Saturday, 2 November 2013

WWE 2K14 - Final Round Review

WWE 2K14 is, once again, a disappointing wrestling game that is still clinging desperately to its success with the Smackdown vs. Raw series on the PS2.  Sadly the WWE series has just become a re-hashed mess year after year, and I’m not going to sugar-coat the fact that this is a bad game. 

Upon start up you are greeted by a menu screen with plenty of options.  These include Play, which leads you to a multitude more game modes and selections; Create, where you can create your own superstars and moves and the main feature of the game; WrestleMania mode, where you can play through some of the most epic moments in Wrestling in the last 30 years.

The game also has very impressive roster full of old and new superstars alike, nevertheless you only have the new stars and a handful of oldies to pick from.  None of the all-time greats are available from the get go, not being able to play as Hulk Hogan or Randy Savage in a quick game against a friend before first unlocking them is disappointing.

As far as game modes go, WWE 2K14 is full of different scenarios and stages.  Everything from a backstage brawl to hell-in-the-cell is here, including the classic ring matches.  However, I am still awaiting the return of the “fantasy” matches in which Diva’s fight to remove one another’s clothing.

There are some really nice character models and a few stellar cinematics, the Superstar entrances are really well put together and very enjoyable to watch.  However, that is followed by a loading screen before you get to start playing.  WeastleMania mode follows the same wavelength, and the opening sequence is fantastic.  It made me eager to play and brought out the jumping, screaming 10 year old in me wanting to see people leap through the air and smashing one another around without yield or mercy.  Sadly though, the gameplay brought me back down to earth.

Despite the sheer amount of modes and options, WWE 2K14’s biggest shortcoming is the gameplay.  It is just so repetitive and boring.  Nearly every attack from every character looks the same, with the exception of signature moves and finishers.  Now if that isn’t enough to convince you, the control scheme is ridiculously useless.  There is no clear cut way to do things anymore.  Climbing onto the corner post/ropes to jump off and annihilate your opponent is almost as difficult as performing micro brain surgery; even something as simple as getting in and out of the ring is a mind-screw.  All the gameplay comes down to is spamming either the strike or grapple button, or trying to counter oncoming attacks with the incredibly flimsy and obtuse countering system.  Just about every attack is counter-able, with little or no variance in reward/punishment if successfully completed.  In the end the gameplay is shallow and boring, and with no tutorials to explain anything it can get downright confusing and ultimately frustrating.

The Creator mode is still solid, even though it hasn’t really evolved since the earlier games.  It is fun to create your own character complete with his/her own style, look, and move set and let them loose in the ring against existing stars or another created one.  But the gameplay still sucks…

WWE 2K14’s saving grace (somewhat) is the WrestleMania mode.  The possibility to play through classic matches and stories is rather enjoyable, especially with the added challenge of the “Historical” objectives to fully complete the challenge in accordance to the way it actually happened.  But once again the awkward and broken controls ruin this mode.

In the end WWE 2K14 isn’t the world’s worst game, but it certainly isn’t good either.  Apart from some spectacular looking cinematics and a short-lived thrill of bashing around with WWE Superstars, this is a shallow fighting game with very little to offer.

Final Round Rating  -  5.5/10

 - Frank van der Merwe

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