REVIEW - WWE 2K14

Published date: 31 October 2013 |
Published by: Geraint Jones 
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How does 2K Games' first foray in Vince McMahon's weird and wonderful sports entertainment circus fare?

Pretty well, it has to be said.

WWE 2K14 is a signficant step forward from the fun- but -flawed WWE 13 - one of the last releases from defunct publisher THQ.

Japanese developers Yukes certainly haven't reinvented the wheel, but WWE 2K 14 is the best wrestling title since the glory days of the early Smackdown games.

The main new feature this year is the 30 Years of Wrestlemania mode, where players can recreate classic 45 matches from wrestling's Super Bowl.  

The result is a ton of fun for fans who remember the heady days of Hulk Hogan, Ric Flair and the late, great Macho Man Randy Savage.

Key moments are played out with a combination of normal gameplay and quick time button presses, and it is hard to find any glaring flaws with this system.

Granted, Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler didn't commentate on many of the matches, but it would have been extremely difficult to sync the original audio of Gorilla Monsoon, Bobby Heenan, Jesse "The Body" Ventura et al with this new title.

To be fair, legal action by a certain group of wildlife enthusiasts over the company's former name migth have something to do with this, as well.

Thankfully, good ol' Jr and Lawler are beloved commentators in their own right, so their presence is a plus overall.

Players can also challenge Undertaker's Wrestlemania winning streak, but be warned - the match is like nothing in a WWF/E game so far.

The difficulty is ramped up considerably, and the Deadman has a hatful of tricks up his sleeve to keep gamers on their toes.

Matches play out like a boss fight in a beat 'em up or third person adventure, and this is no bad thing.

You can also defend the streak by defeating as many opponents as you can, slobberknocker - style.

An improved Universe Mode returns, with added cut scenes and problems fixed from last year's slightly frustrating version.  

This year's rosters is packed with legends such as The Rock, Stone Cold Steve Austin, Triple H, Andre the Giant and Sgt Slaughter.

There's also a large selection of current stars, including CM Punk, Antonio Cesaro, The Shield, Dolph Ziggler and the hugely popular Daniel Bryan.

With a sizeable amount of dlownloadable content to follow, this year's roster is probably the best ever.   

The meat and potatoes of a wrestling game is, of course, the gameplay and WWE 2K14 largely succeeds in this area.

The action has been tightened up, with new movements animations making matches much smoother than before.

Yukes and 2K Games, including several old faces from THQ, have worked hard to eradicate the glitches that have plagued WWE titles, and the result will bring a smile to many a hadrcore fan's face.

The game engine still shows signs of age, particularly with more than two wrestlers enter the fray, but overall gameplay is much improved.

The creation suite is as huge as ever, with options to edit supertars costumes (although not their faces) expanded and a much-improved belt creation feature.

Considering THQ's demise and the challenges of yearly updates, the team behind WWE 2K14 should be congratulated for what is an exhaustive simulation of the real thing.  

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