WWE 2K14

Can You Smell What Yuke’s Is Cooking?

Sure, The Rock is cool, but fans of The Undertaker will really dig WWE 2K14.
Author: Aram Lecis
Published: November 5, 2013
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Much like the legendary Vince McMahon himself, THQ and the Yuke’s development team lorded over a virtual monopoly when it came to WWE games. After the fall of THQ many wondered what would happen to the franchise, but 2K rode in and kept the entire team intact to bring gamers everywhere WWE 2K14. Did they bring the goods this year or are we in for a Montreal Screwjob?

As we’ve come to expect from these series with yearly iterations launching late in the generation, WWE is more of a tweaked engine with some new content rather than any big leap. With next year’s titles likely being built on new engines there simply isn’t much return on the investment of major changes. Thankfully this game is built on a very solid foundation at this point and if the only changes are some subtle technique shifts designed to make the action flow a bit more realistically, well that is just fine. There are other ways to set your game apart from past iterations.

In this case, the WWE franchise has spent the last few years focusing their content around various tentpole eras and recreating historic events from the WWE pantheon. Last year they dove deep into the Attitude Era and I for one got a great deal of pleasure from reliving some of the best part of an era I hadn’t paid that much attention to in the past. If nothing else Yuke’s has always done a great job of capturing and recreating the spectacle that defines the WWE and by cleverly using some iconic bits of video (more than bits actually) they capture the aura around special matches.

This year the focus has shifted to the genesis of all current WWE spectacle as WWE 2K14 pays homage to Wrestlemania. It’s been almost 30 years since Mr. T and Hulk Hogan leapt into the squared circle as our old friend Mean Gene Oakerlund tried to maintain order. This years “story” mode offers dozens of scenarios that recreate classic matches over every era of the main event. You’ll go through the Hogan bracket then the Bret Hart era. That’s followed by the Attitude Era (again!) before moving on to folks like The Rock. Finally it all wraps up with new stuff featuring John Cena.

The cool part of all these matches is how they offer you special challenges that are always based on the real stories surrounding a match. Early on you’ll be tasked with finding a way to body slam Big John Studd and later on you’ll need to drop some well time People’s Elbows to not only win the match, but do it in a way that replicates the real result. Not only will you get the satisfaction of recreating some of the finest moments in rasslin’ history but doing so will also unlock the wrestlers involved in the match for use in other modes. It takes a good amount of time to run through the whole gamut of scenarios available even if it doesn’t seem quite as long as last year’s Attitude Era campaign.

That isn’t the only mode available that is Wrestlemania based this year. One of the most iconic images of Wrestlemania is the annual match involving the Undertaker. While the opponent rotates regularly Mr. Taker makes an appearance every year and every year he wins. The Streak is something known to all WWE fans and as difficult as it is to put an real credence into a streak when the events are scripted it still has a certain allure. You’ll be able to take on both sides of this famous streak in either “Defend the Streak” or “Defeat the Streak” modes. Both of these fun little diversions took up a lot of my time with this game. Defeat the Streak lets you choose one of the streak victims and pit him against the Undertaker. While this might not sound too tricky, there is a special “streak” AI for this mode that basically stacks things so far against you that letting Undertaker get a hold of you is almost always a quick trip to the loss zone. It’s not an impossible task but it’ll require all your skill and a bit of luck to end the streak.
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