To say the press around the release of WWE 2K20 has been bad would be an understatement.
However, hyperbole is never far away from video games and while previews have been bad, we are here to try the full game out and take it all for a test drive. So where does this year’s offering work, and where does it fall short?
Fun for all the family
There are glitches everywhere, but that doesn’t actually prevent the enjoyment of this game if you go in with an open mind. My partner & I sat down to play a few matches and had a good time in the chaos of a 6-man ladder match and triple threat Hell In A Cell.
The match mechanics are similar to last year, with all the usual beats of a 2K wrestling game. While the controls are different they don’t get in the way of gameplay and once learned actually streamline things over last year’s layout.
The entrances are still spectacular. Each one has been painstakingly pieced together, from the Demon Finn Balor to Undertaker and Triple H, you get into the moment with each one.
The visuals of cut scenes, like post-match celebrations and some of the Showcase and MyCareer aspects do pop as well, showing where 2K spent their time.
If you have someone else on the sofa next to you WWE 2K20 can be a fun game. If you don’t though…
READ MORE: Full WWE 2K20 controls guide
At times a frustrating single player experience
Jumping into a match with the AI can be frustrating. Gameplay is still largely a reverse-fest, which against a player who will miss some of the timings is fine but against the AI it can be a mission just to hit a move, and that’s not what WWE matches are like.
Without someone else to laugh with, all that is left is to get annoyed. While some glitches will just have the ropes act like rubber bands for a second, others can truly break your match.
Interaction with objects like ladders & chairs can be hit and miss, and while a massive 20.2GB day one patch has solved some issues, it has not fixed everything. Player collisions are awkward and landing a running attack can be entirely random.
MyCareer is promising, with the user creating a male & female Superstar to join on their journey to the WWE Hall of Fame, but the early part can be a slog through a lot of cut scenes. Once it gets going though it is a fun journey, if occasionally frustrating due to the gameplay issues.
It’s safe to say that bad hair physics are the least of this game’s problems.
READ MORE: Complete WWE 2K20 roster & ratings
This is still WWE 2K’s crowning glory. You can make different versions of your favorite Superstars, yourself, or even wrestlers from outside WWE here. There are endless options for attire, facial features, entrances, moves, and so on.
The choice and creativity here is just as impressive as it has been before and is perfect for the younger generations to build ridiculous creations into the game.
The Showcase is back this year and follows the journey of WWE’s Four Horsewomen from NXT to the main event of WrestleMania. As ever the game mode is full of unlockables and fun challenges as your recreate WWE history.
There are a few issues with it but nothing that really hurts the game. Your first match, Charlotte vs Natalya for the NXT Women’s Championship, has the usual “perform a standing strike” and “do damage” goals, but the specific requests like “perform Figure 4 Headscissor 1 to Natalya in the ring” will have you scratching your head as no movelist in the pause menu will detail how you do that move.
Still, as you work through the Showcase it is much like any other, a fun journey through a part of WWE history that adds a nice layer to the game as well as providing some more versions of the wrestlers you know and love to use in the game.
So what to do with this game… It can be fun. It doesn’t take long playing with someone else to enjoy yourself. The game is, for the most part, as advertised. The problem is the number and frequency of glitches and immersion-breaking moments that crop up.
You might see elsewhere that this game is broken. I wouldn’t go that far, but it certainly feels like a beta version. This is the first WWE game in a long time without Yukes involvement, and it feels like it.
READ MORE: Biggest ratings snubs in WWE 2K20
2K Originals, which Visual Concepts has wanted to do for a while, could be the saving grace of this game. The DLC “Bump In The Night” will drop on 28 October, but whether anyone bothers to buy it until the rest of the game is fixed remains to be seen.
There is no denying that this year’s game will set the franchise back, and comes hot on the heels of a less-than-pleased NBA 2K20 community. It is almost impossible to keep the twitter mob happy these days, but the criticism of WWE 2K20 is deserved. It’s an unfinished game, and while you will have fun playing it, you’ll get annoyed playing it too.
3 stars (out of 5)