WWE 2K20 is the latest in the yearly sports entertainment franchise and the game has already been on the receiving end of some negative press even before its release. This year’s entry marks the first time that the franchise didn’t have long time developers Yukes at the helm. Yukes have moved on to work on their own wrestling franchise while their understudies Visual Concepts have taken the reins going forward.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem to be without its teething problems, with reports that Visual Concepts has been reworking a lot of mechanics from the ground up. As a result, there’s a good chance that the game simply wasn’t ready for launch. However, 2K has already responded to criticism with the promise of missing features like Create-a-Championship being patched in later. It’s not all bad news as there are some new features for fans to get excited about but there's no escaping the feeling that the developers should have waited another year.
10 Good: The Female MyCareer Mode
A feature that has been long overdue in a WWE 2K game is the women’s MyCareer mode. It is hard to imagine that the main focus of women’s matches in the WWE =were the ridiculous “Bra and Panties” matches. This was in spite of the talents of superstars like Lita, Trish Stratus, and Molly Holly.
However, in recent years, female wrestlers have been getting the main event status and proving that that can entertain just as well as the men on all levels. Thankfully, that inclusiveness has transferred over in WWE 2K20’s female MyCareer option and it is every bit as good the men’s. In addition, it includes new matches like the mixed-gender tag team matches which play a large role in the story.
9 Bad: Silly Originals Theme
Professional wrestling’s over the top theatrics and soap opera style storylines go hand in hand with the physical performances in the ring. Fans accept and even love this side of the business and there are many times where a bit of comic relief can be enjoyed as much as the serious rivalries. However, WWE 2K20 seems to have taken the silliness a step too far with the new WWE Originals DLC packs.
The first pack is the “Bump in the Night” pack featuring characters like a Frankenstein version of Braun Strowman in horror-themed Showcase and 2K Towers Mode. The only worthwhile addition is Bray Wyatt’s new Fiend gimmick. Quite why 2K thought that fans would be happier with this than featuring classic rivalries from the past legends and/or current superstars is a mystery.
8 Good: Better Hell In The Cell Mechanics
The Hell in the Cell Match in last year's entry was very limited when it came to fighting outside of the ring. The gap between the ring apron and the cage only served to provide scripted and awkward animations that gave the player very little freedom to move.
It was a frustrating mechanic that made it very awkward and slow when maneuvering around the cage. However, in WWE 2K20, wrestlers have once again got the freedom to fight as they want without forced animations. Better still, weapons can once again be accessed from underneath the ring apron with the brand new addition of tables in the Hell in the Cell.
7 Bad: The Removal Of Too Many Legends
The use of past legends like Ric Flair and Hulk Hogan are there to not only to create fantasy matchups with current superstars but to attract long-time wrestling fans that have followed wrestling since its golden age in the 1980s.
So it is baffling that 2K have removed wrestling stars like Mr. Perfect, Lex Luger, Rick Rude, Alundra Blayze, and more only to include awful fictional DLC characters or five different versions of characters like Natalya.
6 Good: Lengthy Career Mode
For all of the criticism aimed at WWE 2K20’s visuals especially in the career mode not much has been said about the actual storyline. It is pretty clear that Visual Concepts have rushed to get as much content as they could in this year's MyCareer mode by cutting some corners in the process.
That being said, WWE 2K20’s new story mode will last players up to 20 hours making it the lengthiest MyCareer mode in the series’ history. In addition, there seem to be more options for branching storylines this year adding some replay value which is extended further by the new female MyCareer option.
5 Bad: Still No General Manager Mode
2K and even Yukes before they parted ways seem to have a problem listening to the fan's requests. General Manager mode is probably the most requested feature from past titles but the developers seem far more intent on pushing Universe mode as a viable replacement.
While Universe mode does offer several features that were present in General Manager mode the appeal of going head-to-head with a rival company or brand is missing. The biggest drawback to Universe mode is there doesn’t seem to be any risk or reward when playing as there are no stakes involved, negating its point beyond being a time sink.
4 Good: Most Of Game’s Biggest Superstars Look Good
Much has been said about what looks like a downgrade in visuals for WWE 2K20. This year’s entry has come under fire for its lack of hair physics, awful MyCareer Mode visuals, and glitches that have a detrimental effect on the performance.
While the criticism is warranted because the game has clearly been released before it’s ready there are some improvements too. New additions to this year like Keith Lee and Matt Riddle look fantastic, with Lee, in particular, looking almost as detailed as an NBA 2K character – which is hopefully a sign of things to come in future entries. Furthermore, there are some nice new lighting and shading effects in the entrances and most of the main event superstars like Roman Reigns, Goldberg, and Brock Lesnar still look as good as last years. Let’s hope that 2K will release a patch to address some of the models that didn’t fare quite as well.
3 Bad: Still Can’t Add Custom Music
Next to General Manager Mode, the most requested past feature that fans want to see returned to modern consoles is the ability to add custom music. Unfortunately, that feature is once again missing from WWE 2K20 without any acceptable explanation.
Fire Pro Wrestling: World on the PlayStation 4 has not only proven this is possible but that it’s one of the game’s most popular features. There are so many missing legends from this year’s entry but the ability to recreate them and add their entrance music would have gone a long way in making up for their absence.
2 Good: Improved Weapons Physics
Fans of the Smackdown Vs. Raw and WWE 2K series will remember how well the weapon physics worked in previous entries. However, the weapons like tables and bins in WWE 2K19 seemed to take a real Herculean effort to have them react with wrestlers.
This seems to have been addressed in this year’s entry and tables, in particular, look and feel better when putting an opponent through them in Tables or No DQ matches. They also don’t look like they’re being teleported out of the ring with immediate effect once broken therefore adding some much-needed realism to these events.
1 Bad: Terrible MyCareer Mode Graphics
While there can be some praise for this year’s MyCareer mode having more branching storylines that can last up to twenty hours the same can’t be said for its presentation. The visuals in this mode are so horrific that they are far more terrifying than the obtuse “Bump in the Night” DLC characters.
There doesn’t seem to be any time or effort dedicated to the character models in this mode and they don’t look much better than PlayStation 2 game. We are not even sure that a future patch would be capable of improving what is on display though, as they would have to completely update all of the character models.