Now that WWE ’13 has been released in America and will be released in the UK tomorrow and I’ve had chance to play and fully test out some of the modes it’s to give it a more in depth review based on the actual gameplay and how the new modes work. In the preview I looked at the much advertised “Attitude” mode, and mention how the WWE Universe mode is also available as well as customisable settings now is the time to give my view on just how fun it is.
THQ release these games yearly and sometimes things work, sometimes they don’t. A lot of tweaks go on behind the scenes, like this time for example the Predator Technology 2.0 promises plenty of changes to improve the experience to create a more fluid and fun experience. Now it’s time to see if in my opinion as a fan it lives up to the hype.
Bringing Back the Attitude
It’s fair to say that when the words “WWE Attitude Era” was mentioned it caught a lot of fans eyes. This was a popular time for wrestling and is seen as a time that many miss, it was more about attitude than the more family friendly variety wrestling the WWE provide today. The question is can the game fully give the “Attitude” experience that people will expect? The answer is yes and no.
The Attitude Era is the main story mode for the game, working around using actual historical matches giving the player tasks they must perform during that fight. This means things such as you must hit the opponent with a chair when their health is at critical, or you must deliver your finisher and pin them before a certain amount of time. Fans of wrestling who remember the matches will wait in anticipation for the expected cut scenes which do come and add to the excitement and it really works.
One weird part though is blood, in the game there is a lack of it. This caused quite an issue when the included “First Blood” match was changed to Last Man Standing (the opponent must remain unconscious for a ten count for you to win). This was fine in the game itself but in the next fight it was commented on as being the First Blood fight. This is just a little issue of course, but in story terms it is quite confusing. Also confusing is the fact that at the “Attitude Era” time the WWE were in fact known as the WWF, and as the game appears to be using vocal work taken from the actual commentary of the time there is constant usage of “WW…” the F is cut off which you do get used to but again, sounds quite strange. You do tend to get used to it though.
The Attitude Era is a fun mode, and nostalgic for actual wrestling fans. It includes many historic matches that went a long way to making WWE what it is today. In playing terms, for newcomers this will work as a good story mode, for fans of the era itself it’s like a trip to the past. It’s quite fun and addictive if a little hard at times but still fun.
The WWE Universe
The WWE Universe is less restrictive on your style and uses the more modern fighters. You get to choose which fights you want to influence, giving you the ability to shape the way stories for the wrestlers will go. This is less of a story mode and more of a managerial type style, though the only managing you can actually do is to take over the fight and make sure the wrestler you want winning will win. This includes for the most part skipping quite a few matches till you see a fighter you like and then taking part. It’s fun but can be quite repetitive at times as wrestlers tend to fight each other quite a few times (which replicates how the WWE shows themselves are run). For the most part it’s not as addictive as the Attitude Era, but still offers plenty of chances to beat people up.
It is possible to take part in Exhibition style fights, and choose from the quite large selection of fights. These includes Last Man Standing, I Quite, Ladder Matches, TLC (Tables, Ladders and Chairs), Cage matches and of course the Hell in a Cell matches among others. The Hell in a Cell match is a huge cage that surrounds the ring, but the beauty of it is that the structure itself can be climbed and fights can take place on the top. This means that you can throw wrestlers off the cage and even send them through the ceiling to the ring inside. Over the years with past game releases the modes like Ladder matches, TLC and Hell in a Cell have gone through quite a few changes. Some years these modes have been annoying and the controls have been badly thought out, I was pleased to see that in WWE ’13 they definitely got it right.
A good example of this is the new Hell in a Cell approach, it’s easy to get onto the top and easy to throw people off and throw them through it, which means it’s fun. In previous years this has been toughened up to make it harder to do but the developers have gone back to the easier style with this and decided to bring back the fun. It does feel that a lot of work has gone into getting the controls right this year to work for the gamer instead of the game itself and this is a very welcome approach.
Added to all of this is of course the custom mode where you can create your own wrestler, their moves, style and even what they wear. This is fun if you have the time to put into it and you’ll find you can build any wrestler to your own personal taste. This mode has always been popular with fans of the game and it keeps up the standard in what they can achieve.
The WWE shows are meant to be about “experience” about supporting a wrestler in a scripted fight and enjoying the story they tell. In WWE ’13 work has been done to really get back to the fun that the wrestling environment can be and bring it back to the gamer. Sometimes things don’t work, you’ll find yourself repeating moves a few times and the learning curve for newer players may be a little steep at times but after a few hours the comfort begins to push in and you’ll be pulling off all types of moves.
The wrestlers themselves and the arenas the fights take part in are well rendered on the screen with the wrestlers characteristics definitely giving the authentic feel that fans look for. There is also plenty of downloadable content promised in the future to keep fans happy, this includes added wrestlers so gamers will be playing this one for a while. WWE ‘13 is probably the best wrestling game THQ have released in a while, there are plenty of things that can still be worked on but for fans of the games this is probably a must buy.