WWE 2K14 Review
There’s a very simple question that you need to answer if you’re thinking about playing WWE 2K14: do you consider yourself to be a fan of WWE?
If your answer is “yes”, then stick around, because we’ve got things to talk about.
If your answer is, “no, naturally, I have no interest in wrestling you massive nerd”, then what the hell are you doing here?
Maybe you thought that WWE 2K14 is a game that could be enjoyed by someone who isn’t interested in wrestling?
Maybe you thought that, like the FIFA and PES series, the game is compelling enough in and of itself that it’s not necessary to be engaged with the source material in order to get something out of it?
Well, you couldn’t be more wrong.
WWE 2K14 is generous with modes and content, blessed with a plethora of customisation options and is almost unparalleled as an example of fan service.
Almost everything that surrounds the game itself is brilliant. The problem is that the game that is at the centre of all that, the one that you’ll actually be playing, isn’t very good.
WWE 2K14: The Combat
At a base level, WWE 2K14 is the same WWE game we’ve been playing for the last couple of years.
That’s not to suggest that there haven’t been tweaks made to the combat through WWE ’13 and WWE 2K14, because there certainly have.
It’s simply to say that, in spite of those small improvements, this is still the shoddy looking, plodding and sometimes frustrating combat system that we’re all used to.
That means it’s still a common sight to see both you and your opponent swinging violently into thin air like they’ve been huffing paint, or to see any match with more then two competitors degenerate into a bumbling mess as you constantly collide with and interrupt each other while twirling about like mannequins with the turning circle of an articulated lorry.
In fairness, WWE 2K14’s combat isn’t always all that bad, but it would be generous to say that it shouldn’t be described as ropey, at the very least.
WWE 2K14: 30 Years of Wrestlemania
When playing WWE 2K14’s headline 30 Years of Wrestlemania mode, you’ll not only have to deal with your opponent, but will also have to be mindful of the series of historical objectives that you are tasked with completing.
This will usually involve either completing a simple QTE, or manoeuvring your opponent into a certain situation in order to trigger a cutscene which mimics events that took place in the real life match that you’re recreating.
This is an idea that was introduced in WWE ’13s attitude era mode, and one that has had a little improvement – objectives are much less vague this time around and you’ll often notice that the AI is oddly keen to get into the position that you want them in, which removes a lot of potential frustration.
The concept of recreating moments that fans know and love makes sense within the context of the mode and is indicative of the care and attention that WWE 2K14 pays to WWE history.
The problem is that as you progress throughout the campaign, it increasingly feels like you are just completing a series of rather laborious check-lists – ‘get your opponent to light damage and then move them over here’, ‘do this move on your opponent once they’re at moderate damage’, ‘try and pin your opponent after doing this move’ and so on and so on.
It’s bad enough having it feel like the developers are watching over your shoulder, telling you how to play the game, but that sense of lacking any freedom is exacerbated by the fact that you know exactly how most of WWE 2K14’s matches are going to play out.
If you’re enough of a fan to appreciate the historical moments that WWE 2K14’s 30 Years of Wrestlemania mode aims to recreate, that also means you’re likely to know what moments are going to be recreated before you even start a match.
As a result, you’ll often wonder if it might be more fun to just watch the matches you’re meant to be recreating rather than having to trudge through a set of strictly defined goals and targets in order to watch an ugly approximation of significant moments from those matches.
Getting that balance between offering the player freedom and paying homage to classic moments is probably very difficult, but that doesn’t change the fact that the 30 Years of Wrestlemania mode often isn’t that fun.
WWE 2K14: Fan Service & Customisation
Despite the issues with the 30 Years of Wrestlemania mode, it has to be said that the choice of matches and moments couldn’t be much better and that the developers have shown real care and attention in presenting those matches within the best possible framework.
Real-life footage is used to introduce each era within the mode as part of a concerted effort to highlight the significant characters, establish the rivalries and give a sense of occasion to the matches you are taking part in.
That sense that WWE 2K14’s developers really want to give fans what they want extends to the multitude of customisation options on offer.
You can create your own wrestlers, storylines, entrances, rings, move-sets, finishers and just about anything else you could want for a wrestling game.
Once you’ve done so, WWE Universe mode returns to give you a place where you can implement all your creations, so if you’re one of those tinkerers who love’s to play with all the creation tools that WWE games offer, that’s all there.
You might question the extent to which that makes WWE 2K14 appealing, given that there were also extensive cutomisation options on offer in WWE ’13 and WWE ’12 before that, but it’s still a welcome inclusion.
WWE 2K14 Review
As a love letter to WWE and Wrestlemania history, it’s hard to fault WWE 2K14.
When you to take into account everything that’s on offer, including 30 Years of Wrestlemania mode, WWE Universe mode and the ability to customise almost everything you could want, it’s also hard to fault WWE 2K14 as a package.
Unfortunately, it’s all too easy to fault the game that’s at the centre of all that. The fan service is all very well and good, but WWE 2K14 just isn’t that fun to play.
WWE 2K14 is like a wrestler who cuts a great promo but who, when all is said and done, just can’t wrestle.
Version tested: PS3