The traditional WWE 2K series may be taking a break this year, but all is not lost in video game land for wrestling fans. WWE 2K Battlegrounds by Saber interactive is an arcade-style party fighting game. In short, its more Super Smash Bros. than Street Fighter V.
It will be released on September 18th for PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PC. Pre-orders are available right now (and include Edge).
2K was gracious enough to give team EFG a chance to play an early build of the game so we could have a turn with the insane multiplayer action.
The Family That Brawls Together…
Anyone looking for a complex, technical fighting experience should probably look elsewhere. Battlegrounds is designed from the top down to simplify the fighting experience as much as possible. All of your attacks, throws, and special moves can be completed with a handful of button presses. This is perfect considering the game’s casual focus.
We had four players in our demo of varying skill levels and all of us felt competitive in the matches we played. It took almost no time to pick up the controls and rain down havoc on each other. It was glorious.
Let’s Get Bananas
I’ve played a lot of wrestling games in my time, and all of my favorites have been the games that lean into the absurdity of WWE programming. I knew that this was going to be a good fit as soon as my sun button-mashed and inadvertently tossed me into an alligator’s snapping jaws.
Every match we played included at least one improbably insane moment. My wife played as the Rock (because OF COURSE she did) and threw me under a car that had been lifted, only to knock it down on my Xavier Woods. I was also reminded that Stephanie McMahon uses the Pedigree as her finisher when she caught me on fire while using it.
The final version of the game will include both more crazy levels and more superstars so I’m certain that the madness doesn’t stop here (and we can’t wait).
The full game will be loaded with different game modes, but our preview included two of them. We got a chance to play the Fatal Four Way and the 2v2 Cage Match.
Our favorite between the two of them was the Fatal Four Way. It was partially because of the wild shenanigans that we could all pull while fighting three different players.
The cage match was a bit of a different story. In “real” WWE a cage match awards the victory to whoever climbs out of the cage first. That wouldn’t make sense in a non-scripted competition. Saber Interactive makes up for that by having you try to fill up a “money” meter to earn your way out of the ring. We struggled because of the need to escape. It disincentivizes fighting. and forces us to try and escape combat whenever possible (which is complicated in a game without a ton of movement options inside the cage).
Our Not-So-Final Final Conclusions
We haven’t played anywhere near enough of the game to review it. But, we have played enough that we think there is something here. WWE fans that love to laugh while they throw their friends around a digital ring will definitely want to keep an eye on this one.
What do you think? Sound off in the comments and let us know your thoughts!
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