Last year when THQ went under, the future of their gaming franchises were up in the air, including the WWE franchise. 2K Sports ended up getting the rights to the series, resulting in a lot of excitement considering the popularity of the NBA 2K series. Last year’s entry focusing on the legendary Attitude Era, WWE 2K14 takes it to the next level by focusing on the biggest event of the year for the world of wrestling, WrestleMania. This year marks WrestleMania XXX, so there is a lot of information to cover within the game. The real question is does WWE 2K14 do the epic event justice? Read on to find out.
The game has many modes to choose from, but the biggest addition would without a doubt the 30 Years of WrestleMania mode. You will find yourself playing matches from every single WrestleMania event, with the option of meeting the historical objectives being up to you. Should you choose to meet the objectives it will unlock wrestlers, attires, arenas, etc. This is a great mode for those that would love to relive the moments that made WrestleMania as amazing as it has always been. Looking to replay the Shawn Michaels and Razor Ramon ladder match, or even the Bret Hart and Yokozuna match? These are all available to play through and they are accurately represented how they happened in the past.
While many would like to relive the earlier years of WrestleMania, there are plenty of other matches also. They are separated into different categories to choose from, but they must be unlocked in order to progress. One thing worth noting is the amazing detail they put into the cutscenes with the wrestlers. They are completely accurate, one of the best being the Randy Savage promo before his match against Hulk Hogan.
With the game using the catchphrase of Become Immortal, fans immediately know that this relates to The Phenom, The Deadman, The Undertaker. This man has remained undefeated at WrestleMania for over two decades, his current record is 21-0. WWE 2K14 chooses to put this milestone into the spotlight with its own mode. Players can choose to Defend The Streak or Defeat The Streak. In Defend The Streak you will take on the role of Taker and face as many opponents back to back until you are defeated. This challenge becomes increasingly difficult over time, and can have you face up to 100 opponents. Should you choose to attempt to Defeat The Streak you will find yourself in a very difficult scenario. In this mode, Taker is extremely difficult as you take him on in a No Holds Barred match, but even with anything allowed it is still a difficult task to complete.
The popular WWE Universe is once again in this entry with an addition of rivalries. Players can take control of any superstar, and manage any of the shows any way you see fit, including changing/creating shows. Adding in rivalries puts an entirely new dynamic into WWE Universe mode. It allows you to control who is having issues with who, including individual wrestlers and tag teams. These rivalries can be short, medium, or long in length, spanning up to 12 weeks. Over the course of the rivalries many different things can happen between the superstars, keeping things fresh.
The creation modes haven’t changed much between previous installments, which may bother many fans considering it has been quite some time since there has been a major overhaul of the mode. Yes, you can still create arenas, superstars, entrances, move-sets, and even finishers, but it would be nice if there was much more content available in the future. So hopefully in future games in the series we can see some change in this mode.
A huge addition is that there seems to be less issues with the online modes. In previous titles in the series there always seemed to be some issues with the servers at launch. This is huge for fans that love to take their skills online and challenge others in the ring. Players will now be able to play full matches, as well as level up their profiles based on their in ring performance. Just like in most fighting games you will also see how you compare to other players with the online leaderboards.
While some of the modes may not offer some of the changes that fans have been asking for, the gameplay is as fluid as ever. Going from grapple to strikes to reversals is as seamless as ever. As usual, all move-sets of your favorite superstars have been updated to what they were from when they began working on the game. You are able to once again target specific limbs to damage if you want to play it smart and decisively take out your opponent, or you can go at it Ryback style and demolish the opponent with devastating moves. The catching finishers that you have seen on live television from the likes of Randy Orton are better than ever, all it requires is you to launch your opponent into the air and have a finisher that is able to be executed as a catching finisher. The choice is yours, what kind of wrestler you would like to be?
The roster of WWE 2K14 is one of the best it has been in years. Last year had a great roster from The Attitude Era, but featured too many duplicates between the various superstars and divas. Yes there are some in WWE 2K14, but nowhere near the level of last year. You will find many additions that haven’t been included for years in a wrestling game including Hulk Hogan and Randy Savage. There have also been additions of new superstars that recently debuted for the WWE, such as Big E Langston and Fandango. For fans of the series, yes they fixed Ryback’s character model from last year and it looks fantastic.
Graphically, the game has been tweaked for the better, but still remain similar to the graphics found in WWE 13. While they are by no means bad, this is just something else that fans have been asking for year after year. It should be interesting to see what is brought to the table with next year’s game. A nice touch is the addition of filters to the 30 Years Of WrestleMania. If it is set in a much older event a filter on the screen will represent that, and it will look as if you were watching older footage on your screen. Typically these bother me in games, but they work really well with the wrestling footage because that is how it is normally presented. The same can be said for the sounds of the game, which is easily the worst part of the game, and it has been for years. The main issue is hearing the same comments over and over from the ringside announcers. Hopefully this is something that will change in the future as well.
WWE 2K14 is well worthy of a purchase from wrestling fans, the fluid gameplay along with the 30 Years Of WrestleMania give you enough content that will keep you coming back to take out your would be opponents both offline and online. It will be interesting to see where the series will go now that 2K Sports will have a full year to work on the next game.