- Genre: Fighting, Sports
- Platforms: Xbox Series X/S/One, PS4, PS5, Nintendo Switch
- Developer | Publisher: 2K
- Age Rating: PEGI 12 |ESRB: Rated T for Teen
- Price: UK £34.99 |US $39.99
- Release Date: 18th of September 2020
In a sense you could go down the WWE (F) No Mercy route, though it wouldn’t be a good comparison. Battlegrounds is pretty much a WWE All Stars sequel – over the top fun, with outrageous and outlandish moves that you will never be able to pull off in real life. There is no complexity with the controls. Each button has a corresponding move, for example X is punch, Y is kick. Continue to hit X or Y three times you will get a combo of punches or kicks. Up, down, left or right with the right stick and pressing A at the same time will enable you to perform a grapple type move, be that a suplex, powerbomb or some kind of Samoan drop.
Over the course of the match you will build up momentum. You get little prompts such as to perform a counter, which will give you 130 points to help build up the momentum so you can use one of your skills. Skills are useful for dealing extra damage for a short period of time, or leveraging a pin to make it harder for your opponent to kick out. It’s quite fun, yet feels rather limited. Once you’ve seen the pretty thrills and moves you expect from a superhero movie, you are pretty much done.
There are plenty of game modes too, with the Battlegrounds boasting a campaign, fan favourite Royal Rumble, tornado tag team, steel cage, triple threat, fatal 4 way, tag team, gauntlet, and finally one on one. You do have online play too, which is cross-platform if you want it to be.
Believe it or not it, there is a story. In campaign mode, players fill the shoes of Bolo Reynolds, a food-delivery cyclist from New York. Prior to that, Vince McMahon proposes the idea to form a new brand, Battlegrounds, consisting of amateur wrestlers pitted against the current crop of superstars in the WWE. Paul Heyman is given the job of bringing this new brand to life. A phone call brings in the rattlesnake, Stone Cold Steve Austin, as a recruiter, and this is where Bolo Reynolds comes in.
Over the course of the 118 missions and matches you will experience a WWE storyline, making enemies with Superstars like Samoa Joe or Kevin Owens for upcoming matches, and even superstars such as Baron Corbin. You do get other wrestlers from the past pop up too.
It’s pretty generic story, which isn’t worth any cop either. You can tell the story was written for the campaign was half-arsed, and was no doubt penned by the creative team in WWE rather than 2K themselves. Again, you aren’t buying Battlegrounds for the campaign, you are getting it simply for the fun, quick pick up and play with a beer to unwind and this game does that.
Graphics, Sound, and Performance
I really like the music in between the menus. Some are pretty cool, such as rock or metal type genres which are grand. Visually it looks fine too, with no real issues. If you played WWE All Stars, you’ll know that it just didn’t take itself seriously, and neither does Battlegrounds. The visuals are ideal for the game they have set out here, so no complaints with that.
Throughout the course of playing I have had no issues with performance dropping. Very stable, fun, and over-the-top action is the game’s main selling point. I will add that the superstar theme music is top notch as per usual. From Stone Cold and The Rock to present superstars as Drew McIntyre, Kevin Owens, Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns, it’s all good.
You can change the difficulty as desired. I played on normal and didn’t really need to bother with much else. When you nail the timing for counter reversals, you are going to be a force to be reckoned with like Brock Lesnar.
Playing on hard was fun when selecting royal rumble. You can only have 4 wrestlers at a time in the ring when playing Royal Rumble, which kind of sucks a bit. I like it when the ring is full of wrestlers/superstars as it’s so unpredictable and you can guarantee chaos is abound.
I got the game quite cheap, thanks to a good sale. I’m glad I paid the price I did and if I had purchased it at launch at full price, think I would have been sorely disappointed. Battlegrounds doesn’t exactly bring anything new to the table. For a WWE game as of late, it’s by far the best WWE game released in the last 7, maybe 8 years. I’m very surprised that they didn’t call it WWE All Stars 2, as everything about it screams All Stars. All Stars was a brilliant game that brought much laughter when playing matches with friends. Battlegrounds will do that too, but it’s not quite the same and I cannot put my finger on why.
If you want a quick game to 1000GS or Platinum trophy on PlayStation, there are only 13 achievements and they aren’t difficult either. It’s a good one to play if you are an avid, 100% completionist.
WWE Battlegrounds is a fun little romp, though far too repetitive and it didn’t have anything unique really going for it. With the disaster that was WWE 2K20, Battlegrounds is just a filler title, a stop gap for WWE 2K22 perhaps. I wouldn’t go in thinking that this game is going to be outstanding, as it isn’t. However, it is funny and with everything they have done, it fits the bill regarding the direction they wanted to take this game. I’m just confused as to why they didn’t look at WWE All Stars, which was applauded across the board, and go with a sequel in all honesty.