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With their eagerly-awaited full roster reveal still to come this Saturday evening, 2K Games have kicked off SummerSlam celebrations one day early with a gameplay livestream of  WWE2K14 on their Twitch feed. These are just some of the things they have in store before the game’s 29th October (US) and 1st November (UK) releases, but one question remains; do 2K appear to be delivering after taking over from poor ol’ THQ?

Presented by Aubrey Sitterson and Bryan Williams, the three-match gameplay stream kicked off with a promise to deliver two more Superstar reveals if viewers reached the 10k mark. Just a few minutes later the feed reached 11.5k with a promise to deliver upon that promise later in the feed.

With Darren Young’s announcement making him the first wrestler to come out as homosexual, the hosts gave the congratulative news that he would also be appearing on this year’s roster. Whether Titus O’Neil will be joining him remains to be seen, but it would seem likely.

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Match one saw “Macho Man” Randy Savage (Williams) and The Ultimate Warrior (AI) go head-to-head, highlighting that ‘Reversal’ and ‘Comeback’ indicators would still be utilised in game, with additions to the list of limb-targeting moves. Even in this opening match it was hugely noticeable that crowd reactions to both the Superstars and certain moves were much more authentic with 2K having captured audio from live WWE shows.

Williams later discussed improved animation between characters when dragging and grappling; something that seems to advance year-on-year.

For fans that were upset at the overly confident Dolph Ziggler’s lack-of-hip-gyration during his WWE13 entrances, 2K have obviously taken notice; match two pitted Dolph Ziggler (AI) against the brutish Ryback (Williams), with Ziggler emerging from behind the curtain with his trademark butt wiggle. Woo! Many of Ryback’s moves were reported as new, one including the Meat Hook. Let’s face it, his WWE13 DLC could have been so much better than what it was.

During the match it was noted that taunting has expanded into automatic ‘idle gesturing’, with characters reacting to their opponents minus the need to input a command. ‘OMG Moments’ have also been updated slightly.

The conclusion of match two gave some insight into a new Catapult Finisher option which becomes available as opponents travel towards you from the ropes and elsewhere at speed. Players can now input LB/L1 on the Xbox/PS3 respectively to stop their opponent before throwing them into the air to end the feat with a devastating finishing move. Given that an increasing amount of wrestlers on both Raw and SmackDown have begun resorting airborne attacks and reversals, whoever came up with this idea deserves a cookie. Hell, give them a whole batch.

A few minutes of rambling later saw a the hosts make good on their aforementioned promise. Another new face was introduced to WWE2K14‘s roster; none other than the beloved Rey Mysterio (who is currently out on injury leave… again), sporting his ‘Mystery King’ attire. Unfortunately there no gameplay footage of the luchador in action, just another entrance.

Match three – the livestream’s ‘main event’ – featured John Cena (AI) hauling around the shiny new WWE title belt. Of course, his presence was met with a unanimous ‘boo’ from those in the Twitch chatroom. It was to be expected.

WWE2K14

Daniel Bryan (Williams) made his way to the ring one final addition to the roster for the evening, only it was unfortunate that 2K had only managed to complete his character pre-‘Goatface’. He was shown to be lacking his shaggy hobo hair and “Yes!” and “No!” chants for a singular “No!” chant during both his entrance and during the bout.

Bryan was used as an example to explain new ‘Breaking Point’ limb-targeting actions which included submissions, Bryan being a masterful technical wrestler with a ridiculously long list of submissions in his moveset.

Luckily for the hosts (not so much for us), there were no accidental slip-ups or mention of wrestlers outside of those with a place on the roster.

Overall, not a huge amount has changed gameplay-wise, though 2K have been careful with their additions, making educated changes here and there whilst leaving many features well alone. Whilst the inclusion of sponsored replays felt a little alien – perhaps reminiscent of their NBA series – there was effectively no talk in terms of other graphical adjustments. One thing that seems to have improved enormously, however, is how characters and the crowd interact with in-game cameras as well as each other. Hands down, 2K have crafted the in-game crowds of WWE2K14 into something much more believable.

Remember to catch the pre and post shows for tomorrow’s WWE SummerSlam Axxess event where the full roster will be unveiled by none other than good ol’ Jim Ross, Jerry “the King” Lawler and WWE Superstar Damien Sandow. The reveal will commence at  at 12:30PM PST (that’s 8:30PM GMT to us tea-drinkers).

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