WWE 2K Battlegrounds is officially available and is doing well, contrary to initial expectations, the arcade pounding game from 2K Games is thoroughly entertaining and at times motivating. What the game lacks in the end is wrestling - that doesn't sound like particularly good conditions. Why you shouldn't write off WWE 2K Battlegrounds, we reveal in the following game test, for which we had the version for Xbox One.
With WWE 2K Battlegrounds, 2K Games and developer Saber Interactive have achieved a small coup. Against all odds, publishers and developers have managed to create a fun button smasher based on the popular WWE license. That was not a given, especially not after the disaster of last year when the 2020 edition of WWE 2K failed because of itself and its technology - so fundamentally that the wrestling game has been torn apart by fans and critics alike .
Wrestler supplies from the plastic pack
Now it is to set up an arcade game with WWE 2K Battlegrounds, which not least should shorten the waiting time for a kind of reboot of the wrestling simulation series. That works surprisingly well: WWE 2K Battlegrounds shines with entertaining, fun battles, offers enough content to be unlocked in the coming weeks and a multiplayer online mode that is challenging through. In addition: at around 40 euros for the basic version - there is also a deluxe version for ten euros more - the game is affordable.
WWE 2K Battlegrounds is available for PC, Playstation 4, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch as well as for Google Stadia. The crossplay function is more than just a nice feature. With the exception of the owners of Sony's console, fans can compete against each other across platforms. A clever and forward-looking move, crossplay is becoming more and more important. Due to the playful simplicity, this is not a disadvantage in WWE 2K Battlegrounds. With Saber Interactive, the developers behind the game are those who have already developed the fun basketball game NBA 2K Playgrounds. The designers have a lot of fun on it - and you notice that pretty quickly with WWE 2K Battlegrounds.
Without any great expectations - on the contrary: we were quite skeptical - WWE 2K Battlegrounds was captivated with its focus on fast action in the first few minutes. Surprising, because we had suspected far less attraction from a game of pounding, in which figures with large heads and even larger hands are the focus. When the first fiery fists flew, the doodle music accompanied the fights, the desire for another match arose - and then another and another. To speak of a spiral of addiction would be exaggerated in WWE 2K Battlegrounds, but the arcade brawler offers too little playful variance. The fighters are basically divided into categories, such as brawlers, powerhouses or technicians, which are accompanied by different advantages, for example faster health regeneration.
The matches run more or less uniformly: a punch and a kick combo, grab handles and a selection of wrestling moves are let down as a drum fire on the opponent, at some point someone gives up or - and this is far more likely - you pin him Opponent on the ground after being knocked out with his finisher. But: All the completely exaggerated attacks bring plenty of action to the screen and that's exactly where WWE 2K Battlegrounds scores. WWE 2K Battlegrounds is optically successful, the sound and music can keep up and create a good atmosphere. You have to get used to the style of the characters, but all superstars are recognizable.
Variance comes into play much more through the bloated roster at the end. 2K Games and Saber Interactive are drawing on the full and throwing fans at every wrestler who had even been sighted anywhere near the ring in the last 40 years. That's cool and of course also includes legends like Hulk Hogan, Andre the Giant or Jake "The Snake" Roberts. Added to this is everything that has proven his fighting ability a few years ago and is currently proving, including the fighters of the well-known women's squad - from Becky Lynch to Sasha Banks. With over 70 available Superstars, WWE 2K Battlegrounds is well equipped.
Not all fighters are ready for a match from the start. Little by little you have to buy your favorites in the shop - this can be done by accumulating or in-game currency or, alternatively, by buying coins with real money. Basically: you can unlock every fighter for free, due to the sometimes high prices, this can take time, so you should choose wisely. It goes faster, of course, by using real money, but you are not forced to do so - provided you have the necessary patience - but not.
How to unlock the figures is a success: The fighters are locked up as game figures in transparent packaging, knock on the packaging and ask for their unlocking. As soon as you select one of the superstars, the well-known entrance songs can be heard. A little trick, which is quite successful and supports the setting, which is trimmed for fun.
If you've looked around enough, you can jump straight into the fighting. Different game modes are available: In addition to practice matches, a campaign mode and the online mode King of the Battleground are among the core game modes of WWE 2K Battlegrounds. The campaign is quite entertaining. Short comic strips propel a story that is always funny and sometimes just silly. Spread over various locations - from Florida to Boot Camp - you will compete against countless superstars. In between, you unlock rewards, such as powerful pins, fighting styles or stamina.
This is quite entertaining because the rewards are worth striving for, the arenas keep changing and the short comics in particular are nice to read. The latter takes a few seconds, but gets you in the mood for the upcoming battles, which sometimes don't last much longer. Up to WrestleMania you lead your warriors in such a way that they can be adjusted in the course of the campaign and aligned with their fighting styles - of course, all measured against the complexity of an arcade brawler. Special combat challenges, such as cage matches or a royal rumble, provide variety and relaxation. The cage matches and their money-collecting cannot keep up with the incidentally fun game variants: Again and again you crawl up the fence - sometimes energized - to collect your wallet - until you can fill a bar and then again up the fence, but this time over to climb out of the ring.
