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Review of WWE 2K24 - Action-packed fighting game commemorates 40th anniversary of Wrestlemania with comical display.
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Review of WWE 2K24 – Action-packed fighting game commemorates 40th anniversary of Wrestlemania with comical display.

It’s a storyline worthy of a WWE superstar: washed up, widely ridiculed, apparently on its way to obscurity, WWE 2K20 was video game wrestling’s lowest ebb. Not five years later, presumably having performed all manner of off-screen training montages in meat lockers, the game returns revitalised, with a twinkle in its eye and, much more pertinently, controls that not only function but actually put a smile on your face.

Wrestling has always presented a challenge when it comes to translating it into a video game. Instead of simply repeatedly hitting your opponent until they are too tired to fight back and pin them down, the game focuses on creating an entertaining viewing experience. As evident by the scents of body oil and hairspray, you are immersed in the realm of sports entertainment. Excelling at WWE 2K24 or its earlier versions involves putting on a show, and the game surely knows how to allow you to do just that.

When in the ring, there is a smoothness to your movements. Strikes flow seamlessly into holds without any awkward pauses, and there is a wide range of animations that smoothly execute even the most contextual actions – including throwing a Slim Jim directly at John Cena’s face. In Showcase mode, which celebrates Wrestlemania’s 40th anniversary, players can relive iconic matches from the wild and flamboyant 1980s to the present day. It is unfortunate that players cannot alter these historically accurate moments, but one must appreciate the attention to detail – the game even replicates the retro camera effects of the 80s.

As a contemporary sports game, it offers approximately 40 different modes; however, some are often ignored and neglected until the next release. (MyGM manager mode has been greatly affected this year.) Amid the vast array of match options are two new additions. In “ambulance matches,” the objective is to weaken your opponent enough to be thrown into the ambulance parked near the ring (it’s best not to question its presence). In “special guest referee matches,” players take on the role of a special guest referee. These extraneous features are presented with the utmost polish and functionality, something fans have long dreamed of.

The story-focused career mode, meanwhile, offers two completely different interactive tales. One pits you as the star female wrestler of a local indie scene looking to grab some national attention, the other places you as a jobbing male wrestler on Raw who makes an improbable play for the big time after Roman Reigns unexpectedly quits, leaving the title vacant. Like almost every other corner of the game, they’re dripping in expensive production values, enjoyable star cameos and an unending variety of ways to beat people up on TV.

There’s a parable for sports franchises to follow here: taking a year off (as WWE did in 2020) can be a good thing. From the hilariously detailed character creator to the sensation of administering a German suplex, 2K24 hits its marks.

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  • The release date for WWE 2K24 is March 8th, costing £59.99.

Source: theguardian.com