I’m just going to let everyone know from the beginning that I am biased in regards to this game. I am going to start off the review from an A+ grade and work my way down if need be. I am the guy who will buy this game every year even though it is the same version of the previous years' except for one new bell and whistle. This year, the hope was with 2K taking over the game, it would have the look and feel of the NBA 2K series with downloadable content and roster updates. Can you imagine a WWE game where you can update new gear from WWE Shop with automatic heel and face changes? But it seems THQ had most of the game completed before it went under, and 2K adds a hint of what is to be expected for next year. I must say this year may be better than last year’s efforts – but the question is how much?
The big addition to the game for this year was the “30 Years of WrestleMania” mode. To be honest, I really didn’t care too much about this because of last year’s “Attitude Era” mode, so it just seemed to be another gimmicky addition to the game. But once I got into it, I noticed some subtle but entertaining improvements – like the commentary is spot on! For example, in the main event of WrestleMania III, the commentary of JR and Jerry Lawler was eerily similar to the work done with Gorilla Monsoon and Jesse Ventura. The mode is fun to play and the creator tried to make the best and groundbreaking WrestleMania match in the game barring and trademarked and copyright issues. And if the WrestleMania mode isn’t enough challenge for you, try to defeat or protect the legacy of The Undertaker’s streak. If you have the time, this 30 Years mode can be run through pretty quickly but The Streak mode can be tough.
What I really was ready to sink my teeth into was the new WWE Universe and Creation. I was disappointed with last year’s modes because for one, the storylines and angles were difficult to establish without the addition of the Attitude Era star. Also, matches seemed to be lopsided and main events were booked with mid-carders. This year, the addition of Rivalry settings allows changes throughout the weeks, where the story seems to set itself. I was also ready for the Creation mode with 100 creation slots and new accessories and designs. I can spend a month alone in this area for things such as creating my own promotion and constructing a show from a rival company. There is going to be be many sleepless nights and sour looks from the wife while creating and sharing this time around.
This season I really didn’t see much improvement graphically from previous versions. There were some subtle changes and improvements such as facial expressions of delight, anger, and pain. Also, the presentation of the WrestleManias of years with the vintage look and grainy screen was a nice touch. I recognized small stuff like long-haired wrestlers would be in an upside down position the hair would dangle as well and not be frozen in a melted wax position. The graphics are not as outstanding as in the NBA 2K14 games, but once again I would like to see what 2K has to offer for next year.
The controls from years past have been a bit clunky. Sometimes you would feel as though you were making a move or setting up a counter but it never felt right because the move wasn’t executed properly. I would sometimes think my controller was broken because when I went to counter a move it would respond on my button press. Well this year is no different. In fact IT'S WORSE!!! My best example is when I was in a ladder style match. I dare you to set up a ladder properly in the middle of the ring. It’s like if I’m doing a dance with Fandango while my thumbs are tied to my wrist. It’s a train wreck of ridiculousness! And try to do a toss finisher? I have a better chance if winning the lottery in China. I am also part of the legion of fans that misses the controls of WWE No Mercy and WCW vs. NOW and to be honest the controls are not as bad from previous years but it still is a struggle. It’s like entering the Royal Rumble at #1 and wrestling with your feet in cement boots. It could get better, I hope…
I’m going to be honest, I only care about the online aspect for one thing and that is to download and upload Create a Wrestlers. I don’t play ranked games and I couldn't care less about playing Royal Rumbles and such. But for the sake of this review I took a whirl online to see how the cross booking worldwide is done. This year the online servers worked on the exact time it’s supposed to work. Two years ago, servers were crashing and there was a huge backlash. Last year, the servers were 50/50 but no content and matches would either drop mid match or not start at all early on. This year the volume of players was huge but I did not have a problem playing an online match. Also, downloading and uploading content was as smooth as a CM Punk promo. For some reason and possibly pre-planned, there was downloadable CAW ready on the site which was pretty cool. In a few weeks, the online servers will be full of content and so far all is going more smoothly as a Daniel Bryan push.
True wrestling fans are not going to put the game down. With a HUGE roster, all the different creations and story modes, gamers and wrestling fans would most likely do as I do and be playing this game until the new game is released next year. WWE 2K14 has slight improvements such as more interaction from the managers and the wrestlers look as they are walking not skating on ice make the game more manageable to play. Although my A+ grade has been lowered, I can say this game is over the grade Stephanie McMahon gave Daniel Bryan as an in-ring performer.