I am an avid gamer, perhaps more so than a wrestling fan, but a very broke gamer for sure. That is why when WWE 2k14 came out, I wanted to, but did not buy it. It is the last installment of the yearly series that began development under THQ, which meant that it was going to be pretty much the same game I bought last year with a few tweaks, five or so new characters, a story mode that I doubt could beat the Attitude Era mode from the last one, and some new DLC. Overall though, I did not think it was worth it, which is odd for me to say, but now that I have had my hands on the game, I stand by that statement, as much as it disappoints me to say so.
The truth is that I was buying these games every year without much thought, because I liked them and playing with my friends, but to a lesser degree also just because it is a wrestling related game. Few of the installments truly stand out though in the past several years as doing anything really groundbreaking, innovative, or worthy of a brand new sixty dollar price tag. With the exception of WWE ‘12 to some degree, the mechanics largely stay the same, which is not totally bad, because the engine is good, and for the most part the system and controls are solid, but most other aspects of the game rest on mediocrity with just swapping characters and match types in-and-out or maybe one new gimmicky mode. While we are on that though, where the hell is my good version of GM mode these games used to have?
I could do an entire article on why these games need to get better, but that may be more suited for a later article. What is good in my opinion is that I hope 2K takes a more active hand in the production of the next game and shakes things up a bit. That could be really good for the future of the series. What would really help though is something obvious—and that fans say about the WWE itself a lot—, but that will be hard pressed to happen—competition. A good competitor, another game on the level of the WWE series, could truly light a fire up under the developers to step outside of the comfort zone and get more creative. I know it may prevent them from being able to release a game at the same time every year, but that needs to happen anyway. Will it? No, these things make too much money, and even if another wrestling game was out and as good, the WWE logo would sell more copies itself.
That does not mean that a strong rival game with the proper engine, graphics, and extra features would not have the ability to push the series, even if it sold less, but a lot would depend on what wrestlers were featured. TNA tried their hand not long ago at a game and it was horrible, but my guess is because they did not have the money to put behind it, and without a sizable amount of funds to build or buy a good game engine, something like this will not happen anytime soon. I have to be a realist about that. I want it to though, it needs to happen, because if being bought buy a new company does not shake things up, nothing short of a strong competitor to get the developers scared will. I do not know about any of the other fans, but I cannot bring myself to just hand WWE sixty dollars blindly (there is a PPV joke here) each year without getting something better in return.
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