Review: WWE 2K14

WWE 2K14 marks the first time that a professional WWE wrestling game has been published by 2K Sports. Taking over the franchise after THQ went bust, a lot of people were excited to see what 2K would do with directing the series in a new direction. This was fulfilled for most of the part.

In terms of the visuals, WWE 2k14 really lacks that certain polish. The series has always been known for it’s awkward animations and unfortunately they are still apparent here. Thankfully, this still provides for some hilarious glitches. It’ll be interesting to see what a new next-gen engine can spit out for this franchise. Something that really disappointed me was the fact that the commentator audio is really repetitive. This is something that NBA 2k14 really nailed this year so I was personally disappointed to see that the same old repetitive commentating is still here.

A lot of the gameplay mechanics from WWE ’13 have been slightly updated, or in some cases, completely repaved. One thing that I noticed is that walking and running seemed to be a lot smoother than ever before. This made for characters running a lot faster, which sped things up significantly. All reversals lead to offensive attacks which means that matches seem to move a lot quicker avoiding all that tedious reversal spam.

The Create-a-Superstar mode has been finally expanded in order to be able to fill 100 save spots. 2K have finally added the ability to use existing superstars as a template to create your own characters. The options to create your own entrance and  finishers is still there, plus now even the ability to create your own custom WWE championship has been added.

The new Universe Mode sees you acting as the GM of WWE. In this mode you will be deciding which wrestlers you want to push forward for titles. You’ll also be in charge of creating the match cards for events and putting factions together. It’s a really interesting mode and one that WWE fans have dreamed of having included in this video game. You can finally see the rivalries that you’ve been dying to see on the big screen for many years.

The biggest addition to WWE 2k14 is the new ’30 Years of Wrestlemania’ mode. In this mode, you will find yourself playing through 4 key eras of Wrestlemania’s history. These are split into chapters called Hulamania Runs Wild, New Generation, Attitude Era and Universe Era. This mode is enough to make old school WWE fans as well as newcomers to the series extremely satisfied. Unfortunately, one issue with this mode is that you need to play through the older stuff in order to gain access to the newer content.

Each section features a few matches for that particular era. Each match features its own special stipulations. These usually involve things like performing a particular finisher in a certain spot. Performing this correctly will trigger a cutscene that will play through the moment, exactly as I remembered it from that certain Wrestlemania.

WWE 2K14 features two specific gameplay modes that surround The Undertaker’s 21-0 streak. These are called ‘Defend The Streak’ and ‘Defeat The Streak’. Trying to defeat the streak will see you take the role of Undertaker’s opponents in order to try and defeat him. When undertaking this mode be prepared for a HUGE challenge. The difficulty is at its highest level and The Undertaker will reverse just about any move that you try and throw at him.

When trying to defend the streak, opponent upon opponent are thrown at you and it’s your goal to defeat them one by one; you will do so by pinfall or submission. This starts out quite easy when the first challengers enters but once you get to 25-30, you’ll notice a significant increase in difficulty. The challenge really comes from seeing how long you can last as your health bar continues as you face an onslaught of wrestlers. It’s a interesting mode however it just takes far too long and gets old after a few attempts.

Local multiplayer is as fun as it ever was but unfortunately, online play is still quite broken. I faced an incredible amount of lag which makes it almost impossible to play for a game like this. WWE relies on perfect timing in order to reverse move and kick out of pins and unfortunately this is something that simply can’t be enjoyed. I’m praying that this is fixed on the next-gen iterations as it’s something that was never able to be nailed on the PS3 and 360.

It’s fair to say that this is a solid effort considering this is 2K’s first time publishing the WWE series. A lot of improvements to general combat has been made for the better and all of the new modes will play to the nostalgic WWE fans. Unfortunately, we just can’t find ourselves really getting engrossed into WWE 2k14 as the series just feels stale at this point. I’m really excited to see what the team can do with next-gen hardware.