WWE 2K20 review for PS4, Xbox One, PC

Platform: PS4
Also on: Xbox One, PC
Publisher: 2K
Developer: Visual Concepts
Medium: Digital/Disc
Players: Multi
Online: Yes

I just need to preface this review; everything I discuss here will be following the massive patch 2K released. You see, if you?ve been living under a Dwayne Johnson, this game launch was a huge mess. Gameplay was practically completely broken and was in no way how any game should be released to the public as a finished product. When I first received the game for review I had approximately 10 matches and I noted that 8 of those matches had massive glitches or gameplay breaking issues. Since the patch I still encounter some minor glitches, but nothing game breaking (everyone else has not been so fortunate from what I?ve seen). I waited to really put out this review to include the first DLC, Bump in the Night, but they get the added bonus of having patched the game. For the record though, putting out a game in the state WWE 2K20 was at launch at $59.99 is completely unacceptable and how 2K hasn?t made any reparations for people that purchased it on release is really sad.

Now that that?s out of the way it?s going to be sunshine and lollipops for the rest of the review, right? ?Definitely not! As many who frequent this site know, I?ve handled the WWE reviewing for the past few years and have not been kind. My expectations for this year?s release were already low, based on how little we saw from 2K leading up to release and just how poorly I feel the WWE product has been in the past year(s). So let?s start with the presentation and graphics. Not much has changed year over year as far as the in game presentation; the menu system got a fresh paint of coat (for the two Something to Wrestle fans reading this), but other than that I didn?t notice much of a change when it comes to presentation. Graphics, on the other hand, has taken quite the turn and crazily it?s not a turn for the better. We?re into this current gen of consoles for seven years and this is the sixth WWE game for this gen and dare I say the character models have never looked this bad. Looking at some screenshot comparisons, the downgrade is extremely noticeable and some characters look nothing like themselves. I don?t know why models weren?t carried over from previous years and just tweaked after that; I can only assume it has something to do with Yukes no longer having a hand in the development of the franchise (more on that later).

I want to talk about the first DLC that was offered to people who preordered the game or purchased the deluxe/collector’s version, Bump in the Night. This was the only way you could play as the hottest character currently in the WWE; The Fiend, which is kind of a dirty tactic. But you also got some new reskinned characters and a fantasy story mode. All of the DLC (organized under 2K Central) planned for this year will consist of new environments and a different style of story presentations. In Bump in the Night?s main story, you play as Finn Balor competing in matches at the Wyatt Compound, as Bray Wyatt tries to corrupt Balor to join him. You?ll fight Frankenstein-ish Braun Strowman, Snake Randy Orton and even the ?Swampfather? Bray Wyatt. With these wacky additions, I expected the gameplay to vary somewhat, and yet again I was disappointed. There are some surprises along the way, but for the most part you?re playing the exact same you would in any other mode. Why not make it a bit more arcady like the classic Wrestlefest (Retromania coming 2020, cheap plug)? It just feels like a little creativity got watered down and half assed. Even EA adds some varied gameplay into their sports titles lately (NHL Threes or Madden Superstar KO); the 2K series is in desperate need of a shake up. One pleasant surprise from this mode was that Bray Wyatt does the commentary over the matches and while it gets repetitive, I thought it was a nice touch. 2K?s roadmap has one of the DLCs including Southpaw Regional Wrestling, which is a YouTube spoof of old 80?s territory wrestling from a few years back, so I still have something to look forward to DLC-wise.

Now let?s rapid-fire some of the new items for this year; Women?s Showcase mode. While definitely an improvement over the brief Daniel Bryan Showcase that was in 2K19, this still just didn?t do it for me. I rarely play women?s matches and feel the objectives are more chore than fun, this mode desperately needs a makeover (and so does the rest of the game, if you couldn?t tell). My Career now features male and female leads, on their journey to the WWE Hall of Fame. The cut scenes and voice overs are laughably bad, but I almost feel like it was deliberately done to be campy and cheesy? I mean you have to fight in a crybaby match where the loser gets diaper?d. Overall I had fun with it as your characters get leveled up and check off career highlights, but this doesn?t make up for things. Continuing with the trend of women in each mode, they also added Mixed Tag matches, which has taken way too long to show up in the franchise. Again a nice addition, but not game changing. That?s pretty much it; some new wrestlers and arenas, but mostly same old WWE 2K, except worse character models.

On the subject of included wrestlers, while my love for the product has diminished both game and tv, the roster is massive and loaded with all the current talent I could think of. I do have a gripe with the included legends/unlockables. Going in the store to use the in game currency (no micro transactions?Yowie Wowie!) and going through the available unlockables, it looks like nearly the exact same legends as the previous two years? with some actually missing. I realize a lot of these talent have to be paid independently from 2K, but I?m sure getting some of the non-main event talent from the 80?s and 90?s wouldn?t break the bank. Hell, even include some previously used gimmicks like Issac Yankem DDS or Sexual Chocolate; the wrestlers are already in the game with different gimmicks. Gimmicks and legends should be added year over year, not removed.

Yet another year that I?m pleading for a good wrestling game; each year it seems like we go backwards and with the promise of next get systems next fall, now is the time to rebuild and reclaim. At this point in 2019 I?m just hoping for a good wrestling title and it doesn?t have to have the WWE license? and it looks like it?s finally happening in 2020 (although, I don?t want to discredit 2018?s Fire Prowrestling, which you should definitely check out). Slated for next year is the spiritual successor to WWF Wrestlefest, Retromania (which I gave a cheap pop for before) and we?re also rumored to be getting an AEW title (WWE?s only real competition. Also, since Yukes is no longer with 2K, it?s been said they are working on a new wrestling engine. 2020 could be a big year for wrestling titles. WWE 2K21 (or whatever they brand it) better step it up or it might just drift away (where the hell is Elias?).

2K provided us with a WWE 2K20 PS4 code for review purposes.

Grade: C-