Review

WWE 2K20 Review: Botchamania

  • First Released Oct 22, 2019
    released
  • PS4

Here comes the pain.

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WWE 2K20 feels like a transitional entry in 2K's pro wrestling series. With longtime developer Yukes splitting from 2K in August this year, Visual Concepts took over sole development of the series after the two developers previously worked on the games together. The end result is a buggy mess of a game that takes several Big Show-sized steps backwards from its predecessor. It doesn't just lower the bar, it breaks it.

The problems begin with the sheer abundance of bugs and glitches found in almost every match and menu screen in 2K20--it borders on the absurd. I've seen superstars teleport across the ring and float in midair. Oftentimes objects will violently vibrate on the spot or sink into the floor. Characters have a tendency to get trapped inside the ropes, whereby their bodies will stretch and contort in ways the human body isn't supposed to. Sometimes wrestlers are invisible in cutscenes or duplicated in matches. Other times they'll completely stop moving, forcing you to restart the match over again. If you put a custom logo on your created wrestler, the game will crash whenever you try to start the MyCareer mode--this is something I frequently experienced and also has been widely reported as an issue. It will also crash if you try to create an arena, or during loading screens for no reason at all. Commentary will suddenly become fixated on talking about attacks to the core, even if you're hitting your opponent in the head, while every online match begins with around a minute of lag that's so bad the in-ring action resembles a slideshow.

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Not all of these issues are entirely new considering the series has been riddled with glitches for a number of years now. But their pervasiveness is much more frequent in 2K20, with some kind of bug appearing in near enough every match if you're unlucky enough. Obviously, your mileage will vary when it comes to technical issues like this, but with the plethora of glitches lurking in every nook and cranny of 2K20, it's a matter of when you'll be afflicted and not if. Some of these glitches are hilarious, there's no denying that, but it doesn't take long before they lose their charm--even if they do add a goofy element of entertainment to matches that are painfully dull otherwise.

This is because the actual wrestling in 2K20 is significantly worse than it has been in previous years. The only new addition to gameplay is a reworking of the controls that makes it slightly less cumbersome to perform certain actions. Beyond this, the in-ring action is still overly-reliant on a binary reversal system and plodding combat. It's an acquired taste, for sure, and it's been solid enough in the past, but 2K20 undoes all of that goodwill by removing any semblance of the series' previous competence. Targeting and hitboxes are frequently terrible, resulting in numerous whiffs between both yourself and the AI, particularly when weapons are involved. The controls are unresponsive a lot of the time, and sometimes the reversal prompt will just refuse to appear. The AI will also occasionally forget it's in a wrestling match and stand still for 10 seconds at a time, or it will continuously run into things and wind up jogging on the spot until you bother to interrupt it. Some of the animations look good, but they're mostly stitched together with missing frames that just make everything feel slightly off. There's no real flow to the combat either, or any sense of hair-raising momentum. Matches are lifeless affairs that lack any sort of excitement, falling into the category of being either mind-numbingly boring or incredibly frustrating.

In terms of game modes, this year's MyCareer puts you in the laced-up wrestling boots of platonic best friends Tre and Red. The story begins with the pair reminiscing about their wrestling careers before they're inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame, charting a course from high school to the main event of WrestleMania 2029 as they try to complete a literal to-do list of WWE dreams. The writing in MyCareer falls into a lot of the same pitfalls as modern WWE shows, presenting smug, unlikeable babyfaces that continually make poor decisions and lack any sort of depth or character development. Red is the angry hothead with lines like "I'm going to give your grandmother bed sores!", while Tre is an idiot who turns everything he says into a painful joke. Wrestling is inherently corny, but the writing in 2K20 is often insufferable, and its protagonists are impossible to care about.

