There was a time when WWE video games were some of the best sports sims out there.
Here Comes The Pain, SvR 2007, and No Mercy are looked back upon fondly and replayed heavily even today. These games will live on forever in the collective minds of wrestling fans. WWE 2K20 will not.
It has become almost a running joke that 2K release the same game year after year but somehow manage to make it slightly worse each time. The joke has grown old though and this latest offering, set for release in just a few days, is one that no one should spend their hard-earned money on.
The fact that, just a few short days away from launch, there are no in-depth gameplay videos available should have been the first clue that this is not a high-quality product. Add to that the fact that what is out there looks as though it belongs on a PS2 and you have all the makings of yet another torrid 2K offering.
The aforementioned graphics are the biggest sticking point. Each year it is promised that the engine has been tweaked to offer the most realistic looking wrestling game to date. In the past great strides actually have been made but this time a massive regression has occurred. Each model looks lifeless and without texture. Most of the legendary grapplers on the game’s roster look almost nothing like their real-life counterparts. How that is even possible when past iterations have nailed some of these men and women is baffling.
Just one look at Bianca Belair’s hair animation during her entrance will tell you all you need to know. This is a lazy waste of time and an insult to those who have stuck with this franchise through the past few turbulent years.
The hits don’t finish at the graphics, however. When Universe Mode was first introduced it was a revelation. Being able to play through an entire calendar year in charge of every little detail of the WWE was a tremendous amount of fun and kept players coming back for more right through to the release of the next instalment. Since then nothing has really been done to freshen up the mode and now it is tired, nonsensical, and dull. Each week you will see the same seemingly random matches that have no place being on any card. You’ll sit through the same few cut scenes on a loop. You’ll groan as the feuds you’ve set up go nowhere due to your overall lack of control. It’s all easy stuff to fix but there seems to be no incentive for the developers to try. Perhaps because you can’t sell many loot boxes in Universe Mode.
The same does not apply to career mode and yet that is also still a relative dud. Huge noise was made last year as My Career actually featured a storyline for the first time in years and made at least a modicum of sense. At its core though, it was still a soulless experience where you played through the same old matches for little to no reward and felt as though you had no actual control over your destiny. The same is set to happen this year except you get to guide a male and a female through the same old schlock. Would it be too much to ask to return to the set up of yesteryear when you could take anyone, even Rodney Mack, through a year and choose which titles to go after and what decisions to make in feuds? Those decisions had weight in Here Comes The Pain as siding with or defying Vince McMahon changed the landscape of your next month or two dramatically. After experiencing true freedom like that it is no wonder that seasoned gamers care little for 2K’s paltry offerings.
If you’ve been buying these games for the last few years, then you have likely noticed that they are no longer worth the money. The fun is gone, the imagination is directed in odd places, and the replayability is next to zero. A change of developer may well be needed as clearly there is no passion amongst the current team.
The My Career trailer that was released recently highlighted another issue; the dire script. There is one scene where an antagonist threatens to give your grandmother bedsores… Christ alive. What that says to fans is that this year you are once more going to have to play as someone who speaks like a Primary Schooler but without the panache.
It appears as though most of 2K’s energy has gone into making out their characters to market their game as being unique in the series. Sure, the additions of a Frankenstein’s Monster styled Braun Strowman, and a Swamp Thing looking Bray Wyatt are fun, but they do not make up for the guaranteed buggy and lacking experience that this game is going to offer. Perhaps more care should have been taken to ensure that this was going to be a fun experience that kept players invested for a long time to come and a little less attention should have been paid to gimmicks.
For all these reasons and so many more it is imperative that you do not buy WWE 2K20. Show them that you are not willing to accept such a lazy game by hitting them where it hurts: right in the wallet.
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You can find the author of this article on Twitter @Impers0nalJesus. Thanks for reading!