Ever since I came across the WWE videogame series published by THQ since the days of Playstation 2, I’ve been following through the subsequent releases as it transcends on Xbox, Xbox360 and PlayStation 3. I remember watching the first Wrestlemania on rented VHS tapes, thanks to my parents who are also fans of the series.
Developer Yukes has been working to improve the game for a long time, backed by publisher THQ. Alas the company could not keep up and had to close down eventually. Thanks to 2K Sports for securing the rights to the franchise and allowing the work to continue. Otherwise, we’ll all still be playing WWE ’13.
WWE 2K14 is essentially WWE’14 with a 2K branding on its name, just like NBA 2K14. The team worked to consolidate their talents to get this game out just in time for the holidays. Overall, the WWE 2K14 is a step in the right direction but it still carries some skeletons in the closet.
If you have played enough wrestling games, especially the last installment being WWE ’13, here are 8 reasons to still consider WWE 2K 14 this holiday:
1) Wrestlemania Mode: A total of 46 epic Wrestlemania matches are unlockable progressively, spanning over its 29 years of celebration. Some of the match are resurrected from 2009’s Legend of Wrestlemana videogame, but it’s nice to able to access them here all under one disc. In addition, 2K Sports added in a contest for participants to win an all-expenses paid to Wrestlemania 30 in 2014. Even with the meaty lineup, there are still other matches which I wish could be included, such as the groundbreaking vintage Hulk Hogan vs Mr T in the first-ever Wrestlemania and, at the other end of the spectrum, version2.0 Hulk Hogan (in long red tights) vs Vince McMahon at Wrestlemania 19. Nevertheless, the current selection is good enough to spur our memories about nostalgic times. Every time I remember about The Rock vs Hulk Hogan match (Wrestlemania 18), I recall some episodes of my life at that time.
2) Undertaker Mode: Here you get to play as or against the Deadman. In ‘Defeat The Streak’, you choose a grappler and attempt to pin Undertaker in god mode. It is quite a challenge no matter how experienced you are with the controls, and when you score that pin, the satisfaction is immense. Based on your action in-ring, a score will be allotted and uploaded onto an online leaderboard. In ‘Defend The Streak’, you play as Undertaker in a lumberjack match. It would be ideal and meaningful if you can replay all of Undertaker’s past Wrestlemania matches, complete with replicating the respective arena locations.
3) OMG moments: Oh My God moments are when you carry out true-to-television action sequence that cause a great impact to both to receiving party and also to the audience reaction. It’s fun when you hear the commentary broadcasting their astonishment as you watch the repercussions of your action. There are varying degrees of OMG moments and can only be triggered depending on the type of bodyweights, the amount of stored finishers and the positioning of both grapplers. In WWE 2K14, the number of OMG moments have been increased greatly.
4) Catching Finishers: Turn the tide of the match with these unsuspecting moves. Mostly executed while the opponent is mid-air, the moves vary between reacting towards an aerial move to launching a charging opponent into the air and then follow up with a grapple or attack. The execution is done smoothly and satisfying.
5) Universe Mode: Apart from the usual features from last year, you can now set the Rivalry between superstars to mirror their latest feud on Television. However, some personalities and stable themes are still missing. I hope this can be addressed in future downloadable content.
6) Creation Suite: This is my favourite part because I can explore the deep customization of creating customized grapplers, arenas and belts. I can also edit the existing attire to match as close as possible to the colours of the performing superstars on television.
7) Music Player: Do you like to surround yourself with your favorite wrestler themes? With the music player feature, you can do just that. Perfect if you just want to listen to ‘Cult of Personality’ only, or your favourite Divas theme or prevent from getting yourself freaked out by Undertaker’s bell tolls when playing at night.
8) Roster: Once you’ve unlocked everything, the roster in WWE 2K14 is quite extensive. While some are just specific-era versions of the same character, they add to the nostalgic value of the Wrestlemania Mode. 2K Sports have announced a series of downloadable content in which there will be savings if you purchase the Season Pass.
Nevertheless, the game is not flawless. Here are some of my observation of what needs improvement:
a) Some of the character models do not mimic their real-life counterparts.
b) Some hair and accessories physics do not appear realistic. The latest Kane version seems to have his fringe plastered to his head whereas The Ultimate Warrior’s arm streamers appears as solid as plastic.
c) While ‘Weight Detection’ exists, some counter-moves seem to defy this rule.
d) Belts need updated animation. When Undertaker wears a championship belt, it is worn outside his deadman spiky cloak attire. Shouldn’t the belt be worn inside or held in hand?
Still, I feel this release deserves 8.5/10
PS: Who’s participating in this contest?