End The Undertaker’s reign of WrestleMania victories in ‘WWE 2K14’

end the undertakers reign of wrestlemania victories in wwe 2k14 undertaker vs batista

The WWE video game franchise now appears under a new publisher’s banner but developer Yukes continues to build on the foundation that it worked with when the now-dissolved THQ still held the license. As much as this year’s WWE 2K14 evolves the ideas of its predecessor, WWE ’13, the latest entry also celebrates a major milestone for the franchise, coming as it does in WrestleMania’s 30th anniversary year.

Story/Concept

Crazy for WrestleMania. The marquee modes in WWE 2K14 revolve around World Wrestling Entertainment’s annual WrestleMania championship bouts. Players get to revisit all 29 WrestleMania events, going all the way back to the event’s 1985 debut back when it was the World Wrestling Federation. This “30 Years of WrestleMania” mode unfolds over 46 matches, each of which highlights the annual event’s most historic fights. Everything from Hulk Hogan and Mr. T squaring off against “Rowdy” Roddy Piper and Paul Orndorff to this year’s epic showdown between John Cena and The Rock. Adding to the sense of authenticity is a set of sub-objectives for each fight that attempt to capture key moments from the past. Players aren’t required to complete these, but doing so unlocks an assortment of bonus content.

Ending the reign of The Undertaker. “The Streak” is another new mode for WWE 2K14 that gives players the opportunity to either defend or end The Undertaker’s unbroken string of WrestleMania victories. He’s got 21 of them in all, thanks of course to his superior conditioning and his incredible will to win. In The Streak, players get to either live through that series of successes or disrupt it. Defending the streak is essentially a survival mode in which you face a series of opponents, one after the other, with no health restored as you proceed. Disrupting the streak, on the other hand, pits a fighter of the player’s choosing against The Undertaker with all difficulty sliders turned up to the max. Maybe Andre the Giant can bring down The Undertaker’s reign where other wrestlers couldn’t. While these are solo modes only, both will rank players’ performance on the leaderboards.

Universe_1

Build your own wrestling universe. Outside of the WrestleMania-specific content, WWE 2K14 brings back “WWE Universe,” a mode built around allowing players to construct their own take on professional wrestling, from the roster of fighters to the daily schedule of events to the logos, messaging, and staging connected to said events. You’ve got control over every facet of your own vision for the WWE. Want WrestleMania to just be a showcase for WWE Diva fights? Wish you could see Hulk Hogan feuding with CM Punk? Have your own vision for what a real championship belt should look like? All of this is possible in what appears to be a very robust, if complex mode.

Gameplay

Beatdown theater. There are few functional changes in WWE 2K14 over previous years once you step into the ring. Fighters square off and start trading blows, slowly wearing one another down using a mixture of punches, kicks, throws, and submission holds. The HUD showing your video game-y energy meter is off by default; you can turn it on, but it’s also easy to tell how banged up your fighter is from how much damage is visible and how nimbly he or she is able to move.

The_Streak_1

The only truly significant change comes in the way reversal moves work. Whenever an opponent attempts to perform a grapple or some other specialty move, a button prompt appears briefly over the defending fighter’s head. Time your button press right and you’re able to reverse the move. In previous years, a successful reversal would send both fighters back into a grapple animation, making it possible to reverse endlessly back and forth. WWE 2K14 switches things up by turning reversals into an attack unto themselves, which helps to quicken the pace of a given fight.

Presentation

It’s all fake. From a visual standpoint, WWE 2K14 falls in line with the most recent games. Player animations are the product of freshly recorded mocap work, but the fighters themselves aren’t nearly as detailed as they could be near the tail-end of the hardware generation. That’s not to say the game looks bad, merely that you shouldn’t go in expecting a lot of eye candy. The graphics are better than serviceable, but only just.

The overall presentation, on the other hand, is all about serving the fans. Everything from the fight commentators to the arena design to the period-specific broadcast filters are meant to capture the different eras of professional wrestling through the lens of the annual WrestleMania event. This includes a video archive of 29 shorts that each set up different rivalries and standout moments in the franchise’s history. As you dig through three full decades of WrestleMania events, you’ll note that even the crowds gathered to watch the fight capture the flavor of the period in the way that they’re dressed.

