The pressure for 2K Games to improve their franchises every single year is remarkably high, but somehow they always manage to find a fresh and unique way to deliver their titles and they have done so again with WWE 2K20.
talkSPORT was invited to play the game ahead of its worldwide release on October 22 and we spent a good chunk of time getting to grips with the brand new career mode, but the game has plenty more to digest.
2KBecky Lynch and Roman Reigns are he cover stars for WWE 2k20
This year’s showcase features the rise of the Four Horsewomen – Charlotte Flair, Sasha Banks, Bayley and Becky Lynch. This is also the very first year you can play the career mode with a female character and, lest we forget, Becky Lynch is on the cover with Roman Reigns. It’s the first time since 2K took over the franchise that a woman has donned the cover.
If WWE’s ending to Hell in a Cell was tone-deaf, 2K are the polar opposite. 2K has chosen to celebrate and highlight the significant strides women have made in wrestling over the past few years and it’s wonderfully executed.
2K’s representation of women in this game is a triumph.
WWEThe four horsewomen of WWE – Charlotte Flair, Bayley, Sasha Banks and Becky Lynch
When you look at the achievements of the Four Horsewomen and what they’ve meant to the growth of the industry, it’s fitting that on the year where women main evented WrestleMania for the first time, 2K recognised it was time they spotlighted them too.
While I’ll get on to how this affects the career mode, 2K had trod the path of trying out in NXT for a fair few years before breaking the mould again last year with the independent circuit.
This time around, it’s not a linear story. You’re essentially working your way backwards from your character’s Hall of Fame speeches, but you don’t just pick whether you want to be a male or female star – you’re both! To avoid gender confusion, I’m saying you have both a male and female character in career mode.
Let’s look at what’s new this year:The Women’s Evolution Showcase
I played the first couple of matches here and it was very cool to see how much it meant to all the ladies. For anyone who has played the showcase before – with Roman Reigns or Daniel Bryan for example – you get to replay milestone matches and the superstar gives you insight in-between. I can’t think of a better possible showcase than this.MyCareer
As mentioned prior, this is the first time you can play as a woman in MyCareer and it’s a super strong debut. While the narrative is all about following their dreams and checking off a list, the female character is certainly presented as strong, determined and powerful. The male character is almost being led by the female and while I instinctively thought I wouldn’t enjoy guiding a perceived ‘weaker’ character in the male, I found the whole dynamic very refreshing.
The cut-scenes are vast, diverse and filled with the most voiceovers and characters in the franchise’s history. In the opening few scenes I had met AJ Styles, Natalya, X-Pac and many other fictional characters for an expansive story.
While the dreamy dialogue wasn’t my cup of tea at times, I appreciate what it was setting the table for and I found myself invested quickly. And that’s one thing 2K has done perfectly well once again – MyCareer is a totally original story and experience that you just have to explore.New game modes and controls
The new controls are designed to help new players adjust quicker and make things smoother for even a seasoned player. I must admit, pressing triangle/Y to reverse a move felt weird at first but after a few matches it felt much more fluid to me. It seems like a smart adjustment.
2K Towers returns and this year there is a story-driven tower centred around the other cover star, Roman Reigns. Mixed Tag matches make their debut in the 2K franchise and there is even more multi-person matches than ever before for utter chaos – my favourite.
2KMix tag action makes its way to 2KOnline
2K has acknowledged that playing online hasn’t always been easy. Entering lobbies and failing to find people to play with was an ongoing issue, but that’s been addressed now.
Players can now just hit quick play and enter the nearest available lobby – which could be any match type at all – or they can create their own specific match types and wait for others to join. The home lobby will show these created matches in chronological order so there should never be too long of a wait to play.
You can also decide if you want to play against edited/created superstars or just the regular 2K made stars.WWE 2K20 Originals: Bump in the Night is the first Originals DLC pack
With this you get Bray Wyatt ‘The Fiend’. That should be all the incentive you need. I will be getting it solely on that premise! But, for those of you who like to know what you’re buying…
The 2K Originals series each has its own unique theme and content including a new Showcase Episode featuring new arenas, Superstars, Story Towers, unlockable character parts, arenas, and so on. For the first DLC, all of the aforementioned things get a spooky twist.
Although I didn’t play ‘Bump in the Night’, it is essentially 2K in zombie mode! I use the exclamation point because I personally love zombie games. It’s an interesting twist that will cater to a certain market for sure. It’s all good fun.
2KHulk Hogan has made his return to WWE 2KWWE Universe mode
Universe mode has become increasingly popular with fans over the past few years as fans love crafting their own stories and rivalries.
This year, 2K has given fans more tools than ever to create. They’ve recognised that cut-scenes and out-of-ring elements are important to this mode, so they’ve worked hard to give a truly extensive array of options in that area.Roster
We know at this point there are 115 characters in the game spanning men, women and legends. That number is likely to increase with alternate versions of characters from different eras and indeed DLC content.
The roster reveal is HERE. Although the ratings aren’t attached, several have been revealed in various videos, including a few with UpUpDownDown. Becky Lynch is a 90 and Roman Reigns is a 92, and we also know that Sasha Banks is an 80 – something she was not happy about!
As usual, this is the largest roster in the history of WWE games. However, names like NXT Cruiserweight champion Lio Rush, NXT UK champion Walter, Killian Dain and Kushida are not on the game. One has to think a DLC pack will be coming with at least some of them involved.Overall
For me, this is a timely evolution of the franchise in keeping with today’s climate. It strikes all the right notes from a tone perspective and, most vitally, they have kept the actual gameplay nice and smooth. Even getting in and out of the ring now appears infinitely more realistic and fluid.
The mechanics of the game should always take precedence and 2K have kept that in mind while making bold, creative changes. This is the kind of game that fans have wanted to play for so long and many female fans will be encouraged.
2KYou can play as both male and female characters this year in WWE 2K20
At the game’s heart, it’s entertaining and fresh. It’s not easy to reinvent a title every single year, but I feel like 2K couldn’t have gone in a more perfect direction at this time. Given the mammoth roster and creative elements that come with creating or editing the stars with haircuts to movesets and the smallest details that can be tampered with, this really is a wrestling fan’s dream.
Would I like MyGM mode? Who wouldn’t? Would I like to be able to upload my own music? Also yes. But that doesn’t detract from what a progressive game this is.
This title is in tune with its audience and totally gets what a wrestling fan wants.