WWE 2K14 Preview
Entering a crypt with the Undertaker looming over you is quite is disorientating moment. I mean, I know he’s tall and scary, but in the dark that stare really pierces your very being…
But why were we in a crypt with the Undertaker? Ok, it was just a poster, but we were there to meet with senior game designer, Brian Williams, and get hands-on with the latest wrestling game, WWE 2K14.
We started out with a trip down memory lane in the new single player campaign mode – 30 Years of Wrestlemania. An introductory video plays as you enter the mode, synonymous of WWE-produced epicness, highlighting key events since 1985 that have made the Wrestlemania competition so electrifying. Other video footage has been added to keep hard-core fans salivating, while newcomers learn a thing or two about the history behind one of most crucial struggles to come out of wrestling.
One moment in particular is highlighted within the ‘Ruthless Aggression’ chapter: Wrestlemania 24, in which Ric Flair fights Shawn Michaels for the right to stay in the world of wrestling. It’s heart wrenching to watch, as Michaels proves how Flair is no longer able to ‘fight with the best’. During each match-up, requirements must be met to complete the fight, while optional historical moments are available to unlock, much like the previous game in the series. These, when activated, introduce small in-game cut scenes to really bring the match to life in the way fans will remember it happening. Objectives are now a little less tedious than before as well – they are moves and moments you really will want to include in your fight, some you might end up doing without realising.
With over 40 matches in the 30 Years to Wrestlemania mode, there really is something for every wrestling fan to enjoy, whether its going back to relive a legendary moment, or to brush up on the match-ups they’ve missed along the way.
You can’t speak about Wrestlemania, however, without acknowledging the Undertaker’s streak. It’s one of the most iconic features to be included in this year’s game – choose to either ‘defend the streak’, where you control the Undertaker, or ‘defeat the streak’. The latter has been designed to really test your skill – think of it as a bit of a boss fight, every single time. The Undertaker’s AI has been specifically designed with this mode in mind, and he’s always on the offensive. He’s also unpredictable, especially when you think you’re getting the upper hand on him – lights will go out, and he will emerge behind you, ready with a tombstone.
The opponent you choose to fight the Undertaker will also determine the arena you loadout to by default, specific to where the rivalry took place before. Even the outfit you chose will be a deciding factor in this, to create the most authentic moment in history possible. Using finishing moves etc will earn you points throughout the fight, and when totted up will be added to an online leaderboard exclusively for this mode, to see how others fair against this legendary foe.
If that wasn’t enough, there is also an area in which you can learn about the Undertaker’s streak and his victims. In here it gives you a breakdown of each story, and as you progress through the mode, archive images will be unlocked for that little added bonus.
It wouldn’t be a wrestling game though without the creation mode. 2K have now upped the amount of superstars you can save in your game from 50 to a whopping 100, due to fan feedback and the amount of fun players have creating and downloading other people’s creations. That’s great for all of you out there that want a whole host of characters at your fingertips!
For the first time ever there is also the option to use pre-existing character models from the game, to use their likeness instead of having to morph your own ‘similar but looks like he’s had plastic surgery’ superstar. Just drop the pre-made wrestler into the creator, and add outfits, tattoos etc to suit your needs. The best thing about this though, is you have two options to save your creation; either create a clone copy as a separate character on your roster (which fills up one of your 100 spaces), or add your design as one of the pre-set defaults for that wrestler, to be chosen at will whenever you load them into a match-up. It’s a pretty neat idea, especially if you want to keep your wrestlers up to date with their latest fashion accessories.
Another customisation option comes with the making of your very own championship belts. Pick the colour and design of the front and side plates, from the logos, sizes etc – it’s pretty much up to you, and with so many pre-existing images you’re spoilt for choice in creating your ideal belt.
Once you’ve done that, why not go to the Universe mode, where you can set rivalries for both single wrestlers and tag-teams. Whereas in previous games, rivalries were controlled by the game, you now have the option to set up specific feuds, and for how long they might last. In this mode you can also create your own championships, set up pay per view shows each week, and now you can even make a show exclusively for your divas. Make the female championship the main feature for the week if you want – this is something the fans have been asking for, and 2K have delivered.
So this is what we learnt in the crypt… some amazing new features have been implemented in this year’s game, WWE 2K14, and to play through the whole of Wrestlemania is something pretty special. Everything has been designed with the fans in mind, while the game is still open to those who need to learn the ropes. Just don’t make me watch Ric Flair get beaten again… it’s too much to take.