WWE 2K14 is the newest iteration from the long-running wrestling series. It is the first game under the 2K Games banner after THQ's demise. Does this new addition add anything new or is it just more of the same?
When it comes to annual video games, it is usually hard for the developer to make each game feel unique.
Yuke's has been working on the WWE franchise since 1999 and progressively improved the gameplay and graphics back in the PS2 era. Ever since the series came to the PS3/Xbox 360, the series has remained stagnant.
WWE '12 was supposed to be a "reboot" of the series, but still had similar gameplay and outdated graphics. Last year's WWE '13 was a slight improvement because it featured the fun and lengthy "Attitude Era" campaign.
WWE 2K14 takes things one step further as its main attraction is the "30 Years of WrestleMania" mode. This is to celebrate next year's WrestleMania XXX which will commemorate three decades worth of the best wrestling show on the planet.
The "30 Years of WrestleMania" mode is a huge feature because it includes 45 matches from all of the previous 29 WrestleMania events. If you are a huge WWE fan, you'll love most of the matches and historic moments that you can relive and play for yourself. Some of the matches included is the classic Andre the Giant vs Hulk Hogan match from WrestleMania III and The Rock vs John Cena from WrestleMania 28. There are some matches that are missing, but this is mainly due to some wrestlers being unavailable because they are currently wrestling for other companies.
Much like WWE 13's "Attitude Era" mode, there are certain objectives that you have to complete in each match. These objectives are actual memorable moments that happened in each of the matches. This may include iconic moments like Bret Hart putting the sharpshooter on Stone Cold Steve Austin or the time when Edge speared Mick Foley through a burning table!
You can unlock a lot of great things from the WrestleMania mode. They've included archival photos that you can view plus video highlight packages from several of the matches as well. As you play, you will also unlock new wrestlers as well as arenas too.
Another great feature to this year is the "Undertaker's Streak" mode. Here you can challenge The Undertaker at WrestleMania and see if you can beat his winning streak. You can use any wrestler you wish, but the difficulty of the mode is very hard. You cannot alter the difficulty in this mode so you'll have a tough time trying to beat him! You can also play as The Undertaker himself and face multiple opponents in a row to see how many people you can beat.
Other features WWE 2K14 a diverse experience are the many "create" modes in the game too. You can create a belt, entrance, wrestler, finishing move and arena. If you are lazy, you can always just download other people's creations online!
Graphically, WWE 2K14 is still one of the worst looking games I've seen this generation. The graphics were okay earlier in the PS3/Xbox 360 generation, but WWE '12 changed all that and I think the graphics look even worse. I'm not joking when I say this but WWE 2K14 looks worse than the wrestling games I played on the PS2, Gamecube and the original Xbox. Most of the wrestlers look as if they've been made out of play-dough. The only redeeming part of the visuals is that Yuke's finally made the arenas look accurate and the staging areas are detailed. This doesn't change the fact that the visuals are still ugly with fake looking character models and a washed-out faded colour filter.
In terms of the core gameplay, nothing much has changed here either apart from a few added new moves. If you've played either WWE '12 or WWE '13, you'll know exactly how WWE 2K14 feels. The controls are virtually the same and the physics are similar too. The only minor difference is that they added a few new moves here and there. Other than that, the gameplay seems like it's been untouched.
The best experience you can have with WWE 2K14 is with your friends. Outside of the "30 Years of WrestleMania" mode, playing by yourself can feel a bit lonely. Wrestling games are meant to be played with your friends and if they're mad about WWE too, you'll have an even better time playing the game. Even if they're old-school fans of wrestling, there are a lot of older wrestlers that have been added to this game. Some of the current roster is missing, but they'll be added later on as DLC.
WWE 2K14 is a fun game thanks to the addition of the extensive "30 Years of WrestleMania" mode. If this mode wasn't in the game, this would have been just another version of WWE '12 or WWE '13. The graphics are still horrible and the gameplay is the same as ever. Hopefully by the the time WWE 2K15 is released, we'll see huge changes being made to the franchise.
Lasting Appeal: 8.5