Platform: PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
Publisher: 2K Sports
Released: October 29th, 2013
Back in the day, wrestling greats like Hulk Hogan and Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka were larger than life heroes inside the wrestling universe. As a youth you eventually found out that the majority of the superhuman feats pulled off by the wrestlers were actually scripted routines, but that didn’t deter the sport from being widely popular and one of the most entertaining shows on earth. WWE 2k14 recognizes those golden years with a comprehensive and accessible historical reenactment of the most essential moments in wrestling history.
This year although WWE 2K14 is being published under the 2K Sports banner with THQ going out of business, it hasn’t taken any steps back which is admirable considering the team had to change publishers midstream. As a result it’s able to efficiently build upon what this series has been about for the last couple of years. Gameplay wise, not a lot has changed from WWE 2K13 but there are a few additional moves that were added. You’ll see more of the OMG! Moment special moves introduced last year, as well as a new “catch” finisher system that lets you perform sudden variations on existing finishing maneuvers. The Counter system is still intact, rewarding players for using the correct timing and punishing players who just button mash looking to pull off a reversal move. The Pin System features a slider that you have to time and release when the bar moves into the green kick out zone. The more damage your wrestler absorbs, it becomes harder to kick out of a pin as that green zone becomes just a sliver. While the A.I. has been slightly improved, there are still some instances where it will have you primed for a pin fall but won’t seize the opportunity which allows your player to recover. Collision detection is erratic when more than two wrestlers are near each other. For example, I played a steel cage match and there were occurrences when two others fighters were engaged, seeing an opening I walked over and place a well timed elbow to the head one of the wrestlers only to watch my character flail away hitting nothing but air. In regards to the commentary of Jim ‘JR’ and Jerry ‘The King’ Lawler, it is overly disjointed and feels like it could’ve been so much more smooth knowing the flowing energy those two have brought to matches in the past.
You can’t tell the story of WrestleMania without Randy Savage, or Ultimate Warrior and thanks to 2K14’s great 30 Years of WrestleMania mode, you’ll be able to relive some highlight matches that have happened in those golden ages. 2K deserves some dap for the attention to detail they paid to the recreations of each WrestleMania arena, font, logo, and wrestler attire. The entrance themes and costumes are taken straight from the archives, which acts as a history lesson for newcomers and jostles up old memories for people who lived through that era. By completing historical objectives within each match, brief cut scenes are cued up that mirror what happened in real life so many years ago. While there are a few omissions on both the current and classic wrestlers, this is as deep a roster as this series has ever had.
If you get tired of that mode then you have the option of taking on The Undertaker in something called The Streak. Here you’ll either be cast in the role as The Undertaker, tasked with defending his winning streak of 21 in a row, or take on the boss himself as you try to defeat him ending his streak. While the latter is the more interesting of the two, be prepared to take on a roided-up Dead Man as he’ll throw all his black magic and ungodly power at you.
The creation suite returns largely unchanged from last year, but there are a few newer aspects. Players can set up different kinds of tournaments now, including gold rush tournaments for specific belts, including those of their own design. Now you can create new belts, as opposed to just building off of the existing core of championships already included. You also have the ability to clone and re-edit some existing wrestlers but only a few are available to be toyed with.
2K deserves props for delivering a solid wrestling game in WWE 2K14 that complements its historical angle with good mechanics, a fun universe and a creation suite that is rich in detail. While the “rasslin” formula is showing its age in the series, that still won’t prevent you from having a Royal Rumble fun time. – Written by DJRhude (@DJRhude)
XXL Rating: L
WWE 2K14 was reviewed on a PS3 copy provided by 2K Sports