Digital Spy

Search Digital Spy
2

Gaming Review

'WWE 2K14' review (Xbox 360): Still lacking between the ropes

By
Released on Friday, Nov 1 2013

'WWE 2K14' screenshot

© 2K Games

'WWE 2K14' screenshot


Release Date: November 1 (Europe), October 29 (North America)
Platforms available on: Xbox 360, PS3
Developer: Yuke's
Publisher: 2K Games
Genre: Wrestling

WWE 2K14 has had a rocky road to release, very nearly becoming a casualty of the collapse of THQ, before being snapped up by 2K Games and once again left in the trusty hands of long-term developer Yuke's.

Fortunately, with years of experience and a solid foundation to build on, the development team hasn't had to make any compromises, although by that same token, the game offers very few innovations.

Replacing last year's wonderfully nostalgic 'Attitude Era' mode, this year sees the introduction of '30 Years of WrestleMania', which gives players a chance to relive some of the most famous WrestleMania bouts of all time.

'WWE 2K14' Wrestlemania game mode screenshot

© 2K Games

Hogan vs. Andre in '30 years of WrestleMania'



The trip down memory lane features 46 historic matches, including Hogan vs Andre from WrestleMania 3, Undertaker vs. Kane, Stone Cold vs. The Rock and Ric Flair vs. Shawn Michaels.

Like last year's 'Attitude Era' mode, matches contain optional objectives, which are the key to unlocking bonus content and recreating finishes as they happened at the time, although sometimes this restricts the in-ring action by forcing players in a particular direction.
    Universe is bigger than one of Hogan's biceps and potentially more time-consuming than a WrestleMania box set
The developers have tried to make the WrestleMania matches as authentic as possible by using the correct venues, ring attire, music (with a few exceptions) and even screen filters.

The entrances aren't always quite right, however, and we would have liked more attention paid to the crowds, while commentary duties have understandably been assigned to Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler in the absence of legends such as Gorilla Monsoon.

'WWE 2K14' Wrestlemania game mode screenshot

© 2K Games

Historic matches include Hulk Hogan vs. Ultimate Warrior



With a game mode that tries to cram in the best bits from WrestleMania's near 30-year history, there are also a few glaring omissions in the match department.

Some are due to licensing issues - like the contests between The Dudley Boyz, Edge and Christian, and Matt and Jeff Hardy - while other omissions are harder to explain - Randy Savage vs Ultimate Warrior from WrestleMania 7, for example.

Still, there aren't many matches we would have scrapped altogether, except for maybe King Kong Bundy vs. The Undertaker from WrestleMania 11, so it's difficult to criticise the final lineup.


With a series of wonderfully produced videos introducing some of the more memorable moments and feuds, it's a fascinating game mode, whether you're a long-term fan, or a recent convert hoping to learn more about WWE history.

As a special bonus, Yuke's has also given fans the opportunity to defend or defeat Undertaker's mammoth WrestleMania winning streak in an extended gauntlet match featuring the Deadman.

Unfortunately, instead of starting off with the WrestleMania 7 contest between Undertaker and Jimmy Snuka, the game simply throws random competitors your way, making this an enjoyable high-score endurance mode, but one that's not actually representative of the streak itself.

It's actually much more fun trying to end the streak. Like a genuine video game boss fight, Undertaker is cranked up to 11, and even uses some of his famous 'supernatural powers', such as turning out the arena lights when you've got the upper hand.

WrestleMania 29: CM Punk vs. Undertaker

© 2K Games

Fans can attempt to end The Undertaker's streak



Fans looking for a more story-driven experience should continue to get a kick out of Universe, which gives wannabe bookers and writers increased control over individual rivalries and PPV events, as well as the usual customisation options and storylines.

With an unbelievable number of wrestlers, managers, arenas and costumes to unlock, Universe is bigger than one of Hogan's biceps and potentially more time-consuming than a WrestleMania box set.
    Even with increased balancing options, AI reversals are infuriatingly frequent, making matches against the computer a potentially maddening affair
It's also tied into create-a-wrestler, which benefits from the ability to save more characters and start with additional templates, but offers little else in terms of new options. As such, it feels a little dated.

While it's hard not to be impressed by the sheer number of unlockables and customisation options, WWE 2K14's in-ring action hasn't changed enough to convert long-term critics.

WrestleMania 24: Shawn Michaels vs. Ric Flair

© 2K Games

Performing objectives unlocks new characters, arenas and costumes



Even with increased balancing options, AI reversals are infuriatingly frequent, making matches against the computer a potentially maddening affair. Likewise, pulling off your own split-second reversals still feels like it's rooted in luck rather than judgement.

On the plus side, opponent AI is slightly improved and there are fewer inconsistencies in the physics department - save for some of the action outside of the ring and during gimmick matches.

It means that while the in-ring action is very similar to past releases, matches against the computer are slightly smoother and less clumsy, with fewer glitches.

Between the ropes, WWE 2K14 is as familiar as a John Cena title victory at a PPV. Still, with lots of new superstars, a huge amount of unlockables and the introduction of '30 Years of WrestleMania', it has all the tools to keep fans happy, without necessarily attracting new ones.


You May Like

Comments

Loading...