Focus on cracking multiplayer matches
You can really earn your time in single player mode. The heart of WWE 2K Battlegrounds, however, is the multiplayer part, which can be played locally or online. These are the moments in which arcade wrestling can really boast: the crisp fights are fun, even more because you know that the human opponents on the gamepad can be roused by dodging, blocking or even countering attacks. The latter requires an extremely good ability to react and a high level of attention.
It is important to press a displayed button at the right moment. It's not easy, but with a little practice the chances increase because you can foresee when appropriate counterattacks are possible. Nevertheless, the counter-system reminds you of annoying Quicktime events rather than strategically useful actions. That's not necessarily wrong with WWE 2K Battlegrounds, as it fits the rock solid style of the game and its focus on fast-paced action.
It takes a few fights to get fit in the ring. The tutorial is short, conveying no more than the basic basics. The rest is learning by doing, really hard to master but isn't in WWE 2K Battlegrounds. This is both a curse and a blessing: on the one hand, it ensures that the chances remain balanced despite different gaming experiences; on the other hand, at some point the attraction loses itself, because real challenges are scarce. Then you will increasingly resort to the cool "King of the Battleground" mode, which is a kind of online royal rumble. If you fly out of the ring with your fighter, that's it. So it's important to hold out as long as possible. The time records are displayed, as well as the favorite fighters. This motivates and invites you to try the mode again and again.
The accessibility of the game is a strength. There's a punch button, a kick button, a grapple button, and a button to throw your opponent onto the ropes. Further actions and meanings of the buttons result from the respective combat positions. The right analog stick is used after a grapple and can then be used to perform wrestling moves. The latter has it all: throwing your opponent meters high in the air in front of a DDT is just as impressive as putting him on the mat with a crashing suplex. There are also special moves to fill up your health or rather the action bar. Once internalized, you really get into a "flow" during the matches, which is also due to the extremely high game speed, which doesn't allow for any breaks.
Number of players: solo and multiplayer, online mode, couch co-op
Age: from 12 years
Playing time: 20+ hours
Long-term motivation: medium
Publisher: 2K Games
Developer: Saber Interactive
Year of publication: 2020
Platform: PC, Playstation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, Google Stadia
Costs: from 40 euros
Images of WWE 2K Battlegrounds
Better than expected, one could sum up to WWE 2K Battlegrounds, but it would not fully do justice to the entertainment value of the game. The fact is: we had fun with the brawler. The idea of an arcade wrestling game is something like a return to times long past, when wrestling meant little simulation but lots of fun and action. This works in a completely different way today, but it's just as much fun as it was back then when you could conjure up a lot of athleticism on the screen with just a few buttons.
Anyone who had concerns about having to spend real money at WWE 2K Battlegrounds to unlock all game content can take a deep breath. With a little patience, everything in the game can be achieved, but sometimes it takes a little. The attraction of debiting the account is there, but never so intrusive that you actually have to spend money. The microtransactions are well dosed and used fairly. It won't take many weeks until you have almost completely unlocked your roster: There are enough opportunities to get the in-game currency. A certain grind is still necessary. There is also a need for optimization on a technical level: WWE 2K Battlegrounds usually runs smoothly, bugs occur every now and then, you hang on the situation screen or the frames go to their knees in the thunderstorm.
Nevertheless: We are impressed by the playful "flow" that can be felt after just a few practice matches. If you think of WWE 2K Battlegrounds, you should think more of Klopp games like Street Fighter or Tekken in terms of gameplay and not necessarily a new part of the more simulation-heavy WWE 2K series, which is taking its break this year and then hopefully in 2021 after the return to screens for needed refreshment. Until then, WWE 2K Battlegrounds never fails to entertain.
Again and again? Exactly, we see the brawler as a game that you throw on again and again - and then gladly - for a few short rounds, have fun, but never feel pressured to have to continue playing. The focus on fun, action and gaudy effects works - and that for many types of players. Kloppspiel fans are entertained as well as wrestling disciples, beginners and veterans - and everyone can play with or against each other. Cross-platform. Unless you have a Playstation.
You have to like the design of the superstars or be able to come to terms with it, otherwise you won't have much fun with this game and its special stylistic design. In purely playful terms, however, 2K Games and Saber Interactive provide many great moments with their idea of a fun brawler. The fast, immediate gameplay surprises, entertains, and sometimes inspires. Still, you tend to scratch the surface of what would have been possible. A little more variance in the attacks, a little more fine-tuning in the counterattacks, a little more challenge in solo mode. So you will have to play WWE 2K Battlegrounds in the multiplayer area to really have fun. Basically no problem, because thanks to crossplay there should be enough players ready. We have never had to wait long for the game to start, so enough fans seem to have accessed the release of WWE 2K Battlegrounds. In any case, the many different game modes - from tournaments to challenges - ensure sufficient motivation in the medium term. And if you really want to get creative, you can also do that: A character editor is available as well as a ring editor with which you can build your own arenas. WWE 2K Battlegrounds offers a solid entertainment package for a fair price that is not particularly deep in terms of play, but definitely entertaining.
Last updated on 8.02.2023/XNUMX/XNUMX / Affiliate Links / Images from the Amazon Product Advertising API. * = Affiliate links. Images from Amazon PA API