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    Friday, November 8, 2019

    Play Henry: The WWE 2K20 Review

    When WWE 2K20 was released a few weeks ago, fans of the franchise could smell the car wreck coming from a mile away. Websites and vlogs came out with "honest reviews" of the game and for the most part, they didn't pull any punches about how the quality of the game just took a huge nosedive following the departure of Yuke's as the game developer.

    Here's the thing. I'm not going to ride the bandwagon and label this an honest review because if I did, then would that mean that all the other reviews on Smark Henry aren't honest? A review's a review and, well, I'll promise not to throw a worked punch.

    *cracks knuckles*

    Here we go.

    WWE 2K20 focuses on the Women's Evolution, particularly with Becky Lynch as one of the game's cover Superstars, and you'll feel that from the get-go. It blows my mind that Becky is the first female Superstar ever to even hit a rating of 90 and above, which says a lot about how female Superstars have been presented on TV and how that's affected the perception of them from fans and gamers alike. You could make an argument for the rise of women's wrestling towards the mainstream influencing this and I won't shoot it down either. Point is, yay! Women finally getting the respect they deserve in video games!

    The Four Horsewomen's impact is felt throughout 2K Showcase mode, which should be a fun game mode to get through, if not for the game's many glitches. The thing about the 2K Showcase and Towers Mode—which also makes a return this year—is that you have to hit certain moves/spots to clear a match. And when gameplay is glitchy and controls are difficult to master, then the experience becomes more frustrating than rewarding. Instead of me reminiscing fondly on the epic Fatal 4-Way between the Horsewomen at one TakeOver: Rival, I end up focusing too much on how to hit a certain move on a particular opponent without getting derailed.

    MyCareer mode doubles down on an actual story, which is equal parts of rom-com and sports drama. I was a huge fan of this when NBA 2K decided to write an actual story into MyCareer mode a few years ago. But as the years have gone by, I've grown tired of just watching these cut scenes and walking down what's looked like a predetermined path. The fun in MyCareer mode has always been in going your own way and literally living out your career.

    Instead, you're forced to relive someone else's road to the Hall of Fame (twice) because you've got a story between a male and female Create-A-Wrestler that you have to get through before the really fun stuff happens. What's weird is you already know how the story ends: your CAWs end up in the Hall of Fame. So what's the point in contending for all these championships and achieving all these objectives when you know what happens in the end?

    Towers Mode goes full horror this year with the Bump in the Night DLC, which was the first downloadable pack that went live for 2K20. I'm actually not sure what to make of this because on one hand, I like how it opens up new arenas for brawls like a fucking graveyard or new weapons like an actual, literal tombstone. Imagine smashing that on an opponent's noggin.

    But on the other hand, I was never a big fan of the horror genre so seeing Bray Wyatt reincarnated as "The Swampfather" Bray Wyatt sending out Wicked Aleister Black, Unleashed Randy Orton, FrankenStrowman, and a host of other demented versions of WWE Superstars, against the... actual demon in "Demon King" Finn Bálor did nothing for me. If anything, I just wanted to get through the different towers in Bump in the Night so I could get The Fiend.

    If there was one consolation in all of this, it's that 2K perfected The Fiend from his entrance to his moveset to how fun it is to go apeshit when you let him in and play as this version of Bray Wyatt in the game.

    I already mentioned the glitches—and frankly, so has the rest of the internet—so without echoing what's already out there, let me just add that while the glitches can be hilarious, they're just downright annoying when all you want to do is achieve the objectives so you can unlock The Fiend or a hallowed arena like Halloween Havoc.

    The bigger issue in terms of gameplay is the unnecessary reconfiguration of controls. It's hard enough having to deal with glitchy A.I. and gameplay. Having to remember that the old finisher button is now the counter button just adds to the annoyance. I'm also not a fan of the finisher button being changed from the triangle button on the PS4 to a combo press of the square and cross/X buttons because of how unergonomic that is. I get the point of challenging oneself through difficult experiences and all, but how is this change necessary???

    Having to learn and re-learn basic controls is frustrating when you realize that 2K20 is essentially the same game with an updated roster, derpy character models, and worse graphics because of the Yuke's debacle. If you're getting the game—and if you have been so used to the controls of the franchise's previous iterations—then you're in for a bit of a learning curve as you try to unlearn some of the old combos and patterns you'd grown accustomed to.

    Now that we're a couple of weeks removed from the release date, the question is, even with the first patch out, is WWE 2K20 worth shelling out for on full price? I can't bring myself to say yes because the game just isn't satisfying enough to get enough bang for your buck. I'd honestly recommend that you stick to 2K19 for now, like what our SGQ and Play Henry columnist Migz Llado has done for the debut of his new semi-regular column.

    If you really can't wait to play as Tommaso Ciampa or Nikki Cross—who are finally in the game—or any of the new additions to this year's roster, then you might be better off waiting for the Black Friday sale on Steam or the Christmas sale at your local video game retailers here in the Philippines.

    Rating: 3/10 Fiends

    Screenshots from 2K 

    A PS4 copy of the game was provided to Smark Henry for review.


    Stan Sy (@_StanSy) is the Editor at Large of Smark Henry, and is also a radio DJ on Wave 89.1, an events host, a freelance writer, and one of the hosts of The Smark Gilas-Pilipinas Podcast. He also used to be one of the hosts and writers of The Wrestling Gods on FOX. He enjoys watching WWE, NXTLucha Underground, and the occasional New Japan match. You can ask him questions about wrestling, Survivor (yes, the reality show), or whatever you like on his CuriousCat account.

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    Item Reviewed: Play Henry: The WWE 2K20 Review Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Stan Sy
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