Like Bray Wyatt sitting in a shadow-drenched rocking chair, WWE 2K14 remains mysterious, fans knowing little about it so far.
2K Sports takes over for THQ in running the WWE video game franchise. From what folks have seen as of yet, though, the change in company won't result in a metamorphosis, but instead more of a makeover.
Early looks at the game show tweaks, added details and small improvements, but players shouldn't expect wholesale changes.
WWE 2K14 is scheduled for release in North America on October 29 and on November 1, 2013 in the United Kingdom. For a game coming only three months from now, we know little about it, but Alex Navarro wrote on GameSpot.com that "the representatives at 2K seemed certain that more on the game would be revealed around SummerSlam."
What we know of the roster now is that it includes legends Stone Cold, Shawn Michaels, Randy Savage and cover boy The Rock, as well as current Superstars Ryback, Dolph Ziggler and John Cena. The biggest roster news so far is that Ultimate Warrior is jumping into the fray as well.
The former WWE champ and Vince McMahon have apparently patched things up enough to join forces once again. The Ultimate Warrior will be a rope-shaking addition to the roster for those who pre-order the game.
Beyond that, most of what those who have gotten their hands on early, scaled-down versions of WWE 2K14 are saying is that 2K Sports has focused on quickening the pace of the gameplay and fine-tuning the product as a whole.
Dave Rudden of the official XBOX Magazine writes that "the animation has been adjusted so that superstars move through the ring quicker and more naturally." Rudden also says that combat is faster thanks to "speedier strikes."
WWE 2K14 will also expand both the OMG moments and catch finishers from WWE 13.
Players can execute DDTs on the ring apron or, with certain characters, kick an opponent's head into the ring post.
Added use of the environment will add both fun and realism to the game. The same can be said about adding new catch finishers. No longer will players have to awkwardly position their foes to set up a finisher since one can now hit these moves on a running opponent or on someone in mid-air.
The game's trailer shows The Heartbreak Kid tossing Macho Man in the air and nailing him with Sweet Chin Music.
WWEGaming.com reports that 10 new catch finishers will be added and that some characters like Cena and Ryback can "perform their finishers to multiple wrestlers at the same time."
That's bad news for virtual jobbers and great news for fans. One has to assume there has to be a limit on these double-moves so that Cena is not hitting the Attitude Adjustment on both Mark Henry and Big Show at the same time.
2K Sports has also worked on the reversal system to make it more fluid and more like the stuff we see on WWE TV.
Richard George from IGN.com played a demo version of the game and reported that "attacks now reverse into other attacks, instead of non-offensive holds, pushing a fight along rather than giving an opponent a chance to escape or overcome your counter."
That sounds like an improvement that will aid the flow of the game, which seems to be 2K Sports' focus thus far.
There has been little to no word on what kind of story mode WWE 2K14 will feature. There's no word on if there will be an overall theme like the Attitude Era-centered WWE 13. The changes the developers have revealed are all positive ones but nothing ground-breaking.
Perhaps bigger surprises are on the way.
Jim Ross will be in the game, so all those OMG moments can get the legendary JR treatment. He wrote on his blog, "Enjoyed doing some recent work in the new, 2K WWE video game, but I'm keeping the creative under wraps."
Of course he is. Ross' tight lips just continues the theme of mystery surrounding WWE 2K14.
As the release date approaches, fans will be curious to see the bigger changes 2K Sports has in store for the franchise.
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