Sunday, 18 August 2013

WWE 2K14's 30 Years of Wrestlemania - All Possible Matches

Yesterday, 2K Games and WWE announced the full roster of characters who will feature in the recently announced "30 Years of Wrestlemania" mode". Bear in mind, this is not the full roster - all of the contemporary wrestlers have yet to be revealed - but merely those appearing through the aforementioned mode. Here's hoping you can utilise these characters in Universe mode! For the full list, check Polygon's article below:

Now, out of a combination of boredom and interest, I have trawled through the Wikipedia pages for all 29 Wrestlemanias and pinpointed - using the list of revealed wrestlers - a list of possible matches which will be featured in the game. All in all, 63 came up. Bear in mind, three matches have already been confirmed: Hogan v Andre at WM3, Hogan v Rock at WM18 and Rock v Cena at WM28. I have bolded those three to note that. Outside of that, all the others are fair game.

1.     WM1: Andre the Giant vs King Kong Bundy
2.     WM2: Hulk Hogan vs King Kong Bundy
3.     WM3: Ricky Steamboat vs Randy Savage
4.     WM3: Hulk Hogan vs Andre the Giant
5.     WM4: Hulk Hogan vs Andre the Giant
6.     WM4: Randy Savage vs Ted DiBiase
7.     WM5: Randy Savage vs Hulk Hogan
8.     WM6: Ultimate Warrior vs Hulk Hogan
9.      WM7: Ultimate Warrior vs Randy Savage
10.   WM7: Hulk Hogan vs Sgt. Slaughter
11.   WM8: Randy Savage vs Ric Flair
12.   WM9: Yokozuna vs Bret Hart (and Hulk Hogan vs Yokozuna)
13.   WM10: Shawn Micheals vs Razor Ramon (Ladder Match)
14.   WM10: Bret Hart vs Yokozuna
15.   WM11: Diesel vs Shawn Michaels
16.   WM12: Undertaker vs Diesel
17.   WM12: Shawn Michaels vs Bret Hart (Iron Man)
18.   WM13: Bret Hart vs Steve Austin (Submission)
19.   WM14: Undertaker vs Kane
20.   WM14: Steve Austin vs Shawn Michaels
21.   WM15: Mankind vs Big Show
22.   WM15: Kane vs HHH
23.   WM15: Steve Austin vs The Rock
24.   WM16: HHH vs The Rock vs Big Show vs Mankind
25.   WM17: Undertaker vs HHH
26.   WM17: Steve Austin vs Rock
27.   WM18: Undertaker vs Ric Flair
28.   WM18: Steve Austin vs Scott Hall (alternate outfit?)
29.   WM18: Rock v Hulk Hogan
30.   WM18: HHH vs Chris Jericho
31.   WM19: Shawn Michaels vs Chris Jericho
32.   WM19: Rock vs Steve Austin
33.   WM20: John Cena vs Big Show
34.   WM20: Evolution vs Rock ‘n’ Sock Connection
35.   WM20: Goldberg vs Brock Lesnar
36.   WM20: Undertaker vs Kane
37.   WM21: Undertaker vs Randy Orton
38.   WM21: John Cena vs JBL
39.   WM21: Batista vs HHH
40.   WM22: Edge vs Mick Foley
41.   WM22: John Cena vs HHH
42.   WM23: Undertaker vs Batista
43.   WM23: John Cena vs Shawn Michaels
44.   WM24: Shawn Michaels vs Ric Flair
45.   WM24: Randy Orton vs John Cena vs HHH
46.   WM24: Undertaker vs Edge
47.   WM25: Undertaker vs Shawn Michaels
48.   WM25: John Cena vs Edge vs Big Show
49.   WM25: HHH vs Randy Orton
50.   WM26: Chris Jericho vs Edge
51.   WM26: John Cena vs Batista
52.   WM26: Undertaker vs Shawn Michaels
53.   WM27: Edge vs Alberto Del Rio
54.   WM27: Randy Orton vs CM Punk
55.   WM27: Undertaker vs HHH
56.   WM27: The Miz vs John Cena
57.   WM28: Kane vs Randy Orton
58.   WM28: Undertaker vs HHH
59.   WM28: CM Punk vs Chris Jericho
60.   WM28: Rock vs John Cena
61.   WM29: Undertaker vs CM Punk
62.   WM29: HHH vs Brock Lesnar
63.   WM29: John Cena vs The Rock
       As you can see, the list is pretty huge. 2K have already announced that there's over 45 matches in the mode, so plenty will have to be cut. I'd say some of these are safe bets. For example, Goldberg is in the game, and his only Wrestlemania is WM20, so it's a safe bet his controversial encounter with Lesnar will make an apperance. Outside of that, we'll see which matches the final product includes. Any matches which you really want from this list? Any which you're sad to see won't be in the final game?

