It’s no secret that WWE games over the past few years have been far perfect. In fact, last year, when Dave reviewed WWE 2K20 there were far too many bugs, poor voice-over performances, and cringe-worthy campaign dialogue. This year, 2K Sports has gone a different route with the WWE franchise with WWE 2K Battlegrounds.
Developed by Saber Interactive, WWE 2K Battlegrounds is an all-new, over the top, in-your-face, wrestling game with arcade action. How does it stack up? Let’s find out!
WWE 2K Battlegrounds Details
Platforms: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, Stadia and PC
Reviewed on: Stadia
Developer: Saber Interactive
Publisher: 2K Sports
Modes: Single-player, multiplayer (cross-play support)
ESRB Rating: T (Teen)
Arcade action that is easy to pick up and play
First and foremost, it’s important to know that WWE 2K Battlegrounds is an arcade fighter and not like previous WWE games in the past several years. The gameplay is easy to pick up on and offers over-the-top action with exaggerated moves and animations.
Furthermore, in addition to kicking, punching and throwing, you’ve got finishing moves and power up items that you can use against your opponents. There are even environmental hazards such as alligators that you can throw your opponents into their jaws.
Single-player game modes and match types
The game includes several single player modes such as Campaign, Exhibition, and Battleground Challenge. Battlegrounds’ campaign is told through a series of comics. In this mode, you team up with WWE legends Paul Heyman and Stone Cold Steve Austin as you travel and wrestle around the world in search of new Superstars for an all-new WWE brand.
The story is divided in several regions and new regions unlock as you complete them. Interestingly enough, each region has its own arena and playable wrestler. As you progress and make your way through the game, you unlock a variety of things such as wrestlers, power ups, vanity items, and more.
To be honest, I was pleasantly surprised by WWE 2K Battlegrounds‘ campaign mode. Sure you have to play as one of the 7 fictional wrestlers but it actually works out quite well. The comic book storytelling is a perfect fit and the incentive to unlock additional wrestlers is a nice touch. I actually had quite a bit of fun playing and I love that the story never really takes itself too seriously.
Exhibition mode is just as you might have pictured it. You play as your favourite WWE wrestler and battle against other WWE Superstars. However, you can’t have male wrestlers play against female wrestlers. All the usual match types such as 1v1, Tag Team, Fatal Four Way, Steel Cage Match and Royal Rumble are included.
Arenas that you unlock through the campaign mode can be used in exhibition mode and you can play with up to 3 other players online or on your couch in this mode.
Battleground Challenge is a career mode of sorts. You create and customize your own character as you see fit and start from the bottom and work your way up. Saber Interactive gives you a variety of customization options including face, skin colour, height, weight, clothing options and more. Additionally, you can change class style, body type, face, hair, and eyes.
Initially, out of the box, there aren’t a whole lot of options when creating your character. Luckily, you can use items that you have unlocked or purchased with in-game currency to make your character your own unique creation. Interestingly enough, even when you have unlocked quite a few items, there really aren’t a whole lot of options when it comes to your character’s outfit.
WWE 2K Battlegrounds‘ cartoon-like visuals and comic book storytelling visuals are a perfect match for the arcade action. Jerry “The King” Lawler and Mauro Ranallo offer commentary during all of the high-flying action. However, I found that sometimes what they say has no relevance to what was going on in or out of the ring. And, after a while, they started to repeat themselves.
Moreover, I did encounter glitches where sometimes my character would disappear for a second or two. And, sometimes the animations got a little wonky.
Quite possibly my favourite mode in all of WWE 2K Battlegrounds is King of the Battleground. This is an online only, up to 8 player mode where you try to be the last man standing. It’s a free for all match, where you and 3 others try to throw each other out of the ring.
4 other opponents wait outside the ring and enter one by one as others are eliminated. And, because WWE 2K Battlegrounds supports cross-play, there is never a shortage of opponents waiting.
Finally, Online Tournament Mode offers a variety of time-limited tournaments with a series of conditions that you need to meet to win. And, each time you win you are rewarded with items for your wrestler.
WWE 2K Battlegrounds is a solid arcade style wrestling game
If you are expecting a full blown AAA WWE game, you’ll be disappointed with WWE 2K Battlegrounds. However, if you look at the game for what it is with its arcade style gameplay and over-the-top action, it’s not too bad. I was surprised at how much I enjoyed the game’s campaign. Although the story line is cheesy, I had fun.
Though, my favourite mode in the entire game is King of the Battleground. I literally could not get enough of this. It didn’t matter if I lost or won, I enjoyed the fun I had with it. With easy-to-pick up controls, WWE 2K Battlegrounds is accessible to a wide variety of players. While I would have loved for more wrestlers to be playable at first, it was semi-satisfying to unlock each one by playing the game.
In the end, WWE 2K Battlegrounds is far from perfect. And, in the same token, it’s not bad either. You don’t have to be a hardcore WWE fan to enjoy this game. If you like arcade style grapplers and are looking for some plain old fun, I think you’ll enjoy WWE 2K Battlegrounds just fine.
+ Value priced
+ Easy-to-pick up controls and arcade gameplay
+ Wide variety of game modes
+ King of the Battleground offers non-stop online fun
+ Campaign mode is fun
– A large amount of wrestlers need to be unlocked
– Occasional visual glitches
– Commentary can get repetitive
OVERALL ASSESSMENT OF WWE 2K BATTLEGROUNDS
Lasting Appeal/Replayability: 4.5/5