After the launch of the bug-filled WWE 2K20 last year, 2K Games has pivoted away from its yearly release of the simulation-based wrestling series to present WWE 2K Battlegrounds, something so vastly different from its predecessors that it feels like taking a double-arm DDT through an announcer’s table. Is that necessarily a bad thing? Well, the DDT is, but temporarily stepping away from simulation gaming is not by any means.
WWE Battlegrounds attempts to leverage the button-mashing beat-’em-up formula, with a bunch of party gaming elements thrown in. It’s much more of an arcade-style romp akin to 2011’s WWE All Stars. The characters are stylized, look cartoonish, and over-the-top, and the arenas–or Battlegrounds–are the same way. While the way to end most matches is still by submission or pinfall, the journey to get there is quite a bit different.
During a 2K Games preview event, we got to play a limited build of the game, with access to two types of matches–2v2 Steel Cage and Fatal 4-Way–and 15 WWE superstars–four women and 11 men all from various eras of WWE. The final game will also have Campaign, Tournament, King of the Battleground, Battleground Challenge, and Create-A-Wrestler modes as well.