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WWE 2K Battlegrounds Review - Sensory Overloaded Arcade Action

wwe 2k battlegrounds review

Review

WWE 2K Battlegrounds Review - Sensory Overloaded Arcade Action

I was with everyone else who was disappointed last year with WWE 2K20. You could argue that there were extenuating circumstances due to the mid-development departure of Yukes, or you could blame 2K and Visual Concepts for not being able to stop a glitch-fest of a release. Either way, 2K made a the huge decision to bench its annual simulation title for at least one year. However, 2K also announced WWE 2K Battlegrounds in April, and showed that it would be a complete departure from simulation wrestling. With that in mind, let’s get into things with this WWE 2K Battlegrounds review.

WWE 2K Battlegrounds Review – What I Like

The Actual Wrestling Moves

A lot of the actual wrestling maneuvers in this game are very well animated. I’m not even necessarily talking about the over-the-top, 20-foot-high RKOs. I’m really talking more about the actual suplexes, DDTs and other more “basic” maneuvers. Some of those animations look better than what WWE 2K has offered. I was pleasantly surprised to see this.

And to be honest, some of the crazy moves themselves are fun to do and see. The specials and finishers are highly stylized, like Orton’s RKO takes his opponent very high up before crashing to the mat. However, one thing I wish the developers had done with finishing moves such as the RKO, spear or super kick is have your character automatically go into a pinfall attempt.

Also, while maybe it’s a little odd to say, I love mashing the A/X button to recover after the CPU does a move on you. I don’t know how many times I’ve smashed buttons to get my character up from the mat in WWE 2K games. (Hint, it does nothing.) I really enjoy having the control over that.

The Controls

I like the simplistic controls. They just make sense to me and act like controls I expect in an arcade game. Just going off of Xbox here — since that’s the version I played — punch and kick are X and Y respectively, submissions you just hold A, and with pins just press B. The specials and fishers are just simplistic pulls of the triggers. which also includes submissions and pin escapes. If you’ve played the old 2K games, you shouldn’t have much problem picking up the controls. Lastly, I also like the parry mechanic, which involves pressing RB.

Moving on from the basic controls, there are then advanced controls. Again, they aren’t very hard to use or memorize. Power-up tiers are simply pressing the different directions on the directional pad. Grabbing a weapon from under the ring is simply A. And finally, the special movies are hold LT and press one of the face buttons. This does vary by class.

wwe 2k battlegrounds review

As for the classes, you have five styles: Powerhouse, Brawler, Technician, High-Flyer and All-Rounder. Each class has a set of moves they can pull off with more effectiveness based on that class. This gives you a lot of options for moves and makes wrestlers feel different. There are many controls for each class, but this review would be five pages long if I listed all of them. You can easily find the control schemes in-game.

The Commentary

Yep, for real. King and Mauro Ranallo are fun to listen to. I am a huge Mauro Ranallo fan to begin with so I might be a little biased. I’m sad he’s gone from WWE. Of course, there are going to be repetitive lines and phases, but it just sounds more natural than past games. Mauro’s signature excitable announcing is definitely fun for me and fits here. It also makes me wish the next WWE 2K game would have him as one of the announcers, but I doubt that happens since he’s no longer with the company.

WWE 2K Battlegrounds Review – What I Don’t Like

The Roster Out Of The Box

Honestly, 2K should get a big strike here when it comes to the roster. When you boot up the game and jump into a play now mode, I was shocked to see the small amount of unlocked wrestlers. There are only 13 men and 8 women. I find this to be unacceptable, especially when some of them are Bobby Roode, Akira Tozawa and Yokozuna. 2K has boasted a huge roster for this game, and it is there, but only if you’re willing to grind for it or pay for it.

I get that you should have to unlock certain wrestlers, but only having 22 wrestlers in total out of the box is not a good look. That’s really all there is to say about it. There are also only seven stock arenas in the game. The environments are kooky and some downright hilarious, but that’s why we need more of them.

I won’t get into create-a-wrestler much, but I’ll simply say the same logic applies here. The CAW is not as deep as a regular WWE 2K game, and you have to unlock a lot of goodies to even make it resemble something close to a normal 2K game’s depth.

Sensory Overload

In short, the gameplay in this game will probably be very subjective (which is normal). But for me, I feel like there is too much going on during matches — the screen is too busy.

While the art style hits what it’s going for here, the problem is the on-screen look of the game as you play. You are inundated with different colors flashing all over the place. From fire to green and blue flashes for different things like big moves, it’s almost too distracting for me to play. It’s busy and almost a form of stimulation overload.

wwe 2k battlegrounds

This, of course, could just be me because I am somewhat sensitive to light and colors flashing. I have to wear sunglasses on a cloudy day, so what do I know. But at the end of the day, I can also see why people would enjoy this sort of look, especially kids. It’s basically a button masher with only a few specific things you have to do in order to make something happen, and so it makes sense to really try to spice things up with lots of visual stimulation.

