The wait is almost over. Many WWE and video game fans are anxiously counting down the days to Oct. 29 when WWE 2K14 hits shelves. The pre-release information has been coming hot and heavy, and gamers know what features to expect.
The only details left to ponder are the quality of gameplay and dependability of the online servers. We won't know the final verdict until the game is launched. For now, here's a look at the vital information for WWE 2K14.
When: Oct. 29
Consoles: Playstation 3 and Xbox 360
Not counting the downloadable content—of which will be discussed shortly—the game will ship with 85 playable Superstars and Divas. Some of them are the same person in a different persona. However, each offers some variance in appearance and/or moves and attacks.
This year's game is all about WrestleMania, so the roster was geared towards performers who have had memorable outings at the Showcase of the Immortals.
Hulk Hogan, John Cena, The Rock, Shawn Michaels, The Ultimate Warrior (available for those who preorder) and of course, The Undertaker highlight the roster. Click here to see the entire list of playable Superstars and Divas.
Downloadable Content (DLC)
Every year the folks at WWE games put together a list of post-release content they hope the WWE gaming community will approve of. This year, the options are solid, but you'll certainly hear some gripes about a few omissions.
Though Rob Van Dam, Curtis Axel, The Usos and the Wyatt Family have made a solid impact on WWE programming, none of them made the retail roster or the DLC packs.
While their absences will be felt, it shouldn't totally take away from the value of what will be available.
Having the nWo, "Ravishing" Rick Rude, Jake "The Snake" Roberts, Bruno Sammartino and others available is excellent. Aside from those legends, there is also a healthy amount of new moves, cool accelerators and more customization options to look forward to.
Newest Features and Enhancements
The amount of create-a-superstar slots has been doubled from 50 to 100. That is a big deal for gamers who love to create and download Superstars and Divas. The extra 50 slots should give gamers a chance to have the largest and most inclusive rosters they've ever had in a WWE video game.
WWE 2K14 is also allowing gamers to clone select Superstars in an effort to create alternate versions of their favorites. While you can't alter the facial features, everything from attire to body proportions is at your disposal.
This is yet another way to expand the roster for fans.
In addition to the customization options with the roster, gamers can also create their own championship belts. This concept has been expanded from the bare-bones, editing option that was included in WWE '13. There is far more control available for colors, images and overall design.
Finally, it feels like a truly original championship can be created.
30 Years of WrestleMania
The single-player campaign is always a big draw. Staying with the concept of celebrating the WWE's rich history, this year's version concentrates on the greatest matches in WrestleMania history.
Much like the Attitude Era mode from WWE '13, gamers will have specific objectives to maximize their performance in these classic matches. Unless gamers order the Season Pass that entitles them to all unlockables, the 30 YOWM mode will be the source for all locked items and characters.
The biggest difference between the 30 YOWM mode and the Attitude Era campaign is the way the stories are chained together. Exclusive footage, in-match cinema screens and screen filters are used to transport the gamer to the era depicted in the match.
It is awesome to see.
No WrestleMania conversation is complete without discussing the Undertaker's streak. Likewise, no WWE game that focuses on WrestleMania would be worth its weight in championship gold without paying homage to Taker in some way.
The Streak mode does just that.
There are two sides to this new feature. In one, you play as the Undertaker and fight Superstar after Superstar to see how many you can defeat without being pinned, submitted, counted out or disqualified.
The other side has you choosing any Superstar and attempting to beat the Undertaker to break the streak. Taker's skill level is cranked up beyond legend for this mode, though. Expect it to be challenging.
More Options in Universe
In WWE 2K14, gamers will have more control over rivalries and feuds. With the rivalry manager option, it is now possible to control who is feuding and how long the feud lasts. No longer will you be held at the mercy of pre-determined feuds in your Universe experience.
An all-Divas show is possible this year. In previous versions, this wasn't doable because the Divas championship wasn't considered a major title, thus it couldn't headline a show. That has been changed in WWE 2K14 to allow Divas to have their own showcase.
Looking Ahead to the Review
Having played the game a lot, my full take on WWE 2K14 is nearly complete. However, with a few loose ends still left to tie up (online play and a few unexplored modes), I will hold off on a full review until release day.
Be sure to look out for that. Follow me on Twitter for details.
Follow me for news and musings on the WWE and sports video games.