Published on November 7th, 2013 | by Don Parsons1
WWE 2K14 Review
Summary: A highlight reel of the past three decades, coupled with the WWE Universe mode make this years WWE entry a few steps in the right direction.
My created character, Squall, was 15-2. He had beaten a variety of low- to mid-card wrestlers, and looked like he was poised to take the US Championship. And then the Royal Rumble happened, an opportunity to prove the brutally strong monster had championship potential. He entered as number 10, though, stacking the odds against him. Squall picked on a few of the wrestlers in the ring, but tactically avoided confrontation. Getting in there and just going to town on everyone in the ring, especially so early on, just didn’t sound like the wisest of decisions. But being careful really only helped so much, because a few entrants late, Hulk Hogan came into the ring. For some unknown reason, Hogan, with the help of The Great Khali, targeted and eliminated Squall. It was a rather jaw-dropping moment, something I didn’t see coming. The Great Khali went on to win the Royal Rumble, making Squall’s defeat the preamble to a laughable conclusion.
WWE 2K14 is a transition for the series. For one, it is the first WWE game after the collapse of THQ, published by 2K Games this year. Second, it has one helluva roster. WWE 2K14 incorporates today’s superstars with icons from the 80s and 90s, and not just a few either. For as many current wrestlers in the game, there are an equal amount of classic stars from yesteryear. Third, the game has been freed from the plague of long load times, something that kept me from playing the last few years. It seemed every year, the amount of time I sat in loading screens was equal to the time I was playing matches. So I gave up for a few years, but gladly, that problem has been resolved.
What really grabbed my attention, pre-release, was the buzz about the 30 Years of Wrestlemania mode. The early years weren’t the selling point to me , but even so they were a blast to play. Each match had objectives related to the historical match. You could just win the match and move on, but you didn’t unlock anything that way. By completing all of the objectives, you unlock arenas and wrestlers pertaining to that particular match.
These objectives guide you through the match with highlights from the original. So during the Bret Hart vs. Stone Cold Steve Austin match, one objective is to Irish whip Stone Cold into the corner in a weakened state. Doing so takes control of the match away from the player and the computer takes over for a brief moment, controlling Hart to go outside the ring and put Austin in a figure four leglock around the turnbuckle. It’s a great way to blend playing the match with the highlights of what actually happened. Moreso, these matches all have vignettes to set the tone of the rivalry. Wrestlemania had a lot of great moments, and WWE 2K certainly captures the spirit of those heated rivalries.
One of the features I loved about those unlockable characters was dropping them into the WWE Universe game mode. WWE Universe is the replacement for the typical story or career mode. While I think I’d still love a career mode, I spent hours with WWE Universe and still felt like playing more. For people that just want to play the matches as they come through, some manipulation may be required to get some sort of satisfaction. Once you get locked into a rivalry, prepare yourself to wrestle your rival for 4-8 weeks. If this happens around an important PPV, like Money in the Bank, you may miss the opportunity to get that precious suitcase.
For those that want complete control over their federation, that’s very easy to handle. Whether you’re considering the matches, the rosters, the titles, or even something as grand as the shows themselves, everything can be modified. At one point, I changed my custom wrestler from a good guy to a bad guy, which immediately thrust me into a feud with Hulk Hogan. It was a nice touch to see my wrestler attack Hogan after beating him in a match, gathering loud boos from the crowd. As a good guy, the matches just sort of ended. This spiced things up and made them feel more organic, even though I couldn’t control the attack. The things that can be modified seem endless, so if you want to invest a lot of time into making this federation your very own WWE, it’s very possible.
I spent most of my time playing the 30 Years of Wrestlemania and WWE Universe, but The Streak, an Undertaker-centric mode, was a nice change of pace. I didn’t find it a good long-term time investment; however, it was fun to go through a few times. I didn’t manage to defeat the Undertaker, or get a serious streak going, though. Completionists will end up spending more time with this due to the amount of trophies associated with the mode.
Online is existent, though not in a state I would play in sadly. The few matches i played were marred by lag, leaving me frustrated. Being able to download characters, moves, and stories made up for that. I spent half an hour downloading all of the people I was longing for before discovering this little treat tucked away in the Online menu.
WWE 2K14 is a lovely trip down memory lane, filled with nostalgia and happy times. It just so happens that the WWE Universe mode is equally fun, and gives players of all types something to play. There are still a few kinks that need worked out, mostly in the online department, but it’s nice to see the series moving in the right direction.
This review was written based on gameplay on the Playstation 3 console, with review material provided by the publisher. for more information on our review policies, read here.