WWE 2K14 PS3 review – Between The Rock and a scarred face
The biggest matches in these rivalries are saved for pay-per-views, where stipulations like Extreme Rules and Last Man Standing come in to play, and eventually see Bryan emerge from this feud with his head held highest after a bloody TLC win. The mechanic isn’t perfect – in a separate rivalry between The Shield and Tons Of Funk, team-mates Seth Rollns and Roman Reigns are constantly pitted against one another – but any match-ups you don’t like can be edited anyway. Overall, it’s a big improvement on previous years, with the feeling that you have to do all the groundwork in order to bring any authenticity to the mode finally a thing of the past.
I mentioned earlier that Goldberg and Hall are welcome additions, but the overall roster brings bad news as well as good. With so many ‘classic’ stars crammed into WrestleMania mode, notable current WWE grapplers are omitted entirely – for instance The Usos and Curtis Axel, who’s been Intercontinental Champion for the best part of six months. Given that these guys’ character models have been in past games (The Usos in 13 as DLC; Axel in 12 in his previous guise as Michael McGillicutty), omitting them completely is simply unacceptable.
Indeed, only seven of the current WWE roster make their debut here: justice-serving tag trio The Shield, plus Darren Young, Titus O’Neil, Aksana and Kaityln. That’s an almost insultingly low number. Legends are welcome, but not in place of active superstars who’ve been featured on TV for the last six months such as Bray Wyatt, Naomi and Cameron. Hopefully this is where that legendary 2K attention to detail will kick in on PS4, but for now it has to be considered a minus.
In better news, the number of slots in which you can place created wrestlers has doubled from 50 to 100, but even this has its drawbacks. Presumably to create room for you to save those superstars, Yuke’s has astonishingly removed the ability to make bespoke entrance videos to accompany them to the ring.
Let’s say you make the Usos in order to compensate for their absence on the official roster. Even the generic Raw, Smackdown and NXT vids have been removed, so your choices for the background as they stride towards the squared circle are either someone else’s video or one of five generic ones. Oh, or you can turn the Titan Tron off entirely. Brilliant.
Like those roster omissions, it’s a staggering oversight, because what longstanding fans want from the WWE series – or indeed, any grab game, as showcased by Fire Pro – is to tailor things to their own liking. There’s simply no point adding elements like Rivalries or additional CAW slots if something has to be subtracted in return. As someone who went to great lengths to make custom entrance videos in previous games, their removal leaves me questioning how long I’ll stick with WWE 2K14. Because nothing will kill the sense of reality like sending William Regal to the ring with Santino Marella’s entrance video and Wade Barrett’s mini-tron.
Still, that’s a highly personal issue, which shouldn’t detract from the many other good things WWE 2K14 does. While it’s not the reinvention some hoped for, it certainly improves on last year’s outing and – creation suite issues aside – once again delivers, for the most part, when it comes to fan service. Triple H has spent much of this year chiding Daniel Bryan for being ‘not quite an A-player, but definitely a B+’. That’s a pretty accurate description of the company’s annual wrestling game, as it happens.