One of the biggest complaints of last year was the overall lack of realism and difficulty by the A.I. There was an obsession by the A.I. to want to take you outside and put you through the announce table no mater what, sometimes the obsession with being outside would be so bad that you could actually win by count out. The A.I. also had a strong obsession with wanting to drive you through the barricade in every match.
Then there was the whole 2 count debacle that caused the A.I. to kick out of signatures and finishers consistently at a 1 count, eliminating some of the drama from the match all together. Lastly the overall difficulty of the A.I. was fairly low once you got used to the game. The timing was pretty consistent with their strikes and once you got it down you could reverse a good chunk of the A.I.’s offense even on Legend difficulty.
I can honestly say that all of those issues have been addressed and fixed with WWE 2K14. In fact the A.I. can be downright fierce at times. I have already had a few matches on Normal setting in which I got my butt kicked and lost whereas last year that was rare even on Legend.
The biggest thing to me is the A.I. is smart enough to vary its strikes and grapples so you can’t consistently learn the timing with ease making it trickier to reverse moves. The A.I. also doesn’t let up when they hurt you, if they hit a signature or finisher then they are going for the victory. No more of them hitting a big move and then either walking around or picking you up and throwing you outside the ring. It truly feels as if the A.I. wants to win just as badly as you do.
Thanks to this lower rated guys can actually hang with the higher rated guys on the roster making matches always feel evenly matched. One of the biggest issues for me was playing a match in the vein of Randy Orton vs Heath Slater and getting bored because I wouldn’t feel that Slater ever had a chance to beat me. Luckily that’s not the case anymore.
30 Years of Wrestlemania
Absolutely love this mode and definitely feel it’s a step up from last year’s Attitude Era. The graininess given to the camera filter to made the matches in the first Wrestlemania arenas look dated is a fantastic touch.
It’s very easy to get lost in the moment and get transported back in time to some of your favorite instances in Wrestlemania history. It also should serve as a solid history lesson for the newer generation of fans that didn’t have the privilege of witnessing some of these great matches as they happened.
One of my favorite features however is also one of my only complaints in this mode. While seeing the animated roster recreate some of the promos from Wrestlemania past (first pops up as Macho Man’s pre-Wrestlemania V promo is delivered) creates some awesome scenes it makes you realize how much better the earlier part of the mode could have been with the same treatment. While the later half of the mode gets the benefit of showing some of the video packages that made up the feuds that are featured, some of the earlier matches are fairly bare bone.
This is where I think it could have been great to include recreated cut scenes from these matches (i.e. Andre ripping Hogan’s shirt and necklace off) to spice them up. Still a fantastic mode, but a little feature that could have made it damn near perfect.
Thanks in part to the above mentioned 30 Years of Wrestlemania mode this year’s game boasts the best roster on a wrestling game ever. You can always nit pick and say this person should have been in, but honestly my roster complaints are pretty minimal. Surprised that Curtis Axel and the Usos weren’t included, but I’ve already found a solid Axel via Community Creations and I’d imagine I should have a solid version of the Usos any time now. R.V.D., the Wyatt Family, and Los Matadores all showed up too late so I wasn’t surprised about them at all. Thankfully solid versions of them are already on Community Creations as well. Once the DLC rolls out in December my current roster should be completely up to date.
Now to speak about the legends, I love the way they were handled this year. A pet peeve of mine with legends in-game has always been movesets. I hate to take a guy like Hulk Hogan to the top rope and have him hit a missile drop kick. Or have a guy like Macho Man grapple someone and hit a death valley driver. Obviously those examples are exaggerations but you get what I’m getting at. It’s very obvious that a lot of time was put into creating old school move sets for the legends which makes a match between Ricky Steamboat and Ric Flair, actually feel like a match between Ricky Steamboat and Ric Flair. It’s something that in my opinion has consistently been gotten wrong in years past but not anymore.