Online

wwe-2k-battlegrounds-00471

The caveat here is that it’s almost a given nowadays that a game is going have issues with online gameplay in its first week or two after release. Battlegrounds is no different. I had a hard time even getting to the point where I could get into a match. When I finally did, I lost connection to the server a couple times. And as I suspected, once I was able to play a match, my opponent did nothing but spam punches and kicks. (But obviously that aspect is not 2K’s fault.)

The Bottom Line

I think the game is geared to the younger crowd, which is fine. Like I said, I can see kids liking this game quite a bit. I also don’t see any immediate issues that need to be patched — except maybe a gameplay exploit or two that crops up in online games. Oh, and the silhouette of Tessa Blanchard in the Royal Rumble tutorial, which has been patched.

So would I recommend this game? Well, it depends what you want out of a WWE game. This would probably be a really fun game for a parent to play with their young son or daughter. I also think it could be a fun budget title if you just want a party game to trot out with some wrestling buddies. Overall, it’s not a bad game, but it doesn’t feel as special as something like WWE All-Stars either.

7 Comments

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Discussion
  1. What is the overall count of MAMMA MIIIIIIIIIIAAAAAAAAAAAAA from Mauro in this game? I hope a lot.
    Yeah, that's a huge bummer of so many wrestlers locked away, esp. considering the mainline 2K games come with a giant number right out of the box and only lock away the special legends (and those can be instantly unlocked for good for a couple of bucks, which is what I do because I don't have time anymore to grind away 100 unlockable wrestlers). I would love to see them do what they do for NBA Playgrounds, big roster to open then continuously add the ones coming down the pike.
    The “grind” to unlock isn’t that bad at all. I’ve only had three days and I’ve unlocked
    Corbin
    Lashley
    Jeff Hardy
    Sgt Slaughter
    Rock
    Hogan
    Austin
    Jake the snake
    Mankind (both attires)
    Andre and all his attires
    Strowman
    Samoa Joe
    Kalisto
    Old school taker attires
    Karl Anderson
    Elias
    And 6/7 more
    If you just play the game you unlock. Quickly.
    I haven’t played much online - only one match but you earn even more coins online.
    All reviewers mention the grind but it really isn’t that bad.
    stocksy
    The “grind” to unlock isn’t that bad at all. I’ve only had three days and I’ve unlocked
    Corbin
    Lashley
    Jeff Hardy
    Sgt Slaughter
    Rock
    Hogan
    Austin
    Jake the snake
    Mankind (both attires)
    Andre and all his attires
    Strowman
    Samoa Joe
    Kalisto
    Old school taker attires
    Karl Anderson
    Elias
    And 6/7 more
    If you just play the game you unlock. Quickly.
    I haven’t played much online - only one match but you earn even more coins online.
    All reviewers mention the grind but it really isn’t that bad.

    I guess you make a good point. I'm the reviewer btw. I think where my mindset of the "grind" came from is how upset I was with the incredibly shallow roster to begin with. Although, I am very impressed with the shear number of unlockable and DLC.
    I guess maybe grind was the wrong word. I guess that is something more in line with saying about an RPG.
    But honestly, it's not a bad game at all. I do hope they keep making it.
    LowerWolf
    The Daily Challenges are typically pretty easy and you can rack up Brawler Bucks pretty quickly that way.

    Unfortunately I wasn't really able to do this considering 2K took forever to provide me a review code.
    PVarck31
    Unfortunately I wasn't really able to do this considering 2K took forever to provide me a review code.

    That stinks.
    I thought your review was fair. Can definitely understand the frustration over so many characters being locked by default. I'm having fun trying to unlock them, but I am worried about down the road. I think it's a fairly safe assumption all the DLC characters will be locked initially as well. I've read you only get brawler bucks the first time though the campaign. That's going to make the grind more difficult later on.
    PVarck31
    I guess you make a good point. I'm the reviewer btw. I think where my mindset of the "grind" came from is how upset I was with the incredibly shallow roster to begin with. Although, I am very impressed with the shear number of unlockable and DLC.
    I guess maybe grind was the wrong word. I guess that is something more in line with saying about an RPG.
    But honestly, it's not a bad game at all. I do hope they keep making it.

    Thanks for reply. It’s a good review. I just have read so many reviews and all say the grind is too much and you’ll never unlock everything and I was at the start worried too but quickly found with daily challenges, levelling up and bonus coins in various modes it started unlocking quickly. I’ve only got 13 male wrestlers left to unlock now... and further 10 female... when they add 70 more. I’ll admit that might be a struggle and with all the attires and CAW and CAB parts it is a bit bonkers - but I liked NBA playgrounds too and everyone hated that too so maybe I have bad taste. Just wouldn’t want people to dodge this game on the fear of the grind alone as it isn’t ghat bad - CTR for example is far far worse - I’d rather you could earn more coins quicker and I’d have had another 10/15 unlocked from start. Also CAW parts are shocking.
    If you are a switch owner though is game is a worthy addition to your collection and suites a pick up and play approach

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