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WWE 2K14

Score: 75%
ESRB: Teen
Publisher: 2K Games
Developer: Yukes
Media: DVD/1
Players: 1 - 4; 2 - 6 (Online)
Genre: Sports (Wrestling)/ Online

Graphics & Sound:

If WWE 2K14 will be remembered for anything, it will be for its reverence for the past of the sport it represents. This wrestling game's presentation is so irresistibly charming that anyone who was around at the height of the professional wrestling phenomenon would be hard pressed not to crack a smile at some point. As far as the gameplay and features go, however, it's pretty forgettable.

WWE 2K14 may not be a technical powerhouse, but it's got way more than enough style to compensate. All the glorious excess of the WWE is perfectly recaptured, particularly in the 30 Years of WrestleMania mode. Simply seeing the likes of departed titans Andre the Giant and Randy "Macho Man" Savage in their prime strikes true at the nostalgia center of the heart and makes you appreciate what was undoubtedly a simpler, more innocent time, when all they wanted to do was provide an escape, a reason to smile. Lots of little touches bring you back to the 1980s, from the purposely diminished video quality to the starkly simple fonts introducing the venue and contestants. The actual wrestling action looks more or less like it has for the past several years; save for all the retro charm, there aren't any visible changes. I still would eventually like to see a wrestling game eager to shake off the staged elements of the melee, but I understand that an official game of the most well-known franchise in sports entertainment should replicate the television experience. This comes with a cost, though; regular strikes look just plain wimpy.

WWE 2K14 sounds pretty great, too, from the iconic entrance themes, to the hilarous, overacted commentary, to the hollow crashes of bodies against the canvas. The licensed soundtrack is made up primarily of dude rock, and it absolutely fits the subject matter; I'm not sure there's anything in the world that is as testosterone-fueled as professional wrestling.


WWE 2K14 seems to be marketing itself as the Alpha and Omega of wrestling video games. If, in fact, that's the publisher's intent, it's not a great move. While this wrestling game can be lots of fun, there are too many fundamental mechanical problems that keep it from spreading its wings and soaring skyward... for that perfect elbow drop.

The mode that is being pushed the most aggressively is also the game's greatest asset: 30 Years of WrestleMania. In this mode, you journey through the history of the franchise, reliving some of the most famous (and infamous) grudge matches. Remember when Randy Savage crushed Ricky Steamboat's voice box with the ring bell? You can get the Dragon's revenge vicariously. This mode is unapologetically nostalgic, and by far the strongest one seen in a WWE game in years.

Everything else, from exhibition to online play, is passable. It survives mainly on the strength of its incredibly strong roster of contestants both new and old. But unfortunately, core elements of the gameplay continue to flounder, which may kill the experience for a number of fans.


WWE 2K14 can be easy or hard depending on how you play. If you're attempting to replicate what is seen on television, it's insanely difficult. However, if you're willing to play the game in a way that looks unnatural, you'll probably win with no problems. But face it, nobody watches wrestling to see competitors spamming the same moves over and over again until they either get pinfall or force their opponent to tap or pass out. That's not entertaining. Yet, sometimes, it seems like the only way to really win decisively in this game.

Game Mechanics:

The sins of the past are doomed to be repeated, it seems. The franchise's fighting model (with all its imperfections) appears to have been simply transplanted onto this new game. Everything feels the same, and in some cases, that's not a good thing at all. In this case, I will again call out the borderline broken reversal mechanics. Reversals are a huge part of professional wrestling, and messing this up causes problems across the board. Reversals are mapped to a single button, but the window of opportunity is almost nonexistent.

I never thought a quick time event would prove to be an entertaining mechanic, but WrestleMania manages to include one just like that in its historical objectives, which allow you to literally relive famous moments in WWE history. In Randy Savage's rematch with Ricky Steamboat, for example, pressing a button at a key moment will have Macho Man clothesline the referee instead of Steamboat. Some objectives force you to win in a certain way (leverage pin, pinfall, submission). These objectives encourage you to learn all the specifics of the fighting model, and work well in context.

WWE 2K14 is a difficult game to recommend on its own merits. If you're a longtime fan, 30 Years of WrestleMania simply must be experienced, one way or another. But if there's anything this title proves, it's that this franchise is in dire need of an overhaul.

-FenixDown, GameVortex Communications
AKA Jon Carlos

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