Sony

WWE 2K Battlegrounds (PS4)

wwebg

Odd that WWE Battlegrounds is more authentic to the WWE than other prior licensed wrestling games. McMahon exists in the story’s background, taking credit for success, while keeping profits high by stuffing talent onto cramped buses as they move across the country.

Unlocking new wrestlers means cycling through a menu where talent is encased in action figure packaging, pleading to get out (with the option to pay real world cash to do so). That’s what McMahon sees – disposable plastic, which is why his wrestlers exist as contractors; he can drop them at will, same as Wal-Mart pushes discounts on disposable figures if they overstay their shelf space. WWE Battlegrounds’ aesthetic even recalls the Hasbro toy line, bulky upper bodies and tiny legs giving these in-ring characters a cartoon vibe. That, or Vince’s preferred bodybuilder physique since even the leanest performers appear ‘roided.

There’s charm here, assuming WWE Battlegrounds didn’t drudge up pro wrestling’s reality. It’s thin – simplicity means the movesets run dry and repetitive. But again, that’s more McMahon, where his roster heads to the ring to act out strictly defined action, as to make sure the crowd can call out every signature. That too, then, can be sold, linked to a profitable identity. WWE Battlegrounds is an ideal McMahon existence, locked in its ways, safe, and ultimately sterile.

3/5

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