WWE 2K24 review: From undesirable to undeniable

WWE 2K24 review: From undesirable to undeniable
Images via 2K Games | WWE

Written by 

Dave McAdam


12th Mar 2024 14:51

There is a lot to be said for consistency. The WWE games from 2K haven't always had that: the disaster that was WWE 2K20 gave the series pause for the first time since it began. Clearly, managing quality in a yearly release schedule is difficult, and once the cracks start to form it is only a matter of time before the whole thing crumbles.

This is more or less where I fell off with WWE games, as before then I wasn't buying the games every year but at least every few years, and certainly keeping an ear out for how each game was received.

As a lifelong pro wrestling fan, I do try to keep up, but the writing was on the wall for 2K for a while. In the years since I've heard about the incredible return to form from the WWE 2K games, and all this buzz around 2K24 had me thinking, is it time to get back?

GGRecon Verdict

WWE 2K24 may be a big investment, but considering this is the best that this series has ever been, that may just be worth it to you. 2K24 is just as undeniable as the American Nightmare on its cover, and a capstone for several years running for great wrestling and great wrestling games.

Showcasing the immortals

Roman Reigns from behind as he makes his entrance in WWE 2K24
Click to enlarge

From the first look it seems like 2K24 has two mission statements; showcasing the past while elevating the future. Cody Rhodes is on the standard cover in his best Homelander cosplay, while the incredible Bianca Belair and Rhea Ripley appear on the Deluxe Edition. The Forty Years of Wrestlemania Edition celebrates the many years of the event with an artistic render of many of the top stars from across the generations.

This pertains to the Showcase mode in 2K24, which rather than focusing on an individual is instead a love letter to Wrestlemania itself.

Starting from Steamboat vs. Savage at Wrestlemania III followed immediately by the legendary Hogan vs. Andre match, the showcase mode runs you through the 90s with Shawn Michaels, Razor Ramon, Bret Hart, Steve Austin, and The Rock, into the 00s with Kurt Angle, Eddie Guerrero, The Undertaker, John Cena, all the way up to the most recent 'Mania with Roman Reigns vs. Cody Rhodes.

The showcase is well presented, with each match narrated by Corey Graves and featuring plenty of real footage from each match. The transitions between footage and gameplay are pretty slick, so you'll be watching the real Bret Hart throwing a punch, only for it to land on the digital Roddy Piper.

Like previous games, you do have objectives you must complete to progress, but many of those are optional now, extra challenges to unlock more wrestlers, managers, and attires.

Undertaker posing after winning a match in WWE 2K24
Click to enlarge

A balance had to be struck between how closely the player must stick to the real-life events, and how much freedom they can be given, and I think the WWE 2K24 does a good job of walking that line. You'll need to hit the major story beats for sure, but what happens between them is largely up to you. Many of the matches will even give you the reins at the end, allowing you to end the match your way.

The 40 Years of Wrestlemania showcase is a sugary trip down memory lane, depicting these many legendary moments with the glossy sheen WWE is known for these days. Essentially, the nostalgia goggles are on, and that isn't a bad thing.

While time and truth have rightly tarnished the legacies of some of the individuals elevated here, they do little harm to the overall wonder that is Wrestlemania, and the many genuinely great performers that have made it the greatest spectacle in the sport.

In black and white

A Hell in a Cell match between Shinsuke Nakamura, The Undertaker, Chad Gable, and Damian Priest
Click to enlarge

Enough of the past, what about the here and now? All the mod cons you expect from a WWE 2K game are here. We have one of the deepest rosters right out of the gate. If that isn't enough, the famously excellent creation tools are there so you can create wrestlers, arenas, and so much more. All of the match types and modes you expect are back, with some additions.

We now have ambulance matches and casket matches, basically two sides of the same coin. Both involve forcing your opponent into a place they don't want to be and shutting the door/lid to win. Nothing groundbreaking, but a bit of fun we won't say no to.

Far more intriguing is the return of special guest referees. The last game to have this feature was 2K17, but only the version on Xbox 360 and PS3, so it's safe to say it has been a minute.

The special guest referee feature is always something that fans are talking about when it isn't there, some even went so far as to mod the mode into 2K23. Suffice it to say, that many are happy, and rightly so that we can be referees again in 2K24.

The new special guest referee system allows you to completely take control of a match. You decide how to enforce the rules, who gets to stay and who is out of here, and how (or if) you count a pinfall.

