Only one week removed from the anticipated launch of WWE 2K20, we finally got our hands on this year’s game. Despite, most of its worst qualities being well known, we wanted to to provide the sports gaming community with a look at WWE 2K20 and the good (and there is some) 2K and Visual Concepts managed to bring to the table. As the the title implies, this is pre-patch. If all goes according to plan, we will review the game again after it’s first patch.

WWE 2K20 Pre-Patch Review

It’s fair to say WWE 2K20 is in dire condition, and my time with the game has not changed that opinion. However, instead of beating the same dead horse, I wanted to also take a look at some the things 2K did do well this time around. That said, the review will still be honest.

Gameplay

WWE 2K20 implements a new control scheme swapping several buttons. Experienced players will definitely have to relearn some habits, but reversals are easier mapped to a face button once you get the hang of it. The problem is, this makes several other things more difficult. Truth be told, like learning any new game, this is not a huge deal. Players simply need to learn new controls. Nothing new for those who jump between WWE 2K and Fire Pro Wrestling World.

However, the frustration grows exponentially when you through on the numerous gameplay bugs alone. I immediately hopped into a one-on-one offline vs the CPU to get a general feel of the game. It feels like WWE 2K19, but a control scheme that may piss you off in the early going as you repeatedly mash the trigger while getting laid out. On top of that, the game crashes the moment I got a 3-count. A little disheartening only 20 minutes into the game.

I did enjoy the bevy of new moves added. Additionally, 2K still looked hard at popular characters adding small details like Bobby Fish having his knee-pads down during his entrance, but I would have preferred that care elsewhere.

Gameplay offers very little in terms of innovation. Navigation and hit detection are a bit wonky as described in social media. This is especially apparent for those who prefer to manually run and perform topes to the outside or use weapons. Good luck. With hitting and navigating needing help, match pacing suffers and may even seem a bit slower compared to its predecessor. It’s passable as a beta, but not a fully launched title.

Game Modes

There’s a lot to offer and sink your teeth into. One of my favorite things about WWE 2K20 is the concept of its MyCAREER. A male and female career mode that’s narratively driven seemed like a good way to stand out. The inclusion of a female version is a huge plus alone. The fact the two characters start from the romanticized adolescence and have to overcome the “you know wrestling is fake, right?” easily hits home and makes a wholesome story that leads to the wackiness that can be professional wrestling. Unfortunately, this a great a idea with sub par execution.

As with everything else in WWE 2K20, the mode suffers from the drawbacks of the ailments within gameplay. Pile that with some missed audio cues and graphical catastrophes and well, you simply give up.

The same just about describes the additional modes like WWE Universe, 2K Towers, and Showcase. To put it plainly, the more you try to do in WWE 2K20, the more you run into wild bugs that reminds you that you paid good money for this.

Presentation

This is where the game both shines and inevitably fails. WWE 2K20 at its finest points, is a beautiful game (on PC). But, this is quickly dismissible as the visual quality is very inconsistent. Characters like Keith Lee are highly accurate, but looked over when compared to inappropriate hair colors and odd facial scans of other superstars.

The muscle definition on some characters like Adam Cole are arguably best in the franchise, yet all accessories above the waist clip during the match. The same goes for basic body parts during moves and taunt animations. This very thing also kills a lot of the newer items available in the Creation Suite. Even in selection thumbnails you can find several items with clipping or morphing issues.

WWE 2K20Clipping aside, the new lighting makes materials look phenomenal. Several moves have newer animations and are all the better for it, but on the other hand, some are missing sounds entirely. Entrances, something normally to behold, have crowd miscues and off timing. I also noticed several titantrons appearing in low resolution with texts showing pixelation.

Despite all the negativity, the game’s UI is much cleaner and easier navigate. I enjoyed the menus and if you have a decent machine, load screens aren’t long. I used a 1070 with 8gb of dedicated RAM, so take that with a grain of salt.

Longevity

WWE 2K20 at this stage had very little to offer in terms of entertainment. I doubt it will last past its first or second patch as players are already firing up WWE 2K19. I don’t expect everything to be fixed in one patch, but hopefully it’ll breathe enough life to get people wanting to play again or excited for the next update. Otherwise, it might be prefer to scrap updates and move one with making sure WWE 2K21 is all the better and being transparent about throughout the development cycle.

The Verdict

WWE 2K20 is one of the most broken games in the franchise, and it shows. Yuke’s departure is evident and clearly a detriment to this passing development cycle. I feel for the 2K team at the helm. The fact that they got this far using a system they are not entirely familiar with is a testament to their hard work and dedication, but someone should have stepped in and said this cannot be released. Especially with WWE itself going through huge changes. WWE 2K20 launches with mass bugs, many that are game breaking, and was doomed to be outdated before even hitting the shelf. We will review it again after its first patch, but for now, at least we got Buddy Murphy this year.


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  • 2.5/10
    Gameplay - 2.5/10
  • 7.5/10
    Game Modes - 7.5/10
  • 4/10
    Presentation - 4/10
  • 2.5/10
    Longevity - 2.5/10
Overall
4.13/10