|Release Date||October 22, 2019|
*A copy of this game was provided to FYIG by 2K Games for review purposes*
When you’ve played a game as many years as I have played the WWE series of video games, you come to expect certain things. The developers usually build upon the foundation of the previous year’s game and add a few different features. This year it was a little bit different. Yuke’s left the scene and Visual Concepts was tasked with developing the entire game for the first time. That led to a rough first week with a plethora of issues that I didn’t have the misery of going through because we got our review code after patch 1.02. The team doesn’t get a pass for that and we’ll be knocking off a point or two for the rough start. Our review, however, will focus on everything post patch 1.02.
WWE 2K19 was a big improvement in the MyCareer area of the game. For years, that mode seemed to be just an afterthought and something that was more tedious than it was worth. That changed and we got a lengthy, fully-voiced story with a few small arches here and there to keep things interesting. After going through that and thoroughly enjoying it, I was excited to try it out this year, but I found that it was more of a step back than a step forward.
The story revolves around two high school friends. The hotheaded Red is a huge wrestling fan looking to be a WWE Superstar. Her friend, Tre, is an absolutely idiotic character who wants to do things like, “Win A Dance Off”. He cares more about the pageantry of wrestling rather than the actual wrestling itself. He makes cringe-worthy jokes after almost everything Red says that made me shake my head more times than I can count. Neither character is nearly as likeable as Buzz or Cole from last year.
I really enjoyed the number of different interactions that Red and Tre have with different Superstars from WWE past and present as the two go through their careers. It was cool to see how people like X-Pac and Peyton Royce were parts of their journey to WWE. I did think it took them a really long time to get to WWE and the underlying story of the secrets they hold from each other and Red’s rivalry with her high school bully aren’t all that interesting. I wish you could mold it more in who you align with and how you get to WWE personally. I also didn’t understand why anyone would give someone as inept as Tre a job considering he seems to screw up everything he touches.
The character progression is largely similar to WWE 2K19 in MyCareer. There are still loot boxes that give restrictions on what you can equip as far as gear and moves which is such a strange choice to me still. It’s much like the controversy in Need For Speed Payback when they had loot boxes for upgrade parts, it just doesn’t make any sense to lock those items in that way. You can only buy these items with Virtual Currency so it’s tied to what you do in-game and not real-world money, but it’s still a pain. You can also buy single items, but they’re ridiculously expensive so it’s fairly pointless to do so. I didn’t even bother customizing very much on either character because it was just too much of a hassle for me to worry about. I also didn’t want to deal with the crazy load screens that come with everything you do in MyCareer. It got to the point where I didn’t even want to upgrade my character at all because I didn’t want to wait.
Your attributes are tied to a skill web that starts off in the middle and branches out in different directions. As you win matches, you gain more skill points to utilize on different attributes and skills and you generally get quite a bit pretty quickly. Each tree is laid out differently depending on the style you choose. I chose a high-flyer for Red and a Technician for Tre so Red had a lot of aerial attributes available right away while Tre had a lot more reversals and submissions available. It’s a great way to make sure each build is different and that they all don’t end up the same after you gain enough points.
There is a new control scheme this year in WWE 2K20 and after hating it for the first few matches, I really started to love how the new button mapping works. Everything is more fluid now with face buttons being used for the signature and finishing moves. It’s quicker than ever to pull them off without screwing up. Climbing and picking up weapons have also been mapped to different shoulder buttons so you don’t climb a turnbuckle trying to pick up a steel chair. Reversals are also mapped to a face button now instead of the awful right trigger buttons which caused me to sometimes miss the reversal if I press too lightly. It just all in all feels better and I’m happy the Visual Concepts took the time to refine something that had been the same for years.
The 2K Showcase this year is all about the 4 Horsewomen of WWE and their rise from NXT to the Women’s Revolution. This is a really cool showcase to have because it’s about more than just one person and all four of these women are such prominent stars. The cutscenes provided a lot of insight into what it was like for these women to come up and make a name for themselves. There are a bunch of attires for these ladies to unlock and 15 matches to go through so it’s a pretty lengthy mode. I liked playing through it for the most part, but a checkpoint system would work wonders. There were a few times I had to restart a match 15 minutes in because someone else pinned someone or because I missed a kick out or submitted. It gets annoying to have to do all the different things over again. Other than that, it added quite a bit of gameplay and was almost like playing a WWE documentary.
2K Towers return this year and while I don’t personally love the mode, they have improved it quite a bit. There are now Tag-Team, Fatal 4 Way, and Triple Threat towers that you can go through and there are already 50 available (divided into Legends, Women’s Revolution, and 2K Central) from the get-go which is pretty impressive. There weren’t even 10 at launch last year. There are also modifiers like increased and reduced damage and even a no HUD mode which is really interesting to see. I’d like to see that incorporated into the regular game when facing human opponents. It would add a bit more suspense to the matches.
WWE Universe Mode remains largely the same with support for more matches per show and PPV. There is also support for Mixed Tag Teams in the mode. I was expecting a bit more out of such a substantial mode, but it was pretty much left untouched.
The presentation in this game is generally a pretty mixed bag. Some Superstars look amazing, others look absolutely terrible. Becky Lynch is the cover star and looks absolutely awful. In most situations, I attribute this to the horrible hair. I don’t know what Visual Concepts did with the hair, but it’s back to what it looked like late PS2/early PS3. It’s just not good. It looks painted on to most people and it really takes away from the experience a lot for me. It’s 2019, the graphics should be very true to life, that’s just not what we’re seeing in this game. The arenas and everything else look as they should, but the Superstars have definitely taken a step back. The commentary is pretty decent in this year’s game but you still get the odd line that makes absolutely no sense. Greg Hamilton is a bright spot doing the ring announcing and really makes everything feel like a big fight feel and Renee Young even gets in on commentary for the Showcase Mode which is awesome.
WWE 2K20 is definitely an off-year for the series. Visual Concepts did what they could to get this game out on time, but you can tell a lot of things were rushed here. I applaud the MyCareer Mode for how long it was and how many unlockables and different characters you could interact with and the great 2K Showcase that offered a ton for fans of the 4 Horsewomen. I didn’t like the step back in graphics and general gameplay glitches that are prevalent even post-patch. The ring ropes shouldn’t jiggle around wildly as they do and Superstars shouldn’t randomly face away from each other when you’re trying to do a move. I wouldn’t recommend grabbing this one at full price. It definitely has some value, but I think it’s still a patch away from being the game it’s destined to be.
|Great 2K Showcase mode||Subpar graphics/long load times/glitchy gameplay at times|
|Control scheme is much-improved||No real improvements to WWE Universe|
|Large roster||Campy characters in MyCareer|