 on Xbox Series S|X, Xbox One, PS4, PS5 (review platform) and Microsoft Windows.

Developer: Visual Concepts
Publisher: 2K Games

Disclaimer: In order to complete this review, we were provided with a promotional copy from the publisher.

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