Tomorrow is Thanksgiving, and while there will be lots of eating going on, there will also be lots of gaming happening as well. Here’s what Jules, Eric, and I are playing on this Thanksgiving week. Spoiler alert: it’s wrestling heavy.
WWE 2K14 (PS3)
The game I’ve been playing this week is none other than WWE 2k14, which is semi-timely since WWE 2k15 just dropped earlier this week. I almost purchased THAT game but was scared off by some friendly warnings by my fellow gamers here about how gutted the PS3 (the console I own) is compared to the PS4. I’ve been playing this game for a few months now and it is by far my favorite wrestling game of all time. The one downside is the graphics by Yukes are a little on the lame side as far as realism goes, but it is still very playable. The roster is out of this world good and includes big stars from multiple eras of wrestling such as Hogan, Savage, Andre, Bret, HBK, Austin, Rock, Brock, Batista etc… And then my favorite part of the game is the community creations section. All long time wrestling gamers can appreciate the love and care that many of us over the years have put into creating custom superstars, often wrestlers from rival promotions or just whatever wacky thing you could think up. The community creations section basically pools all of this created content together and allows you to search for some (crazy good) versions of any wrestler, arena, maneuver, or logo you can think of. I was not as big a fan of the Universe mode as I thought I would be, but that is still fun as well. “30 Years of Wrestlemania” is good, but I did miss a career mode, which for those of you with Xbox1 or PS4 will happen on 2k15. If you’re a wrestling fan, and a video game fan, and you don’t already own this one, I hereby heap tons of shame upon you.
Also playing: Call of Juarez, NBA 2k12, Just Dance 2014 (don’t ask)
WWE 2K15 (PS4)
This game has been a pleasant surprise for me since I went in with fairly low expectations leading up to launch day.
My intent was to sit and hold and I was even leaning towards skipping this year entirely.
What changed my mind? The day the game came out a slew of reviews came out and tons of footage came out that showed me that some of the complaining and negativity have been way overblown. A friend of mine, Dr. Monk, who regularly contributes here at TVE also went a long way with detailed impressions and answers to all my nitpicky questions to a degree that satisfied me more than I would have expected coming off a lot of what was out there.
Yes, there are some features that are missing but a lot of things have been bloat that have carried over since 2007 or so. I never cared about Inferno matches, for example. If you read these reviews carefully and catalog what’s missing some of it is disappointing but a lot of it could be argued as bloat.
I am extremely grateful that we have Twitch and YouYube these days where we can really see a game in action and get some real world feedback from fellow gamers.
The only thing I’ll say here is that no special ref mode breaks my heart in a bad way and I’m hoping the gaming gods provide for me over DLC.
My friends and I have a ton of crazy fun booking insanity in special ref matches where one of us controls the ref and you just never know exactly what’s going to happen. Please 2K. Give me special ref this year. I’ll pay a few extra bucks for it even.
Every major style of match is available and there is promise on the DLC front of further depth and expansion.
The main drew here is refinement in core gameplay and a huge boost in graphics and production values. The fundamentals are rock solid and sound from top to bottom in this game.
The Universe mode is largely unchanged but still viable and the Career Mode is something that could truly be special in a year if 2K gives it the full fledged “NBA2K15” type treatment.
The bulk consensus out there is a 7/10 game with a description of something akin to a barren wasteland. This is not true. On the other hand, the PS3 and 360 versions of 2K15 absolutely are barren wastelands and 7/10 would be incredibly generous. My advice to people gaming on those systems is to stick with 2K14 for another year.
But I digress. On the PS4 and XB1 versions:
The upgrades to the creation areas are a long overdue welcome. It’s fast. It’s intuitive. It’s easy to use. Even I have made a few CAWs that look respectable and I’m someone who has never really taken a serious stab at it because I found the process to be needlessly tedious and cumbersome up to now. One of the biggest thing that went to that was the long load times and now this is no longer an issue.
This year there are less layers available on a CAW due to time constraints but I personally have not felt anything lacking as what is currently available. A quick skim of the Community Creations area yields some absolutely stunning results so it hasn’t stopped people.
I am disappointed with the lack of options in the create an entrance options but these are easily addressed via DLC if 2K decides to bother with it. There certainly is enough there at present to get some very respectable and impressive results off the ground.
There is something to be said for vastly faster load times and much more stable online experience as well although some of the online features and setup for matchmaking are limited and lacking.
For my own personal use all I care about is private matchmaking but I can understand the frustration and disappointment of others who take the online component a lot more competitively and seriously than I do. This needs to be addressed.
There is something to be said about using the Dual Shock 4 controller for this game. I have always played this series on the PS3 with the respectable DS3 controller but going to the DS4 has been an upgrade for every game I’ve played on the PS4 and this game is no exception. I suspect Xbox gamers would feel the same way going from the 360 to the XB1.
Overall, this is an 8/10 game for me and I’m well satisfied with it and I think any WWE wrestling fan that has a PS4 or an XB1 will feel the same way.
Don’t fall for the “barren wasteland” narrative. I think some review outlets copied and pasted their 360 and PS3 reviews for the next gen version and made a few quickie adjustments to nod to graphics.
There is plenty to like here and the promise for the future of this series looks incredibly bright based on what is already here and the obvious potential of what can be built upon.
2K originally wanted to work on this game until March 2015. Perhaps they should have been allowed to do so because anything that’s missing clearly goes to a deadline issue and not a quality control issue since what is here is very well done. It remains to be seen just how much they decide to cover via DLC. If they throw the kitchen sink at this game over the next 4-6 months my score may actually go up higher.
Regardless of any of that my expectation is that WWE 2K16 could be one for the ages based off what I’m seeing in this one.
Also playing: Assassins Creed Unity and Far Cry 4 on the PC
Grand Theft Auto V (PS4)
Just recent put up my review of the PS4 version of GTAV, which you can totally check out right here, and if you read that then you already know that a great game is now even better. Grand Theft Auto V on PS4 looks absolutely stunning. The detail, the draw distance, the increased world density, and the new first person perspective all come together to make GTA V look amazing and completely immersive. It’s just a beautiful open-world which so much to do. Sure, you can do story missions and cause chaos. And that’s fun, and you’re playing bad guys. But the game has a lot more to offer than that. I like just going into first person as Michael and cruising around the town, obeying traffic laws and not causing problems. Just slowly walking down the street, talking to the pedestrians, and taking in the sights is blast.
And you never know what’s going to happen; I was just walking down the sidewalk when all of sudden the cops got in a shoot out with two guys. An ambulance showed up and as the EMT was checking on a dead cop, a woman in a nice car clipped the EMT guy. He got up, snatched her out of the car, popped her, and then stomped her. It seemed excessive to me, so as he went back to doing what he was doing, I slowly walked over, said something to him, and then gave him a nice uppercut. This all ended with me getting in a high speed chase, flying off a bridge, and dying when my car exploded. Michael just shrugged it off as he came out of the hospital, and I was right back to slowly walking down the street, taking in the sights, and on my way to see the shrink. I ended that day as Michael at home playing tennis with the wife. Relaxing.
That wraps us up this week. Be sure to let us know what you’re playing on this Thanksgiving week in the comments below. Also tell us what you think about the game(s) that you’re playing this week. Happy Thanksgiving, and we’ll see you all again next week. Until then, game on.