WWE 2K20: First impressions and hands-on gameplay from Las Vegas (exclusive)
This past Friday night, just before Friday Night SmackDown, I got to get my hands on the first available playable version of 2K Games' WWE 2K20. So, how was it?
It was.... alllll riiiiight, I guess?
(footage provided by Chris Decker of TheDenkOps)
This was clearly a version of the game minus the inevitable Day One patch - which is totally fine. When a game has both a yearly development cycle and has switched developers (Yuke's has been replaced this year by Visual Concepts - more on that shortly), there's going to be some stumbling along the way. These are the types of games I'm more than willing to be patient with once released, and I'll give them the opportunity to improve as time goes on.
So, let's get the not-so-great out of the way, shall we?
The character models. I know we seem early photos of a few and weren't terribly impressed. Well, in the build I played, most of them were a lot better. It was a little unsettling cycling through all of the wrestlers in a few of the menus and having all of them standing the exact same way. Seriously, it was weird.
They still need some work, which I imagine will be patched in later but, so far, they're on the right track and I like it.
Create-a-championship isn't in the game. Whoa! Put the pitchforks down. The design team has promised it will be readded - as well as some brand new features - as the patches come so it's not a dealbreaker at the moment.
Of course, I didn't get the chance to try any of the online features, so we'll touch on those later on.
The MyCareer, MyPlayer and Showcase modes - as well as the 2K Originals (Bump In The Night was playable in our build) - are all fantastic so far (well... except for the writing. But we'll get to that when the final game comes out). This is where Visual Concepts shines. Bump In The Night is especially fun, especially the missions and matches you need to complete to unlock The Fiend Bray WyattSomeme of these missions are simply a series of matches (albeit ones which offer challenges like reduced health), while others have a story attached to them.
All of them take place in brand new environments that are really a lot of fun. Once again, the Fiend's missions take place in a graveyard, which has a series of weapons strewn about - and, like The Fiend himself, they're really weird and spooky. Take, for instance, the Necronomicon - a giant, frightening book that, when opened towards your opponent, sends a blast of evil purple fire towards them, lighting them aflame.
I asked Lyonell Jenkins, the lead designer of the game for Visual Concepts, about the future DLC Originals, and he assured me that if you enjoy Bump In The Night, you'll love the upcoming releases - but in different ways. Apparently, each one is completely different from the others and will add plenty of replayability to the game.
We'll have the full Interview with Jenkins in the very near future.
The lighting effects are some of the best I've seen in the series so far. While all the character models might not be up to snuff, the lighting and crowd effects are spectacular. The visual effects with the more fantastical weapons featured in Bump In The Night are especially good.
My time was limited with the game, so there's still a lot to check out. It looks like they're embracing the more fun aspects of pro wrestling - even more so - than was done in 2K19, and while, mechanically, this game may not turn out to be any better than last year's, it looks like it'll be as, if not more than, entertaining.
WWE 2K20 will release worldwide on October 22nd. Pre-ordering the game will get you the 2K Originals: Bump In The Night DLC, while the Deluxe Edition includes all four originals. The game will be available on PS4, Xbox One, and PC.