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GKick Review: WWE 2K14

wwe-2k14FACT SHEET:
WWE 2K14 | Available Now
Xbox 360, PS3 | Publisher: 2K Games | Developer: Yuke’s, Visual Concepts

In the pantheon of annual sports title releases, the concept is usually the same: a new roster here, a few mechanics changed here, slightly polished graphics increase, and maybe a new mode or two, all available for full retail price year after year after year. I’d like to say that WWE 2K14 breaks that mold with a re-envisioning of the franchise that has been long overdue, now that the series is in the hands of 2K Games… but I can’t. While this isn’t a big surprise - nor is it actually a huge minus - it’s still a flaw.

In the wake of THQ’s bankruptsy and the acquisition of the WWE license by 2K Games, most of us expected that the game would probably follow the standard design of WWE titles of the last few years, and we were right. Our hopes are certainly very high for WWE 2K15, in that maybe the 2K influence will shine brightly then, but for now we’ll have to take the game on face value. And frankly, it’s good. It’s good, fun, and full of new and interesting things.

WWE 2K14 features the standards of it’s yearly release schedule: an updated roster including the latest WWE superstars, titles, feuds, logos, and more. The visual fidelity of the game has seen a slight increase, but nothing substantial. Going from WWE 13 to 2K14 is not a huge change, with a few exceptions. The biggest differences between last year’s title and this year’s are the new modes. Taking the place of the “Attitude Era” mode of last year is “30 Years of WrestleMania”, a large mode that allows players to fight through the past 29 WrestleManias and features over 45 matches from the big event’s history. From Hulk Hogan and Andre the Giant at WrestleMania III to Bret Hart vs Yokozuna at WrestleMania IX all the way to CM Punk vs Undertaker and John Cena vs The Rock at WrestleMania 29. It’s a huge mode, but not without issue.

Additionally, the game includes a new “Streak” mode, where you can both attempt to Defeat or Defend the Streak by playing as - or against - the Undertaker, whose legendary 21-0 WrestleMania streak is one of the most impressive things going in wrestling today. In Defend the Streak mode, you play as the Undertaker in a match very much like the “Slobberknocker” style of the past, fighting an endless wave of superstars one at a time until you’re defeated. It’s fun, challenging in it’s own way, and finding a balance between using special moves to finish off certain opponents makes it a neat little experience. Alternatively, in Defeat the Streak mode, you choose a superstar to go one-on-one with the Dead Man himself within THQ’s custom WrestleMania XXX arena. In this match, Undertaker is no slouch and can dish out huge punishment, recover from near-finish, and is extremely difficult to beat. Think Legendary difficulty with all the sliders turned way up and all of your sliders turned way down. It’s a huge challenge.

The game also includes the typical list of features: dozens of match types such as Hell in a Cell, Ladder Match, Inferno, and so on. Also WWE Universe mode is back with minor improvements and a new “Rivalry” feature that allows you to set up feuds between superstars and tag teams that either revolve around the title or simply as a grudge. It’s a nice touch, but some of the underlying flaws of Universe mode still shine through in terms of seeing names like The Rock and Triple H on WWE Superstars while guys like Drew McIntyre and Heath Slater are main eventing PPVs. The momentum system is a bit flawed, and I think the inclusion of a weighted system for main event guys would be a huge improvement, but it might be something WWE doesn’t allow. This is a company who wants you to believe that everyone on the roster is a “superstar”.

Going back to 30 Years of WrestleMania mode, it’s the cornerstone of this game and it really does shine brightly in many places. I think it lacks a bit compared to the Attitude Era mode of WWE 13, but it does it’s part to re-create the experience of new and old-school WrestleMania moments. The re-creation of every WrestleMania arena is very impressive, and the selection of matches is also pretty well thought out. In this mode, you always play as the winner of the match, and unfortunately there are a lot of matches chosen where you play as Undertaker or John Cena, so it gets a bit tedious by the end of the run. However, there’s a lot of great matches to re-create, even if some of the key moments aren’t necessarily included. For example, when replaying Edge vs Chris Jericho from WrestleMania 26, I was disappointed that the rather iconic post-match moment of Edge spearing Chris Jericho across the announce table and through the timekeeper barricade wasn’t included. But, many moments are.

