Gamescom 2013: WWE2K14 gets nostalgic

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WWE2K14

I stopped caring about that big sweaty soap-opera for men around about the time I started noticing girls. That was probably a coincidence, but suffice t say, I’ve not followed a thing that’s happened in the WWF WWE in decades. It’s probably why I’m actually keen for this year’s iteration of WWE, now under 2K Sports’ helm.

It features a pretty expansive “30 Years of Wrestlemania” single player campaign that lets you relive some of the most exciting matches in the history of the “sport.” There are 45 such matches available, bookended by some delightfully nostalgic videos that will bring you up to speed on the rivalries involved, and why the matches were so huge.

The match we got to see played before us was the classic match between Hulk Hogan and The Ultimate Warrior, all the way back in 1990, with Wrestlemania 6. What’s nice to note is that all the regalia; emblems, banners, signs and whatnot are authentic to the period, with a fuzz on the screen to simulate the SD screens of the era. Well, except for that “WWF” bit. They haven’t managed to get around that licencing issues. Another thing that breaks the nostalgic immersion is the match commentary; classic match commentary is provided by Jerry Lawler and Jim Ross. It would have been really nice to have Jesse Ventura and Gorilla Monsoon behind the mics for a match like this.

What is cool is that there are certain conditions that have to be met in the matches to make them as authentic a recreation as possible; with cinematic moments breaking up the gameplay. If you’re a fan of old-school wrasslin, this is going to be a treat.

It controls…mostly the way it did with the last game, but the whole thing is a tad slicker, with modern menus, better, more responsive striking and better animation.

Unfortunately, character models aren’t quite right, and end up looking like they’ve got downs. There are still issues with hit-boxes, and weird animations. But on the plus side, it does have that Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat match against Randy Savage from Wrestlemania 3, and that career-defining ladder match between Shawn Michaels and Razor Ramon – so it’s something I do want to play; even if it is just to see Andre the Giant again.

I’m actually pretty glad that 2K has the franchise now, and that stalwart developer Yukes is being given the boot; while WWE2K14 will be perfectly serviceable, the whole things needs something fresh – and I can’t wait to see what 2K will deliver.

Last Updated: August 29, 2013

Geoffrey Tim

Editor. I'm old, grumpy and more than just a little cynical. One day, I found myself in possession of a NES, and a copy of Super Mario Bros 3. It was that game that made me realise that games were more than just toys to idly while away time - they were capable of being masterpieces. I'm here now, looking for more of those masterpieces.

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