You may be wondering as to where our WWE 2K20 review has got to? Well, in the words of the criminally under-pushed Wade Barret, I’VE GOT SOME BAD NEWS FOR YOU.
For the last couple of releases of 2K’s annual wrestling sim, it has been yours truly that has handled the reviews. Where the last few games of the franchise have not been perfect and will belong nowhere on a top 5/10 list of wrestling games, they have been pretty decent entries. This is especially true for last year’s effort in WWE 2K2019, and that would be the only modern entry into WWE’s video game library that I would possibly consider putting into my top list. I was excited for the upcoming release of 2K20 due to 2K19 being decent. I knew there would be improvements on the career mode, some additional features on the Towers mode and just some overall improvements to the gameplay. Turns out I know absolutely nothing as a few weeks before 2K20’s release, some early screenshots and impressions of the game were posted on social media, and it’s safe to say the reactions were as bad as the reactions to Hogan vs Warrior 2.
So, why no review, I hear you ask? Just because there was some negative reaction on social media pre-release, you could still review the game, right? Well, no. We at Gaming Respawn are incredibly lucky to receive game codes for some of the biggest and best games. WWE 2K, however, is a game I buy every year, and I don’t just get the standard copy, no. It is my little yearly treat to get the collector’s edition of the game, which sets me back about £130. So, my first reaction when I saw the pre-release screenshots and impressions was one of complete horror. In some of the screenshots I couldn’t believe I was looking at a game being released in 2019. In fact, with the screenshot of the career mode that was released, I was convinced that this was from an old PS2 game that someone had just posted as a 2K20 screenshot for a laugh. After watching some videos of YouTubers who had tested the game, with all of them claiming how abysmal WWE 2K20 was, there was no way I was going to spend £130 on this pile of crap. I cancelled my pre-order straightaway and continued daily to read through blog posts and watch more video reactions from early testers.
The release day came, and in a move from 2K that showed they had zero confidence in this game, they didn’t even provide the big boys at IGN with an advanced copy of the game. 2K obviously didn’t want the inevitable bad scores to potentially put gamers off from buying the game. Well, the game still sold well, landing in at number 3 on the UK Game Charts. It is not all good news, however, as Sony announced they are processing a large number of refunds for the broken game, and on release day, the #fixwwe2k20 was trending on Twitter with close to 15 thousand tweets. Famed community creator Defract has also announced that he will not be creating any custom creations this year due to the unworkable amount of bugs in the creation suite. For those who have kept the game and are actually playing it, various wrestling forums and Twitter are just full of screenshots and videos of the game’s various bugs in action. Even simple tasks seem impossible in 2K20, with videos showcasing Asuka losing her wig during her entrance, and the referee just plain refusing to count when an opponent is pinned. The fact that this game was released with all these faults should come as no surprise as this is what we should expect from WWE.
WWE’s whole attitude for the last, well, coming up two decades (since WCW folded in 2001) is that even if they constantly put out complete trash, people will still watch and pay for their product because they see themselves as the only option out there for wrestling fans. Over the last few years, this hasn’t so much been the case thanks to the resurgence of both New Japan and Independent Wrestling. This hasn’t actually changed the WWE model, mind you, but at least there are other outlets for wrestling fans to watch and pay for rather than watching the absolute shite WWE produce on a weekly basis. This isn’t the case for the video game world, and this is why WWE 2K20 was released as a broken mess. Apart from FirePro and TEW (the Football Manager-like wrestling management sim), there are no other current wrestling games available to play. FirePro, where it might be a great game, will not entice the mass 2K audience to switch. With no viable alternative for wrestling gamers, 2K and WWE knew that releasing an unfinished and laughable game would garner some backlash from critics and fans, but most importantly for Vinnie Mac (Vince McMahon), it would not hit him where it hurts the most: his bank account.
2K offered some vague excuse as to why WWE 2K20 was a complete and utter shitshow, and it was that long-term developers YUKES left, and development for the game was handled internally by 2K’s Visual Concepts. It begs the question, really, that if YUKES leaving did cause such an issue, WHY DID YOU RELEASE A BROKEN GAME????!!!! Because it is not just the bugs that have caused WWE 2K20 to be the worst wrestling game since WCW Backstage Assault, it’s also the graphics!!! Dear God, the visuals. Granted, some look good. The Fiend looks spot on, Brock Lesnar also looks great. But The Rock, one of the most famous people on the planet! How…how have 2K made him look that bad? The hair physics (which are never good) look worse than ever, watching Bianca Belair’s entrance is just laughable as her ponytail looks like she is twirling around a steel rod. I am not a massive graphics elitist, but I do have limits, and when a screenshot of the career mode actually looks like something from the PS2, that is where a I draw the line. If this was made by an indie company and the gameplay was decent, sure, I’d get behind that, but this game was developed and published by one of the biggest game companies in the world. The optimist in me likes to think that perhaps 2K did approach WWE about delaying the game for a year while they catch up with the work created by YUKES leaving, and it was the WWE who forced the game to be released, but the cynic in me knows this isn’t the truth. Quite simply, shame on you, 2K, for releasing this garbage.