WWE 2K14 preview: Wrestle-Mania

WWE 2K14 is the first game in the series to come from the aftermath of THQ. New publisher 2K Sports couldn't have picked a better time to pull in the reins. Celebrating the 30th anniversary of WrestleMania, 2K14 packs a number of new features and modes that should appeal to wrestling fans--especially those that have a penchant for nostalgia.

WrestleMania 24

30 Years of WrestleMania The big addition to this year's WWE game is 30 Years of WrestleMania. THQ and Yukes is celebrating the milestone anniversary of the franchise by offering at least one matchup from each year in WrestleMania's long legacy. Given that the series is home to some of the league's most iconic fights, this is undoubtedly a treat for fans. 2K14 approaches the mode with the production values you'd come to expect. There are authentic costumes, accurate intro animations, and even period-specific visuals (some stages will feature a VHS-style visual effect, just for added effect). However, I found myself quite charmed by the approach to gameplay as well. There's an overarching goal for every WrestleMania match. Typically, it involves having the player character win the match. However, there are additional objectives sprinkled in throughout the match, based on how the real-world fight took place. For example, one of the playable matches from WrestleMania 24 is Shawn Michaels' defeat of Ric Flair, which led to his retirement. Not only do players have to win as Michaels, but they must perform a number of actions. Michaels' failed attempt to slam Flair on the announcement table is one of those key moments. Having a persistent box take up a large amount of screen real estate isn't a particularly elegant way of presenting the information to the player. And, some of the objectives seem to go contrary to the ebb and flow of the match. Still, recreating some of WWE's most iconic matches, and reliving some of their quirkier moments, should be a blast for fans. The Streak In addition to the 30 Years mode, 2K14 has a special mode centered around The Undertaker. Called "The Streak," it's named after the Undertaker's winning streak in WrestleMania. This mode has you either trying to either defeat or defend the streak by playing as the Undertaker. As new waves of opponents come, you'll be graded on a number of attributes, including "showmanship" and "drama."

The Undertaker gets his own mode

Customization Creating your own silly wrestlers has always been a highlight of the WWE franchise. However, 2K14 takes it one step further by letting you customize select Superstars however-you-see-fit. These larger-than-life characters are action-figures already, and you'll be able to not only give them different outfits, but change their entire bodies as well. You'll also be able to create your own custom Championships, editing key rivalries that will form throughout the season, and even what series will run throughout the year. You can simulate the entire season, if you'd like, as virtual wrestlers vie for your custom-created championship belt. The amount of customization options is staggering. 2K Sports has this hour-long stream going over all the bells and whistles of their offering: WWE 2K14 will be available on Xbox 360 and PS3 on October 29th. You can check out the full roster here.