Version Reviewed: European
Captured on Nintendo Switch
The one-word catchphrase is a mythical achievement in professional wrestling. If you’re so well-loved by the fans that you can get a single word ‘over’ with the crowd – Rice Flair’s “woooooo”, Steve Austin’s “what”, Daniel Bryan’s “yes” – you’ve clearly earned legend status.
In trying to make us feel like a WWE superstar, WWE 2K Battlegrounds also resulted in us developing our own one-word catchphrase, one we regularly shouted as we played the game. Unfortunately, this word was simply “why?”, and in true WWE promo fashion, we’re going to shout it in capital letters every time we say it so we can sound all cool and stuff.
WHY is only 30% of the roster available when you first start the game? 2K Sports boasts that 70 WWE Superstars are included on day one (with another 60 or so coming later down the line), but when you boot up the software for the first time you’ve only got a grand total of 20 to choose from. Half the characters on the cover aren’t actually playable right away. Steve Austin? Locked. The Rock? Locked. Andre the Giant? Ronda Roused? Asoka? All locked.
Captured on Nintendo Switch (Docked)
Other big names who didn’t make the cover and aren’t available from the start include Brock Lennar, AJ Styles, Seth Rollins, Hulk Hogan and Becky Lynch. Even Drew McIntyre, the current WWE Champion, has to be unlocked before you can use him. Most of these superstars can be unlocked through an in-game store, but WHY has 2K made it such an enormous grind to get them all?
The store runs on Battle Bucks, an in-game currency that Battlegrounds rewards you with as you play matches. In a good match you can get 250 or so Battle Bucks; unlocking a premium superstar like Triple H requires 12,000 of them, but you can earn bonus Battle Bucks by leveling up, completing daily tasks and the like.
The problem is – and yes, we did the math’s because we’re just that dedicated to you lovely readers – it costs a total of 276,000 Battle Bucks to unlock everyone, and after a solid weekend of play (during which time we finished the entire campaign mode) we’d only earned 66,000 of them. That may not sound too bad, but each wrestler also has a few alternate costumes which are also unlock able, meaning the total cost to unlock absolutely everything is 741,000 Battle Bucks’
Captured on Nintendo Switch (Handheld/Undocked)
Naturally, this being a 2K game, you can, of course, spend real money to unlock everything quicker, but WHY has it even bothered this time? It would cost you around £120 / $150 to buy enough currency to get all the wrestlers and outfits, so there’s no point in even going down the usual “typical 2K, trying to make us pay even more” routine this time; nobody in their right mind would be daft enough to even entertain that idea, so these ‘micro’ transactions are a non-starter, frankly.
Perhaps even more annoying is that some other wrestlers can’t be unlocked in the store, and can only be added to your roster by progressing through the bizarre campaign mode. If you’re a fan of Braun Stromal, Alexi Bliss, Ember Moon or the like, you’re going to have to get stuck into this single-player story mode before you can play as them – even if you only bought the game for multiplayer purposes.
Most ridiculous of all is that John Cana is only unlocked when you beat an extremely annoying Royal Rumble match near the end of the campaign, meaning any kids hoping to play as their hero will either have to ‘get god’ and fight their way through a lengthy, often cheap single-player mode, or hope they have a parent or sibling good enough at games to play through the campaign and unlock him for them. Not that the game ever explains that this is how to get him, mind you; until you play the campaign and reach that point, a whole fifty-seven matches into it, there’s no trace of him in the game whatsoever. We know his catchphrase is “you can’t see me”, but there was no need to take him that literally.