Developer Visual Concepts is attempting to weather the insane storm that has been the launch of WWE 2K20. Any port will do, as they say, but the team seems to be hedging a lot of their safety on the group of WWE 2K20 Originals, and the first shelter comes in the form of Bump in the Night, appropriately themed just in time for Halloween.
The expansion opens up with an inviting video of The New Day playing their roles, well over 9000 as usual, telling ghost stories. Big E is stirring up purple pancakes as the trio are on a comfortable set that reminds me of horror movie marathons from my childhood, easily establishing that the theme for this content is meant to be cheesy and fun. Super serious wrestling fans may not enjoy this endeavor as much.
There are five new towers to play and a slightly story-driven mode for Finn Balor, where Bray Wyatt attempts to draw out the Demon King and add to his menagerie. Each of these plays the same even though one is a bit bigger: fighting a line of opponents to unlock alternate looks for wrestlers, create-a-wrestler pieces, and the reason most wanted this pack, The Fiend himself. With that in mind, each part of Bump in the Night is incredibly similar and anyone who has put a ton of time into the game since its release may be burned out on this.
There are some cool designs and nice characters to look at, as well as a few new arenas, but mostly a great looking Wyatt Compound (just more swampy this time). The fact that they replaced the crowd with creepy mannequins sold me. I thought it was a bit weird that the narrative was text only with no voice acting after how much players were given in the main game. Bray Wyatt does commentary for this set of matches and he is absolutely refreshing to hear, even if the cult leader also repeats himself too much, like the other announcers. Wyatt does not say anything during the final match, as he has to be in the ring. That particular encounter is quite uncomfortable, not because it is scary, but due to the lack of crowd sounds or anything to help cover the long gaps of silence. I watched RAW while I played through the story to combat the lack of sounds.
The developers tried to add more to the gameplay by forcing extra mechanics in. While playing Nikki Cross — whose gimmick is that she is the unstoppable monster — the former women’s Tag Team Champion isn’t able to run and has a limited number of reversals she can perform, though she starts with three finishers to make up for this. Many of these matches aren’t won by pinfall or submission, but require a KO finish, trying to give the players the ability to find victory through more carnage.
These small attempts to make things more entertaining on the individual towers are undermined in Finn’s story by adding in too many odd objectives that must be met to progress the match and meet all of the requirements. These criteria stifle the flow of the fights and can be especially difficult in a handicap match against two wrestlers, where specific grapplers must be targeted. The most annoying part might have been trying to set up the OMG Moments against difficult opponents when I could have simply pinned them to win the match instead of being forced to show off. There is little freedom in this type of gameplay, having to work the match out by someone else’s script.
Even if I had thought at any point that this was the type of gameplay I wanted or I found the fun in the game again, I was immediately reminded otherwise by being glitched out of several counters and not being able to hit a downed opponent with a weapon as usual. There were also a couple of visual hiccups as well, like Lana’s hair going crazy whenever I’d use a finisher on her; nothing too major, but enough to remind me of the general lack of optimisation WWE 2K20 possesses as a whole.
The Bump in the Night DLC and beginning of the Originals feels like it took a step toward creatively crafting new material, but forgot the substance to go along with it. The new content was so close to doing something unique, but perhaps not enough time was spent on enacting changes that makes it worthwhile other than a new rearranged and dressed-up set of scenarios to waste time in. I had the most fun with the MyCareer story mode and wanted something more like that with a bit more meat, and creativity that felt more engaging within the story. Less monster madness and more stuff like The Rock becoming Commander-in-Chief in the near future.
I felt like this DLC was going to be bigger, but I should have known since it was dropping so close to the launch of the game. I may go back to WWE 2K20 after some patches, but for now, my biggest takeaway from Bump in the Night is that the superstars turned into monsters still keep their Twitter handles on their nameplates. Even in the afterlife, you have to keep up that online presence.
Those who purchased the Deluxe Edition get the first part of the DLC for free, which seems odd, since last year’s deluxe version of the game came with the entire season pass. Those with the normal edition will have to offer up $14.99 per each of the four parts, which doesn’t seem as appealing for something that can be defeated and all unlockables obtained within a few hours. For fans of WWE, wild scenarios, and classic monsters though, this will be the add-on that delivers.
A WWE 2K20 Deluxe Edition code was provided by 2K Games. WWE 2K20 is out now on PC, PS4, and Xbox One.