‘WWE 2K14′ Review – A Wrestling Franchise in Need of Change and a Spark of Inspiration

It’s another year and the annual WWE videogame has arrived once again. This time, the WWE license is under a new publisher in 2K Sports, but not much has changed to make the game better under the new helm. WWE 2K14 does add to an already solid series of games, but this means nothing when core issues from previous iterations aren’t addressed. What you have in WWE 2K14 is a game that has all the extra flash and flare, but the foundation is just as weak as before.

The hook with last year’s WWE ’13 was the opportunity to play through the biggest and best moments of the famed attitude era of wrestling. Taking that concept a step further, WWE 2K14 allows you to relive the greatest matches within the last 30 years of WrestleMania and the company’s premier event is plentiful in that regard. Because of the sheer amount of historic matches revisited here, the roster may be the best ever put together for a videogame. Mainstays like The Rock, Stone Cold and John Cena are all here and they are joined by huge stars of yesteryear, including Goldberg, Yokozuna and The Ultimate Warrior. Also, Yukes has really upped their arena game by not only including every TV and PPV arena of the calendar year, but also every single WrestleMania arena from 1 to 29 and a concept of the 30th. That, for a fan like me, is very impressive.

Newcomers will be greeted to a hefty and historically accurate account of WrestleMania history with fantastic video packages and mission based gameplay with the 30 Years of WrestleMania mode. Lifelong fans, like myself, will enjoy rewatching old footage and being able to play epic matches like Shawn Michaels vs. The Undertaker or even some of wrestling’s biggest blunders like Brock Lesnar vs. Goldberg. Going above and beyond the simple objectives, such as using a certain move to gain a pinfall, will unlock extra content, so it’s better to attempt to recreate WrestleMania moments than not.

WWE Universe Mode makes a return and it follows the same formula established in previous iterations. Customization is at an all-time high with even more options, such as the ability to have a women’s championship established as a major title. That’s right, no more sexism here, folks! You can now also set up rivalries, assign default attires and choose how many matches you want to have per show. Fans who are looking for more flexibility with their booking have even more to tinker with in WWE 2K14.

Character customization has also been built upon with even more options than before. Newcomers to the creation process will be overwhelmed by the continually growing options. Every detail from the angle of the camera when a superstar enters the ring to the little tattoo on the left ankle of a wrestler can be customized. One neat new feature that has been added is the ability to add a twitter handle when a custom superstar enters the ring just like on TV. It’s a cool way to have online creations give their creators some shine when downloaded by others around the world.

Completely new to the WWE franchise is The Streak mode. Since The Undertaker’s streak has played such a pivotal role in the history of WrestleMania, it’d only be fitting to have a mode dedicated to it. Here, you can choose to defend the streak or end it. It’s not as fully fleshed out as the 30 years of WrestleMania or WWE Universe mode, but it is a novelty that offers up a challenge that fans can appreciate. I got my butt kicked multiple times trying to break the streak, but once I got it done, it was a very rewarding moment.

When it comes to the overall gameplay of WWE 2K14, reoccurring issues and glitches bring down the what could have been amazing experience. The AI is still very finicky and the collision detection leaves much to be desired. I don’t believe I was able to have an entire match without something questionable happening. Whether it be my superstar mysteriously floating, objects warping into other objects or unexplained animations that should not have occurred, something annoying happened and it’s the same problems we’ve seen year after year. And anything outside of a simple one-on-one match, forget about it — it’s a circus.

Presentation also hurts the overall experience of WWE 2K14 and it’s a fix the franchise desperately needs. The menus and selection screens have remained largely the same for the past two years. If it weren’t for a giant glaring logo in the background, I would think this was the same game two years ago. I don’t mind it too much as it isn’t a necessarily bad thing, but it does make me rethink the value I’m getting out of my dollars. Plus, when games under the same publisher like NBA 2K14 are putting up amazing soundtracks, I would like something more than the same superstar themes repeated. WWE ’12 had original music, why couldn’t this? Also, the announcing team sound worse than ever before. I could understand I will hear the same lines after a while, but it shouldn’t happen as often as it does in WWE 2K14. I was using the steel steps on my opponent and heard the same two lines repeated.

