With the liquidation of THQ, the WWE’s video game franchise was left in limbo until Take-Two Interactive stepped in and bought the rights to publish the game. WWE 2K14 marks the first installment of this franchise under the new publisher, however many of the same team of developers have been retained to work on the game. Will aligning with a new publisher push them to new heights, or will the franchise be relegated to jobbing on dark matches? Lace up your wrestling boots, its time for the review.
The unstoppable force meets the immovable object..
Some people have their annual franchises like the NBA or NFL sims, and wrestling fans (such as myself) have the WWE franchise. This year a couple new features have been added, and some other features have been expanded upon. What was the “Attitude Era” mode last year has been expanded upon with 30 Years of Wrestlemania. Rather than just focusing on one notable era in WWE’s past, 30 Years of Wrestlemania covers some of the most memorable matches and moments from Wrestlemania’s 29 year history; to celebrate Wrestlemania 30 coming this spring. For those that have played WWE ’13, it works pretty much the same exact way as the Attitude Era mode. Winning a match will you to advance, but completing the historical objectives unlocks extras such as alternate attires, managers and arenas. The historical objectives often times are played out through an in-match cutscene and quick time event, and play out almost exactly what happened in that match (with a few matches taking civil liberties).
What would Wrestlemania be without one of its greatest performers? Adding to 30 Years of Wrestlemania are two modes called “The Streak”. Both are very different modes involving The Undertaker. Fans can choose to Defend the Streak as any version of The Undertaker, in a somewhat revived Slobber Knocker mode. It’s basically a gauntlet match where the player, as The Undertaker, takes on the roster to rack up as many victories as possible. In Defeat The Streak, players can choose from anyone on the roster or created superstars, to take on The Undertaker in a match at Wrestlemania. Though it’s easier said than done. The Undertaker will pull some tricks such as setting you up for a chokeslam before you pin him, or turn out the lights and appear right behind you. It becomes quite intense, frustrating, and could feel awarding…Although I wouldn’t know because I keep losing. Under both modes a final score is given on your performance which can be uploaded to compare and contrast with friends and the community.
YES! YES! YES!
As one would expect from the WWE games, presentation of the game does everything they can to represent every one of WWE’s broadcasts. Monday night Raw, Friday night Smackdown, and even the Pay-Per-View events have their own settings and add to the visuals for those that don’t skip the entrances. One nice little touch is the camera filter added to some of the older Wrestlemania venues to make it look like something straight out of Coliseum Video, or the VHS tapes for those of you not old enough to remember…Although VHS tapes might be too old for some to remember as well.
A double-edged sword in WWE 2K14 comes in way of the voice tracks and sounds. On one hand it’s quite obvious some of last year’s commentary tracks were reused in this year’s game. Normally, this could be overlooked but Michael Cole’s run as a bad guy and feud with Jerry Lawler isn’t relevant anymore. Also, Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler are only available for the 30 Years of Wrestlemania mode, and Michael Cole teams with Lawler to call the rest of the game. With the bad, comes the good though. Adding commentary to the entrances add to making the game feel like a genuine televised experience. Also, the genuine voices of the superstars in the ring add to the feeling. Little things such as adding Daniel Bryan’s “NO!” chants, and Titus O’Neil’s bark make a welcome addition to the game.
We never got to see Babe Ruth and Barry Bonds, but we are going to see the Rock and the Hulk
Controls for WWE 2K14 are simple for newcomers to the series to pick up and play, and veterans of the franchise will find a couple very minor differences. For one thing, striking is a lot faster and smoother in this year’s game, but it kind of takes away from the grapple system in place. Matches become more slug-fests (especially online), rather than a match with holds and slams. Also, countering is heavily reliant on great timing but is limited to one chance per grapple, and one chance each player per strike. This allows the pace of the match to flow faster, rather than having a counter-after-counter match-up.
As stated earlier, much of the features from the previous game have been expanded upon. Create-A-Title is deeper than last year, more OMG moments have been added, and create-a-superstar allows players to use some WWE Superstar heads and bodies as templates to assign an alternate version of a handful of superstars on the roster. One cool feature added to gameplay is the catch finisher. Players can throw a running opponent in the air and catch and hit their finisher. This adds a very small amount of depth in gameplay, but it’s satisfying when used.
WWE 2K14 suffers from some of the same issues as previous games, but this is to be expected from this, and just about any annual franchise. The developers trade innovation for fine tuning, and why shouldn’t they? They created a game that from the entrances to the final bell best recreate the experience members of the WWE Universe see on television. I would like to see issues like the canned audience chants, and some new commentary tracks to better reflect where the character is in their career; and yes this includes the announcers.
With a mix of current generation and old school superstars make the game accessible to both old fans and new. Not to mention if there’s a wrestler or even a designed logo for your created superstars that aren’t in the game, there’s a very good chance members of the online community post something you want. With the creation modes and WWE Universe mode, WWE 2K14 gives you the power of being your own personal Vince McMahon, minus the income. Still, with possibly one of the best rosters in WWE video game history WWE 2K14 is a great game for all WWE fans to book the fantasy matches they want to see. Daniel Bryan vs Bret Hart, C.M. Punk vs Randy Savage, Steve Austin vs Hulk Hogan…The list can go on and on.
Final Verdict: WWE 2K14 gets 8 YES Locks out of 10.
This review is based on a retail copy of the PlayStation 3 version of WWE 2K14 developed and distributed by 2K Sports.
- Best Rosters So Far
- Expanded Features
- Recycled Commentary