2k has not had the best run of games recently when it comes to the WWE franchise. Whilst 2k18 & 19 were okay games, they did not quite give us that wrestling sim that we were hoping for. But then we come to WWE 2k20. We all remember how that went, don’t we? (Montage of glitches). So it was no surprise that 2k wanted to take a break from the yearly release of these games. 2k did not want to leave fans completely disappointed, so they decided to try something a little different. So let’s jump into the ring and take a look at the good and the bad in WWE 2K Battlegrounds.
WWE 2K Battlegrounds attempts to completely move away from the formula of the yearly release titles, and it managed to do so, for the most part. Battlegrounds focuses on an arcade style brawler, with wrestlers being fitted into various classes with standardised move-sets, which cannot be edited. These move-sets consist of a few basic strikes and grapples and around 4 special grapples. Each move can be very ‘hit and miss’ at times. There have been countless times that strike and grapple attempts have gone through opponents, but have not actually affected them. This is amplified the moment you attempt to add a running or rebound manoeuvre into the mix. I have found it extremely difficult to land grapples off of an irish whip rebound. It seems to require very precise timing to pull off, but even then seems to only work 50% of the time.
This title feels like 2Ks attempt to move into a couch-competitive gaming style that is more akin to the Mortal Kombat/Tekken games, but with wrestling. Ultimately, however, Battlegrounds fails to deliver on this front, as the combat is very limiting. You will often find yourself using the same moves over and over again as there are no additional moves or combos to explore. The few moves that are available feel very sluggish and frequently have an input lag on them, which causes this game to become a bit of a chore at times. To top it off there have also been significant cases of FPS drop, and this has caused me to either lose matches, or get put at a significant disadvantage due to how ridiculously slow it can get.
The Drama of 2K Battlegrounds
The campaign in WWE 2K Battlegrounds follows the creation of franchise’s latest competition, known as the Battlegrounds. It focuses on the rise of several different superstars, who fight through the Battlegrounds to become official competitors in the WWE. The whole narrative in this title is presented through comic strips. Whilst this is not a bad idea, it seems to be a tacked on story that is included for the sake of having a story.
The campaign involves each of superstars competing in a number of matches to qualify for the WWE. From there they compete to eventually earn their spot at WrestleMania. There does not really seem to be a proper sense of progression with any of these wrestlers, as it feels as though they just get thrown from match to match without any character growth.
Battlegrounds‘ Game Modes
There are various other game modes available in Battleground and they are split into two types. Online and offline play.
Exhibition matches is the “Play Now” game mode, which allows players to choose to play a variety of match types such as 1v1, Royal Rumble, Steel Cage, Fatal 4-Way and many more.
Battleground Challenge is the opportunity for players to take their custom wrestlers and play a series of matches, laid out similarly to the campaign, to progress and improve their superstar. Playing through these various matches earns rewards such as new perks or even just financial rewards which can be used for wrestler upgrades.
Tournament is the first of the online game modes. This game mode type features a series of matches which need to be won to unlock unique rewards. In the series, if a match is lost, a player will have to start the series over again, unless they have a ticket which will be used to prevent loss of progress in the series.
King of the Battleground
King of the Battleground is the final main mode in this series, which features players competing against each other online in a Battle Royal game-mode. Upon entering, you will wait outside the ring till one of four superstars inside is eliminated. Once in the ring, it is vital to do all that you can to survive whilst attempting to eliminate other opponents. This is easily the most interesting of the game modes, and can easily cause players to fall into the “just one more match” mentality.
2K’s Bad Micro Transaction Habit
As we have now come to expect from 2K, micro transactions run rampant in yet another WWE game. Everything from maxing out your superstars stats to unlocking new superstars can be done by splashing some cash. The big issue with this is that you start with so few superstars that it becomes really enticing to purchase more. There are 2 ways to purchase new characters, either through the games earnable virtual currency, or the aforementioned micro transaction, known as golden bucks.
Earning wrestlers through using the in-game Virtual Currency can take a long while to accumulate. Out of the many hours I have played, I only managed to accumulate around 24k coins, where the average well known wrestler could cost up to 14k. So this is where the alternative comes in with the micro transactions.
To put this in perspective, all of the well-known wrestlers, such as Triple H, Shawn Michaels, Hulk Hogan, Daniel Bryan and Seth Rollins, will cost roughly 200-300 golden bucks. Golden bucks can be bought in various pack sizes, ranging from 500 (which costs about $7.55 AUD) to 6500 (which costs around $75.95 AUD). This is already a ridiculous amount to unlock various wrestlers that should have been included without any form of payment required, but 2K would not even put the prices for micro transactions in the game’s store. The only way to see the price of the gold bucks pack is to actually go onto the PlayStation store on the order now page. This is absolutely shocking from 2K and is a practice that should not be allowed to remain in the gaming industry.
WWE 2K Battlegrounds really felt as though it was rushed to market just so that a few extra dollars could be made. It is honestly not worth the time investment, nor the financial investment. As a fan of the WWE 2k series, this game has left me utterly disappointed and worried about the direction that 2k may go in certain areas in the future of WWE games.
Review by Samuel Incze
WWE 2K Battlegrounds felt like a title that was purely made so that money could be made off of wrestling fans. It fails to deliver in almost every way, with its clunky controls, lack of creativity and its heavy reliance on microtransactions. There is no reason to pick this game up! Go play Smackdown vs Raw instead!
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