WWE games have had a hard few years with some pretty lacklustre titles including some rather bizarre spin-offs (hey WWE All-Stars, how you doing?), but last year THQ and Yukes brought the game back to its roots and revitalized the franchise with WWE ’12. This year THQ sought to surpass their previous iteration with WWE ’13 and along with it some fundamental changes to the overall game. Has THQ and Yukes preformed a true twist of fate on the product or rather will this just be a whisper in the wind?
The biggest change to come out of WWE ’13 is the removal of the Road to WrestleMania mode which has been replaced with the Attitude Era mode. If you’re a fan of wrestling, especially between 1994-2001 then I don’t even need to explain how this is nearly every wrestling fans’ dream scenario. The Attitude Era mode allows you to progress through the storylines of some of the most influential characters on the WWE (back then WWF) roster who helped to beat rival company WCW in what was known as the Monday Night Wars. Starting off with DX on their road to WrestleMania XV and progressing through to the likes of Stone Cold Steve Austin and The Rock, it is much more than a rehash of the Road to WrestleMania mode.
As you play through the Attitude Era mode, it becomes obvious that both Yukes and WWE are very proud not only of this time in the wrestling industry but also of the mode they have created as the production qualities are AAA quality. They’re that high I would admit that even with a bit more fleshing it could be its own game. There are multitudes of video packages that have been dug out from the WWE archives which really bring back memories from that era such as Austin flipping the bird at Mike Tyson of all people.
On top of the cutscenes, there are more than 60 in-game cutscenes which replicate what happened in the story lines to a tee, with them being extremely faithful to the originals so far as to include the original commentary which has been redone by Jim Ross and Jerry ‘The King’ Lawler. This just helps the production quality and as a fan of this era of wrestling it’s great to relive these moments such as the infamous Mankind being thrown off the Hell in a Cell by The Undertaker while Jim Ross screams probably the most famous commentating line of all time, “With God as my witness, he is broken in half!!!”
The matches that you go through as part of the Attitude Era mode aren’t anything too special. They can be won through a variety of means but the best part of it is the “Historical Objectives”, which while being non-compulsory, are absolutely addictive as they once again help to emulate the real life results from the WWE matches such as The Rock vs. The Big Boss Man, where you have to win as the Rock in under a minute. Meeting these additional objectives unlocks a variety of items ranging from extra characters, attires, videos, photos and extra matches for within the Attitude Era mode.
There is a lot of untapped potential however within the Attitude Era, with some key storylines which helped turn the tide of the ratings war between WWE and WCW. Unfortunately most of these storylines contain wrestlers who still perform but for a different company and therefor can’t be featured in WWE games. Yukes could also take the idea of the Attitude Era and apply it to other prominent eras of wrestling such as The Golden Years with the rising of Hulk Hogan.
Outside of the Attitude Era mode, there isn’t a huge focus on what’s new but rather what’s been improved on from WWE ’12. The Predator 2.0 system has been refined and polished to make character movements more fluid and responsive. There are still some odd collision issues but these are not uncommon amongst fighting game in generals. The presentation of the product has also been overhauled with such as the audio and commentary making the atmosphere more authentic. Yukes took special attention to the crowd noises in this game and have taken them from actual crowd responses from the shows, adding a level of realism that has not been in the game previously and it’s marvellous to listen to. The commentary is kind of always the same, as it was in previous years, but it has the addition of some of the Attitude Era mode commentary which gives it a more authentic experience.
For those with an affinity for creating wrestlers that aren’t in the game and more, WWE Universe 3.0 does not disappoint. You can create pretty much everything from wrestlers, to entrances and finishers. The mode itself has seen some improvements from WWE ’12 with being given the ability to create your own shows, controlling minor details such as logos, arenas, championships etc. which will become every WWE fan’s dream as feuds alliances and rivalries are all dynamically created. As WWE fans we all have little storylines we’d love to see play out on the big screen and with WWE Universe this can happen.
Graphically the game looks fantastic with the wrestlers looking more realistic than ever bar one or two who look like they’ve spent a bit too long rubbing baby oil onto their body.
WWE 13 is an extremely solid wrestling game, and is perhaps the best of the whole franchise. The Attitude Era mode is every wrestling fans dream come true which with the added production values that really give a great insight into the era that arguably made the WWE the multi-entertainment monster it is today. It’s also nice to see WWE acknowledge WCW as a credible force through the timeline, although in my opinion not enough emphasis was put into how close they came to putting the WWE out of business. Yukes and THQ are going to have a hell of a time trying to top this with WWE ’14, but it definitely seems that they’re going to strive for gaming excellence under a WWE banner. The Revolution has begun with WWE ’13 and now it’s time to sit back, enjoy and see how THQ can top this next year. And that’s the bottom line, because Mature-Gaming says so!
WWE 13 is available from our retail partner www.thatgameshop.com