The writing in MyCareer falls into a lot of the same pitfalls as modern WWE, presenting smug, unlikeable babyfaces that continually make poor decisions and lack any sort of depth or character development

MyCareer is at its best when you're interacting with current WWE superstars. Samoa Joe turns in an excellent performance as one of Tre's main rivals, and there's a delightful scene with Broken Matt Hardy when you're on a journey into the underworld to find the Undertaker. While the characters we see on TV each week are confined to the realms of reality, the writers on 2K20 are able to indulge in otherworldly fantasy elements and play around with the WWE's more eccentric personas. These moments are few and far between, though, and it takes far too long before you eventually reach the WWE. The first few hours of MyCareer are spent fighting on the indies in meaningless matches where the focus is entirely on Tre and Red and the inconsequential secrets they're hiding from each other, while the final act centers on Red's boring rivalry with her old school bully. The story's overlong and just drags for the vast majority of its runtime, making it a chore to play through.

Character progression is another sticking point in MyCareer, both in regards to customizing your characters and leveling them up. Almost every item included in 2K20's substantial creation suite--including hairstyles, attires, moves, taunts, and so on--is locked. The only way to gain access to all of this content is by praying to the RNG gods that you get what you want in loot boxes, or by buying each item outright for a considerable portion of your in-game currency. Thankfully, there's no real money involved, but structuring unlocks in this way is still a needless hassle that arbitrarily restricts your ability to create the kind of character you want to create--which is only exacerbated now that you have two characters to customize.

Leveling up each character isn't much better, either. At the outset you're asked to choose from a number of wrestling archetypes, such as luchador and technician, before gaining access to a mammoth skill tree. The problem with this is that the vast majority of said skill tree is hidden until you unlock an adjacent hex, making it impossible to plan out your character's build beyond the next few upgrades. Admittedly, this would be more annoying if improving your characters wasn't as unsatisfying as it is. The attributes you unlock provide such minuscule increases in your skills that they're almost imperceptible once you're out in the ring, to the point where I would go hours without bothering to level anyone up.

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The other significant mode in 2K20 is Showcase Mode, which focuses on the Four Horsewomen of the WWE: Becky Lynch, Sasha Banks, Charlotte Flair, and Bayley. It explores how the four superstars ushered in WWE's women's revolution, focusing on the most important matches of their careers thus far, from the tremendous fatal-fourway between the four competitors at NXT Takeover: Rival, Sasha, and Bayley's redefining match at NXT Takeover: Brooklyn, and culminating with the main event of this year's WrestleMania between Becky, Charlotte, and Ronda Rousey. The video packages before each match are enjoyable if you have a fondness for these characters and those early days of NXT, even if the video quality is abysmal. But the matches themselves run into the same problems as the Showcase Modes of the past. During each match you're tasked with completing myriad objectives in order to recreate what actually happened to a certain degree. This results in some matches lasting upwards of half an hour, and with no mid-mission checkpoints, losing a match either because you were pinned, the AI was pinned, or because one of the glitches caused the game to break, is incredibly disheartening.

WWE 2K's annual release schedule has felt superfluous for a number of years now. This has never been more apparent than with WWE 2K20, a game that's not only riddled with frequent technical issues, but one that's notably worse than its predecessor in almost every area--whether it's the dull and unenjoyable combat, the fact half the roster look like terrifying goblin facsimiles of themselves, or MyCareer's obnoxious and tedious story. This is the moment the WWE 2K series hit Rock Bottom.

Back To Top
The Good
Samoa Joe's performance in MyCareer is very entertaining
The women of WWE are given time to shine in Showcase Mode
The Bad
A torrent of frequent and disruptive bugs and glitches plague the whole experience
Numerous crashes prevent some parts of the game from working
Combat has regressed with unresponsive controls and terrible hit detection
MyCareer is dull and overlong, while the writing is often insufferable
2
Terrible
About GameSpot's Reviews

About the Author

Richard played WWE 2K20 for around 30 hours and is really hoping any potential AEW game is actually good. Code was provided by the publisher.
59 Comments  RefreshSorted By 
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Avatar image for VampireLord123
VampireLord123

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the least they could have done is have is amazing graphics but looks like they did not even an effort in that area. Sport games dont require a lot of raw power because normally is always the same scenario over and over. So why not at least try to make it look impressive? is kind of sad they are not even trying to do anything good.

