WWE 2k14 is nearly among us and it looks like it will try and top last year’s edition WWE 13. Maybe it will, maybe it won’t. Read on and see for yourself.
This March, the “Showcase of the Immortals” turns 30. In 1984 one man had a vision that would change the world of professional wrestling forever. That vision was WrestleMania, that visionary was Vince McMahon, owner of World Wrestling Entertainment. To commemorate the three decade anniversary, WWE’s yearly game series WWE 2k will follow up its acclaimed Attitude – Era mode with 30 Years of WrestleMania. This will take legendary moments from WrestleMania and allow you to relive them in the game. Shawn Michaels versus Bret Hart from WrestleMania 12, Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat versus “The Macho Man” Randy Savage, and perhaps the greatest of them all, the Irresistible Force taking on the Immovable Object. That being Hulk Hogan and Andre The Giant’s historical bout at WrestleMania 3 in the Pontiac Silverdome.
Despite WWE 13′s success last year, THQ still went under as a publisher. While EA was expected to buy the license it went to none other than Borderlands and Grand Theft Auto publisher Take Two Interactive. Unlike previous incidents where the license was sold and a new team would take over, Yukes, the main developer of the series, is making WWE 2k14. The future of who develops the game may make this Yukes’ last WWE game as it has not been confirmed whether or not the company is returning next year. If this is the end,the team appears to be going out on a high note.
When first hearing about the WrestleMania mode I was skeptical because in 2009 Yukes developed a game with an eerily similar setting. That game was Legends of WrestleMania which had you reenacting legendary moments from WrestleManias prior. Fortunately, this looks like it will be an entirely different game as Legends of WrestleMania was extremely simplistic, light on content, and had a smaller roster. In addition to this, the models in WWE 2k14 look much better and more realistic than LoW. Not only that, but very accurate for the era/time they are from as there will be sometimes more than one match featuring a wrestler. For example, Hulk Hogan’s matches will vary depending on the year, whether he’s facing King Kong Bundy, Randy Savage, and The Ultimate Warrior. While his match at WrestleMania 18 against Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson was nearly two decades later, he appears the way he did at the time under the “Hollywood Hogan” gimmick. This can be said with Y2J himself Chris Jericho as he will be appearing as he did at WrestleMania 18 against the returning Triple H. While there are great matches there are ones that are not so great. I am of course alluding to the disappointing match between Brock Lesnar and Goldberg with “Stone Cold” Steve Austin at WrestleMania XX. This wouldn’t be the case if Kurt Angle was either retired or not wrestling at TNA so you’ll have to take the good with the bad.
As I said earlier, “30 Years of WrestleMania” will go through the three decades that the pay-per-view has been around. From the Hogan era to the Cena era, the story mode will be very similar to the Attitude Era mode in last year’s title in that there are primary objectives that must be cleared in order to progress in the story. There are of course, optional objectives that reenact those historic moments. Doing this will reward you with unlockables which can be attires, movesets, and even wrestlers themselves. Completely unrelated, but this is the first time in a long while that The Clique is back together officially. The Clique being a backstage group of friends that included Triple H, Diesel, Razor Ramon, and Shawn Michaels.
Like all WWE games, what works is upgraded and what isn’t gets a makeover. The OMG! moments from the previous game carry over with several new additions that even allow multiple wrestlers to be affected and more environmental interaction between the superstars. The gameplay, like always, is being tweaked to fix issues people have had and make the game more challenging. In WWE 13 you were able to catch someone in your finisher if they were going towards your character. This added a heightened sense of realism as it looked more realistic and practical. This time around you can catapult your opponent into the air and catch them with your RKO or Chokeslam on their way back down to planet Earth. To further go along this road of realism, the nearfall system has been tweaked as well. There will be more two-counts in order to add more drama and improve the match altogether. One of the problems people had with WWE 13 was the spamming of running attacks, especially over online play. This has been altered by Yukes so there will instead be an animation showing the character get ready to start to move. Even little things such as motioning an opponent to get up or adjusting a wristband have been added. This will without a doubt make the game more like reality and less like templates over and over again.
For all those purists out there, since many of the commentators and play-by-play have either passed away or changed positions, the game unfortunately doesn’t sound perfect. Jim Ross and Jerry “The King” Lawler will comment for the retro WrestleManias and for the more recent years it will be Jerry Lawler and Michael Cole. Unfortunately CM Punk wasn’t available to return to play-by-play. This will not feel right for many people as early WrestleManias couldn’t be imagined without Bobby Heenan and Gorilla Monsoon. However, in 2006 John “Bradshaw” Layfield and Michael Cole did commentary on the Survivor Series ’87 match between Team Hogan and Team Andre. This was an extra addition to the Survivor Series 2006 DVD and hasn’t been done since. Even though it won’t be the same as this, it can be thought of as a “what if” scenario where JR and King were the broadcast team on those respective WrestleManias.
As with previous WWE games, there will be the season pass as new wrestlers, moves, and other content are surely to come following the first 3-4 months of the games release. WWE 2k14 will be hitting store shelves on the 29th of this month.