Orton_TripleH_Cena

All of this is held together by the a rich pool of content, highlighted by a roster of 80+ fighters pulled from various eras of WWE (and WWF), along with seven playable Divas and an assortment of managers. You’ve also got 60+ matches and match variants to choose from, as well as a customization option that allows you to tweak rules and fight conditions. Want to stage a Royal Rumble inside a steel cage? Then do it.

Takeaway

The WWE license seems to be in good hands at 2K Sports. Yukes continues to deliver a content and feature-rich game in WWE 2K14. Changes to the gameplay are minimal, but the newly re-tooled WWE Universe and completely fresh WrestleMania-focused modes promise to give fans of these man-soaps a lot to dig into. You’ll be able to find out for yourself when 2K14 bodyslams into stores on October 29, 2013 for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360.

Wearables

Sony’s weird Wena isn’t a smartwatch, it’s a smart watch strap

Sony's Wena smart watch straps have been around since 2015; but the company has now decided to launch them outside of Japan, starting with the U.K.. The straps convert traditional watch straps into smart watches.
Gaming

Take some time to reminisce with the 25 best Sega Genesis games of all time

Although the company has since fallen into obscurity, Sega was an indisputable titan throughout the '90s. That said, here are 25 best Sega Genesis games that helped define its fabled decade.
Gaming

Leak allegedly reveals new ‘Animal Crossing,’ ‘Luigi’s Mansion 3’ release dates

A U.K.-based retailer reportedly leaked the release dates for the new Animal Crossing and Luigi's Mansion 3 for the Nintendo Switch. While the alleged launch dates may be legitimate, gamers are advised to wait for an official announcement.
Gaming

These are the must-have games that every Xbox One owner needs

More than four years into its life span, Microsoft's latest console is finally coming into its own. From Cuphead to Halo 5, the best Xbox One games offer something for players of every type.
Gaming

Here's how you can play your favorite PC games with a Nintendo Switch controller

Nintendo's Switch controllers, including the Joy-Cons and the aptly titled Pro Controller, use Bluetooth, which makes them compatible with your PC. Here's how to start using them for PC gaming.
Gaming

Wage war on a budget with these fun and free first-person shooters

We all know about Halo and Call of Duty by now, but what about quality titles that won't cost you upward of $60? Check out our picks for the best free first-person shooter games from Paladins to Quake Champions.
Gaming

I'm canceling my backlog for Apex Legends. Be back never

Live service games like Fortnite and Apex Legends are eating up everyone's time, leaving other games out in the cold. While my backlog continues to grow, it seems the gaming industry is struggling to keep up as well.
Gaming

Get creative and collect 15 coins with our Fortnite overtime challenges guide

The first Fortnite overtime challenges are now available. Use our guide to help you collect the hidden coins in the featured Creative mode islands and get closer to that free season eight battle pass.
Virtual Reality

Getting into VR is spendy. Which headset is truly worth your hard-earned cash?

Virtual reality has finally gone mainstream, but how do you find the best VR headset for you? Check out a few of our favorites, whether you want the best of the best or a budget alternative for your mobile device.
Gaming

Become a champion with our beginner's guide to Apex Legends

Jumping into Apex Legends for the first time? Need help becoming a champion? Our Apex Legends beginner's guide has 15 tips and tricks that will hopefully help your team make it into the champion's circle.
Gaming

Buy a new Switch console and get a $35 eShop gift card at some retailers

Multiple retailers are currently offering the Neon Blue and Red Nintendo Switch console with a free $35 eShop gift card. The system still costs the standard $300 and includes Joy-Con controllers and the dock.
Gaming

Thrive in the nuclear apocalypse with our Metro Exodus survival guide

Metro Exodus is a difficult shooter, especially if you're new to the series' blend of stealth, action, and scavenging. Here is what you need to know to survive the nuclear apocalypse.
Gaming

Here's where Xur is and what he has for wares this week in Destiny 2: Forsaken

The weekly vendor in Destiny 2: Forsaken always brings Exotic weapons and armor, some of the toughest loot to find in the game. Here's everything you need to know to track down Xur: Where he is, when he shows up, and what he's stocking.
Gaming

How do the revised Xbox One and PlayStation 4 consoles stack up?

Microsoft's new Xbox One S and Sony's PlayStation 4 "Slim" have bucked the generational gaming console trend. But which of these stopgap systems is worth spending your paycheck on?