There’s no WWE 2K21 game this year but this cartoonish-looking replacement aims to be a worthy alternative for wrasslin’ fans.
Many games have been delayed this year because of the coronavirus but the pandemic is only one reason amongst many that there’s no WWE 2K21. The series has been in decline for years now, as it struggled to cope with the yearly release schedule and, more recently, the switch from long-time Japanese developer Yuke’s to American team Visual Concepts. Add the coronavirus to the list of problems and publisher 2K just decided to skip straight to WWE 2K22 next year.
They didn’t want the year to pass without some kind of new WWE game though and so in its place is cartoonish, over-the-top party game WWE 2K Battleground and it’s… okay.
Compared to the glitchy mess that was WWE 2K20 this is a considerable improvement, even if it has its limits and is not what wrestling fans are used to after years of a more realistic product.
Right from the off, it’s clear that WWE 2K Battlegrounds is a totally different vibe, with the realistic-looking wrestlers replaced by exaggerated avatars of superstars past and present, all defying the rules of physics for a simple, mindless, but relatively enjoyable game.
Where Battlegrounds succeeds is in being a good party game, as it’s incredibly easy to dive straight in with a fairly largely batch of characters already unlocked and ready to use right from the get-go. From Randy Orton and The Rock to Bray Wyatt, AJ Styles, and Hulk Hogan, the field is set for dream matches in what’s almost the WWE equivalent of Super Smash Bros.
The various modes are as simplistic as the action, with Exhibition offering a good range of match-ups, going from basic singles and tag team bouts to a cage match and multi-man Royal Rumble – with fun mini-games for the latter two to bring the drama up a notch.
The Battleground Challenge mode allows players to create their own unique WWE superstar, rising through the ranks and developing their wrestler’s physical appearances, vanity items, and style of fighter.
King of Battlegrounds is an online Royal Rumble-esque free-for-fall with superstars competing to be the last man standing with a new character coming in when someone gets eliminated. It’s the chaotic moments like this where the game really shines, as everything comes together in the best way. Similarly, the online tournament mode is a great chance to experience the game as it’s meant to be played, with other gamers battling to be crowned the ultimate champion.
Despite the social element, fans can also enjoy a simple but exciting campaign mode, which is told in the form of classic comic strips, which is a nice touch that further helps to differentiate the game from the pseudo-realism of the main franchise.
Playing as a host of colourful, fictional new wrestlers (introduced at the start of each chapter), you’re guided by Paul Heyman and ‘Stone Cold’ Steve Austin to help lead the charge to find the next WWE superstars.
Daily challenges also add a reason to keep playing, which is welcome because while the gameplay itself is easy to get to grips with and enjoy, it can get a little repetitive at times.
There’s not much to the controls beyond the punch button, kick button, grappling, blocking, and hitting the on-screen button to do a reversal – and button-mashing to get out of a pin fall or submission.
Players of WWE 2K20 (and earlier) will notice the relatively stripped back move-sets, but there is enough to play around with, and the buzz when you defy gravity with the wrestlers, soaring into the sky to deliver a sensational slam, never gets old.
Unfortunately, the fact each wrestler’s arsenal is largely the same as each other in their corresponding class (for example, high flying, technical or brawler) means things can become pretty repetitive, particularly when wrestlers like Shinsuke Nakamura and The Miz fight in almost the same way.
However, the three power-ups you select between each fight, and the benefits of each wrestling style, do help break this up, with the latter giving you a specific boost or move you can do to gain an advantage over an opponent.
The battlegrounds themselves add to the charm, with each of the special worlds being much more than an aesthetic change. You can interact with the environment, throwing your foe into the jaws of a crocodile or even taking charge of a remote-control sheep in Mexico. It’s ludicrous but it’s moments like this which save the game.
As much as the gameplay and simple modes can be defended, the reliance on microtransactions throughout the game is a disappointing one. Although 2K claims a 70-strong playable roster you actually only start with around 24 spread across the male and female stars, with the rest having to be unlocked through the campaign or the in-game shop.
The game uses two currencies, the first being Battle Bucks, which can be earned in every mode and require no extra spending. The downside here is you need to really grind to hit a level where you can unlock some of the bigger names and outfits. The other currency is Golden Bucks, which costs real money.
They’re not overly expensive in isolation but unlocking every character and customisable option runs the risk of becoming a repetitive or expensive chore (although the daily challenges are a simple, easy and enjoyable way to earn those Battle Bucks).
Props have to be given for the presentation of the unlockables, with wrestlers and their extra attire found in action figure style boxes, before bursting out in a nostalgic way. Less fun and totally inexcusable is the fact that some of the biggest names in WWE need to be unlocked from the beginning, meaning Becky Lynch, Sasha Banks, Drew McIntyre, and Kevin Owens are all amongst those who can’t be used at the start.
Of course, the flipside is the game itself costs just £34.99 for the regular version, which makes it decent value for the overall package.
Source: Read Full Article