Sometimes taking a break can make a world of difference. Take WWE 2K22. After the previous game in the series received a lukewarm reception at best, the publisher skipped a year and went back to the drawing board. The result is a game that gives a sorely needed second wind to a series on the verge of tapping out. New controls and gameplay makes the series more accessible to newcomers. Superstar moves chain together in a much more fluid way, giving players a sense of real accomplishment after stringing together a stellar combination of attacks. And on the defensive side, the improved block/reversal mechanic, combined with a new dodge command, gives players a fighting chance to keep from getting mercilessly pummeled. While it's much easier to pick up and play, veterans of the series will still enjoy the technical aspects of the game. Superstars move much more like their real world counterparts and movesets allow a diverse arsenal of attacks and a wide range of strategic options in matches.
Though WWE 2K22 is a massive leap forward for the franchise, it's not without its share of flaws. Some frustrating technical glitches still pop up from time to time, though much less frequently than in the past. Plus, there's always the likelihood of these getting patched out later. Then there's the roster of WWE superstars. Due to the unavoidable lag between development and release, which coincided with massive talent releases at WWE, a large number of "current" superstars available are no longer with the company. In fact, many have even debuted to much fanfare in other wrestling promotions. The MyGM mode seems like it was tacked on at the last minute. While planning and running your own fantasy football take on the WWE's flagship shows is something fans have been craving, it just feels anemic and lacking any real depth. The Showcase mode also feels a bit bare, with substantial and surprising gaps in the spotlight on the career of WWE Legend, Ray Mysterio, Jr. Thankfully, the remaining modes more than make up for these weaknesses. Taking your custom created superstar on his or her journey in MyRise is an absolute blast. The new MyFaction mode provides a constant stream of new challenges, while also appealing to the collector mindset with its trading card element. While far from perfect, WWE 2K22 still breathes new life into the franchise as both a resurrection from the ashes of the last game and as one of the best outings for the WWE 2K series as a whole.