Tie your virtual wrestling boots—it's finally WWE 2K14 time.
The video game celebrating WrestleMania, The Undertaker and the spectacle that is WWE arrives Tuesday in North America and Friday internationally. For those who can't wait that long, 2K Sports has partnered with Gamestop and Best Buy to release the game at 12 a.m. local time early Tuesday morning in several cities in the United States.
A full list of cities hosting these midnight openings is here.
Is the game so good that fans have to grab it right away? The opinions found in the various available reviews vary.
Despite its flaws and the fact that it is so much like WWE 13, the praise for WWE 2K14 has come flooding in.
The game appeared to even speak to one of the most critical reviewers. Tom McShea of Gamespot.com gave it only a 6 out of 10. He found fault with the counter-attack system and felt that the striking was weak.
Still, the 30 Years of WrestleMania mode brought back childhood memories for him. McShea writes that he "got a warm glow" in his chest as he played it, telling gamers to "be prepared to be swept away in a tide of nostalgia."
It was that mode that was the focus of many reviewers.
Liam Martin of DigitalSpy.com said of it, "It's a fascinating game mode, whether you're a long-term fan, or a recent convert hoping to learn more about WWE history." The 45 matches spanning the early years of WrestleMania to this year's event earned a number of thumbs up, as did the Beat the Streak mode.
The biggest complaints zeroed in on parallels between this game and the last installment. With 2K Sports taking over the franchise, perhaps folks expected more wholesale changes, a reimagining rather than a revamp.
Garrett Martin from Paste Magazine wrote, "It plays almost exactly like the last few WWE games," and Liam Martin said, "The game offers very few innovations."
Mostly though, reviewers' scores were high, including an 8.7 out of 10 from Vincent Ingenito of IGN.com.
Johnny Luchador of Destructoid.com gave it a 9 out of 10, as did ChicagoNow.com. However, beyond numbers, the raving reviewers make the game sound like a must-buy. Luchador called it "a hallmark of excellence," while Chris Plante of Polygon.com said it was "the closest a game has come to understanding what works about wrestling."
The depth of the game, the varied choices and gameplay tweaks earned it high marks in general, while reversals and game flow seemed to be the biggest sources of nitpicks. There aren't enough negatives among these reviews to dissuade fans from buying the game, and the few that pop up will probably just temper any extreme expectations.
Latest Word On Features
The Defend the Streak mode looks and feels a lot like the Slobber Knocker mode from previous games, and playing the former well enough can earn you the latter in WWE 2K14.
Players control The Undertaker and take on an unending number of Superstars, one by one. Take out enough of these foes, and you can unlock the Slobber Knocker mode. Cory Ledesma of WWE Games explains.
@FellaMcFellersn yes. You can unlock it after defeating 22 opponents in Defend The Streak— Cory Ledesma (@RealCoryLedesma) October 16, 2013
With your damage carrying over after every battle, getting to that number is going to be a grueling journey.
Another mode option is a Gold Rush tournament like the one Eric Bischoff set up in 2005. Aubrey Sitterson from 2K Sports wrote of the mode, "You can pop into Exhibition Mode to set up one of these tournaments, connected to a specific title, and the winner walks away with that title."
Sitterson says that the results of this tourney won't affect the Universe mode.
While in Universe mode, players can customize and recreate the WWE experience, including having a number of notable managers at one's side. Paul Heyman announced that he was in the game on his Heyman Hustle YouTube channel.
He will join Mr. Perfect, Ricardo Rodriguez and Bobby Heenan as managers available to players.
New Entrance and Finisher Videos
The WWE Games YouTube channel shared a number of new videos showcasing more of the game's Superstars. These offer a look at the character models and animations while also helping to get fans pumped about the game.
The newest batch of preview clips include the entrances and signature moves for the following:
Lita, one of the more accurate models of the Divas, looks fantastic. Undertaker's entrance is nearly as haunting as it is in real life, while Hogan's entrance, like much of the game, will bring many fans back to their childhoods.
Hogan's entrance music, Howard Finkel's voice and the vintage screen effects team up to create that "warm glow" that McShea talked about.