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StoneRaven

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This game has a massive amount of glitches. So I would not suggest it to anyone.

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ChinatownNYC

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Just hurry and make this game free for PS Plus and XBOX Live members!

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silv3rst0rm

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Wrestling games peaked at WWE Royal Rumble on the Snes!

This game was great!

It's been a downward spiral ever since sinking lower and lower almost every year!

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jerusaelem

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@silv3rst0rm: Wrestlemania 2k and No Mercy on the N64 were both notably better.

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DeadManRollin

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I have been following the WWE games for a long, long time. To be precise, I picked up playing from the days of Smackdown! Know Your role. The earlier games were simple, but highly entertaining. The CAW tools were awesome, and with virtually unlimited options. The same trend was maintained up to WWE 10, if I remember well.

However, they made some bad games in between, but started picking up things again since WWE 2k14, and 2k19 was actually a very polished game, except for maybe some minor glitches and graphical issues.

It's sad to see them breaking the game just one year sans Yukes. Seems its a bad year for sports games as a whole.

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tetrapod

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STOP making this garbage!

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SaltSlasher

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2 feels generous

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Yams1980

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pretty insane bugs in this game. I spent some time watching youtube videos of them and I haven't seen many games with this many.

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ecurl143

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OK, I'm gonna hazzard a guess that this is possibly the lowest, or one of the lowest scoring games in Gamespot's history. Damn.

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ender003

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@ecurl143: There's probably a lot of shovelware games for the Wii that scored similarly.

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TeaGuru12

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This review tells me how bad this game is and I kind of want to play the game now. I want to see these horrifying bugs in action. haha

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pmanden

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@teaguru12: Me too. But I will just watch some youtube videos with funny glitches and save my money.

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Sindroid

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WWF Wrestlemania The Arcade Game on PS1 is the best i played of wrestling games.

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Brian_Ghattas

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Sadly, development houses have been using the release now/patch later philosophy since the Internet became a thing. Some of these games should have never been released in the first place. Remember Sierra Sports NFL Football Pro '99 or NBA Live 13? WWE 2K20 is in that pantheon of awful. A recall and refunds are in order. Visual Concepts and 2K Games may have irreparably damaged their big franchise.

Kind of like how the McMahon family is destroying WWE with their emphasis on soap opera writers and questionable business deals, eh?

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KahnArtizt

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@brian_ghattas: Don't act like WWE hasn't always been a soap opera.

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santinegrete

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The only sport video game category I respect, and this game sucks. Too bad.

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KahnArtizt

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@santinegrete: I see where you're coming from but you have to admit MLB The Show has been a consistently great game every year without resorting to cutting corners and implementing bad business practices.

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santinegrete

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@KahnArtizt: suits ruin all games they touch, I hope people vote with their wallet to skip it and show them a lesson.

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ragethorn

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I'm so happy this game bombed. An absolute destruction of this game will force them to start from the ground up hopefully.

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sonic_spark

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Edited By sonic_spark

This reviewer is amazing. A Botchamania and AEW reference? Fantastic.

The 2k games have sucked for a long time. This is the straw that broke the camel's back.

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Creepshow2

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Glad I kept some of my older wrestling games as these being pumped out now are Garbage! Hay 2K return to some of the gameplay we had with early versions of the Smackdown series and watch your reviews and sales go up! Kepp producing this not fun Garbage and the ship will keep on sinking!

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PETERAKO

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You, have to, like, wait for the patch bruh! Like, seriously, why, you are, like, a hater, bruh!?

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TrooperTrooper

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@PETERAKO: Or they could have not released it and Q&A tested it, patched it beforehand to stop these kind of reviews.

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PETERAKO

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Edited By PETERAKO

@troopertrooper: I tried really hard to make this obviously sarcastic, and yet, I failed.

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Obiroid1

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Edited By Obiroid1

@troopertrooper: agree I bought it and most of the modes are unplayable. if it worked correctly it would be better than 2k19 but its completely jacked up. why the hell would you release a game in that state?

