[REVIEW] WWE 2K Battlegrounds– Nintendo Switch

  • Developer: Saber Interactive
  • Publisher: Take-Two Interactive
  • Release Date: 18/9/2020
  • Price: £31.38 / $39.99
  • Review code provided by 2K UK

INTRODUCING: WWE 2K Battlegrounds Switch Review

Have you ever wanted to be a professional wrestler? The lights, the spectacle, the trash talk and flashy outfits? It all seemed so cool when I was younger. As I grew older, I began to appreciate the athleticism and acrobatics more so than the flashy outfits. Although, the trash talk was still funny to listen to. The storylines that the WWE used to create between individuals was fun to watch develop too. WWE 2K Battlegrounds tries to recreate some of this and package it nicely into an arcade party brawler. However, it misses the mark on a few things.

LET’S GET READY TO RUMBLEEEE!

While there isn’t a great deal of story within this game, it definitely exist. You move through the campaign mode via a comic book. The comic book pages are presented to you and are not narrated. You have to read from left to right, and at some points I had to zoom in to read some of the text presented in the comic pane. Aside from this, you are pushed to start from the bottom of the barrel and work your way up to the pros. You traverse different venues and arenas/stages as you challenge unknown wrestlers throughout.

There isn’t a great deal of depth in the campaign mode other than what is described above. The story follows Steve Austin trying to recruit new wrestlers to participate in Paul Heyman’s new WWE Battlegrounds. This ultimately brings you to places such as New York, Detroit, Florida, and other areas of the nation.

The wrestlers you interact with, other than Steve Austin, aren’t real. It definitely hinders the story in my opinion. Having a completely made up cast when there are tons of legends to choose from is a head-scratcher. There is no great finale either and ultimately, I saw the campaign as a long tutorial and a way to earn credits more so than anything worth completing.

CAN YOU TAKE A HIT?!

Gameplay for WWE 2K Battlegrounds is very decent at its core. Yet, that is where it ends. There are only five different types of wrestler to choose from and each have a different set of moves to use. This limits the roster of 70 wrestlers to only these types of modes. They include the following: All-Rounder, Technician, Brawler, Powerhouse, and High-Flyer. The problem with this is that it makes the gameplay experience feel shallow. You might say that sounds weird considering there are 70 wrestlers, but when you have to grind currency to unlock superstars and legends like Hulk Hogan, you would think they would be a little more unique in play-style.

The game only starts you off with about 20 or so wrestlers to choose from. Most of the iconic ones are locked behind a currency that you can either purchase with real-life money or grind for in game through daily challenges or leveling up. While I was able to gather currency quite quickly to unlock The Rock, leveling started to slow down, which made it harder to earn. There are micro-transactions within WWE 2K Battlegrounds that can equip you with the tokens you will need to unlock wrestlers faster. They have high unlock requirements and some of your favorites will be in the 9,000 – 12,000 range. This is essentially about $4-6 dollars or a long time of grinding.

The gameplay does involve some fun ways to grab and counter wrestlers while in the ring with you. The kicks/punches are quite easy to master being tied to the X & Y buttons. If you press the same one 3 times in a row your character will perform a flashy combo. There’s also a health bar and stamina bar below your character, along with a heat meter. As the heat meter rises and eventually maxes out, this will allow you to perform a signature move. I will say that it is fun to pull these off and the animations are entertaining to land.

DO YOU HEAR THAT?

The art of WWE 2K Battlegrounds is cartoony through and through. However, that style works for this genre and makes it more enjoyable in my opinion. I enjoyed the varying stages that you are able to fight in, as well as the over-the-top signature moves and items to pummel your opponent with. I think the stage design is one of the best assets within WWE 2K Battlegrounds. It definitely reminds me of the arcade wrestling games from the earlier days of video games. It’s a nice nod to them, while suffering in other areas however.

The audio of WWE 2K Battlegrounds isn’t too bad. They have the crowd cheering and the hits definitely pack a punch when they can land. Yet, there are only so many audio tracks. The commentators can also start to get irritating. I found them repeating themselves or speaking off-que with what was going on during the match.

LET’S DIVE INTO IT!

From a technical standpoint, the game runs alright in docked mode. It remains stable throughout and the characters are smooth along with the backgrounds. Yet, in handheld mode WWE 2K Battlegrounds can become quite hard to play. It is very blurry and makes the experience less than enjoyable. The more wrestlers on the screen, the worse the performance gets as one can imagine. This is noticeable especially in tag-team modes and modes with larger than 2 on screen.

While I didn’t experience any bugs/glitches during my play time with 2K Battlegrounds, I did appreciate that this does offer cross-platform play with other consoles. That’s always a nice touch, and I encourage more games to implement this when able. Yet, I did notice input lag and other issues such as disconnection mid-game.

IS THAT ALL YOU GOT?

WWE 2K Battlegrounds is definitely a fun experience for wrestling fans and general brawl fans alike. Yet, the game falls short in many aspects. From the lacking campaign, limited character creation options, and microtransactions the game has a great deal of issues. Its a shame to see such a fun franchise have this happen. I wanted to enjoy WWE 2K Battlegrounds more, but it was hard to once I realized how much of a grind it really is to unlock who and what I want. There are many improvements that I would like to see made. However, if you are looking for a fun pick up & play wrestling game on the Switch, this might be for you.

PROS

  • Fun stages & levels
  • Huge number of wrestlers
  • Great for couch co-op

CONS

  • Campaign mode is underwhelming
  • Unlocks will take a long time
  • Gameplay is repetitive/lacking
  • Microtransactions

Verdict
WWE 2K Battlegrounds is a great attempt at pick up & play brawling that misses the mark with grindy unlocks and microtransactions.

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