WWE 2K14Written by: / / 3 Comments
WWE 2K14 is the spiritual successor to WWE ‘13, after 2K Sports acquired the WWE franchise license was from THQ when the publisher filed for bankruptcy. Although there is a long and established line of WWE fighting games, this is the first game in the WWE 2K branch of the series.
What You Need to Know
Despite some changes, the gameplay in WWE 2K14 plays out much like previous WWE titles: You can select from various superstars (or create your own) to battle it out inside the ring either in once-off contests or as part of a series, even developing long-standing rivalries and contending for greater honours.
Quite a few of the features from WWE ‘13 have been tweaked in WWE 2K14, most notably some gameplay mechanics have been revamped to allow for a more fluid, intense and dramatic experience inside the ring. A new match type, Slobbernocker Mode, has been added as a gauntlet match and the Create-a-Superstar mode now supports up to one hundred character save slots with the ability to use existing superstars as a template for creating new characters.
WWE 2K14 features several new Season Modes, not least of which is ’30 Years of WrestleMania,’ arguably the trump card for this year, which is a singleplayer campaign providing the opportunity to play through nearly three decades of WWE history, complete with classic footage and many of the timeless legends (Hulk Hogan, Andre the Giant, and so on). Each match features a primary objective (for example, win by body slamming your opponent) and bonus historical objectives (such as winning within three minutes).
The Streak Mode, on the other hand, focuses on The Undertaker’s undefeated 21-0 WrestleMania winning streak, in which the Undertaker must survive wave after wave of opponent, with the player choosing to either play as the Undertaker or one of the many characters trying to upset his streak. Meanwhile, the WWE Universe mode now allows the ‘universe’ to be completely customisable.
Some bugs that weren’t that common in previous versions seem to have cropped up in this one, though, and it’s not uncommon to find chairs stuck onto wrestlers or for wrestlers’ arms to be twisted and bent out of shape in the middle of a fight (and this is not a feature, it’s some sort of graphical glitch).
What’s the Same?
All the fan favourites are there and the various Ladder matches, brawls, the Royal Rumble and so on are available. The character roster is by-and-large the same, and the gameplay mechanic, despite some control tweaks, remains the same.
Although WWE is an overall successful and enjoyable franchise, this loyalty to the old formulae is not necessarily always a good thing. With all the ‘sameness’ of previous WWE games comes the same frustrations, too, such as the ease of winning Royal Rumble, the stupidity of the AI, the same opponent targeting and switching annoyances, and the same ‘jogging on the spot’ problems of previous editions.
You’ll Enjoy WWE 2K14 If You Liked…
… Any WWE game – apart from the control changes and added features, the gameplay and objective of the game remains the same. It stands to reason then, if you enjoyed other WWE games, you’ll enjoy this one, although for reasons I’ll highlight later, perhaps not necessarily as much.
… Any other casual fighting games – WWE does not take itself too seriously in the fighting department. Of course, it is a fighting game and it offers a lot of enjoyable battles, but it is more suited for the casual fighter than the street-smart-hardcore-fatality-in-your-sleep fighting fan.
What I Liked
- 3.) Getting back to basics and taking a trip down memory lane in the 30 Years of WrestleMania mode, and taking up the challenge as Andre the Giant once more and pummelling everyone and everything in my path.
- 2.) Creating my own story inside WWE Universe, complete with animations and dialogue – the editor makes it simple and quick to get it going and the results can be quite impressive.
- 1.) Creating your own superstar from a template makes editing your ringside gladiator not only easier but also more entertaining when you convert the likes of the hulking Undertaker into a T-Rex-like menace with a coy Undertaker visage.
I tend to always take the mickey out of 2K Sports games and create the most unlikely sporting superstar. In this case I created an overweight, short, skinny-legged wrestler that vaguely resembled the Undertaker by virtue of his facial features only. Editing the most ludicrous of entrance videos (which in itself is a pleasure), coupled with my totally unlikely WWE superstar, evoked tears and laughing fits from my wife, and I still ask everyone who visits to check out my WWE champion just to watch their reaction!
What I Didn’t Like
- 5.) I touched on this earlier – the targeting controls are still the same frustrating way they have been for ages. When you’re about to drop an elbow on an opponent from the top rope, your character decides to switch targets – to someone who is out of reach – and you end up dropping your elbow into the canvas and knocking yourself out.
- 4.) Many of the controls have been revamped and it’s difficult to get used to them if you’re familiar with the ‘old ways’ from THQ. It’s especially disappointing to see our old crowd favourite – the Ladder Match – become a lot easier to win and also less tense without the indication of a time bar to show how close the bout is to being won.
- 3.) Changing the camera angle in Royal Rumble mode so you can’t see the entrance of wrestlers before they come in. It would have been nice to shift focus for a moment to the newcomer to add that classic Royal Rumble flair that is half the fun of the event.
- 2.) Missing the appropriate theme music for certain superstars, or getting them mixed up, is not acceptable in a WWE game. Maybe on a knock-off, yes, but not one licensed by WWE.
- 1.) The presentation in WWE 2K14 is still not quite there. Watching characters like Andre the Giant appear with rippling biceps, a six pack and a brawny V-shaped torso would have been a tragedy for WWE fans if it weren’t so laughably awful.
Least Favourite Moment
I am sure many fellow wrestlers can attest to this frustration: Your opponent is about to claim the victory in a ladder match, the other two opponents in the four-way match are unconscious and you’ve just clawed your way back to your feet, albeit a little groggy. Ambling towards the ladder to unseat the other guy just before he is to reach for the prize and win, you attempt a strike on his back only to see your wrestler reach down, pick up one of the unconscious wrestlers, and begin a submission hold. As you watch in dismay the briefcase is grabbed and the match is over.
Throughout the game you will be able to unlock extra wrestlers. There’s a slew of customisable features in WWE 2K14, ranging from wrestler customisations, superstar creations, to WWE Universe changes. Edited content can be shared online and you can even pull down other people’s creations into your game.
The Bottom Line
WWE 2K14 is 2K Sports’ first entry into the WWE franchise and although it has a lot of similarities with its THQ predecessors there’s unfortunately also a lot of problems. From obscure ringside bugs to flaky AI and infuriating targeting, 2K Sports has a few things to iron out before the next release.
WWE 2K14 was reviewed on the Xbox 360