My only roster gripe relates to having people featured in 30 Years of Wrestlemania but not unlockable in the game. For the life of me I can’t understand why Roddy Piper is featured as a special referee in the Bret Hart/Yokozuna match from Wrestlemania but isn’t in the game. Sure they included his head, body/attire template, and moves in CAW so he’s easy enough to create but why not include him since he already had a character model in the game. The same can be said about Mankind (Mick Foley is in the game) whom pops up in the Rock/Stone Cold match yet isn’t in the game. His character would have been even easier since Mick Foley already exists, which uses the old Mankind music. The last one is the Ultimate Warrior. I get they wanted to boost pre-order sales and he’ll be released independently eventually, but there is no reason whatsoever he shouldn’t unlock once you clear the Wrestlemania VI match with Hogan.
This is easily the mode in which gets the most time from me year after year. My main two issues last year were the fact that stories would start but then never go anywhere, and the fact that I literally never even once got a branching storyline with the options.
Yes, one of the main selling points in last years game literally never happened for me. I can say that the new rivalry feature seems to clean up the whole broken story arch thing from last year, I still can’t at this time speak on branching storylines. I’ve read multiple people say they occur more frequently now but unfortunately I’m pretty early on in my Universe due to the amount of matches I run per week.
There have been some complaints that the rivalry creator causes the cpu to book a lot of Submission and Extreme Rules matches, but I don’t worry about it too much since the ability to edit matches still exists.
They did however FINALLY fix it so you can change the amount of matches up to 7 on major shows now. Doesn’t seem like much to some but as someone who for the life of the Smackdown series has always liked to book 6 matches on Raw and Smackdown it has definitely cleaned up my Universe.
Defeat the Streak/Defend the Streak
Defeat the Streak is a bit of a hit or miss with me. While it can certainly be fun I simply feel that the design can be a little cheap at times.
For the most part it’s not that the Undertaker is actually really hard, it’s just that the amount of damage he does per move is greatly multiplied while the damage you do per move is greatly reduced.
Where it becomes cheap is when you are dominating him and hit a move but inadvertently land on a weapon (chair/ring steps) it counts as the Undertaker hitting a move on you and greatly reduces your health. At the same time it becomes very easy to exploit the design by spending the majority of the match on the outside, thus negating most of the Undertaker’s “tricks” he uses.
It definitely has it’s charm but I feel it’ll be more of a mode you play from time to time rather than constantly. Though the leaderboard scoring will most certainly boost it’s replay value for the competitive types. There are also some WrestleMania photos that can’t be unlocked via Accelerator or other method that are accessed in this mode for those who want to complete everything.
Defend the Streak on the other hand is a bit more fun in my eyes. It’s a variation of the old slobberknocker mode (which can be unlocked in this mode) featuring you as the Undertaker against the entire roster more or less. Not sure how long it goes (assuming the whole roster) but I made it to 46 my first go around before losing to Brodus Clay (yep, Funk is on a Roll).
However this isn’t a mode you can pick up and play for a few minutes as my first session lasted around 50 minutes so you definitely want to make sure to allow enough time. Just as featured in Defeat the Streak, Defend the Streak also features a leaderboard where you can upload your score.
I honestly haven’t spent much time with the creation features as nowadays I pretty much rely on the community. I do think the inclusion of Superstar Heads is a great addition and hopefully they can work it out where the entire roster is available for WWE 2K15. Would be nice to be back to the old N64 days of easily updating the attire of the roster.
I’ve noticed minor upgrades this year with some of the animations being redone (heard that Antonio Cesaro and Colt Cobana played a big role) making some even basic moves seem a lot more crisp. In general even the sounds of moves sound better, whether it’s the impact on the canvas or things like hitting someone with the ring steps.
Another big upgrade is the servers. Everyone remembers the debacle of WWE 12, and honestly 13 wasn’t as smooth as it could have been. A lot of times you’d log onto Community Creations just for the thing to time out and send you back to the menu. Now things run smooth as can be and downloads from Community Creations are super fast.
This is easily the best wrestling game of this generation and if you’ve ever been a fan of the Smackdown series it’s one I can’t see a reason as to why you would want to skip. Even if you aren’t a fan of the current product, the legends roster should be more than enough to please fans of all eras.
WWE 2K14 gets a four out of five: GREAT.