Cover art featuring The Rock
WWE 2K14 is a professional wrestling video game developed by Yuke's & Visual Concepts and published by 2K Sports for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. It is the first game published by 2K Sports since Take-Two Interactive gained the license from THQ in a bankruptcy filing. It is the sequel to WWE '13 and it is succeeded by WWE 2K15. It is the first game in the WWE 2K series. It was released in North America on October 29, 2013, October 30 in Japan and November 1 in Europe.
Many of the gameplay features from WWE '13 have been updated. These include the navigation system, allowing for more fluid walking, running and dragging motions. Characters also move faster than before. Before running, characters display "starting up" animations, to prevent players from spamming running attacks. All chain reversals now result in offensive attacks, to make for quicker matches by avoiding continuous reversal stalemates. Catapult finishers can now be used offensively. Some characters can launch an opponent into the air and catch them for a catch finisher. Seven new OMG moments have been added, allowing certain finishers to be done on two opponents, and players to interact with the arena environment. The nearfall system too has been improved, with more two counts. Few new matches have been added, though a Slobberknocker Mode, adapted from The Streak season mode, had been added as a gauntlet match.
The long-standing mode, "Create-a-Superstar" has been tweaked to have an expanded character save slot that can be filled with up to 100 created superstars. While the mode itself remains much of the same, the ability to use existing superstars as a template for new custom variants has been added. The player continues to have the option to create their own entrances and finishers. The ability to create a custom WWE championship is also available, having been made more reminiscent to previous iterations after having limited creativity in WWE '13.
WWE 2K14 features a new single player campaign called "The 30 Years of WrestleMania", a nostalgia-based gameplay mode that recreates nearly three decades of WWE history, including 45 matches, classic WWE footage and many legendary characters. Like WWE Legends of WrestleMania and WWE '13, the campaign revolves around historical stories rather than original ones. The mode features a distinct roster of wrestlers and alternate gimmicks, who wrestled at WrestleMania.
In Wrestlemania mode, matches have primary objectives, required to beat the game, and bonus historical objectives, which result in recreated WrestleMania moments. Sometimes the player must follow a guided sequence of inputs, rather than freely control the character.
In 45 primary matches, the player competes through storylines of various lengths, switching predetermined characters as they are completed. Each chapter has its own title and focus; "Hulkamania Runs Wild" focuses on Hulk Hogan and early WrestleManias, while "The New Generation" showcases the rise of Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels in the mid-1990s. The "Attitude Era" chapter brings back some matches from WWE '13's "Attitude Era" mode, as well as some not covered before. The "Ruthless Aggression" chapter focuses on the departure of The Rock, lessened focus on Triple H and rise of John Cena and Edge. The final "Universe Era" chapter focuses on the rise of Randy Orton and the returns of The Rock and Brock Lesnar.
The Streak mode
The game has a mode that focuses on The Undertaker's WrestleMania winning streak of 21 matches (21-0) at the time of the game's release. In "The Streak" mode, the player chooses to defend the streak as The Undertaker, battling waves of opponents, or to attempt to break it, with any character. When facing The Undertaker, the difficulty level is higher than in any previous WWE game. The Undertaker can chokeslam the player if grappled at the head, submit the player with the hell's gate lock when The Undertaker is grounded and can appear once behind the player in an animation previously used for if the Undertaker interferes in a match, if he has a finisher stored.
WWE Universe mode
The sandbox mode, "WWE Universe", returns, though overhauled to a degree. Continuing the previous features, players get the option to customize existing WWE Shows, bring back retired series or create their own original shows and choose the superstars participating and the titles available. The ability to choose the status of a WWE superstar, whether assigned to one show, several, a legend or a free agent is also available. The ability to delete shows is once again present, as is a further renovated WWE statistics system. The ability to reset a Universe Mode, should it get too "clunky" is once again available. Continuing the ever expanding story mode options, WWE 2K14 offers the most control in customizing a player's "universe" by giving them more control over storylines through a new Rivalry Manager. Corroborating with the statistics tracker, the Rivalry Manager can stat-track all rivalries as well divide storylines into periods based on dates during which period the rivalry will continue depending on in-ring decisions. All previous storylines from earlier WWE games containing Universe Mode are present, but have been revamped to fit into the Rivalry Manager.
Marketing and release
Casey Collins, WWE Executive Vice President of Consumer Products, revealed on June 4 at the WWE Global Business Partner Summit, that The Rock would be featured on the cover of WWE 2K14. The official cover and trailer were revealed on the June 24 episode of WWE Raw. 2K announced a competition for fans of the franchise to create an alternate cover for the game which will be included in all copies of the game when released. In July, The Ultimate Warrior was announced as a pre-order exclusive playable character. On August 1, 2K Games announced a special "Phenom Edition" will include Undertaker-themed extras, including the "American Badass" playable character. A special promotional event with Ryback took place at Oberoi Mall in Mumbai, India, where an India-exclusive pre-order bonus was announced, a double-sided poster.
- The "nWo Pack" features Kevin Nash, Scott Hall, Randy Savage, Curt Hennig, Syxx and Scott Steiner in their nWo gear. It was released on November 12, 2013 in North America for $8.99 and on November 13 elsewhere, along with a free download of The Giant.
- The "WWE Superstars and Moves Pack" features Big E Langston, Fandango, The Bella Twins and 30 new moves. It was released on December 3, 2013 in North America for $7.99 and on December 4 elsewhere, with a free download of Summer Rae.
- The "WWE Legends and Creations Pack" features Bruno Sammartino, Dusty Rhodes, Rick Rude, Jake Roberts and 14 new customization options for heads. It was released on January 7, 2014 in North America for $8.99 and on January 8 elsewhere, with a free download of Virgil.
- The Undertaker's Biker Suit, and Ultimate Warrior are also available for $1.99 each.
WWE 2K14 received generally positive reviews. On Metacritic, the Xbox 360 version has a score of 75/100 based on 42 reviews and the PlayStation 3 version has a score of 74/100 based on 21 reviews.
IGN gave the game an 8.7 out of 10 saying "It still lacks the brains to deliver competent AI and commentators, but WWE 2K14 has more than enough brawn to make up for it. 30 Years of Wrestlemania provides the strongest campaign backbone the series has had in a long time, the in-ring action is faster and more fluid than it’s been in years, and thanks to WWE 2K14′s continually expanding creation suite, we’re swimming in more options than we ever knew we wanted. It is indeed “time to play the game.” GameSpot rated the game a 6 out of 10, saying that the game was clunky, "It’s a shame the wrestling isn’t up to par in WWE 2K14 because the elements surrounding it are so interesting…For anyone who grew up loving professional wrestling, be prepared to be swept away in a tide of nostalgia. If only the core action could have been as compelling."
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