COLUMN: Aaron’s Backstage Pass: WWE 2K14 Review

Updated: 11/09/2013 5:35 PM By: Aaron Chalich

I am a huge fan of professional wrestling. I enjoy watching it on television, going to live events and also playing all of the video games. 

I have played every wrestling game that has come out for all of the home systems, dating back to “WWF Wrestlemania” on the Nintendo Entertainment System.

Each year the wrestling games get better and many new and legendary wrestlers are added to the game’s roster.

This past week I received a review copy of 2K’s “WWE 2K14” for the Playstation 3, and it is the best wrestling game that I have played. 

“WWE 2K14” has one the largest rosters of wrestlers that you can choose from to play. There are legendary wrestlers that you can unlock, like Hulk Hogan, Razor Ramon, and Randy “Macho Man” Savage. Some of the more modern wrestlers are The Rock, John Cena, The Shield, Daniel Bryan, The Undertaker and Triple H.

You can choose from more than 70 different wrestlers to play as, and there are also divas, managers, downloadable wrestlers and custom wrestlers that you can create.

There are so many different matches and modes that you can play in “WWE 2K14” that are awesome and very exciting.

There are main matches like one-on-one, tag team, battle royals, steel cage, elimination chamber, backstage brawls, ladder, inferno, royal rumbles, and TLC matches (tables, ladders, and chairs).

The great thing is that up to six players can play in some of the matches, like in the elimination chamber and tournament matches.
Once you decide on the match, you can choose the stipulations, like extreme rules, special-guest referee, first blood, I quit, iron man and many others.

I just can’t get over how many different types of matches there are, and they make “WWE 2K14” extremely fun to play.

The graphics in “WWE 2K14” are amazing. The wrestlers look as if you are watching the WWE at home on your HD-TV. They are flawless. The arenas and rings are amazing.  K did a great job at capturing all of the details. For example, Wrestlemania 9 was outdoors in Las Vegas at Caesar’s Palace Casino, and it is featured in the game. 

There is also a ton of video that shows past and current WWE matches, and it looks awesome.

Jerry “The King” Lawler and Jim Ross do the audio commentary in “WWE 2K14.” It’s awesome, and really adds to each match. I must have played 100 matches, and I really don’t think I heard the same thing twice.

The controls are very easy to learn, and there is a tutorial that you can pull up if you pause the game and go into the options.  f you played “WWE 13” the controls are exactly the same. You grapple with the “X” button. You can throw your opponent into the ropes or corner with the “O” button, and strike with the “square” button.

One nice thing is that during the match the buttons will show up on the screen to let you know how to pin or when you can perform a reversal.

Reversals are the most important thing that you must learn to do in “WWE 2K14.”  It can be a matter of winning or losing a match. If you are going to be attacked or are in a grapple, “R2” will appear above your head.  f you push it at the correct time, you will reverse the move and do an attack on your opponent. If you push it too fast or slow, you will not reverse the move and text will appear above your head letting you know if you pushed it too slow or fast, which is nice. 

Each character has a signature move and a finishing move. As you wrestle, you gain momentum, and when your momentum meter fills, your signature move can be done. Text will appear on the screen that says “signature” at the bottom of your character so you know you can perform it. This is a more powerful move, and it sets up your finishing move. Once you do your signature move, your finishing move will be available to use. This will also appear as text at the bottom of your wrestler. This is your most powerful move, and it does the most damage. The signature moves and finishing moves are done by pushing “triangle,” and they can also be reversed.

Every wrestler has its own unique signature and finishing move. You have to figure out where you need to be to do it. For example, Randy “Macho Man” Savage does a flying elbow off the top rope. You have to get your opponent lying down on the mat, and when you climb the turnbuckle, the “triangle” button will appear so you know that’s where you have to do your finishing move. If you pause the game you can look and see what your character’s signature and finishing moves are, and where you need to be to do them. 

One of my favorite finishing moves is Hulk Hogan’s. Once you get your signature move, you throw the guy into the ropes and as they are coming back at you, you push “triangle” to do the big boot. Then if you push “triangle” again by their head, as they are laying on the mat, you will run and do the leg drop.  I just like how accurate it was. If you have ever watched Hulk Hogan wrestle, you know that is what he always did right before he won a match.

Some of the wrestlers like Hulk Hogan, Ultimate Warrior, and Shawn Michaels have “comeback” moves, and they are awesome. If your wrestler is really hurt and is close to losing, the “comeback” text will appear. To activate it, you need to push the “triangle” button. It took me a little while to figure out that you will need to push the “triangle” button a second time when you are standing next to the other wrestler to activate it. Once you activate it, a special mini game will start and you must push the correct button before the other person does. You will do your special moves, and it could make you win the match.

