The Average Gamer

WWE '13 Review (360)

Here we are again; another year, another THQ and Yukes-developed WWE video game. The general consensus has been that THQ’s reign of the WWE franchise is becoming tired and flailing. This is THQ’s fourteenth title in the Smackdown chain of WWE games in twelve years.

Each release has slight tweaks from the previous one, particularly in the case of this current generation of releases. So with last year’s WWE ’12, they decided to build up again from the ground up, to some level of success. This year however, THQ and Yukes have pretty much nailed it.

The big selling point for “13 is the Attitude Era mode, which has replaced the somewhat laboured “Road to Wrestlemania”. This was certainly my first port of call. As the great introduction video explains, the Attitude Era was the defining era for WWE (or WWF as it was known then), and started at a point where WWE were losing out to their biggest rival, WCW, in the television ratings. So you get to play out the ‘Monday Night Wars’, as it was known, re-enacting many matches that contained key moments of the era.

Each match has conditions that must be met not only to progress, but also to unlock extra characters and gear. The conditions are shown on screen throughout the match in a collapsible window, with each condition disappearing when met. Hidden conditions are often unlocked mid-match once the regular ones are complete, which is a nice touch.

It certainly mixes things up; most career type modes just entail match after match, carrying on whether it’s a win or a loss. It also negates the use of bland ‘original’ stories written only for the games; why have those when you can relive the best there ever was? Also, if there”s one thing WWE is good at, besides its ‘entertainment’, it”s video compilations and editing. Here you get the same quality as you would on TV, and it serves up great nostalgia for any WWE fan.

Aside from Attitude Era, there is plenty more to swing a stick at. Match types are much the same as last year, but the ‘I Quit’ rules match is a new addition. The goal here is to damage your opponent as much as possible, but instead of pinning them, ‘B’ is used to trigger the ref to ask the opponent if they wish to quit. This is not only based on damage, but also a trigger bar similar to the pin kick-out meter. The more damaged your opponents are, the harder it is for them to trigger their release from the inevitable ‘I Quit’.
Added distraction is also provided by making the bar shake via mashing the buttons, making it very difficult to judge where the marker is.

The King of the Ring tournament also makes a comeback, allowing you to create your own knockout tournaments with friends or otherwise, which is a welcome return, as is Special Referee matches, although these are only fun with additional players. Other new additions are Championship creator which allows you to edit existing belts to create your own style, updated arenas, roster, and unlockable Attitude Era wrestlers.

Fundamentally, WWE ’13’ gameplay is almost identical to last year’s effort; the grapple system is a very simple ‘direction A’ mechanic to perform your superstar’s library of moves, signature and finisher moves are earned from attacking momentum/taunts, and so on. There are however a couple of touches that add a bit more to the WWE experience.

The much-maligned counter system still remains, with the RT prompt appearing when the time is right, however finally if you fail to land a counter, it is advised on-screen whether you were too soon or too casino online late in execution. It adds to the minimal learning curve your typical WWE game usually has, but puts to bed the notion that button bashing actually works.

Another cool addition is the OMG special moves. Sure, you can whip your opponent against the barriers, but what about through them? Using a finisher on an opponent against the corner barrier launches you through them, smashing the barrier. It’s been done time and again on WWE TV over the years, and now it’s your turn.

For those WWE fans that remember when Brock Lesnar and Big Show broke the ring, and Big Show and Mark Henry repeating the feat last year, this can also be recreated. However, it requires three finishers in order to execute, so is more for the achievement hunters and fans, but still looks cool. My favourite is the ‘catcher’ finishers, which allows you, with perfect timing, to use a finisher on someone attacking you from the top rope. Some of the best moments in WWE have come from such moves, such as shown in the video below. They look spectacular, and really get the crowd atmosphere going within the game.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZJA96Ug47Qc&w=560&h=315]

The multiplayer is the same as always, but can get a bit chaotic with 4-6 wrestlers in the ring at once, with multiple weapons, ladders etc all over the place. Ladder matches in particular can last an age, especially if everyone is of the same skill level. Not that actual skill was required as it were; WWE games are all about timing, and its simple, one button control system is testament to that fact. Battle Royals, Royal Rumbles, and Elimination Chamber matches are all great fun with friends and recreate that air of unpredictability that WWE often provides on its programming.

Which brings me nicely to the point of WWE ’13: Recreating the WWE experience. Very rarely is there technical wrestling in WWE anymore. It’s all about the spectacle, the crowd, the big moves, gaining momentum, and ultimately, becoming the champion. WWE ’13 takes what was started with WWE ’12, tweaks it, and adds great content to attract the WWE masses of fans of past and present.

WWE ’13 isn’t the greatest wrestling game, but is absolutely the greatest WWE game. The Attitude Era is a great edition, and much, much better than the very tired Road to Wrestlemania mode previously used. The wealth of superstars available is the best yet, and there is a lot here for fans of old to enjoy too. I’ve already started watching old WWF from the past because of WWE ’13. I’m sure it will inspire you the same way.

WWE “13 is out now on Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and Wii.

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One Comment

  1. David (JVM)

    5th Nov, 2012 at 3:06 pm

    Nice review ! I’m a huge fan of WWE, I’m so going to purchase it for Christmas :)