Okay, so I’ve had about a month to delve into and play with WWE 2K14 so I figure it’s time to follow up my “Look back and look forward” post from last month with my thoughts on the newest entry into the wrestling video game world.
First things first, I highly enjoy the game, so if I throw out some issues that I have with it, just remember that they’re said in a manner of “fixing/changing these things would help better the overall enjoyment of the game” and not one of “this is the junk wrong with this game.” My first reaction to the game is that it IS almost identical to WWE 13 in gameplay and graphics. As someone who has been with this series (and engine) since the first Smackdown…and even back further to Power Move Pro Wrestling (Touken Retsuden)…not having an overall jump in graphics or in gameplay was a bit underwhelming at first. I was so afraid that I’d basically get the same game with a different roster. While I got something pretty CLOSE to that, what I truly feel that I got was a polished version of WWE 13…which is exactly what I wanted. I felt that a lot of the things that WWE 13 offered me…like title customization, Superstar Threads and the historical mode stick out most to me at the moment…were refined, upgraded and presented to me in a better way than they were to begin with.
I wasn’t expecting to enjoy title customization as much as I did. Truthfully, I figured that the small “editor” version of new titles available last year was all that we were going to get. I had fun creating my own version of Florida Championship Wrestling last year, but basically taking an ECW title and recoloring it wasn’t EXACTLY what I wanted for my titles. This year we’re given blank templates and a choice of engraved main and side plates to start crafting our own championship titles. We can even take paint tools and import them, allowing us to have as close to perfect versions of some championships as possible. I love the fact that AJ Styles has the TNA Championship on my game…one that actually says TNA on it and looks like the legit TNA title belt. It allows me to live out the idea that AJ is defending the title on Raw and Smackdown instead of just in Japan and AAA like he is currently. With some of the great paint tool creators there are on Community Creations as well as the fact that we’re starting to see textures being imported into this year’s game from the modding community, the possibility of having some nice looking custom championships is alive and well.
Superstar Threads is pretty much the same as it’s been over the last few years, but with the added ability to FINALLY edit the colors of the entrance attire. Any time this game offers me HBK in his 90s tights attire, he gets Superstar Threaded into some of my favorite outfits he’s had over his career. Last year was very aggravating to me as I would design a blue and black outfit for him and have to see him come out in red and black entrance gear. Finally, this year, I can change that to reflect the HBK that I want. This made me very happy! The ability to actually change CM Punk’s outfit this year and not retain the red/white/blue stripe on the sides is a huge improvement as well; although that one is more fixing a bug than actually a new feature.
I really like the 30 Years of Wrestlemania mode as well…more so than I did Attitude Era mode from last year. This one took me by surprise as I really don’t like Hulkamania Era WWF. I became a wrestling fan in 1995 and loved having all of the Attitude Era wrestlers in the game last
year. However, despite enjoying Attitude Era Mode, I never finished it. I never got further than the Taker/Kane story as I just lost interest in playing as those two characters for 12 matches. Wrestlemania mode, however…I actually really enjoyed playing as Hulk Hogan, Randy Savage, and the Ultimate Warrior. I enjoyed the Hulkamania Era and New Generation Eras so much that I wished there was more of a full focus on one of those Eras instead of having to devote more of that mode to the later Wrestlemanias. Something about those classic wrestlers, classic arenas and even the grainy filter that they put on the screen over those matches just won me over, I guess.
Overall, gameplay is pretty much the same. They’ve tinkered a bit and added in some little bits that I enjoy…like the wrestlers gesturing at each other randomly during the match. It adds a bit of realism to the game that I enjoy. The change to the reversal system also makes the game a lot more fun. While I did enjoy the idea of the endless reversals into reversals every now and again when dealing with scientific wrestlers over the last few games, it got old after seeing an exchange of 5 or 6 reversals…especially in matches with wrestlers that wouldn’t wrestle like that. I really shouldn’t be seeing John Cena or Big Show chain wrestling, now should I? Now, when you or the AI reverse, it goes right into a move. No chance for a counter-reversal. I actually like that better because after a while all of my matches seem like one sided squash matches, so actually having the AI be able to pull off moves on me and take me out helps the flow of the matches for me.
Graphically…it’s the same game as last year. I enjoy the graphics, don’t get me wrong…I just don’t see anything different from last year to this year. I don’t expect any until the first full 2K game on a new system, to tell the truth. I’m giddy with excitement at that prospect, however! I just hope the Create a Wrestlers don’t look like garbage compared to better looking in game wrestler, though.