Taking the game online, my experience was met by unpleasant matches to say the least. Matches were either sluggish or imperfect enough to throw off my precision in this heavily time-based game. When in the middle of a crucial pin, forget about kicking out because there is no way you’ll time it just right. The only way to actually get out of the pin would be by sheer and random luck. Again, same problem that has not been properly addressed.

WWE 2K14 looks great and has content that can last you ages. However, the sub-par gameplay and unplayable online makes the entire experience crumble apart and this notion is magnified when you’re a veteran of WWE games. It feels aged and it’s time for some drastic changes or the franchise will start losing fans, like myself, by the multitude. As much as I wanted to like this game, I just couldn’t look past the problems that have plagued the franchise for years — not this time. Let’s hope the next generation of consoles will spark some inspiration for 2K15.

WWE 2K14
Genre: Professional Wrestling Simulator
Platform: Reviewed on Xbox 360 (also available on PS3)
Developer: Yukes, Visual Concepts
Publisher: 2K Sports
Release Date: October 29, 2013

Rating:

7.0 / 10

WWE 2K14: Full Roster Revealed, and it’s Impressive

The first WWE videogame since THQ’s demise and 2K Sports’ gain is a little over a month away and the entire roster has finally been unveiled. A chunk of WWE 2K14‘s roster for the “30 Years of WrestleMania” mode was revealed earlier this year during the summer, which included legends and wrestlers we haven’t seen in a WWE game in a number a years.

Below is the entire WWE 2K14 roster featuring current and legendary wrestlers. It could be one of the most impressive wrestling game rosters in the past few years.

  • AJ Lee
  • Aksana
  • Brodus Clay
  • Christian
  • Cody Rhodes
  • Damien Sandow
  • David Otunga
  • Dean Ambrose
  • Drew McIntyre
  • Eddie Guerrero
  • Heath Slater
  • Jack Swagger
  • Jinder Mahal
  • Justin Gabriel
  • Kaitlyn
  • Kane
  • Kofi Kingston
  • Layla
  • Lita
  • Mark Henry
  • Mr. McMahon
  • Natalya
  • R-Truth
  • Roman Reigns
  • Santino Marella
  • Seth Rollins
  • Sheamus
  • Sin Cara
  • Stephanie McMahon
  • Tensai
  • The Great Khali
  • Titus O’Neil
  • Wade Barrett
  • Zack Ryder

And below is the list of wrestlers that were confirmed during SummerSlam 2013 weekend:

  • The Rock
  • Ultimate Warrior
  • Big Show (Retro)
  • CM Punk
  • Sgt. Slaughter
  • Edge
  • Diesel
  • The Undertaker
  • King Kong Bundy
  • Brock Lesnar
  • Chris Jericho (Retro)
  • Andre the Giant
  • Alberto Del Rio
  • “The Million Dollar Man” Ted DiBiase
  • John Cena (Retro)
  • Shawn Michaels
  • Ricky Steamboat
  • Triple H (Retro)
  • Big John Studd
  • Ric Flair (Retro)
  • “Stone Cold” Steve Austin
  • Hulk Hogan (Retro)
  • “Hollywood” Hulk Hogan
  • Kane (Retro)
  • Randy Orton
  • The Undertaker (Retro)
  • Shawn Michaels (Retro)
  • Razor Ramon
  • Big Show
  • Triple H
  • Brock Lesnar (Retro)
  • JBL
  • Bret “Hit Man” Hart
  • Chris Jericho
  • The Rock (Retro)
  • Mick Foley
  • The Miz
  • Batista
  • Yokozuna
  • John Cena
  • “Macho Man” Randy Savage
  • Ric Flair
  • Goldberg

What do you think of the roster? Is anyone missing that you would have liked to see? Personally, I’m disappointed Rob Van Dam isn’t part of this immediate roster and could guess he’ll probably be part of some DLC deal.

