01st Nov2013

‘WWE 2K14′ Video Game Review

by Chris Cummings

wwe2k14_orton_bryan

I have been buying wrestling video games since I was a kid, being a fan of wrestling for 21 of my 30 years, I have always found pleasure playing the games each year, and as I get older there is nostalgia to it also. Sure, not every year delivers a diamond of a game, but there’s always something to sink your teeth into regardless of the differing quality of the titles year upon year. WWE 2K14 uses that feeling of nostalgia that many adult fans feel to it’s benefit this year, with it’s well-documented and hyped “30 Years of WrestleMania” story-mode, a mode that features 40+ matches from each WrestleMania event since its inception almost thirty years ago.

This years game, featuring the super-famous pro-wrestler-turned-actor The Rock on its cover, is all about the upcoming WrestleMania 30 event, with it’s big story based on the past thirty years of the “grand-daddy of them all”, and a vast roster of wrestlers from the past and present in WWE. The story mode is deep, detailed and incredibly fun to play through, especially for those of us that witnessed many of the events as they happened. The big stars are mostly all here, with Hulk Hogan, Bret Hart, Shawn Michaels, Steve Austin, The Rock and John Cena, among many others, all appearing in the story-mode in a variety of historic contests. Yes, there are some guys missing, but the DLC should cover many omissions, and the extremely massive scope of the creation suite should cover the others.

Stepping away from the brilliant story mode that this years’ game boasts, we also have the WWE Universe, a mode that allows players to lose themselves in a sandbox environment, wrestling year upon year, experiencing various rivalries along the way. This year’s “Universe” has improved and built upon last years, and though it isn’t perfect it is still a definitive step in the right direction. There are some moments, when you’ve won a big match, where it could, and should, feel like a bigger deal. The commentary is an ongoing issue and often the cause of match-endings not feeling as monumental as they would on television. Still, the mode is an endless joy to play, with cut-scenes, and a lot of player-control, so these problems are easy to look past as a fan, though they need to be addressed before 2K15 comes out.

Another mode that has been added this year is the “Streak” mode, where players can attempt to either beat or protect The Undertaker’s famous winning streak at WrestleMania. This is a mix between a boss-fight and a slobber-knocker type mode, depending on whether you want to beat or continue the streak. It’s fun though and a nice little addition to this years game.

Gameplay hasn’t changed a great deal from last year, which I’m fine with. There are obviously some new animations of moves which is always nice, and the addition of a power-throw is cool, allowing players to throw smaller opponents in the air before catching them in a finishing move. This looked great with guys like Randy Orton and Antonio Cesaro hitting their finishers on guys like Dolph Ziggler or Rey Mysterio. An obvious change to gameplay this year is the speeding-up of the punch and kick mechanics, meaning the animations of melee attacks look faster, but it helps the game, in my view, and adds a snappy and fist-fight feel to the whole thing. Opinion may differ on this change, but I personally am fine with it.

The roster is deep, as I mentioned earlier, and most current talent are on here that appear on RAW each week. There are some guys and girls who aren’t on here or the upcoming DLC, which is always going to be a shame,
but it’s a good roster that offers plenty of new characters to play as, including The Shield, Antonio Cesaro and 3MB.

Online is something I can’t really comment on yet, I haven’t played the mode for more than one match and it’s still growing because the game has just been released, but the match I did have was pretty smooth and easy to get into. The online mode will offer the ability to upload and download player-created arenas, logos, superstars and more, like previous years, and we now have 100 slots available for created wrestlers, so that should satisfy many creators among us.

WWE 2K14 offers plenty of content and various modes to keep wrestling fans busy for a long time, and the announced DLC will add  new superstars and content over the coming months too. The story mode is brilliant and the gameplay is easy to get used to, fluid and enjoyable. Definitely a title worth picking up if you’re a wrestling fan, or even if you used to be.

WWE 2K14 is available now on Playstation 3 and Xbox 360.

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