Welcome to another edition of Shall We Play A Game. This time I’m going to take a look at something a bit more mainstream than I have previously. I hit my local redbox machine and picked up a copy of WWE’s yearly video game: WWE 2k14. This review will simply be my early impressions of the game after playing for a few hours.
The Rock ruptured a spleen doing this pose and had to leave the next day
Back in the day I used to love wrestling days. I passed away many hours on No Mercy and the Smackdown series. However, after a while all the games started to feel the same and my interest waned. I think the reason for my lack of interest was two fold. One, I found that the fighting engine started putting way too much focus on countering. It felt like every match was 60% counters. The AI was so stupid it would watch you climb the ladder to get the belt, but it was a super genius in predicting every single move you were about to try to pull off.
The other reason is the rosters were just less interesting. Was anyone really clamoring to have that blood feud match between Cody Rhodes and Ted Diabase Jr? How about that barn burner of Khali vs. Mike Knox? Thank goodness for Create-A-Character.
So, when WWE 13 came out hyping the Attitude Era mode I was curious but my interest was low. So imagine my surprise when I found a solid fighting engine around a game whose story mode was to play through highlights of the Attitude Era! It was like playing an interactive documentary. It was one of the best wrestling games I had played in years.
That brings us to today, WWE 2K14. W14, as it will hence be refereed to in this article because I’m too lazy to write out the other 4 characters each time, is the newest edition to WWE’s game lineage. The big news around this game is it’s story mode. Much like WWE 13’s attitude era mode W14 has “30 Years of Wrestlemania”. Just as before it’s basically an interactive documentary, this year focusing on the biggest matches in Wrestlemania’s history.
This mode starts you off with Wrestlemania 1 where you are Andre the Giant fighting off against Big John Studd in a body slam challenge. However since this is more like an interactive documentary, you cannot just simply pick a character and go for the win. You have to play as Andre the Giant and get your opponent to critical damage before you hit the body slam for the win.
In all of the Wrestlemania matches there are extra objectives you can try to pull off as well. In the before mentioned Andre match, on top of simply winning, there’s an added objective to win in under 6 minutes. You should always try to get all of these for two reasons. One: the objectives are all focused around the actual events of the match and Two: They are how you unlock all the goodies in game. Extra playable characters, costumes, belts and arenas are all unlocked by hitting these objectives.
So with my limited playthough of Wrestlemania mode I can already tell you that this is what you want the game for. The history behind the matches, the reliving of the great moments, playing of the legends, it clicks on all cylinders. Let’s take a look at what else the game has.
The Creation mode is as rich as ever. You can make wrestlers, entrances, finishers, arenas, championships and storylines! Skilled CAW’ers could probably make just about anyone they wanted, which is great because I always enjoy downloading their hard work.
You can play Undertaker’s Streak mode which has nothing to do with seeing the deadman naked. It’s actually more like the old “Slobberknocker” mode of old. Slobbernocker not a word you’d want to use while envisioning Undertaker naked, btw.
In Universe mode you can book WWE programing week to week. Almost like the old old “Create-a-PPV” mode, only much more so. I always find it interesting to check out, but I always got bored with it quickly.
The exhibition mode is where you can just pickup and play the game. I’m not 100% sure about this but I really don’t see any new match types to choose from. Maybe something will be unlocked later as I play but from my initial impression it looks pretty similar to last year.
The game boasts a Roster of 42 wrestlers to start with, all current WWE stars. Under that roster is 33 locked spots. These are the Wrestlemania legends you can unlock and play as. That’s not a bad lineup, even before you have to pay for DLC characters. The only problem is, and this isn’t even really a problem with the game but more with WWE in general, out of that original roster of 42, who do you really want to play as?
Sure, it’ll be fun to play as CM Punk, Brock Lesner, Jericho, Daniel Bryan, John Cena, HHH, Rock, and Randy Orton. However, who is really dying to play as Jinder Mahal except maybe his kids? Who is dying to put on a match between Titus O’ Neil and Antonio Cesaro? It’s like 60% of the roster is never going to picked to be played.
Don’t get me wrong, you have to add all the mid card wrestlers for completion sake. I’m just saying it felt like it was more fun to play with mid carders like Al Snow and Godfather than it does Santino Marella and Justin Gabriel, but who knows, maybe I’m just a crotchety old guy?
Another small gripe I have is the announcing. As always the announcing gets old quickly, but even more than that, it feels weird to hear JR and King call these old matches. They feel more like two people giving commentary on a classic match as oppossed to two people calling the match live.
Even weirder, I bet none of you knew that Hulk Hogan defended the WWE Title against Andre at Wrestlemania 3!
Yes, I know it’s for legal reasons they have to do that, but it’s just distracting. Especially after all the care they put into making the match look authentic. The arena look’s great, the title bout card uses the same old fashion blocky font, and there’s even a pleasant grain filter to give it an 80s look. Then the whole illusion is blown when JR and King are announcing the match and calling it the modern title name. I dunno, again, maybe I’m just being crotchety, but I keep expecting King to yell, “Download the app and vote who you think will win this match, Hogan or King Kong Bundy!”
A HUGE gripe I have is that since I rented this game I cannot use their online mode. You need to use the single use code that came with the game new. If you bought the game used, well, be prepared to give them another 10 bucks. Considering that I already pay money for XBox Live Gold this is a kick in the nuts. Don’t worry though, once you pay for that, you are free to give them another 20 bucks for the Season Pass.
I could go off on a whole separate rant on DLC in general but I will say this. This is the kind of DLC that pisses me off. They are just playable characters and moves. Why are these not included in game? That’s easy, they want to make you pay another 20 bucks. You’re not getting anything new, you’re not getting characters that are new to WWE and couldnt be added to the game in time. You’re getting leftover bits and pieces that they decided to leave out so they could charge you more money.
The best thing you can buy is “The Accelerator”. For two bucks you can just unlock everything in the game. That’s perfect for people who thinks playing the game to unlock stuff just too much of a hassle. I have an even better deal for you. Send me 3 bucks and I’ll just tell everyone you beat W14 100% and you can simply put the game on your shelf without the hassle of ever playing it once.
Whew… I think I saw red there for a moment, but I’m better now. I think the only other gripe I have is that other than the striking system, which has been greatly sped up, the game feels pretty identical to last year’s game. On one hand, that’s great, because the fighting engine is really solid. On the other hand, it feels like you’re paying 60 bucks for upgraded roster and the awesome Wrestlemania mode.
Is that worth the full price of admission? I’m honestly not sure. While the game is just and update of last year’s game, last year’s game was really good. This one is too, and the Wrestlemania mode is fantastic. It’s something any long time wrestling fan has to try.
But is that enough to make the game worth it? Well, for me personally, I think this is a game that is worth owning, but just not at the full price of 60 bucks. 80 bucks if you plan to get the DLC. Wait for some Black Friday Sales and pick it up when you get it for a few bucks off to at least cover the cost of the extra content you’ll probably end up buying.
That ends this edition of “Shall We Play A Game?” Agree with me? Disagree with me? Want to hire me out for parties? Well simply email me at SuperfriendEd@Gmail.com Thank you for reading, and until next time, I hope you can smell what Mr. Eddie is cooking.
PS: A fun fact. While writing this I had the game sitting on it’s title screen. The clips of random theme songs become more annoying than you might think while trying to write. It also confirms my suspicions that John Cena sucks as a singer.
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