The Wrestling Mania had the privilege this week of being invited to London courtesy of 2K Sports to attend the WWE 2K14 Launch Party and compete in a tournament to try and win some cool prizes. How did we fare? Did we take home the gold? Or did we just jerk the curtain? Time to find out…
We arrived in London from Manchester, and after some quick shopping and sightseeing we met up with Jimmy Wheeler (our resident grumpy wrestling historian). We entered the Match Bar in Oxford Circus and were greeted by the friendly faces of 2K Sports. We were informed there would be free drinks and free food. Needless to say we took full advantage.
We had the opportunity to grill company bigwigs about WWE 2K14 and what’s next for the franchise, being informed that what we were told was off the record. The only thing we can really put into print is that next years WWE 2K15 will see a complete overhaul of the current system as well as the obvious move to the next-gen consoles. So you will see graphics that we have come to expect from 2K games in their NBA franchise. It’s worth remembering that 2K Sports took over WWE 2K14 when it was already well into development, so not a great deal could be done in terms of changing things this year.
We had the opportunity to play the game for around an hour to get to grips with various new controls and characters and see what we thought of the game. Although visually not much different from last year’s game, the little details that have been added are nothing short of awesome. The classic arenas that you play in see a grainy 80s and 90s TV effect, which adds to the atmosphere. The first thing we noticed was how huge the roster was, and even though we saw the roster reveal, it didn’t really sink in until we played the game.
What hasn’t been revealed is the manager roster. We were pleasantly surprised to find Bobby “The Brain” Heenan, Miss Elizabeth, Mr. Fuji, Paul Bearer and Paul Heyman were all included in the game’s exhibition mode as well.
The game flows much better than last years and the AI is now much more intelligent, preferring to go on the offensive and attack rather than simply reverse everything you do. Some of the superstar ratings were a little puzzling though (Daniel Bryan rated 92, Hollywood Hulk Hogan rated 88).
Once we got settled with the game it was time for the official WWE 2K14 tournament to begin. Michael Owen, Dean Puckering and Jimmy Wheeler represented The Wrestling Mania. The way the tournament worked was each competitor had 2 lives. If you lost a match you were placed into a runners-up bracket. The winner of that bracket would face the winner of the winner’s bracket in the grand final to determine who the champion was.
It looked like it was going to be a short night for Team TWM with all 3 of us losing our first tournament matches, immediately being thrusted into the runners up bracket. The competition was fierce with some great players competing to win.
Mike and Jimmy managed to win their first matches in the runners up bracket but were eliminated in quick order after that. The pride of TWM rested on one mans shoulders.
Dean capped off the first round of the runner’s bracket for Team TWM by also winning his first runner’s up match. With TWM’s hopes pinned on him, astonishingly he went on to win 6 matches in a row to progress to the WWE 2K14 Tournament Grand Final. However this was the end of the road.
Six matches in a row without a rest took its toll. That coupled with the fact that the Grand Final was contested in Extreme Rules on the ‘epic’ match setting made it a nigh on impossible task. Add all this to the fact that Dean would have to beat his opponent twice and you can imagine the task at hand. Oh and the pressure of knowing that the grand prize of tickets to all WWE Live UK events with Meet and Greets at each one was at stake.
His opponent was John Cena, so countering that Dean decided to choose ‘Stone Cold’ Steve Austin. The WWE 2K14 cameras were rolling and the lights were on bright as the grand final match was being recorded for later release.
Cena quickly exposed the speed weaknesses of Austin, and Dean was fighting an uphill battle from the start as his experienced opponent quickly brought him back to earth. Weapons were brought out including tables, ladders and chairs (oh my!), steel steps and the obligatory breaking of the announce table. However after kicking out of 2 Attitude Adjustments, it looked like there might be a comeback on for Team TWM as Austin hit the Lou Thesz Press followed by a Stone Cold Stunner.
Cena kicked out at 2 and it was a mere formality from then on. A third Attitude Adjustment was too much, and the 3 count was made just as the kick-out meter was almost full.
So close, yet so far.
We might not have won the tournament, but Team TWM came 2nd and fought to the very last bell. In a post match interview with 2K Sports Dean was gracious in defeat, admitting he was never going to win and was beaten by the better man.
However we were all winners at the end of the day. The tournament was a roaring success and a fun time was had by all. Goodie bags were given out, photos were taken and everybody went home happy. WWE 2K14 is a massive step forward for the franchise, and we can’t wait to get our hands on the full copy of the game next week.
If you’re on the fence about whether or not you should pick up WWE 2K14 after last year’s mess, we assure you it’s well worth the buy. The 30 years of WrestleMania mode looks absolutely incredible. Classic arenas recreated stunningly and an insanely difficult mode titled “The Streak” where you have to try and defeated a beefed up version of The Undertaker at WrestleMania. Only the overall tournament winner on the night was able to defeat him, it’s that difficult.
The Wrestling Mania will be giving away everything we were given on the night which includes our goodie bags and some amazing limited edition stuff that was given exclusively to TWM after we visited the 2K offices the next day. We will also be giving away copies of WWE 2K14 so look out for our fantastic end of year competition very soon which so far has a prize fund of an estimated £400 with lots more stuff to be added!
– By Dean Puckering
The Wrestling Mania would like to send out a massive thank you to 2K Sports and all the team at We Are Social for an absolutely incredible night in London.
You can buy WWE 2K14 by clicking here.