The Rock to grace cover of 2K’s WWE 2K14

According to a tweet by WWE‘s EVP, Stephanie McMahon, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson will be the cover star on 2K’s first WWE game after acquiring the rights from the defunct THQ, WWE 2K14. The tweet reads, “Breaking News: @TheRock will be featured on the cover of WWE 2K 14.”

the rock

This year, The Rock stars in G. I. Joe: Retaliation, Snitch and Fast & Furious 6; he is currently the WWE Champion. That is a whole lot of attention for one man within a year.

Dust begins to settle from THQ fire sale: To Ubisoft, Sega, 2K Sports, Crytek & Koch go the spoils

After over 20 years, THQ closed down its doors and hosted a piecemeal, asset auction this week – the latter a result of a failed attempt to sell the company as a single business.

Ubisoft acquired THQ Montreal, the company’s development division which opened up in 2010. The dev team will merge into Ubisoft’s existing dev team, a 6,000+ member team working in 26 studios and spanning 19 countries. Ubisoft also picked up South Park: The Stick of Truth for its licensed development team.

Koch Media/Deep Silver came away with the Saints Row franchise, famed for its absurdly lewd and wild gameplay, as well as Metro. Volition, THQ’s Chicago-based development studio, was also acquired.

Crytek, renowned for Far Cry and Crysis, bought the rights to Homefront, one of the titles many attributed to THQ’s financial downfall. A sequel to Homefront is already in development by the studio.

Perhaps one of the best buys was Sega’s purchase of Relic Entertainment. After a recent downsizing, it appeared that Sega would primarily focus on Sonic and family games. Relic gives Sega access to the popular Warhammer 40,000 series as well as Homeworld and Company of War. We can potentially look forward to Sega staking a claim in the RTS and Shooter arena with this new acquisition.

Take Two picked up rights to Turtle Rock Studios’ Evolve project, while 2K Sports bought the rights to publish WWE titles – a smart move on the part of 2K Sports, which dominates the Basketball genre. With 2K Sports latest acquisition, it will now control both wrestling and basketball.

NBA 2K13 – Jay-Z Adds Basketball Culture to the Franchise

“Presented by Jay-Z.”

Sports video game publishers are no strangers to including hip-hop inspired sound tracks in their titles. The strong bass beats music add edge and intensity to competition.

But, when has an artist ever headlined a sports game? Games usually tote the cover athlete.

NBA 2K13 decided to go in a different direction. After kicking EA Sports’ NBA Live franchise out of the picture and delivering the “best damned” basketball game “ever” with NBA 2K11 (which also brought Michael Jordan back into gaming), NBA 2K13 decided it was time to focus on a different progression.

Basketball culture.

Jay-Z is an artist who has transcended music. Sure, he’s owned clothing lines and night lounges. But, he did something truly unique. He helped to finally bring a basketball team to Brooklyn, NY and became an owner of the Brooklyn Nets.

The NBA 2K13 production team approached Jay-Z to be a part of the new game. As a fan of the franchise and business mogul, Jay took it one step further – he became a Producer. First, he helped to point out the difficulty with dribbling – it required gamers to hold down the Left Trigger and use the Left Thumbstick to maneuver the player’s ball control.

The development took the note to heart, and separated ball control from movement. Now, dribbling and cross overs are the domain of the Right Thumbstick, and player direction is solely the function of the Left Thumbstick. You can also hold down the Left Trigger, to have full control of shooting with the Right Thumbstick (or you can just press the designated shoot button for a basic, automatic shot or dunk).