Sunday, 19 May 2013

WWE '13 Attitude Era: A mildly cursed blessing

Why WWE ‘13’s Attitude is both a blessing and a curse
Though still not up there with the best of the series, WWE ’13 represents one of the better editions of this long-standing franchise in a while. Its refurbished Predator Engine makes for some of the smoothest gameplay the series has seen in years, while it’s customisation features are bursting at the seams. But, many would argue, the most significant feature of WWE ’13 is its Attitude Era story mode. It gives WWE ’13 a distinct, almost old-school flavour, retelling some of the best, most exciting and most controversial moments the company has seen and not seen for years now it’s stuck in a PG-Era. But it also comes at a cost.
For those who don’t know, the Attitude era is marked as a point in WWE’s timeline where, in order to compete with WCW’s Monday Nitro, programming in WWE (or, at the time, WWF) was cranked up to eleven. Content became more violent, sexually suggestive and just downright crazy, but it also made for a series of incredible and memorable moments. How about the Montreal Screwjob, one of the biggest upsets in WWE history? You get to relieve that. What about when Mankind and The Rock fought violently at Royal Rumble in an I Quit Match, only for the match to end when a fake recording of Mankind was played? Yep, that’s there too. Plenty of highlights are here, and the biggest stars – from Stone Cold to D-X – make an appearance.

The abscence of the only Olympic Medalist is sad considering his influcence on the Attitude Era, but also cruely undertstandable

It’s remarkably in-depth and exciting, but also disappointing. This is mostly down to one big elephant in the room: licensing. The problem is that a few of the Attitude Era’s best stars – some of which helped to define the era – have since moved on to Total Nonstop Action. Perhaps the most notable of these is Kurt Angle, who’s wacky antics such as spraying milk all over wrestlers, were pivotal moments of this era. But now he’s a big fish in TNA, and legal mumbojumbo most likely prevents his appearance, which is a crying shame. Other stars who didn’t make the cut due to differing companies include the Hardy Boyz and the Dudley Boys. Sure, Edge and Christian make an appearance, but the trio together helped define the tag division and contributed to several match types, including Tables Ladders and Chairs. When Edge told John Cena that TLC was his match type, he wasn't exaggerating.
But, let’s not put all the blame on licenses. Plenty of mid-to-top card athletes from the Attitude Era were missed out, and some of them strike me as odd. Steve Blackman is a good example: no ties to other wrestling companies, and though not a top-calibre member of the attitude era, his presence would not have detracted at all. Imagine reliving the feuds between him and Ken Shamrock! D’Lo Brown is another which springs to mind, again not a crucial part of the era, but another opportunity to beef up the roster and relive some great rivalries, as well as possibly reform The Nation of Domination fully (all but D’Lo are present in some form). The addition of some more mid-card stars could have beefed out the "Off Script" chapter.

Perhaps the most saddening absences are all diva-related. A meagre three divas comes into play in the form of Lita, Trish Stratus and Stephanie McMahon. All pivotal to the era mind you, but some key divas are absent. Perhaps the most notable is Chyna, who far exceeded the bounds of typical divas. Not mere eye candy, she was successful in male divisions, defeating male superstars and even winning the Intercontinental Championship. She’s the only diva to achieve this! However, it seems either due to personal animosity or, some argue, her new lifestyle in the adult film industry, she has been left on the sidelines. Others include Sunny and Sable, both of whom are considered some of the first divas in the business! Not only that, the lack of Attitude divas means they make for uneventful fighting and rivals in the Universe mode, should you opt for an Attitude-era only universe.
Not treated like a woman or a man, Chyna's absence from WWE'13 is one of many divas not included.
In defence of THQ and Yukes, they did have some opposing forces against them. Outside of the aforementioned licensing problems with competitor wrestling companies, other successful Attitude Era wrestlers are, shall we say, sensitive to include. Owen Hart is considered by many one of the key members of this era, but his death during Over the Edge 1999 still remains controversial and touchy. Not being included is not really surprising, and this applies to Chris Benoit. Though a latter-day Attitude star, he still had some influence towards the end. But his death in 2007 is controversial and the WWE have taken the eraser route where now, he is not a part of anything the WWE produces. So again, his lack of inclusion in WWE ’13 is hardly surprising. When both Hart and Benoit are absent from a WWE-produced documentary about the Attitude Era, it says it all really.
So, perhaps I am being harsh on WWE ’13. Many factors put Yukes under pressure, be it licensing or sensitivity depending on which superstar you discuss. Plenty of stars could have been included, but perhaps they opted to focus on the pivotal players of this era, and in their defence, they do this. D-X, Brothers of Destruction, The Rock, Stone Cold and Mankind are all accounted for, which is all that is needed for some. But for those in love with this era, and everything about it, the gaps in roster just cannot be filled. DLC has alleviated this to a degree, with Too Cool now present for those who purchase it, but now DLC is finished, anyone left out can only be filled by custom wrestlers created by you or the community. And let’s face it, that’s not exactly a substitute for the real thing.

