WWE2K14 is the first WWE game since 2K Sports gained the WWE license from the now defunct publisher THQ. Many may think that the take-over, which happened halfway into the game’s development period may have had a negative impact on this release, they were very wrong indeed.
While WWE2K14 isn’t massively different to WWE ’13 in terms of gameplay, there is enough new content thrown all over the place that justifies a new purchase for those wanting to upgrade. While WWE ’13 heavily focussed on the treasured ‘Attitude Era’, WWE2K14 ramps it up all the way and includes moments from all 29 Wrestlemanias, from Andre the Giant vs Big John Studd at Wrestlemania, all the way to CM Punk vs The Undertaker at Wrestlemania 29. Many, many wrestlers from years gone by are included in the roster as a result, allowing so many dream match ups to take place.
Where all of these wrestlers from yesteryear are unlocked is in the brand new 30 Years of Wrestlemania mode. Many of the more memorable matches can be replayed in this mode, with certain ‘historical objectives’ for you to attempt to do. The historical challenges are based on real events from the matches, and can range from ‘bodyslam Big John Studd in under 6 minutes’ as Andre the Giant at the first Wrestlemania, to ‘Rock Bottom the Rock’ as Stone Cold Steve Austin at Wrestlemania X-7.
While not mandatory, they do add to the authenticity of replaying the matches, and are a necessary means to unlock new wrestlers for exhibition, as well as new managers, belts, arenas and outfits for existing wrestlers. Some of the Wrestlemanias even have the awesome video packages that WWE are famous for, but it’s a pity that not all Wrestlemanias get this treatment. In this mode you also have access to The Streak.
Wrestling fans will know what this means, basically in The Streak, you are tasked to either end The Undertaker’s Wrestlemania winning streak, or defend it against numerous opponents as The Undertaker. You can’t set the difficulty in this mode either, and The Undertaker will be more than happy to reverse just about everything you throw at him, and as The Undertaker, your opponents become increasingly difficult the more you defeat them.
The WWE Universe mode is also a treat for fans, in this mode, you get a schedule of all the shows that happen in the WWE, this means RAW, Smackdown!, Superstars and all of the Pay Per Views. You can play each match that takes place at these events, follow a single star’s career, change rivalries, edit matches, edit titleholders, for anyone who likes their games to stay true to the show, or want to try their hand at managing the WWE, this mode provides all sorts of entertainment for hours on end. You even have the option to just skip ahead as far as you want down the calendar and have the CPU simulate all of the rivalries, matches and such for you.
Gameplay in WWE2K14 remains largely unchanged from last year’s efforts, the OMG moments, ones where parts of the arena can be destroyed, are back, as well as the usual grapple, strike and irish whip system of control. Slight changes have been implemented such as having all reversals end with an attack of some sort, as well as certain finishers being able to be implemented on multiple opponents.
Last year’s game didn’t need much change, so it’s good to see that all the goodness has been kept in tact. There have been a few instances where the game had some hilarious glitches, one example being myself and an opponent were atop a ladder reaching for a briefcase, another wrestler pushed the ladder over, but the two wrestlers were suspended in midair for the rest of the match, just staring longingly at eachother.
WWE2K14 is a must-have wrestling game for wrestling fans, and as a fighting game can be fun for non-wrestling fans too. It’s nice to see that Yukes has paid special attention to the history of Wrestlemania, and it brings back many childhood memories for me that I forgot I had watching the wrestling of old. It’s a nostalgia trip while embracing the current WWE, it’s just perfectly balanced.
If this is what we get when 2K Sports only handles half of the development, I can not wait to see what they do with the WWE game next year.