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WWE 2K Battlegrounds: Wrestling goes arcade mode

| Monday, November 9, 2020

Liya Blitzer | The Observer

Over the past 20 to 25 years, ever since the very first WWE and WCW professional wrestling video games, there have been many great games based on sports entertainment. My favorite personal classics include Smackdown! Here Comes the Pain on the Playstation 2, the entire Smackdown vs Raw series on Xbox 360 and WWE 2K19 on the Xbox One. It has often been the case that people who are not even fans of professional wrestling themselves tend to enjoy these video games when they play them.

With the arrival WWE 2K Battlegrounds, it’s time to review the latest professional wrestling video game. The last WWE 2K game, WWE 2K19, was a complete disaster commercially and financially. Could 2K right their wrongs with the new, arcade-focused WWE 2K Battlegrounds?

I personally played the game on the Nintendo Switch, and here’s the good, the mixed and the bad of WWE 2K Battlegrounds.

The good:

First, let’s start off by discussing what WWE 2K Battlegrounds for Nintendo Switch get’s right. The game is very easy to pick up and play, a nice departure from the previous, more simulation based 2K wrestling video games on Xbox and PlayStation. Second, the game is completely over-the-top and feels like a true arcade game. Everything from the electric cage match, to cheesy entrances and wild no-disqualification matches feels natural in this game.

Additionally, there is a great roster of past and present male and female real-life wrestlers to choose from. The 70 plus characters, with more coming soon from free updates, include everyone from John Cena, The Rock and Hulk Hogan to Randy Orton, Roman Reigns and Charlotte Flair. So, what WWE 2K Battlegrounds has going for it is overall fun and simple gameplay, great characters and all the benefits of being the first arcade-style wrestling game in almost ten years.

The mixed & the bad:

With that said, there are a lot of mediocre elements of this game and some truly bad aspects. While none of these, or even all of them together, make the game truly horrible, they prevent it from being a great or classic wrestling game and hurt the quality quite a bit.

For example, it’s really frustrating that not all of the characters to play as can be easily unlocked. Instead, micro-transactions or having to purchase them outright with either real money or earned video game currency frustrated me because the great, huge roster became limited to around ten to 15 until I either bought or played enough to unlock more. Plus, these characters do not look as good as they do in other games, not even in 2011’s WWE All Stars video game. They look too cartoony and not much like tough, over-the-top wrestlers. Instead, they appear small with bobble-head-like heads.

Not only that, but the moves from these characters are very limited. Besides each wrestlers’ finishing maneuver and signature takedowns, most wrestlers shared the same basic move set. And while it’s good that the game doesn’t appear to be as glitchy as other wrestling games, it does lag a lot more and suffer more from frame rate issues.

Finally, the game modes and match types are quite a bit limited. It’s true that some of the favorites and classics like Royal Rumble, Gauntlet and basic exhibition matches exist in this game, but the game is much more limited than ever before — a true single-player campaign story mode is completely non-existent. Thus, the game does have redeeming qualities, but there is work for a lot of improvement.

The verdict:

Overall, WWE 2K Battlegrounds is not an awful game, but it’s not great by any means either. The consensus feel for this game from critics and fans alike appears to be ‘meh.’ While I think I personally enjoy it more than others appear to, even with all of its flaws, it’s not as repayable or fun as most wrestling video games. I would give this game a score of three out of five Lucky Charms. It’s an alright game for sure, just not as amazing as one would have hoped.

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About Dillon Begley

Dillon is a student from the tri-campus community. He is currently a senior at Holy Cross College who is majoring in business and pursuing a double minor in Political Studies and English. A local, Dillon enjoys reading, discussing and watching film/tv, listening to music, being an avid Notre Dame football fan, and contributing socially while being politically active. He particularly enjoys superhero movies, fiction novels, the NFL, playing Xbox, and having respectful and worthwhile political discourse with people from all walks of life.

Contact Dillon