WWE 2K20 fails bad enough to call it as the suicide of the series.
Once upon a time, 2K Games was a beast in developing American-style sports games with its NBA 2K series bringing the most realistic experience of Basketball games, and WWE 2K series is the only triple-A simulator of the United States’ popular sports showdown. But looking at both of the series today, it seems there is a long gap between the new iterations of the two franchises compared to their glory days. 2K is being hit from a weakness point that it never attempted to fix, and now the issue is getting bigger and bigger, regarding the developer’s strong intention for monetizing from micro-transactions. Following such an ignorant policy has resulted in sacrificing a bunch of promising ideas in WWE 2K20 and making it the worst title in the series over the last few years.
While we are on the verge of a generation-transition in consoles, 2K Games has brought us a title that deserves to be released on PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 regarding its potato-mode-style visuals and numerous graphical issues. In-game cutscenes are probably the worst thing you’ve ever seen this year in case of texture quality. The physics of the characters is dull, faces don’t imply any meaningful emotions, and animations are outdated. WWE 2K20 has already expired in case of graphics, so, if you still have any intentions for playing the game, you have to get along with that.
Going over the gameplay and variety of modes, WWE 2K20 is the most complete entry of the series. Aside from featuring all of the existing names in WWE, the new version is mostly focused on women’s growing part in the professional wrestling, which has led to the addition of some new interesting modes that are worth playing. The Four Horsewomen in 2K Central section is the game’s shiny feature after the MyPlayer experience that puts you in several inspired-by-true-events matches featuring Becky Lynch, Charlotte Flair, Sasha Banks and Bailey as the main playable characters. The mode allows you to go through each fighter’s career and recreate their most breath-taking in the way they did before.
Thanks to the exciting narration from the character herself before entering the game, each match feels like a finale with lots of objectives to do. It’s not like an NBA match that allows you to win the game any way you want, in The Four Horsewomen, you have to follow objectives and perform the determined skill-moves to beat your opponent similar to what has happened in reality. Now the question is does it work properly? The answer is a mild “No.” While it helps to reconstruct the reality as it’s happened and adds more challenges to gameplay, it gets a bit dull and unsatisfying when you beat your opponent in another way and the game says you’ve lost the mission since you haven’t followed the rules. The same thing goes on in MyPlayer matches, which is unnecessary. It’s going to be my career and I’m the one who decides how to beat the opponent fighter on the ring.
Aside from The Four Horsewomen, there are other sets of matches for other groups of fighters in 2K Central which are more like the Towers of Time mode in Mortal Kombat series, making you face up several fighters with the pre-determined difficulty level. There’s also a 2K Originals section that is yet to come. Outside of 2K Central, there are dozens of modes for single matches, a few other tournament-like parts such as Universe, and MyPlayer.
MyPlayer in WWE 2K20 is nothing but an inspiration from the trending make-a-player-and-start-from-scratch mode in all sports games of the generation. This time around, you design both male and female characters, and you control both of them through the narrative-driven career which reminds me of the same mode in NBA 2K and FIFA series. It’s a long journey with lots of tournaments and matches ahead, which thanks to WWE’s diversity in rules and scenarios, doesn’t feel exhausting. You have a full customization control over your characters and a set of updating challenges for earning more credits. The only thing that annoys me in MyPlayer after it’s disappointing objective-based matches is the lack of an option to skip the cut-scenes, which sometimes do nothing but getting on your nerve.
On the other hand, the Universe implies an experience similar to NBA 2K’s MyLeague mode. Universe simulates a season of WWE featuring multiple matches in different tournaments such as RAW, SmackDown, NXT and some one-time events like Royal Rumble and Money Bank. The good news is Universe is fully customizable, which means you can set up your own season and schedule matches between the fighters you want to encounter with each other. It’s going to take a long time for you to reach the end, and to be honest, playing all the matches isn’t entertaining that much, which makes you simulate a huge number of the matches and just play as your favorite fighter. Having said that, Universe is still a welcome addition but needs a stronger framework than what it has now.
Now it’s time to speak about the gameplay and fighting mechanics of the game. The core is still the same you’ve played in the previous years. Controlling characters and performing skill-moves still lack any fluency. The number of moves you can perform isn’t as much as you can do in an arcade fighting game, and performing the existing ones isn’t a big deal if the game reads your inputs properly and in time. Most of the time, it’s not your fault if your character is standing idle and allows the opponent to smash his/her face with multiple punches. Defending against the enemy attacks doesn’t follow a specific pattern that leaves you in an annoying agony of what on earth you should do to neutralize the upcoming strikes. It’s up to the game to decide when you can defend yourself and when you cannot. Depending on the button-icon that sometimes appears upon the head of your character, you can easily take advantage of the opponent’s attack, otherwise, there’s no way to defend. The question is, how such a system can reward a skilled player in front of a newcomer? The gameplay mechanics simply leave no rooms for player’s ability.
Speaking of the game’s multiplayer part, I can find nothing better than “a real mess” to describe 2K’s terrible management over the servers of WWE 2K20. It’s almost impossible to play with other players in all of the multiplayer modes, and in the very few chances that you get to play online, there is nothing but unstoppable lags that ruins the whole experience.
Summing up the review on WWE 2K20, I strongly advise you to avoid purchasing the game until a major number of issues get fixed by the developer. Currently, the game has nothing more than a full WWE roster and dozens of single-player modes to play, which may seem enough for the series’ fans, but regarding the huge number of bugs, and imperfect gameplay structure, WWE 2K20 would never be an enjoyable option in your game library.