Get Ready to Streak With WWE 2K14

It’s refreshing when game developers are fans of the licensed product they’re working on, and that really seems to be the case at Yukes. With its 30th birthday approaching, WrestleMania has been stroked with a brush of genuine love in WWE 2K14 — a love that is reflected in both the new modes and the general updates the entire game has been treated with. It’s the universe that fans have been asking for, and it’s nothing short of expansive.

The games key mode, 30 Years of WrestleMania, tosses players across a historical 46 matches that celebrate classic bouts between new and old rivals. While simply fighting through the matches is possible, WrestleMania history-buffs will find that repeating certain actions performed by their favorite stars will trigger special cutscenes, expanding on the experience and allowing fans to relive the greatest matches in WrestleMania history over, and over again. A new mode revolving entirely around The Undertaker has also been introduced to the franchise, paying homage to the undefeated WrestleMania monster with “The Streak.” In this mode, players will either defend the Streak, or defeat The Undertakers 21-0 accomplishment in what Cory Ledesma calls an “extremely difficult” mode — one that holds no punches, and will challenge even veterans of the franchise.

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While defending the Streak will place players in the shoes of The Undertaker himself, and force them to defend his position as a never-ending series of opponents rush the ring, defeating the Streak is where things take an interesting turn. Players will select any wrestler they desire, including the ones created in-game — although winning with one of his past victims will unlock bonus content — and duke it out with The Master of Pain himself.

Unlike ordinary matches, however, The Undertaker comes equipped with his paranormal bag of gimmicks, allowing him to perform tricks such as temporarily shutting down the arena lights and moving into a position of power — right behind you. The Streak mode will also track your stats whether you win or lose, and upload them to the leader boards to stack against other players. Everything from offensive diversity to showmanship will factor in the results, and bonuses to your score are available through the use of special abilities throughout the match.

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While the new modes introduced are the cake itself, the icing is surly the many improvements introduced to the franchise. Such tweaks have made their way to create-a-superstar among others, and with the ability to now use superstars as a template, players can craft their ideal stars and import them to the WWE Universe for a more unique and personalized experience. For the first time in the series, players can also adjust entrance attire as well as ring gear, and share their results via community creations. Even rivalries can be managed in depth, allowing you to set all the rivalries within the universe, the duration of the rivalry, and the freedom to override the AI settings, deciding what main feuds happen within your own WWE universe.

With new championship modes allowing you to customize every logo and theme, the overhauled navigation, striking motions, snappier match pacing, overhauled reversal system, and an assortment of improvements to the AI — all closely replicating what is seen on TV — WWE has never been so complete. “Gameplay is king — it’s where players will spend most of their time,” says Ledesma, and it’s obvious that he means it.