Imagine the legendary Undertaker vs. Mankind Hell in a Cell match that took place in 1998. Now, imagine the mental preparation these athletes go through before such a strenuous match. After an event like this, which is one of WWE’s most vicious in history, these men are physically and mentally exhausted. There is a simpler way to experience this level of physical fatigue and mental exhaustion. The process is this: simply play WWE 2K20 on the platform of your choice. If you think this holds no water, it only takes a second to read the apt warning screen before jumping into the game. I have never witnessed a more accurate representation of the emotions a game evokes through its warning screen:
WWE 2K20 feels like a game that as been in development since the first of September… this year, tossing most of everything WWE 2K19 did right for the franchise. MyCareer follows two friends on their journey through the wrestling scene. Everything is present here: their small-scale matches, breakthrough matches, and eventually their fantasy matches (straight from the mind of aspiring professional wrestlers). Following the duo (one cool and one insufferable) through their career does provide some joy. It’s like sitting through a movie where the underdog eventually becomes the top dog. The 18 chapters in MyCareer provide a lengthy experience, but it feels even longer when you take into account how often the story slips up.
While playing through MyCareer mode with your custom characters, you can earn points to unlock skills in the skill tree. There is no way to properly plan a character as the next unlockable skill is not visible until you unlock an adjacent one. Speaking of skills, I was surprised at the “surprise mechanics” in WWE 2K20. Purchasing gear and moves via loot boxes restrict the way you assign moves to your characters from the onset. Thankfully, loot boxes can only be bought with Virtual Currency and not real money. Pre-ordering WWE 2K20 nets you a small Virtual Currency boost in the MyCareer portion of the game. If you didn’t pre-order, well, tough luck. As a side note on Virtual Currency, even the boost players receive from pre-ordering is not nearly enough to purchase a decent amount of items in the shop.
It’s fitting to see WWE 2K20 look noticeably worse than last year’s entry, seeing as the graphical downgrade mirrors the actual gameplay. The wrestling feels weak as if the system was pushed out the door, shoving the QA testers aside in the process. The target system, collision detection, and opponent A.I. are the worst offenders here. Sometimes, more often than not, your character will take the scenic route when closing the distance between him and his opponent. Weapon collision detection is a hit (sometimes) and miss (most of the time) affair. Some attacks connect from a mile away, while others miss from a couple of inches away. It’s frustrating, so very frustrating. Enemy A.I. would get stuck on objects (ladders, stairs, ropes, etc.) regularly, walking on the spot like an unprogrammed robot.
The target system, collision detection, and opponent A.I. are the worst offenders here.
If you can manage to look past all the issues WWE 2K20 consists of, then somewhere in between this hot mess, there’s a game for wrestling fans to enjoy (you’ll have to pour in a lot of energy and patience to not be bugged by the bugs). If not, WWE 2K20 will provide a sensation you haven’t felt in a very long time: appreciation. No, not for this game, but for other, more polished titles that came before. I know it made me appreciate the heck out of games I didn’t even like up until I experienced WWE 2K20.
By now I think I’ve made my point: WWE 2K20 is a bad game. If not, you are in luck because I haven’t even touched on the crippling amount of bugs present. Characters pulling a Houdini act during some cutscenes, commentators announcing the wrong moves, and intro music getting stuck in a 5-second loop. These are the “fun” bugs, folks. I also experienced numerous crashes, resulting in me staring at my desktop instead of the game. Lighting glitches, either making my character as bright as an LED or devoiding it of all light, turned him into a human-shaped blackhole. Objects disappearing in the ring, the title screen stuttering into single-digit frames per second territory, audio cutting out… these are just a few things I experienced in my “I quit” match with WWE 2K20. Now, mama didn’t raise no quitter, but in the end, I yelled “I quit” and gave up, accepting my defeat.
WWE 2K20 frustrates as soon as the title screen appears. The notably downgraded mechanics, wrestling, graphics, and features are enough to force one to jump face-first from the top ropes. That’s not even taking into account the boatload of bugs and glitches. If you are looking for a WWE game, I highly recommend you pick up last year’s vastly superior WWE 2K19. It still baffles the mind how developers/publishers can allow such a broke mess of a game to be shipped to consumers who pay $60/R960 for it. One positive WWE 2K20 does have lies in the fact that it makes you appreciate other, more polished games out there.
WWE 2K20 is a broken, bug-infested mess and a chore to play. The WWE franchise has taken a massive step back.