Posted September 14, 2020 by David Latham in Feature

WWE 2K Battlegrounds Hands-On Preview

WWE 2K Battlegrounds launches on the 18th of September 2020 and 2K has provided us with access to a hands-on preview build to check out some of the core features of the upcoming arcade WWE wrestling game. We throw bikes and drop cars on WWE Superstars including The Rock, Daniel Bryan and the recently returned Rated R Superstar Edge in this over-the-top action packed brawl to bring you our opinions on whether this game is worthy of your time.

Rocket Chainsaw has been following WWE 2K Battlegrounds‘ development since it was first announced, most recently covering the announcement of Hall of Famer Jerry ‘the King’ Lawler and Mauro Ranallo as the official commentators.

In the WWE 2K Battlegrounds hands-on preview build that we got to play with over the past few days, we had access to two match modes: Cage Match and Fatal Four Way. There were a handful of female wrestlers including Ronda Rousey and Sasha Banks, and almost ten male wrestlers including hall of famers like Stone Cold Steve Austin and Andre the Giant, as well as current WWE superstars The Fiend Bray Wyatt and Xavier Woods. This allowed us to test out the different classes of wrestlers, which is where you may be surprised to learn that WWE 2K Battlegrounds is more complex than it first appears.

WWE 2K Battlegrounds Hands-on

From first glance, the game looks like a button mashing brawler but upon closer inspection WWE 2K Battlegrounds is so much more. Choose from a powerhouse, technician, high-flyer, brawler or all-rounder, with each class providing unique combos and moves that have both advantages and disadvantages over other classes. While you can just pick up and play WWE 2K Battlegrounds, don’t expect to be an instant pro. Your character has the typical meters that you need to keep an eye on, and expect your favourite superstars’ signature and finisher moves to be completely over-the-top as characters go flying through the air in stunts that should definitely not be tried at home. There’s also a tiered power-up system which grants you a unique ability during a match such as a health replenishment or a power-up that makes it easier for you to win by pin or submission.

While the WWE 2K Battlegrounds hands-on preview build was locked to just two game modes, 2K has assured us the game will have plenty of content at launch including a full procedurally generated career mode that will be unique to each wrestler and player. Every victory unlocks items that can be used in various parts of the game, or even characters. The game also has an in-game currency that can be used to buy more items and characters, and 2K has promised that every WWE Superstar in WWE 2K Battlegrounds will be purchasable with this in-game currency which you do not need to spend real money on if you don’t want to.

WWE 2K Battlegrounds Hands-On

The launch roster includes 70 WWE Superstars while a further 63 have already been confirmed post-launch. We struggled to find talent that wasn’t included in this massive list, though we did notice there was no Vince McMahon or Paul Heyman despite them featuring in the game’s story. It would be nice to get a vintage McMahon and perhaps an Eric Bischoff, and even some more of the old WCW talent, and what WWE game wouldn’t be complete without a 1998 Kane? We’re also hoping for newer stars to be added such as Keith Lee and whoever the Retribution faction turns out to be.

The Fatal Four Way match is full of hectic fun both in and out of the ring. In the preview build, we had access to The Everglades and the Auto Shop environments which have exclusive interactable objects such as a hungry alligator and explosive barrels. The interactive objects actually required more precision than we would have thought, and often when we tried to throw the opponent into the alligator it was our wrestler that got bit. The 2v2 Cage Match on the other hand was fairly restrictive and difficult to win with a partner that was sometimes completely unresponsive, a bug that will hopefully be patched out at launch. Several more environments or arenas will be available at launch, and there is also an option to create your own!

WWE 2K Battlegrounds Hands-On

Speaking of creating your own, what wrestling game wouldn’t be complete without a Create-A-Wrestler mode? WWE 2K Battlegrounds has a full CAW experience allowing you to make your very own superstar. We look forward to seeing all kinds of wacky creations as well as perhaps some past WWE Superstars and wrestlers from other organisations, and how players will go about creating them with the arcade-style graphics.

WWE 2K Battlegrounds is a break from the yearly slog of WWE 2K games and aims to be more of a fun living-room multiplayer game that has its own competitive online style. It won’t have every single wrestler, arena or belt, it won’t have everything you may have expected from the games each year, but it will bring something new to the table and should bring a lot of ‘Wow!’ moments to your screen. The game is launching on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch and Windows PC at a lower entry retail price of $69.95 AUD so we expect it to be on sale for around $49 before the end of the year. At this stage 2K have not confirmed whether the game will receive the next-gen treatment, though launching this late into the year we’d be surprised if it’s not at least compatible with the Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5.

WWE 2K Battlegrounds Hands-On

Stay tuned to Rocket Chainsaw for a full review of WWE 2K Battlegrounds later this week, and for more information head to the official website.

David Latham

David has a Bachelor of Arts (Journalism) from a Group of Eight university, but only uses his very unique set of skills writing about video games. By day he's a stay-at-home dad, by night he's literally Batman. Where does he find the time?