WWE 2k19 is perhaps the best WWE game this generation. I am only saying that as WWE 2k14 showed a great amount of promise and provided many, including myself, with the hope that things were going to get better for the WWE video games in the coming years. The following year we would get the WWE 2k15 garbage fire that included a large amount of departures for long-time features such as intergender tag team matches, the majority of the creation tools, and more importantly, a smaller roster than the previous years installment. As time went on things would either be forgotten to time such as the Create-A-Finisher tool, find its way home like create-an-arena, and a new control scheme would debut in ’15 that made those who loved the arcade-y aspect of the series lose interest. As the games continued development there would be a bit of an “A” and “C” system as one year it would be fun, (2k16) then the next would be mediocre and this continued to the point where 2k18 was being called the worst the franchise had seen… But was it? Well, during the roster reveal and entrances released by 2K it garnered harsh criticism and very cynical comments. I was holding onto hope as I learned more and how the showcase mode would be about the Women’s Evolution and the Four Horsewomen consisting of Charlotte, Becky Lynch, Sasha Banks, and Bayley. Then again I am also someone who is constantly preordering games multiple times as if it’ll send a message.
Things would turn downwards as longtime developer for the company Yukes would no longer be making WWE games. In its place would be a company that was applauded for their sports games for platforms such as the Sega Dreamcast as part of the 2k Sports brand: Visual Concepts. They HAD been working alongside Yukes in a way similar to Activision having Raven assist with the development of later Call of Duty games down the line. So where was I? Oh, now I remember, a history lesson. With WWE 2k19 it was a different situation where it was featured online last year to a point where Lana and Rusev were revealing the roster and were joined by The Bar (Cesaro and Sheamus). There was quite a few complaints about the in-game models from the wrestlers themselves most notably Lana and Randal Keith, Randal Keith Orton (curse you Cultaholic!) both complained that either the in-game models didn’t look like them (Lana) or in Randal’s case looked…. mentally challenged. Does WWE 2k20 make it towards being King of the Mountain as a solid main event star? Or is it only enhancement talent that is only good to make fun of or get eviscerated by critics both professional or armchair? Let’s find out!
I swear whoever worked on the script for 2000’s Warner Bros film “Ready to Rumble” was involved. I can say this because I have seen that film too many times and it casts wrestling fans to be dim-witted, simpletons, or worse. The film, which wasn’t done by WWE instead by none other than WCW. However, considering Raw is three hours and each show has three commentators, and the state of the company is bad enough to the point where it is hard to distinguish the two anymore. You start MyPlayer automatically with a male and female wrestler. Considering the videos that were leaked of how bad the textures were I decided to make Jaime Noble and Nidia during the 02-04 period of Smackdown back on UPN. Once you are finished creating your characters despite giving them names, it’s the same situation as last year where you are given a nickname that is more or less tied to your entire career. Last year’s character was nicknamed “Buzz” as it was given to him as a joke. This year however… it got WORSE!
The way the story in this game is told is quite confusing as you start in a Money In The Bank match with Zelina Vega, Ronda Rousey, Charlotte Flair, Bianca Bel Air, and Shayna Baszler. You are given some exposition by Ronda and then you are introduced to Red and Tre. The way you get those names are very lackluster and seem pretty offensive. It doesn’t help that Red has mental issues and Tre is the dumbest man in any wrestling game put out by WWF/E, WCW, and ECW combined. The story is told via flashbacks, flashforwards, and dreams for some odd reason. Luckily a good amount of them (dream match) are skippable. There were some odd choices that felt very “on brand” for WWE television and marketing as Red and Tre are hardcore marks. The sad thing is that while this game takes place in the same universe as WWE 2k19 with certain personas returning such as Cole Quinn and the progeny of El Maggo from last year’s game. This is also in a world where Dwayne Johnson was elected president in a campaign against Glenn Jacobs (Kane). While the female wrestler gets more of a focus than the generic male we’ve been playing as since 2014, it isn’t enough to save it. As with last year there are numerous wrestlers that are interactable during the story. They range from AJ Styles, to Natalya and their mouths barely move if not at all. Could just be me, but it feels weird to encounter X-Pac in a wrestling game. Nothing against Waltman as he’s done the occasional D-X appearance when they need a boost in ratings.
Now its time to mention the biggest problem with this game: the graphics. I was playing ’19 as a comparison and MAN does this game fail to get a check mark on practically everything. Out of the 150+ roster there are a handful of wrestlers that either look like them or acceptable versions of them. Here is an example of the cover star Becky Lynch who looks terrible compared to last year. The thing that really irks me is that in terms of roster size they, like always, go for Quantity rather than Quality. There are leftovers from the previous years game, multiple versions of wrestlers like Triple H, Shawn Michaels, and The Undertaker, there are wrestlers who have no business being in a game like Vince McMahon as the man is over 70 and what I think is a “screw-you” to the Rhodes family as Dusty is in the game while AEW is nearing Full Gear.
It’s not just the character models that are screwy but the game itself, as there are countless glitches and missing pieces during matches. After playing a tag team match between The Club and The Revival the game crashed as soon as the match ended. During a post match attack on Bray Wyatt by No Way Jose of all people, the audio went out and just frankly disappeared. Universe mode is where virtually all of this happened by the way. When I chose to ambush The Miz as Brock Lesnar the end animation was the same as last years but simply brighter. It just goes to show how much is carried over game after game, year after year. As I write this in early November the game still hasn’t received a patch or update. However there doesn’t seem to be any delay with the Originals roadmap.
For the first time since Aliens: Colonial Marines over six years ago I have played a game that is broken beyond relief. With annual sports games such as FiFA, Madden, and NBA 2k as examples that yearly sports games are getting worn down to the point where they are seen as cheap sources of revenue. Frankly, this cow is one that is diseased and ready to tip itself over out of exhaustion. WWE 2k20 has terrible writing, production values, graphics, and frankly I cannot say any more this game gets an F.