CGR Undertow – WWE 2K14 review for Xbox 360
Look, there’s a lot wrong with this game.
I realize that. And it’s weird. Like, why is Daniel Bryan doing Antonio Cesaro’s uppercut?
He’s not even European. Why is Nattie Neidhart stuck in a weird time warp? I mean, that’s
weird, right? And that’s two examples of a whole list of things wrong with this game. But this game also has Bobby “The Brain”
Heenan. So. Listen, this game wins. It’s not fair to…Punk!
It’s WWE 2K14. And nostalgia is what drives the latest edition
of WWE’s annual video game. What you have is largely the same core game as the year
before. It’s Madden syndrome, in that respect. But you also have…this. It’s called 30
Years of WrestleMania. And not only is it the game’s main event, in terms of the single-player
experience…but it’s also a celebration of wrestling. I mean, if you’re a long-time fan…you
know that wrestling can be frustrating sometimes, to say the least. But this is a nice reminder
of all the things you love about wrestling. And the moments that made you love it. So what it is, is…a collection of matches.
There are 46 matches, in fact…each a real match from a previous WrestleMania. What that
really means, is…it’s a collection of memories. I mean, sure, there’s the historical
significance. There’s never been a greater match than Randy Savage and Ricky “The Dragon”
Steamboat at WrestleMania III. And there’s never, ever been a more impressive spectacle
than Hulk Hogan and the late, great Andre The Giant. And there’s never been a better manager
than Bobby Heenan. Or commentator. Come on, Hogan. The man’s a broadcast journalist. But for me, as a wrestling fan, that stuff’s
all secondary to my own past. This mode takes me back to when I was a kid, and I saw my
very first wrestling matches…and this crazy business put my imagination in a headlock
I still haven’t escaped from. WWE 2K14 understands how important the past is in wrestling. And
it celebrates every moment of it. I think the coolest thing about the WrestleMania
mode…is how it turns major moments from those matches into these in-game objectives.
So it’s not only that you’re trying to win. You’re actually trying to recreate
moments from the actual match, which is awesome. Of course, another really cool element…is
that you get to take on the Undertaker. Can you end his undefeated streak? Or…can you relive the streak, by recreating
it one win at a time? So the presentation of this game is, just…spot
on. You can tell it’s made by people who understand, because it just looks like a WWE
product. It even goes as far as…those older matches? They actually have a fuzzy VHS effect,
on the graphics. Not to mention a retro television font. So it really gets WWE, and all the things
you love about it. Of course, there’s also a ton of other options.
I mean, you can book just about any match you can think of. One-on-one, tag team, triple
threat, four-way, cage matches, inferno matches, the list goes on. And you have just about
every arena setting you can think of. And of course, the big draw for a lot of fans…is
that you’re not limited to what the game offers you. There’s a ridiculous amount
of customization that goes into WWE 2K14. I mean, I’ve seen people make wrestlers
from other companies in this game, and they’re flawless. It’s, like…I have no idea how
they do it. But the fact that they can is awesome. What’s a little less awesome…is the gameplay.
Not to say it’s not awesome, but…it’s less awesome. Especially when your matches
just devolve into a series of quick-time events. See, the gameplay is based heavily around
counters, which is a lot like real wrestling. Dude tries a move, you reverse it. But there
are times when…that realism makes the gameplay a little tiresome. You spend more time waiting
to counter than doing anything else. And your window to counter is so tiny, it
can be a little frustrating. Fortunately, the wrestling’s still a lot
of fun. And when it works, and you get your timing down and successfully counter a move
into a devastating finisher…it feels really good. I would like to see future WWE games
streamline things a bit, but not much. What’s here is good, and even with room for improvement…it’s
still a blast to play. Wrestling is a weird thing to explain to people.
I mean, any time someone who doesn’t watch finds out I like it, they always say the same
thing. “You know that’s fake, right?” Yeah, because movies and TV shows and musicals,
those are all real. I guess they’ll just never appreciate a good figure-four leg lock.
Or the magic that was Bret Hart vs. “Stone Cold” Steve Austin. Personally, I’m glad
I do. And if you do…man, this is a game for you,
brother. It’s not perfect, but…neither is wrestling.
And it’s still awesome. It’s WWE 2K14. Now come back, CM Punk. Please, just…come