At this time I haven’t really delved into Universe mode yet. Last year, I had grand plans of an Attitude/nWo era Universe with ECW, WWF and WCW and made that happen, to awesome results except for the fact that it kept booking Justin Credible into title matches. Seriously, one ECW PPV had Justin in EVERY title match on the card. I really don’t have any major directions for how I want Universe to proceed this year, so I haven’t jumped into it quite yet. I’ve got thoughts of an 80s WWF vs Mid Atlantic type run as well as another WCW Universe since DLC has offered me so many WCW/nWo guys for my roster. On my alternate save I’m putting together the roster from Power Move Pro Wrestling (I’ll upload these to Community Creations on PS3 as I get done with them…keyword “ko@2”) along with some of the characters from the universe of the novel I’m currently writing about wrestling, but that’ll take a while. Truthfully, it’ll probably be December or January before I jump both feet into Universe this year. The only thing I’ve seen that bugs me this year thus far, however, is having to setup teams and stables twice if you want them in Universe and in Exhibition. That is time consuming and I don’t really like that at all. I wish there was a Copy/Paste type of option for that, but alas.
One thing I’ve had some fun with is Superstar Heads. It’s an option in Create a Superstar that allows you to take 15 of the ingame wrestlers and transport their face, body and tattoos into the Create suite and change them into whatever outfit you want. One of the first things that was done was giving CM Punk back his ROH basketball shorts and he hasn’t been used in the game without this attire since. I’m hoping someone on Community Creations uploads a Chris Jericho in his blue Matrix-y “Save Us” tights sometime soon!
As much as I love this mode, however, it also aggravates me. I don’t like only having 15 wrestlers available to me. I want the entire roster! I also want to be able to change hair and facial hair. I like CM Punk in his ROH gear with the current look he has, but I’d also like to have him grow his hair back out a bit and maybe go blonde again. I know that with the last round of DLC that I get long haired CM Punk, but still, I’d like to have options to put any hair on him that I want. I’d also like to change up the rest of the roster. What happens if they repackage The Shield? Heck, right now I can’t even take off Ambrose’s vest and he hasn’t wrestled with it on in months! I don’t know why it wasn’t opened up wholly to us this year, but if this feature is going to stick around, I would ask Yukes and 2K to open it up to the whole roster next year if possible.
I’d also like to see us be able to use different company logos or paint tools on created arenas. I know that if you have a logo on your show in Universe and use a created arena, you get the logo in that arena’s nameplate…but what if I’m just wanting to play in an ROH arena or a WCW arena in exhibition. Having that WWE logo show up instead of an ROH or WCW logo is just off enough to bother me. One of the things I’ve loved about the last two games is that with the custom arenas and some really well done Create a Wrestlers, I can for a moment forget that I’m playing a WWE game. Seeing a great Nitro arena with Syxx vs Eddie Guerrero, for a fleeting moment, I’m playing an awesome WCW game that fell through time somehow. I want to be able to do that without having to overlook the giant WWE logo on the wrestler’s nameplates. I would also like to see the ability to keep videos from playing on the side banners that I’ve taken so much care and time to create. You don’t see the huge WCW Nitro banners during the match…so their one shining moment during the entrance and unless I turn off the wrestler’s mini trons or videos, they’re just played over and there’s nothing that makes it stand out as a Nitro arena. I’d love to have the ability to turn videos off in the Arena menu instead of having to do it for each individual wrestler.
Overall, I’m very happy with this year’s game. I know a ton of people want a brand new engine, etc, but I really don’t. I enjoy playing these games and don’t want to suddenly have to learn a brand new game. What I want going forward, for PS4 or X-Box One, is to have this game tightened up and polished to a beautiful shine. I want improved graphics…similar to what I’m seeing from 2K’s basketball titles. 2K has some beautiful renders of real life arenas on hand, so I’d love to see those enter into the game instead of just using the same 3-4 arenas we’ve had for years. I want Superstar Threads and Superstar Heads to basically fully integrate and to become the same thing. Instead of using CAW slots, give me the same 3 extra Threads slots, but give me the full editability of CAW mode so that I can play around more with it. Give me the ability to use a logo in a created arena for Exhibition mode! Give me another 100 create slots! For the love of all that is holy, give me more Call Names for Create A Wrestlers! While it isn’t TOO big of a deal, I shouldn’t have had a better time making names in WWE Raw 2 than I do in WWE 2K14! I’d also like to be able to set different entrance music for different outfits, whether in Superstar Threads or in Create A Wrestler. That would help combining some of the slots we have into one. Do I really need Diesel…Outsiders Kevin Nash…AND an nWo version of Nash as three slots? Couldn’t I at least combine them into 2? Or, just put them all together into a Kevin Nash slot with Diesel attire, name, entrance and music? It can’t be THAT hard to do…seeing as how they pulled it off with Mankind last year. I don’t know anything about coding or making video games, but this just seems lazy to me.
Like I said, I’m happy this year. The changes I’d like to have made aren’t game breaking and are more for my convenience than something that really NEEDS to be in the game when all is said and done. I’ll be well taken care of until next year, honestly.
Maybe even longer. In all honesty, if next year’s game isn’t a direct 2K game made for PS4, I may just keep playing 2K14 until THAT game arrives.