Developer: Yukes | Visual Concepts
Publisher: 2K Sports
Reviewed on: Xbox 360
Also available on: PlayStation 3
If we had to give it a numerical score: 7.5/10
Body slams! Flying kicks! Men in spandex! It’s professional wrestling, and if I sound like I know what I’m talking about, don’t be fooled. I have not played – or watched – wrestling since around 2007. However, it was all strangely familiar to me when I booted up WWE 2K14 for the first time.
So that’s a positive then right? The familiarity? Of course it is. However, WWE 2K14 has brought with it a fair amount of new ideas (at least from my last visit in 2007). There’s the create-a-superstar option which is pretty darn comprehensive and allows one to come up with all sorts of muscle-bound characters – ranging from serious contenders to the seriously deranged. The truth of the matter is that I spent more time than a normal zombie should customising my character.
Next up, I decided to test ‘Wee-Dredd-Man’ (he wasn’t all that “wee” to be honest) in a bout against one of the lesser-known wrestlers in the massive roster available. I pwnd. However, the fight felt a little slower than I expected – perhaps brought on by more recent time spent with games like Injustice and Street Fighter – and didn’t appeal at first. It took a few more fights to realise that the game relied a little more on timing than in previous iterations, and that attempting to counter early did nothing more than open you up to violent retribution from your opponent.
Then I was ready for more. And the game certainly delivers in that department. The ’30 Years of Wrestlemania’ Mode has over 45 matches which take you through some classic match-ups from bygone times to more recent matches featuring some of the biggest money-makers in the WWE universe. Each match has an objective you need to complete in order to complete a piece of Wrestlemania history, and unlock more matches. Unfortunately, some of the matches were a little hit-and-miss, and get caught a little too close to quick-time-event territory. It’s a nostalgic addition, but one that never feels like it’s got an incentive to complete (other than for Gamerscore of course).
The Undertaker features heavily in the Wrestlemania mode (as he should do considering he has won the event 21 times) and in his very own ‘Streak’ Mode, which has absolutely nothing to do with running naked across the ring… The mode however brings the first real breath of fresh air to a franchise running a risk of getting stale. While you are forced to battle to maintain your streak against waves of opponents, or even battle as one of the opponents to break the streak, the mode also awards you points for your performance to measure against others on a leaderboard.
The sandbox (or career) mode returns too, but is named ‘Universe’ Mode. It’s the usual thing of battle opponents, form rivalries, watch the soap opera unfold, but do so in your own custom universe. It’s fun and all, until someone gets their head smashed through a commentator’s desk, but the highlight mode is probably sitting next to up to three friends and fighting on the couch – because, let’s be fair, there is nothing better than hearing your friend’s anguished scream as you get that pinfall to claim the last slice of pizza.
Graphically, the game looks a little long in the tooth, but it is beautifully presented, and the wrestlers get the full entrance experience in virtual reality. The commentary sounds exactly like I remember it from 2007, but I’m pretty sure that I am just being a grumpy old man on that particular point. The opponent A.I. is also a little wanting at times, but it really isn’t that far from real life wrestling then surely…
There is so much to do in this edition of the WWE franchise that if you are a fan of wrestling you will certainly not be disappointed. However, the next entry will need to bring a few new elements to the package to keep the franchise relevant.
Read about our ratings here.
What I liked
- Massive roster of wrestlers.
- Beating the head of a real life opponent against a corner post and hearing their real life screams of anguish in my right ear. I am not a sociopath. Promise.
Not so much
- Buggy A.I.
- Gameplay getting a little stale now.
- A mixed bag visually.