There's a new approval system that tallies up your infractions as a ref - fill the meter and you will be replaced. That can be switched off if you want unlimited chaos, but it does add a lot of fun to playing the referee when you have to pick your moments wisely.

Making ground

Dominik Mysterio posing during his entrance in WWE 2K24
Click to enlarge

These kinds of small but smart changes seem to define 2K24. Fans coming here straight from 2K23 might find only minor improvements, but improvements nonetheless. I might not have played it myself, but I remember reading and hearing much about how WWE 2K22 was a total evolution of the game, built almost entirely renewed and much better than the train wreck that came before.

Sign Up To Our Newsletter

Get exclusive news, content, and discounts sent directly to your inbox

You've joined our newsletter. Thank you!
Sorry, there has been an issue in subscribing to the newsletter.

The subsequent games have been iterations over innovation, moving further in the right direction, one step at a time. This is true across the board: gameplay is largely the same with minor improvements and new features, like stocking three finishers for a devastating super finisher, or the back-and-forth punching minigame.

Maybe my most loved new feature is the simple addition of throwing weapons. Wrestling games can be much more fun when played for laughs, and the ability to throw the furniture around is a mountain of comedy gold.

Wrestling against Dominik Mysterio in My Rise in 2K24
Click to enlarge

My Rise returns with two more story modes to play through. In Unleashed, you play as a female wrestler who has made a name for herself in independent wrestling,  who must decide if the move to WWE is the right one.

Undisputed is the male story, where you play as a wrestler starting to make their way on the main roster of WWE, only to suddenly find yourself holding Roman Reigns' recently vacated championship.

The stories are original with new characters, voice acting, and the works, but very much the same presentation as was in 2K23. It's more of a good thing for sure, but not a huge change.

My GM mode has had a couple of small tweaks, but is largely the same mode as last year with some improvements (you can now trade after each PPV) and some new GMs to choose from. Universe mode is exactly the same as it has been for years, nothing new to write home about there.

Otherwise, 2K24 isn't a massive departure from 2K23. This is the reality of yearly sports releases, a cadence that once nearly destroyed this series. Now, it seems like 2K has hit its stride with WWE games, and it is hard to fault the game with such an impressive amount of content, regardless of how new it all is.

Worth your Money in the Bank?

Big E making his entrance in WWE 2K24
Click to enlarge

2K24 is undeniably the best-looking and most feature-rich wrestling game on the market today, it is also the most expensive wrestling game on the market today. The issue of recommendation isn't difficult but requires some caveats. It is hard to suggest to casual fans that the steep sticker price of the game is worth it. As much as I enjoy it, I can't see myself dropping upwards of £60/$70/€75 for just the basic version of the game.

That said, the hardcore fans who keep up with the game every year have every reason to continue doing so. If you love these games and play them to death, then by all means you should make the jump from 2K23 to 2K24. Likewise, if you have been away from the games for a while and feel the desire to get back on board, this is the game to do it with.

The Verdict

WWE 2K24 may be a big investment, but considering this is the best that this series has ever been, that may just be worth it to you. 2K24 is just as undeniable as the American Nightmare on its cover, and a capstone for several years running for great wrestling and great wrestling games.


Reviewed on PlayStation 5. Code provided by the publisher.

Dave McAdam
About the author
Dave McAdam
Dave is a Senior Guides Writer at GGRecon, after several years of freelancing across the industry. He covers a wide range of games, with particular focus on shooters like Destiny 2, RPGs like Baldur's Gate 3 and Cyberpunk 2077, and fighting games like Street Fighter 6 and Tekken 8.
Why trust GGRecon?

Established in 2019, we don’t just cover games - we live them. Our expert team is full of dedicated gamers, qualified journalists, and industry insiders who collectively boast decades of experience covering gaming and esports. This deep-rooted expertise allows us to provide authoritative and nuanced perspectives first-hand from a team who are playing, and researching every game covered on our website. 

Our foundation is built on a profound commitment to editorial independence, ensuring our content remains free from external influence and advertising pressures and is held to the highest level of editorial conduct, integrity, and quality. 

Every article on GGRecon comes from rigorous research, informed analysis, and a passion for gaming that resonates with our readers. We uphold these standards through a transparent editorial policy, accessible here, which governs our processes and maintains our accountability.