Developed by Visual Concepts and published by 2K games, does WWE 2K20 lay the Smackdown? Read on as I share my experience of the latest offering in the world of virtual wrestling.
A new year, a new WWE game arrives just in time for the festive season to bring hours upon hours of glorious chokeslams, electrifying rock bottoms, and some sweet stone-cold stunners. This year’s game marks the first without support from Yukes, and you can see a lot of effort has gone into making this entry the freshest and most enjoyable version to date but sadly falls short.
Online lobbies make a welcome return since WWE 14 (under the previous THQ brand). It’s here where the game can potentially really grow into the competitive eSportes scene, whilst also catering to the communities out there that enjoy starting up competing stables/clans with a league system.
This mode supports up to 6man matches including tag, hell in the cell, cage, elimination chamber and most of the single match stipulations. On a more amusing note, I’d love to see how hilarious a 30-man online royal rumble would play out.
You Bugging Me?
Servers are filled with performance mishaps. Frustratingly during the load up screens the game has a tendency to blackout and revert the player back to the home screen. Other glitches I’ve come across are poor lagging issues causing a freeze like motion that results in immense slow down as the match begins.
CAW’s don’t load in most cases rendering them useless in online matches. Occasionally during the elimination chamber loading process, the actual chamber itself bugs out and the 6men all start in the squared circle as if it was a battle royale.
Sadly whilst the return of lobbies was much needed, it lacks a competitive edge due to the absence of leaderboards. Also, its a crying shame that entrances have been removed. However, the return of lobbies help to take the franchise a step in the right direction and one can hope that next year will see further tweaks, features, and improvements. One new feature I’d enjoy seeing is an online championship mode amongst the actual roster (separate to MyPlayer) where gamers can slug it out for a title with their favorite legend/superstar and then defend the title at ppvs.
I hate to say this but the whole mode itself is tragic. A story mode focused around two high school students (whom you can customize their appearance) with a WWE bucket list that you relive via flashbacks before their big night at the WWE Hall Of Fame. Whilst not a bad idea, the way it’s executed is poor. Leaving me baffled how in its current state the mode made it past the final stages of development and into the main game.
Amateurish scriptwriting with two cringey lead characters in Trey & Red leads to awkward, hilariously bad exchanges between the cast. Red is the feisty, hot-headed diva who explodes at the first sign of confrontation. Often resorting to over the top threats with classic one-liners like “I’m gonna paint the snow outside red with your blood and you’ll see why I’m called Red”. It made me question if Red was perhaps more suited to Arkham Asylum (maybe a new sidekick for Joker?) than a wrestling ring.
Trey seems more reasonable but behaves goofy, regularly showboating to the crowds and more often than not he gets himself into a needless pickle, making a mockery of himself which leaves you unable to take the mode seriously. In the middle of a match, acting as a distraction, he grabs a mic and remarks “boomerangs are a sham, they never come back when you throw them” another being “I’m gonna tell you how many times a month I shave my toes”. Typical examples of how bad the writing/voice acting is. If someone told me Trey was a parody of the chuckle-brothers I’d believe it.
For reasons like the above, it makes it near impossible to take the mode seriously and to connect with Trey & Red without believing you’re watching a skit out of you’ve been framed.
MyPLAYER mode does have plenty of rewards for those that persevere with this awful aspect of WWE 2K20, earning credits, unlocking moves, attires and more wrestlers to use. (Shame it doesn’t offer a helpline to tackle the headaches caused).
It’s like something out of a horror movie. Poor presentation with shocking facial animations, low-quality textures & environments make MyPlayer feel like a low budget, last-gen looking feature that really should have been left at the ideas table. (At least until more love had gone into it from a visual point of view).
This year’s game focuses on the four horsewomen, Charlotte Flair, Bayley, Sasha Banks, and Becky Lynch. Reliving the female star’s evolution in the industry and the events leading up to headlining Wrestlemania 35. It includes 15 classic matches and has video input from all four superstars, who go into detail about the matches and what it meant to them. Showcase mode unlocks titles, attires, characters and more as you progress through the journey.
Crippling bugs and game-breaking issues sadly prevents WWE 2K20 from really striving to the top of the ladder. I strongly feel this broken game needed another 3-6months behind closed doors where Visual Concepts could really fine-tune the buggy aspects of the game that clearly slipped through the net during the development process. WWE 2K20 at its core remains a real fun wrestling simulation when you have the rare moments of smooth, hard-hitting, fast-paced action associated with the sport.
The problem is that due to so many performance issues such as lagging, scatty commentating and a hit & miss physics system (that sees you hit the ring ropes just as often as your opponent) you’re lucky to get a free-flowing, enjoyable match. It’s disappointing to see such a large roster with some wrestlers having last-gen looking models (Shawn Michaels) whilst others like Hogan and Sting are really on-point.
I’m struggling to say anything really positive about WWE2K20 at this stage, online can be very fun when servers don’t crash, I think the return of lobbies is a big step forward for the online aspect of the series. The levels of depth from the Universe and Creation modes can provide many hours of creative brilliance. I have to say that Visual Concepts tried to implement so much and just ran out of time to properly finish the game, WWE 2K20 just feels rushed out the block.
Thank you to 2KGames for a digital copy on the Xbox One. Feel free to drop your comments in the box below on your thoughts and views of WWE 2K20.