I was playing online against someone that was really good, and I was Hulk Hogan. I was losing, and I activated my “comeback” move, and I actually ended up winning the match.

Something that is new to “WWE 2K14” is the catapult moves. You can throw the opponent into the ropes, and as they are coming back at you, you can push “L1” to launch them into the air. As they are coming down, you can do your finishing movie by pushing “triangle.” 

The “OMG!” moves are back and are awesome. If you store up your finishing moves, you can perform moves that are amazing. For example, if you are outside the ring and you throw your opponent into the guard-rail corner, the words “OMG!” will appear. You can spear the other person through the guard rail by pushing “triangle.” It looks awesome. There are many different “OMG!” moves, and you will have to figure them out for yourself.

As I mentioned earlier, there are so many different game modes that you can play, and they are so much fun.

The creation mode is back. You can create your own wrestler, entrances, rings, etc… There are so many different options available and the possibilities are endless.

You can take your created wrestler and play them online or in the WWE Universe mode.

The WWE Universe mode is really fun. If you are not familiar with the WWE Universe, then I will briefly explain it. You get to be in total control of what goes on in the WWE. You get to choose which wrestlers are on RAW or Smackdown and who the champion is. At any time, you can add different wrestlers to matches and also create them. There are pay-per-views like The Royal Rumble and Wrestlemania, and you get to decide who wrestles.

When you first start out, there is a calendar, and it shows when Raw, Smackdown and the pay-per-view is for that month. You can skip the entire month and have all of the matches simulated, or you can go and play certain matches. You do this for every month, and it goes on forever. After a while, if you want to change everything, you can reset the Universe and start from scratch.

Two of my favorite modes are “30 Years of Wrestlemania” and “The Streak.”

In “30 Years of Wrestlemania,” you relive some of the greatest matches in WWE history. There are five different eras, and the first one is the “Hulkamania Runs Wild” you get to relive some of Hulk Hogan’s greatest matches with King Kong Bundy, Andre The Giant, and Ultimate Warrior.  There are other matches from the early Wrestlemanias like the match from Wrestlemania I where Andre The Giant and Big John Studd have a body slam match. The cool thing about this era is that all of the matches have a grainy look to them to make them look old. I felt that this was a nice touch.

The other eras are: The New Generation, Attitude Era, Ruthless Aggression and Universe Era.

Every match has objectives that you must complete.  If you complete them all, you will unlock wrestlers, rings, attire and managers.  You can have menu appear in the upper left corner of the screen that tells you what you need to do for each objective.  You can hide the menu by pushing the select button.  In some of the matches, there are hidden objectives and you will not know what they are until a certain point in the match.  Some of the objectives are: body slam the opponent, do your finishing move and pin them in 10 seconds and get your opponent to critical.  Every match has different objectives, and if you remember the matches you may figure out what the objectives are.

There are also videos and photos that show some of the highlights of each historic match, and they are fun to watch and look at.

The other mode that I really enjoyed was “The Streak.” This features The Undertaker who is my favorite wrestler of all time. He has never been defeated at Wrestlemania, and his record is 21-0.  You have to beat The Undertaker at a harder difficulty to end “the streak.” If you beat him with a certain wrestler like Triple H or Shawn Michaels you will unlock photos. There are ten wrestlers that you have to beat him with to unlock everything. You can also defend “the streak” by playing as The Undertaker. You have to try and see how many different opponents you can beat without losing. I thought that this was really fun and very challenging.

The online mode is great and a lot of fun to play. You can pretty much play all of the matches one-on-one and elimination chamber matches, and you can also set all of the stipulations.

There are ranked matches and player matches. If you play ranked matches, you will gain experience points and will gain different ranks. You are also ranked amongst players from around the world and your rank is shown under your player’s name. I am actually ranked about 870, so that’s pretty cool.

The player matches are for fun, and they don’t count for your rank.

You can use all of your created content online, and that’s neat.

There is also a season pass that you can buy, and that includes exclusive wrestlers and content that are only available for people who purchased the season pass.

I really think that 2K’s “WWE 2K14” is awesome. It has the largest roster of wrestlers to play as.  The graphics are amazing, and the controls are excellent. I really liked all of the many different options of matches and game modes. “30 Years of Wrestlemania” and “The Streak” are very exciting and fans of the WWE are going to love this. The online was fun, and I know a lot of people will also like this. 

If you are a fan of the WWE or of professional wrestling like me, “WWE 2K14” is a must have.

I also got the chance to talk to Bryan Williams, who is the senior designer for “WWE 2K14.” To listen to my interview, click play on the video viewer at the top of this story.

“WWE 2K14” is rated “T” for blood, language, suggestive themes, use of alcohol and violence.