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xantufrog

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xantufrog  Moderator

Lol. Sold.

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doctorhino

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Edited By doctorhino

WWE or not people want a good wrestling game. People can rag on the WWE for being a silly product but at the end of the day this is the only wrestling game on the market and that alone is making it suck as bad as it does.

These exclusive licensing deals are working terribly for the brands who sign onto them. Sure you only have to work with one company, but that company has no incentive to make you better games year to year.

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realguitarhero5

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Edited By realguitarhero5

this is a good opportunity for people to stop being WWE fans

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Chippiez

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Wrestling is soap opera for elementary school boys.

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OldDadGamer

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OldDadGamer  Moderator

Not to mention, those graphics look like something from 16 years ago. What's with that?

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Gamerforlife96

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@olddadgamer: yeah I mean it looks the same as wwe2k15

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Daidochus

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2K doing 2K

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warmblur

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The game reflects the WWE product so well a boring cringey broken mess.

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LiveDreamPlay

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The review is so bad I kinda want to play it now...

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HesamB

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@livedreamplay:

The game is really bad. trust me.

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LiveDreamPlay

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@HesamB:

So I hear, that's what makes me want it. Kinda like the bad movies I go to in order to laugh at how bad they are...

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alien33

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Good review, spot on.

Hopefully, they will stop with the annual releases (doubtful).

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sladakrobot

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Alone to watch the hilarious bugs and glitches are worth a 3/10 imo lol
On serious note,this is a slap in the face to all fans of the series and gamers overall!
This shows the shameless greed of publishers and incompetent devs who are fully aware of the state of the game but have no problems to ship the game coz "GIVE ME MONEY"


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JimAbadon

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Not gonna lie, watching videos of the bugs is the one good thing this game has given us.

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Gelugon_baat

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@jimabadon: Which are the silliest to you? For me, the ones with the wonky ropes on the rings are uproarious.

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JimAbadon

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@Gelugon_baat: oh dear, so many to choose from. I believe the one that made me laugh the most was one where a wrestler was in an elevated position and tried a dive attack only to get stuck in place by an invisible wall. He ended up landing at the exact same spot he jumped from then registered that as a failed attack so he fell off hurting. It was bizarre.

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Gelugon_baat

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@jimabadon: Oh yeah, I saw that one.

Have you saw the glitch where a wrestler seems to fall repeatedly yet gain more height off the ground each time?

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JimAbadon

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@Gelugon_baat: I think I did. On one of them, the wrestler started floating after the falls stopped. Not that it was necessary for the floating to happen, gravity just seems to stop working in this game on its own accord.

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DEVILTAZ35

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Come on the score has to be zero why does it even deserve a 2?

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realguitarhero5

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@deviltaz35: because Samoa Joe's performance in MyCareer is very entertaining and The women of WWE are given time to shine in Showcase Mode

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Gelugon_baat

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Many of the wrestlers' models don't match the actual people.

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Gelugon_baat

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Giant Bomb's Quick Look, strangely enough, did not suffer a lot of glitches.

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SuperKlyph

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Yep. It's terrible. It's the worst WWE wrestling game since NES if you don't count Gameboy.

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kstaggs87

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Edited By kstaggs87

@superklyph: Hey, WWF WrestleMania for the NES, as bad as it was is still a guilty pleasure of mine. I used to rent it and Bigfoot regularly from our local video store on the weekends lol.

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WWE 2K20 More Info

Follow
  • First Released Oct 22, 2019
    released
    • PC
    • PlayStation 4
    • Xbox One
    2.7
    Average Rating14 Rating(s)
    Please Sign In to rate WWE 2K20
    Developed by:
    Visual Concepts
    Published by:
    2K Games, Take-Two Interactive, 2K Sports
    Genre(s):
    Wrestling, Action, Fighting
    Content is generally suitable for ages 13 and up. May contain violence, suggestive themes, crude humor, minimal blood, simulated gambling and/or infrequent use of strong language.
    Teen
    Alcohol Reference, Mild Blood, Mild Language, Suggestive Themes, Violence