But, gameplay suggestions are only part of the “Jay-Z Presents” story. He has his name on the load-up screen for a reason. The new layout of the MyPlayer mode (the former MyCareer mode) and the team selection mode now have bass levels at the side, corresponding to a long list of music tracks selected by Jay. There are also flashing lights to give the game added gloss and mimic that “baller” lifestyle.

jay z nba 2k13

Exhibition game load-up screens have been upgraded with music video clips, which the game selects at random. You may get something contemporary or an 80s throwback like “I Ain’t No Joke” by Eric B. & Rakim or a song off of illmatic from Nas.

The game’s initial screen also has a collection sons from Jay, which are remixed with live performance footage.

What else did Jay do to earn his Producer cred, besides being Jay?

He got Charles Barkley to complete the 1992 Dream Team. Barkley was the last player to get signed to NBA 2K13, his name had been missing from gaming for several years.

For the first time, gamers can pit the 2012 Dream Team against the legendary, original 1992 squad – led by Larry Bird and Magic Johnson. Oh yeah, Jordan is there too. And, after playing hands-on with Barkley’s character, I can confirm that Barkley will indeed manhandle anyone defending him. However, don’t try to switch off to have Barkley guard LeBron James. LeBron dunks all day – as does Jordan. Bird’s 3-point shots are also “all day”, especially if you use the control stick to manage the shot motion. Using the control stick, I was able to perform some killer, clutch fadeaway 3s with Bird.

Finally, Jay ensured that official team gear would be available in the MyPlayer shop. So, gamers can customize their players with official Addidas gear as well as a slew of other brand names. Ankle braces and other sports wear offer additional shot modifiers now too. In NBA 2K12, shot modifiers were reserved for sneakers.

If you held off from buying NBA 2K12, you’ll definitely want to pick 2K13 up. Playing with the 1992 Dream Team in an Olympic Year is an utter joy. Nice work, Jay.

NBA 2K13 Anoints Its Cover Athletes: Griffin, Durant and Rose – Where is LeBron James?

2K Sports has gone out with the old and in with the new.

After shipping NBA 2K12 with legends Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson and Larry Bird donning the game’s cover, they’re showcasing the league’s new generation: Blake Griffin, Kevin Durant and Derrick Rose.

But how about the guys in the middle, maybe one in particular: Lebron James?

Like him or hate him – Lebron James is the best basketball player on the planet and he proved that extensively this season, nabbing his third Season MVP and his first Championship Ring (along with an NBA Finals MVP).

Granted, James isn’t necessarily the most likeable athlete these days, with many still declaring his highly publicized, egocentric “Decision” to leave the Cleveland Cavaliers unforgivable. And it’s not like he exactly needs any more endorsements.

Further, the cover isn’t necessarily commentary on who currently is the league’s best talent. Durant was arguably the league’s second-best player (definitely the best scorer). But both Griffin and Rose struggled, with the latter being injured through a good portion of the season (he also suffered a season-ending ACL tear in the playoffs).

But, as Arsenio Hall would say, this is something that would make you go hmmmmmm.

Did 2K Sports get it right by playing it safe and putting up athletes that no one seems to dislike, maximizing the game’s marketability? Or should they have gone with the guy who was undeniably the best in the league this year?

[poll=221]

NBA 2K13 Gets Official Release Date Announcement

Who’s ready for some hoops?  The reigning hardwood extravaganza, NBA 2K is coming back for another go round this Fall.

2K Sports has announced that NBA 2K13 will be officially released on October 2, 2012 (with an October 5 international release date). That falls in line with past release dates and allows you to get in the B-ball spirit before the real NBA season starts in late October/early November.

But there will be a special bonus for those that get their preorders in: they’ll have access to an NBA All-Star Game DLC pack (set in Houston) that 2K Sports promises will add some ‘depth and value’ to the game. This mode will allow gamers to pit current NBA players against classic ones in both the 3-Point contest and the Slam Dunk Contest. This actually sounds pretty cool; can you imagine a dunk contest with the likes of Michael Jordan, Dominique Wilkins, Vince Carter, Blake Griffin, Dwight Howard and Spud Webb competing? Sounds dunk-tastic to me.

