WWE 2K Battlegrounds appears to be the only console-based WWE game coming out this year after WWE 2k21 was shelved due to COVID19 and poor sales of WWE2k20.
WWE Battlegrounds is from Saber Interactive and uses the Unreal Engine. The game is available on Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Windows PC and Google Stadia. For all consoles the price is 39.99 for the standard version.
WWE 2k Battlegrounds supports up to Four players at one-time. It features local and online play. The game plays very much like the old arcade King of the Monsters. It’s professional wrestling but a no-holds barred winner take all affair fought in a variety of adaptable locations. The story of the game is similar to Raw Underground currently airing on Monday Night Raw. Mr. McMahon hires Paul Heyman to travel around the world trying to find interesting characters to earn a WWE contract. The characters are similar to what you would find in fighting games like Mortal Combat or Street Fighter. Each superstar is the king of their home arena and you play as them all during the Campaign Mode. The unlockable arenas are New York City, Florida, Mexico, Scotland, Detroit and ultimately WrestleMania 36.
The game all features singles matches, tag team matches, tornado tag team matches, Steel Cage matches, Triple Threat, Fatal Four Way and the Royal Rumble. All the modes can be played locally and online. There is also a constant online drop in- drop out mode called King of the Battleground. It’s a constantly running Royal Rumble match where you gain points for eliminations and for staying active in the game as long as possible. The Battleground Challenge offers a way to improve your created Superstars by playing in a Ladder Tournament. Rounding off the modes is a traditional Tournament. There are several modes to keep the variety and replay value.
Gameplay follows traditional wrestling rules but with No Holds Barred rules. There is a count-out that tries to keep the game from being a game of catch and mouse. The stages are fully interactive with many different ways to inflict punishment on your challenger. The ring can also be destroyed which turns the match into pinfalls count anywhere. In the Florida stage you can throw a wrestler into the mouth of a crocodile and because of course you can Mexico features a Ram you can control with a remote. Detroit stage has explodable barrels and a car you can throw someone into and watch in delight as they are crushed. Stereotypes be damned it is one of the best parts of this game. Each wrestler has three fully upgradable powers-ups that can give you an advantage during the match. The inability to change the stats of the Campaign mode still looms high when competition gets fiercer on the Road to WrestleMania.
With the fun there are several gameplay issues that hinder the game. When four players are on the screen at the same time there can be lag. The Campaign mode offers challenge but also there doesn’t seem to be a way to improve the characters base stats. You can buy powerups to give you an advantage during the matches but nothing to change the base ability of the competitors. There is also a huge problem with this game and micro-transactions. You unlock superstars by using in game won Battle Bucks, but also purchasable coins are also required. The number of Superstars locked during the start of the game is staggering. Top tier talent like WWE Champion Drew McIntyre, Seth Rollins, Daniel Bryan, Sasha Banks, Bayley, Asuka and Kevin Owens are just a small amount of main event talent unavailable at the start of an almost full-priced game. Another bug that I hope gets corrected involves the lack of a referee. The crowd itself is the referee in this match which leads to a huge issue. If you are not in the ring by 9 the crowd will still chant 10 and the match will end in a Countout
With the flaws and the fun, I’d still say WWE 2K Battlegrounds is worth the lower than full-game price of 59.99. Hopefully the micro-transactions and bugs will be corrected during patching. The roster being locked is probably the biggest peeve that I have with the game which will lower its score with me.
I’d give WWE 2K Battlegrounds 2 out of 5 stars. It’s nowhere near a perfect game but with what we got with WWE2k20 it feels like a 5-star classic.
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