WWE 2K Battlegrounds Review(PS4)
Updated: May 2, 2021
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''Are YOU Ready?''
WWE 2K Battlegrounds is an arcade wrestling simulator developed by Saber Interactive and published by 2K Sports. It feels like years since we've gotten a really cartoony and over the top arcade style wrestling game hasn't it?. The closest thing I can remember to having one would be WWE All-Stars, if I had to dig at the old noggin to remember. But now we bring in WWE 2K Battlegrounds into the mix of it all and we have 2K Sports, along with Saber Interactive, trying to bring back the fond memories of games of old like WWF No Mercy. But.. can they do it? Let's find out!
If you have played most of the recent WWE 2K wrestling games, you would come to the conclusion that the story modes or campaign modes in each respective game is either lacking severely or being a little too over baring to the point that it annoys you more than entertains you. Well, the crew at Saber Interactive went for the middle ground approach this time and opted for a comic book style way of story telling that tells the story via comic book like panels of Stone Cold Steve Austin being brought out of retirement by Paul Heyman in order to recruit the next big batch of WWE Superstars.
The journey takes you through New York, to the Everglades, and even to Mexico as you venture to each area in search of the next big break out star. Also before we go any further, don't worry ladies, they didn't forget about us in this game. As you move further through the story, you start recruiting up and coming female superstars as well to go along with the male counterparts, so all bases are covered. The end goal is ultimately to make a name for yourself and make it to Wrestlemania.
As I stated in my opening statement of this review, WWE 2K Battlegrounds is trying to replicate games like WWF No Mercy or WCW vs NWO Revenge on Nintendo 64. A formula that has seen a decline in recent years due to the more realistic style of simulation games. If I'm being honest, this is half achieved, but not fully realized. What they got right in this endeavor was the over the top fighting style that seems to implement game play from another arcade'ish game,WWE All Stars. In WWE All Stars all characters movements and attacks are over exaggerated to the point of hilarity, and the same holds true here in Battlegrounds. All character animations are whacky and over sold like you are watching Shawn Michaels vs Hulk Hogan all over again and we ALL remember how that went.
Battlegrounds offers you multiple play styles that range from High Flyers,All Rounders,Brawlers and Power Houses. However, while that may seem like a variety, don't be fooled, they really aren't that much different from each other when it comes down to actually playing them. Each character of any style gets three special grapple moves that are controlled by the right stick moving up,right or left, with each play style having unique moves and skillsets for that particular class. The reason why I say don't be fooled by ''variety'', is because while the animations look different, and may even look stronger based off the specific style you're using, they're ultimately just doing the same amount of damage as any other class with no big distinction in power actually attributed to the moves themselves. I'm pretty sure this was done as a way to make the game seem more balanced, but I feel they could've let this one slide a little to give it a bit more competitive edge.
But this is where power ups come into play to try to act as its own balancing act for the lack of competitiveness with the combat style. Each character in the game regardless if you're a regular WWE Superstar or a newly created character, are able to equip three special power ups at a time that allows you to activate a special skill at any point in the match depending on how much you fill your power meter. These special abilities range from being able to null and void all attacks against you, completely drain your opponent of being able to use any and all of their special abilities and also making it much easier to pin your opponent as long as the skill is active.
In my humble opinion, the only real two power ups that were ever really needed throughout the play through of the campaign were the draining opponent of their special attacks and easier pins. These are key to winning future battles when you're put in a gauntlet style of match where you fight one opponent after another and may be drained in stamina, but by blocking your opponents special moves, this will allow you to get a competitive advantage, albeit for a short amount of time. While on the flip side, easier pins allows you cope better in a tornado tag like scenario or fatal four way.
If you are enjoying yourself up to this point in the game and expect a lot more to come, then I feel you're going to be disappointed. After completing the main scenario campaign of the game, it means you've pretty much experienced everything this game has to offer you in the span of 5-6 hours. Everything the game has to offer you, from 1v1 to 2v2 matches, to cage matches and royal rumble battles, is all done in the main campaign. Any other content is either rehashed of what you played already in the main story or based on grinding out as many reward points as possible to unlock your favorite WWE Superstars, current generation or old school WWE Legends.
At the end of the day WWE 2K Battlegrounds does get some things right with its whacky and over the top game play and its emphasis on easy to pick up control scheme that will allow anyone with no prior knowledge to grab a controller and immediately know how to play. But, with every one thing it gets right, a few things are either done wrong or do not go as planned. Glitches and game breaking bugs such as being stuck in a frozen grapple state that makes your character unable to move and forces you to restart a match, and other bugs that involve the game disconnecting you from its servers at random, which robs you of collecting any major rewards or collectibles.
WWE 2K Battlegrounds is the perfect example of ''Come on you're almost there!''. When the world needed a savior for the genre of arcade wrestling games, 2K Battlegrounds just comes up a little bit short. But it's a game and series that has a lot of promise and I wouldn't write it off totally just yet. With some tweaking of its content and future bug fixing for this installment and any future installments, I could see this finally being the series that brings back our love for the old classic style of wrestling games.
If you're in the mood for some pick up and play, whacky and over the top wrestling, then this may be the title for you. However, at its current $40 launch price, I can not recommend anyone biting the bullet at that price at this current time.
Maybe at $35?
Ok Ok, how about maybe at $30?
Fine, we'll settle at $20-$25.
(OH HELL YEAH)
and so with that verdict, GameNChick says WAIT and that's the bottom line.
*Review key provided by 2K Sports and Saber Interactive