Doing away with the Smackdown vs. Raw franchise, THQ revitalized a series grown stale with WWE ’12. In this year’s installment, THQ fine-tuned the series and made a deeper game while adding some attitude. But will WWE ’13 step up where its predecessor left off, or does the game need more than attitude to save it? Cue up the entrance music; here’s the review.
Live The Revolution
The new Attitude Era mode takes the place of the Road to Wrestlemania mode. In Attitude Era mode, the gamer plays out scenarios from one of wrestling’s most famous (or infamous) eras. Superstars like the Undertaker, Kane, Shawn Michaels, Triple H, Mankind, and Stone Cold Steve Austin all have their own story arcs, usually with around eight matches each. During the matches, players must complete main objectives to move on to the next match. A list of historical objectives that have taken place in the actual match unlocks extra characters, Attitude Era arenas, and more upon full completion.
Though Attitude Era Mode might scratch the wrestling fan’s nostalgic itch, more could have been done to show off the current generation of superstars and divas in the game. A Past vs. Present Mode, similar to that of Legends of Wrestlemania or WWE All-Stars would have been very welcome in this series of games.
This isn’t to say nothing else has been added to the game, because a couple other past game modes have returned, like the I Quit match and the King of the Ring tournament. For those who don’t remember, instead of pinning the opponent, the goal of the I Quit match is to get the opponent to say “I Quit” into the microphone. The King of the Ring tournament is customizable, with four to sixteen challengers vying in a tournament to become King of the Ring. The player can play through all the matches and save the progress in between the matches, or they can simulate the results of the matches they don’t want to play. Also added are “OMG” finishers, where, in specific situations, an “OMG” icon pops up and the player can perform a finisher in mid-air, spear their opponent through the barricade, and even suplex an opponent off the top rope and break the ring.
Most of the other modes from last year’s game have made a return this year and, with some little touches, those modes are now deeper. WWE Universe mode now has branching storylines from actions taken in the game. Also, players can now edit the entire card to their heart’s consent if they’ve created a multitude of characters on their own. Much like last year, WWE ’13 gives the fans control of the WWE and lets them decide what they want to do with it.
It’s the Wagner, Dan-iel Bry-an, Dan-iel Bry-an
Actual controls haven’t changed much from last year’s game, but again, little touches have given the game a deeper experience. For example, the limb targeting system has expanded to give players creative freedom to use the moves they want to attack the head, arms, and legs. Limb targeting isn’t limited to standing, as players can target the extremities of their opponent on the ground as well.
As far as the control scheme goes, as mentioned, it hasn’t changed. Players are rewarded more for picking their spots, performing holds, and countering the opponent. For the most part, the developers have tried to avoid making a control scheme that resembles a button masher, although old habits can be hard to break. Though the actual grappling is simplistic, when weapons such as tables or ladders get involved, the game is a little tricky to learn. Players are left to find out how to use and set up their opponents through the pause menu. One other drawback arises with the referee, who can frequently get in the way of an attack, causing it to become inaccurate.
WWE ’13 really shines in its presentation of matches. Everything from a superstar’s entrances to their mannerisms is well represented. While some animations are clumsy, the game still manages to capture the feel of a televised broadcast. Other problems, however, are the camera cuts taking strange angles at times and replays of finishers slowing down the pace of a match when a player wants to attempt a pin.
I’m The Best In That Ring, On This Microphone, Even At Commentary…Nothing Can Touch Me!
The developers observed comments regarding crowd noise in last year’s installment and addressed those problems in this year’s game. Rather than the canned cheers and booing from previous installments, WWE ’13 has more realistic crowd audio, similar to that of a live show. The audience responds with cheers or boos, depending whether the superstar in control is a good guy or bad guy.
Two tracks of commentary were recorded for WWE ’13. The first team, consisting of Jim Ross and Jerry “The King” Lawler, is only available for Attitude Era Mode. The main commentary team of Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler is available for the rest of the game’s modes. In an ideal situation, Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler would be available as a second option. The other drawback about commentary is the inconsistency during the matches. Oftentimes, one of the two men will talk about one of the superstars in the ring, and then, mid-sentence, will start talking about the hold being applied.
In Anyone Else’s Hands, This Is A Microphone…In My Hands, It’s A Pipe Bomb
WWE ’13 is a deeper game than last year’s edition, with little things added throughout the game. But with only the addition of the minor tune-ups, one could argue there hasn’t been enough added to the game. Also, touting its largest roster in history is a slight deception, because the same character is portrayed in different eras of their career – for example, Triple H has three different playable characters. Also, the Attitude Era arenas leave something to be desired when compared to the elaborate sets of the current generation arenas.
At its core, WWE ’13 aimed to outdo last year’s edition with the Attitude Era mode, but it’s the noticeable little gameplay mechanics, such as the enhanced limb targeting and the “OMG” moments, that really steal the show here. For those in the market for a quality wrestling game, WWE ’13 is a fine game to pick up and play.
This review is based on a retail copy of the Playstation 3 version of WWE ’13 by Yuke’s Media Creations distributed by THQ.