The new title is also bound to have the Brooklyn Nets, who moved across the Hudson River from New Jersey this Spring. However, the BK Nets will likely still be no good unless they make some serious offseason moves.

As a sidebar, it’ll be interesting to see what the EA Sports camp comes up with this year. NBA Elite 11 was famously cancelled two years ago due to concerns the game wasn’t ready for the primetime and they failed to come out with a title for the 2012 year. EA Sports has since renamed the franchise back to NBA Live and they’re scheduled to release NBA Live ’13 this year.

[poll=217]

MLB 2K12 Adds Tournament to Million Dollar Giveaway

As reported yesterday, Detroit Tigers pitching ace and AL MVP, Justin Verlander was a guest on Conan Wednesday night to begin promotion as the cover boy for the cross-platform game Major League Baseball 2K12. The Tigers’ hurler talked about pranking teammates with the hot foot and recounted being displeased the first time he was portrayed in a 2K Game. In MLB 2K6 Verlander could only top out at 92 mph when he’s one of the few pitchers who display an insane ability to throw over 100 mph. The Cy Young winner was rest-assured by 2K Sports that this year’s version is accurate so you’ll be able to smoke batters in the 100’s and step back with a 92 mph change-up pitching in Comerica Park.

At the end of the appearance Verlander announced that 2K Sports will once again give away one million dollars, but it will not simply go to the first person who throws a perfect game. That will now be the qualifier to earn a chance for the prize as the first eight people to throw a perfect game (no allowed hits, no walks, or hit batters and retire the minimum amount of batsmen in a nine inning game) will be invited to New York where they will compete head-to-head with one another in a bracket style tournament where the winner will take home the million.

The modification is a good one and adds a bit more drama to the release as it took what used to be just a race to perform a rare feat on a game, 2K Sports adds the head-to-head aspect to the money giveaway, which makes sense given that so much of the enjoyment in sports games is being able to play against other gamers.

MLB 2K12 is scheduled for a March 6 release. What do you think of the modification? Share your thoughts below.

cover art for MLB 2K12

Detroit Tigers’ Pitching Ace Justin Verlander To Make Major Announcement on ‘Conan’

justin verlanderThis past baseball season, there was no one who threw the heat quite like Justin Verlander. He won the Cy Young Award and became the first pitcher to win the MVP award since Oakland’s Dennis Eckersley did in 1992 and the first starting pitcher to win since Roger Clemens in 1986. He finished 2011 with a career-best 24-5 record for the Detroit Tigers with a 2.40 ERA and 250 strikeouts.

For major league gamers, Verlander landed the cover of MLB 2K12 and will appear on tonight’s Conan O’Brien’s late night TBS talk show. 2K Sports announced that Verlander will make “a special announcement” during his appearance, which we’ll speculate is either revealing the cover art of the game – something that Verlander has already done on his Twitter – or that 2K Sports will continue their one million dollar giveaway to the first person to pitch a perfect game (a successful promotion/contest for two years running). Perhaps he’ll announce that 2K Sports will raise the stakes to two million? Hey, sports gamers can dream too, right?

Verlander will join Jack McBrayer of 30 Rock as special guests on everyone’s favorite late-night ginger, Conan. Tune in tonight at 11pm on TBS.

‘NBA 2K12′ Momentus Trailer Kicks Butt with BBall Icons

Check out this new action trailer from 2K Sports upcoming Fall Basketball game NBA 2K12. After 2K11 took video game bball to an untouchable level, gamers will definitely want to check out this latest follow-up. Although it probably won’t take the genre forward as much as 2K11, it will definitely have some core improvements.

This new trailer features icons like Michael Jordan, Julius Erving, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Larry Bird and Hakeem Olajuwon as well as current NBA stars Dirk Nowitzki, Paul Pierce, Blake Griffin, and Carmelo Anthony.

NBA 2K12 hits the Xbox 360, PS3, PS2 , Wii and PSP on October 4, 2011.