Still, gotta love what Yukes did with the Attitude Era, sure beats any of that Road to Wrestlemania crap they were including before. Even if it's not all it could be, it's still an enjoyable, informative and pretty exciting look at perhaps the high point of WWE.

Wednesday, 27 February 2013

The first blog - Aliens: Colonial Marines

A quick welcome to you all, this is my attempt at blogging. Any constructive criticism and feedback is welcomed, I’m just getting started. I know the layout and aesthetics can use some work, but Google Blogger seems a bit weird to me. Anyway, let’s start with a hotly discussed topic in the recent weeks - Aliens: Colonial Marines.

Nugget can't even revive this lifeless carcass

What the heck happened? I’ve been keeping track of this game since its conception in 2006 and, perhaps foolishly, I assumed Gearbox was getting it done using their development time wisely. What has emerged, in reality, is that this project has been dragged through development hell between two developers and a pushy publisher. Ideas became jumbled as SEGA demanded a more Call of Duty-styled shooter, while Gearbox gave very little to Timegate to work with once they began development on the game around 2010. The game lacked solid foundations, and suddenly was becoming a hodgepodge of steaming crap. Gearbox finally invested into the project in 2012, only to find Timegate had been crafting something not up to snuff and which couldn’t even function on the PS3!
While development sounded like hell, playing it was worse. I cannot stress how sad I felt trudging through this dated, ugly shooter. It gets the idea of Aliens right, a cruel joke in itself, with pitch-perfect audio for guns. But the Xenos are so neutered that you could adopt them as household pets. There’s zero challenge as you trudge through tight, linear corridors and shoot without blinking. Co-op is squandered by friendly fire, meaning you all too often gun down your own friends, and multiplayer is buggered by balance issues. It was depressing to admit, but Colonial Marines is one of the worst, most disappointing shooters to come in the 360’s lifecycle. It’s a shame too, because had the Xenos been a little tougher, had the story not completely debunked the series’ canon and had the game looked better than something from 2006, it would’ve been a hot contender.
And it's a shame, because this game could have been a AAA game. Maybe if Gearbox ditched Nukem and focused on A:CM and Borderlands, a better product could've shipped. Perhaps Gearbox should've applied a kind of Borderlands-template to the game, offering a more polished shooting engine and better graphics, as well as programming the same kind of aggressive AI found in that game. Co-op could've also been better implemented, especially removing Friendly Fire, and perhaps a more interesting challenge system and upgrade skeleton could've been borrowed from the RPG-Shooter hybrid. But that sums up Aliens - a game of could'ves and possibilities which were all squandered because it became an unloved project.
I ended up trading the game in only a week after getting it. This was down to multiple reasons: CEX were offering a nice £30 for it, meaning I’d only lose £10 instead of the full £40. But more disappointing was the attitude everyone seemed to be showing towards fixing the damn game. Pitchford blocked anyone on Twitter who attempted to criticise him, his lying and the game while SEGA and Gearbox made no kind of hints or discussions of patching it. Would I buy the game again if it’s patched? Well, considering how borked the game is, it’d have to be a damn big patch. And even then, I don’t think I would. I almost distrust Gearbox at this point, because they clearly took the project on, got all big with Borderlands, ditched it for B2 and Duke Nukem (which boggles my mind) and then realised “Oh shit, this game needs to be released or we’ll get sued, slap together any old shit and it’ll sell because it’s Aliens!”. That’s just bollocks.
It's proof that a popular license cannot be utilized without finesse and merely exploited. The sloppy story is particularly woesome, with a late-game cameo which makes no damn sense in terms of the series' canon. Even in game, when a question is raised about this guy's presence, he merely says "that's a longer story". Just what in the fuck is that sposed to mean? I do have one thing I disagree with other critics: the horror aspect. Sure, the Xenos most definitely lack punch, but I personally do not think Aliens is that terrifying. Perhaps it was the comfort of having armed Marines packed to the teeth with weaponry which removed some of the terror - compared to the first film with a dozen or so unarmed engineers who are prey to this creature - but at the same time, I can see people's frustrations with the lack of horror. I don't think a shooter based on Aliens will ever be scary though, and if it is, it will also be very frustrating for casual gamers as Xenos tear you to shreds.
How you'll feel while playing this poor game
So, what can we learn from this escapade of mediocrity? Well, I certainly won’t be jumping on pre-orders anymore. I don’t want to plonk down £40 for a game only to have it be shit, besides most games seem to go cheap within a few months. Gearbox Games will not gain my immediate attention anymore because my trust in them has been tarnished over this whole incident. And long development times do not equal major success. The evidence is piling up: Duke Nukem Forever, Prey, Too Human and now this. If anything, the rollercoaster development processes these games suffer only seems to produce a worse product.
Also, the likelihood of a good Aliens game coming out soon has dropped from a possibilty to zero.