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WWE 2K14

WWE 2K14

If you've followed the WWE's weekly shows the last few years, you might be led to believe that the entire television storyline - with Triple H taking over the company from his father in law - was complete fictional and just for TV.

But this is actually not the case. Even if Vince McMahon is not yet ready to let go of his life's work, it's Hunter and his daughter Stephanie that one day stand to take control of the entire company, and their influence can already be felt.

A few years back the focus has been on wrestlers who all looked like bodybuilders, but who could barely do anything in the ring. That's gradually fading in favour of stars like CM Punk and Daniel Bryan, who have been given more exposure in the weekly shows.

That development, however, looks like it has been completely overlooked when you pick up your copy of WWE 2K14. Last year it was C.M. Punk who graced the front cover and gave hope of a renewal to the franchise's fortunes. This year it's The Rock - who's not even an active wrestler - and the promise of playing through the best moments of the past 30 years of Wrestlemania that serves as the main draw.

WWE 2K14

As a wrestling fan from back in the day when Hulk Hogan fought all sorts of evil in the ring, it's hard not be charmed by the introduction of the new mode 30 Years of Wrestlemania. Through forty-six different bouts the developers let you experience events from Wrestlemania's long history; from the Hogan era right up to today. If you've ever been enthralled by wrestling as a form of entertainment, you're sure to find some fan service here that'll meet with your approval.

Wrestlemania's game options are divided in five different eras. "Hulk Hogan Running Wild", "The New Generation", "The Attitude Era", "Ruthless Aggression" and "The WWE Universe Era". All of these titles will be self-explanatory to those who have followed the show at various times over the years.

But the developer, Yuke's, has gone beyond just restoring the various matches. Every game also has mini-objectives, all of which are drawn from real life shows. To mention the many different scenarios here would be to spoil much of surprise, so let me just say that there is a good chance that you'll have to recreate your favorite moments, whether it was the Ultimate Warrior, Brett Hart, or D-Generation X that had previously caught your attention, much like new fans will be able to look forward for special moments with John Cena, Undertaker and C.M. Punk.

WWE 2K14

If you don't just want to use your time reliving Wrestlemania, there's also the opportunity to get involved with the Universe game mode. Here you get an overview of a calendar that covers a year's worth of WWE events. You can choose to participate in any match you wish, so as to affect the various stories from the many wrestlers. Should you instead prefer to stick to specific pay-per-view bouts that's also a possibility. Generally there's plenty to choose from.

Game options and modernisation would not have sufficed if the actual fighting in the ring hadn't worked. Fortunately, it seems as though over the last couple of year at Yuke's, the developers have found the time to give mechanics a much needed overhaul. It is a trend that continues with this year's release, and so it is really nice to experience how the controls have become incredibly simple and accessible, without losing some of the staggering number of options.
Whichever wrestler you choose, you're still encouraged to hurt individual body parts in preparation for the finishing move, but because you no longer have to struggle with cumbersome button combinations, the fighting's quicker and more in-line with reality.

WWE 2K14

Despite the fact that Yuke's has taken some notable steps in the right direction, WWE 2K14 still contains some issues, problems which have also appeared in many of the previous games.

Commentators still talk gibberish most of the time - that is if they're not busy with repeating themselves, or making hilariously general statements that could be applicable to almost any situation. It quickly becomes tiresome to listen to, and is particularly unfortunate because Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler were allowed to add their commentary to the Wrestlemania mode. Elsewhere you have to wonder what sort of backend programming puts together the schedule for Universe, as it seems completely random. I don't think I've ever seen Zack Ryder headline anything ahead of Randy Orton.

Most devastating is the complete lack of attention by the developers in recreating wrestler moves; repeatedly you'll see stars perform actions that they've never used in reality. Seeing Andre the Giant tiger suplex opponents is bizarre, since his bulk never let him try anything of the sort when he was in the ring during his career. It destroys a large part of the illusion, and stands in stark contrast to the many other areas that the developer has managed to improve with a problem.

It is unfortunate that the deficiencies still present in WWE 2K14 are so significant that they're almost impossible to ignore. That undoubtedly destroys some of the enjoyment, which is particularly unfortunate because Yuke's otherwise has dealt with many of criticisms previously leveled at the series.

The criticisms are, fortunately, not significant enough to thwart one's enjoyment of the game. Fans will still be able to make use of the industry-leading player creation mode, enjoy the improved mechanics, and rejoice that at long last menus have been spruced and cleaned. However, it is the wrestling fans with a good grasp of of WWE 's history that will get most enjoyment out of the game - making their own mark on Wrestlemania and its many memorable fights.

WWE 2K14
WWE 2K14
WWE 2K14WWE 2K14WWE 2K14WWE 2K14
07 Gamereactor UK
7 / 10
+
+Vastly improved management, pure joy for old WWE fans, broad and historic selection of wrestlers
-
Commentators are monotonous to listen to, some wrestlers movements do not tally with reality
overall score
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