Welcome back for another year of action in the squared circle. This time around WWE 2K20 packs in more content than ever with a bevy of superstars, modes, and more. However, can it perform on the same level as previous years, or is it all spectacle and no substance?
WWE 2K20 Details
The Women’s Evolution
When I was young, women had a very small role in professional wrestling. They sat outside the ring for support or occasionally played the role of damsel in distress. I can still recall Macho Man Randy Savage and Hulk Hogan wrestling for the affectations of Miss Elizabeth.
The latter would don a full gown and high heels, feigning the appropriate cliche femininity and emotion for the camera. It’s a far cry from the role of women in the modern WWE. Some might argue that women like Elizabeth were paving the way for future generations, but it’s hard to look back and compare the origins of these antics to the high level of performance, athleticism, and entertainment that female WWE superstars are capable of doling out.
Today however women have taken a much more progressive and integral role. Thankfully WWE 2K20 finally acknowledges this fact to a much greater degree. While trailblazing female wrestlers have been a part of the series for a long time, here they take a role on the centre stage.
A story best left untold
Firstly, WWE 2K20‘s campaign finally features a female protagonist—albeit in a dual role with a male co-star. Regardless, the story revolves around one male and one female up-and-comer and their journey from obscurity to WWE stardom. Players will create avatars for both characters and trade off in story-related matches and events.
Unfortunately this diversity is far from enough to save the narrative from itself. The story campaign in WWE 2K20 is barely palatable at the best of times, and downright cringe-worthy at its worst. From out-of-touch dialogue less-than-stellar voice acting, this is one tale I can honestly do without.
Remember when Ronda Rousey took over the role of Sonya Blade in Mortal Kombat 11? Fans were justifiably mortified with the dip in quality in Rousey’s painfully amateur performance. Great fighter? Absolutely. Professional voice actor? Perhaps not.
Unfortunately Rousey opens up the dialogue in this campaign as well, and it’s not any better. As a voice actor, Rousey doesn’t improve much even when playing herself as opposed to a “klassic” character. It sets a low bar, one that’s sadly fitting for the whole of the story.
Showcasing the Four Horsewomen
Another new addition to WWE 2K20 is entirely female-centric. “2K Showcase: The Women’s Evolution” is a documentary-style recounting of the rise of the WWE Women’s Division full of playable moments, told by some of the WWE’s biggest stars. It puts the spotlight on cover superstar Becky Lynch, along with Charlotte Flair, Bayley, and Sasha Banks—the “Four Horsewomen” of the WWE
It’s an interesting hodge-podge combining gameplay and cutscenes with live footage. Yet while it doesn’t really make up for the weak campaign, it does contribute some small amount of interesting content to the overall package. And regardless, it’s great to see the focus shift in WWE 2K20 to giving the Women’s Division its due.
Plenty of choice
I have to admit that the lion’s share of my personal experience with wrestling and wrestling games dates back a ways. My fever pitch came and went around Royal Rumble for the SNES, with personal favourites like Bret Hart, Shawn Michaels, and Razor Ramon. Moving up to WWE 2K20, I can at least say that there is a wealth of content—more than we ever might have imagined back then.
So many of the superstars that I remember from the 1990’s are playable in WWE 2K20, and there are a ton of match types, special rules, and more to choose from. 30-Man Royal Rumbles, cage matches, and “Money In The Bank” matches are just a few of the unique scenarios that players can participate in. If nothing else, there are plenty of ways to experiment with matches, superstars, and scenarios.
A minefield of glitches
Depressingly, all of this content and variety is for naught, unless you are ready to have a good laugh at nearly every turn. That’s because the frequent glitches in WWE 2K20 range from annoying to downright hilarious. So if you’re lucky, the latest bug to cross your screen will at least give you a chuckle as it impedes your progress.
In my time with the game I experienced the gamut of what I imagine could go wrong. In my very first match in campaign mode, I became caught in an animation where I couldn’t stop punching the ladder in my Money in the Bank match with Ronda Rousey. All I could do was watch my character slap metal in perpetuity while Rousey untied the briefcase for the win. And boy, did she untie it slowly. Of course she did—she’s not meant to succeed!
This is just one small example of a broad and persistently buggy experience. Game crashes, locked animations, missing textures and objects—they’re all here for your frustration and/or amusement.
To be honest, when the bugs don’t stymy your progress, they are almost entertaining unto themselves. That said, hopefully there are some serious patches coming down the pipe for this one. In its current state, the issues are far too numerous to look past.
WWE 2K20 shines a light on the Women’s Division, but its performance doesn’t do them any justice
It’s great to see WWE 2K20 showcasing the Four Horsewomen and including a female protagonist in its story campaign. However its difficult to celebrate these elements when the overall gameplay is fraught with issues.
The campaign is underwhelming as well, making some of the more hilarious glitches in the game the unintentional highlights of the experience. Hopefully some fixes are in line, because the stars of this year’s 2K Showcase definitely deserve better.
+ The Women’s Evolution in 2K Showcase
+ Dual male/female campaign protagonists
– Far too many bugs
– Cringe-worthy campaign dialogue
– Poor voice-over performances
OVERALL ASSESSMENT WWE 2K20
Lasting Appeal/Replayability: 2.5/5
Overall Rating 2.8/5 (55%)