WWE 2K14 is a remarkable game. We know as much. But what makes the game so frustrating are the glaring imperfections that restrain the game from reaching legendary levels of gaming excellence.
That is to say, the effort on behalf of the development team was certainly notable, but it falls short of what could have been the most incredible wrestling video game experience to date. Not to worry though. WWE 2K15 will be released for next-generation consoles, unlocking an unprecedented capability for this development team.
I hope they take full advantage of the enhanced tools to build a better product. Here are 10 changes from WWE 2K14 that we absolutely must see in WWE 2K15:
1. Bigger, Better Roster
In WWE 2K14, I can select Mick Foley; however, I can't select Mankind. I cannot select Dude Love. Can't pick Cactus Jack. I can however pick Justin Gabriel. Zack Ryder. I have three different Kevin Nashes to choose from, yet no Hardy Boyz, no Dudley Boyz, no Rob Van Dam, etc.
I can pick Dusty Rhodes, but I can't pick former WCW World Heavyweight Champion Vader. I can pick David Otunga, but I can't pick Bray Wyatt.
Catch my drift? It's like the people of 2K would rather insert characters who will do nothing but occupy a square on the character selection screen than insert characters that people will actually pick. Several sites have leaked that Justin Gabriel will be in the game's next installment. Sounds promising.
Do us a favor and only insert characters you know your constituency will actually utilize.
2. Fix Game-Play Mechanical Flaws
I don't have much to gripe about regarding the mechanics of the game. They're actually solid and the reversal system requires patience and timing. All good. But some devious players out there have found a flaw where some moves can be done that are incapable of being reversed. They exploit it egregiously.
For example, you might be fighting in an Elimination Chamber online when an opponent suddenly decides to bang your head into the chamber wall. Awesome, right? Not so much, because that move cannot be reversed, and the player can literally bang your head into the chamber for hours if the player wanted to.
Some moves in ring, when performed quickly in the corner, cannot be reversed either. Not many people will pick up on this, but for people playing the game at a competitive level, this becomes an easy way to avoid a fair fight and massacre your opponent. Fix it.
3. Improved Entrances
If I pick the nWo Scott Hall and my partner picks the nWo Kevin Nash, why are we watching separate entrances online? This is such a deviation from a realistic experience. And it seems like it would be an easy fix. If guys are a team in reality, allow them to come out together. Absolutely no reason why we have to sit through two Shield entrances as Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins enter separately from the crowd.
4. Improve Universe Mode or Scrap It
I love the idea of Universe Mode. Give us the power to book, let us create our own wrestling universe where we steer the angles, the titles, the plots. It's unparalleled control. But it's extremely unsatisfying when you incur the same cut scenes more than five times in one hour or have to deal with stupid created rivalries by the A.I.
The Universe Mode in WWE 2K14 is so lazily done that it's frankly offensive. It plays like a copy-and-paste effort from the previous game. Give us a reason to care about Universe Mode. Make it rich, make it diverse. Make it a unique experience to the individual gamer.
And why not grade us for it? Introduce a "Booker Mode," where players can be scored and ranked based on how compelling their universe is. Introduce "buyrates" and other realistic metrics that real-life bookers and promoters must answer to. In its current state, there is no reason to waste your time with this facet of the game.
5. More OMG Moments
It's a great concept. But it's too limited. You can OMG from the turnbuckle, from the announcer's table, from the apron, from outside the ring in the barrier and next to the ring post along side the apron. You could essentially achieve every OMG moment in one sitting.
These are the best moves of the game. Introduce a lot more of them and keep the game from getting stale and repetitive.
6. Online Tournaments for Titles
The online constituency is so large it's absurd not to have events that encompass the whole community. Plenty of online titles do this already. Imagine being able to compete in a weekly weekend tournament for the Tag Team Championships or for the World Heavyweight Championship. To make the tournament more accessible, make multiple divisions based on skill.
This would be another great way to ensure the game doesn't get stale and repetitive. Weekly competitions for actual titles introduce more incentive and motivation to continue your online experience beyond just finally achieving an inflated "Hall of Fame" status.
7. Better Online Servers
If you play online a lot, you'll find these servers to be extremely frustrating. I've lost track of the amount of times my teammate and I have started in the same match and finished in another. What happens is that sometimes in a match, the game will split. My partner will be playing a different match than what I'm playing. The only way we both get a win is if we both manage to win our matches.
Often times, one player will be left to play against two other human players while the other competes with the A.I. People online call this "split-screening." It occurs when you both realize your partner is doing something completely different on his or her screen compared to yours.
That's not even mentioning the amount of freezes and disconnections incurred, especially in high-volume matches like six-man chambers or ladder matches.
8. More Diversified Environment
In what is arguably the greatest wrestling game ever created, I can fight in or around the ring, or in one hallway backstage. That's it. There are PlayStation (one) games that offer anywhere from five to six different locations to fight in. But on PS3, we get two.
Fix this. There's no reason why on the apex of wrestling games, we're relegated to just two locations. It just comes off as lazy, which seems to be a common trend woven throughout WWE 2K14.
9. More Match Options, Online and Offline
It's limited. If you bought this game when it came out, within days you can experience every different match it has to offer. I'd like to see the next game feature more match options. Dumpster matches, five-man elimination tag team matches, buried alive matches—the possibilities are endless.
The goal is to keep the game from getting stale, which is often the most common fault of any wrestling game. This game is obviously a step above its predecessors but, nonetheless, with such limited match options you'll find yourself replicating a match you've played hundreds of times.
10. Eliminate Create a Wrestler (CAW) from Competitive Online Play
I personally don't utilize the creation mode. But I know a ton of players do. That's fine. The problem is that you can max these characters out to level 100, whereas the highest-rated real Superstar is 95. That creates an inability for someone without a created wrestler to match the ability of someone's created wrestler, yet they’re ranked beneath the same umbrella.
I'm not saying do away with this, and you can actually turn CAWs off for online play. But CAW competitors and normal competitors are graded equally in rank. That's a mistake. Because while some players are accruing wins with an 88-rated Hollywood Hogan, some other guy is racking up wins with an overall 100-ranked 7' skeleton-masked cruiserweight, who also does the Pedigree.
Give CAWs their own rank, their own hierarchy. Separate, but equal.