In addition, 2K went out of their way to design many of the entrances in the “30 Years” mode to resemble the WrestleMania entrances of the past. While this isn’t always the case (sadly, none of Undertaker’s incredibly epic entrances are re-created), it does apply in some ways. Many little details are also included, such as accurate representations of each superstar’s attire during that particular time of year. In some cases, many superstars have nearly double-digits in the terms of different attires you ultimately unlock as you play through the mode. It really is quite nicely done and it shows that a lot of effort was put into this mode.

However, at it’s core, many of the fundamental flaws of the WWE series are still present. The control system has been tweaked ever so slightly and it seems that every superstar has a bit of “momentum” now which effects how they move, which is actually a nice touch. However, the counter system has also been changed, and the window to counter moves has been reduced substantially. Also, the timings of counters on some moves has changed, which takes some practice if you played a lot of WWE 13 in order to break your habits. Other than that, it’s very familiar to past year’s players. Most visual elements are nice, but not perfect. The sound, however, is flawed critically in a lot of places, and it detracts from the experience in many ways (see “AUDIO” on Page 2). While it still is the best WWE experience made, there’s a lot of work left to do, in my opinion.

WWE TLC Live Chat - Presented by Because Wrestling - Sunday @ 7:30pm ET

wwe-tlc-2012It’s time for Tables, Ladders and Chairs in spades as we head into the final PPV of the year before the Royal Rumble! Check out the card and join our live chat, starting at 7:30pm ET on Sunday, December 16th!

Six-Man Tag Team TLC Match:
Team Hell No & Ryback vs. The Shield

World Heavyweight Championship Chairs Match:
The Big Show vs. Sheamus

WWE United States Championship:
Antonio Cesaro vs. R-Truth

WWE Intercontinental Championship:
Kofi Kingston vs. Wade Barrett

World Heavyweight Championship Money in the Bank Ladder Match:
Dolph Ziggler vs. John Cena

#1 Contendership Match for WWE Tag Team Championship
Team Rhodes Scholars vs. Rey Mysterio & Sin Cara

Pre-Show
Santa’s Helper #1 Contender Divas Battle Royale

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Because Wrestling Presents: WWE Hell in a Cell Live Chat - Sunday @ 7:30p ET!

Time for WWE Hell in a Cell and Because Wrestling is presenting another live chat event! Join us on Sunday October 28th starting at 7:30 Eastern for the Hell in a Cell pre-show, followed by live PPV coverage and chat all evening long! Here’s a preview of the matches scheduled for the event!

WWE Championship Hell in a Cell:
CM Punk (c) vs. Ryback

World Heavyweight Championship:
Sheamus (c) vs. Big Show

WWE Intercontinental Championship:
Kofi Kingston (c) vs. The Miz

WWE Tag Team Championship:
Team Hell No (c) vs. Team Rhodes Scholars

WWE Divas Championship:
Eve (c) vs. Layla vs. Kaitlyn

Randy Orton vs. Alberto Del Rio

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Because Wrestling - Episode 68

This week on Because Wrestling, we talk about Jerry Lawler’s health, Tammy Sytch in legal trouble, New Jack is a colossal douchebag, Eve announces her engagement, HHH gets a haircut, WWE disassociates with the Attitude era, and our Night of Champions coverage!

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD

 

WWE Night of Champions Live Chat - Presented by Because Wrestling!

It’s Sunday! It’s PPV time! WWE Night of Champions, where every title is on the line! Check out the card and join our live chat event starting with the NOC Pre-Show at 7:30p ET!

WWE Championship:
CM Punk (c) vs. John Cena

World Heavyweight Championship:
Sheamus (c) vs. Alberto Del Rio

Intercontinental Championship:
The Miz (c) vs. Cody Rhodes vs. Rey Mysterio vs. Sin Cara

WWE Tag Team Championship:
Kofi Kingston & R-Truth (c) vs. Kane & Daniel Bryan

WWE United States Championship:
Antonio Cesaro (c) vs. TBD

WWE Divas Championship:
Layla (c) vs. Kaitlyn

Randy Orton vs. Dolph Ziggler

Pre-Show:
United States Championship #1 Contender 20-man Battle Royale