Longtime wrestling fans rejoice. I am here to bring you my latest review in the form of the wrestling title with an Attitude. WWE 13.
Platforms: Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PC
Reviewed by: Jonathan Bester
From THQ comes the latest instalment in the franchise of games covering the wrestling soap opera; WWE. It promises to bring the wrestling revolution to the platform of your choice; however can it deliver on its promise, or will it be power bombed through a table? WWE 13 has been a love/hate experience for me, especially whereas its gameplay is concerned. It borrows a lot from not only the previous title in the franchise, but it would appear that THQ has gone even further back in the franchise and grabbed some of the more memorable features. The reason for this is quite apparent from the get-go. The reintroduction of one of the most iconic eras in wrestling. The Attitude Era. But more on that later.
Some of the overhauled systems in WWE 13 was long overdue. Take the reversal system for example. It has proven to be tedious over and over again and never quite responded the way you needed it to when trying to reverse your opponent’s moves against him. In WWE 13, THQ has completely polished this system to flash the button that needs to be pressed right above your head at the exact moment when you are about to be struck/grabbed. If you manage to hit the button in time, you reverse the opponent’s move. Hit it too soon, and you are penalised and the move proceeds, the same can be said for too late. So it’s really a matter of timing.
Another new system introduced is the Limb Targeting system which I feel is a very welcome addition. If your opponent is grabbed/groggy/lying on the ground you can hold in the RB button, then press either A, X, Y or B to initiate either a legs, body, head or arms attack. You will notice that if you keep targeting certain limbs, they will become redder and redder, indicating that these limbs are now weaker which makes the opponent slower to respond to your other attacks. As you may notice if you are a seasoned player of this franchise, this isn’t an entirely new concept, but it has been completely overhauled and is in fact quite a bit better from previous titles.
Individual characters handle and perform pretty much the same way they did in the previous year’s installment and as can be expected, every Superstar has their move set from the television program as you have seen them in action.
Which brings us to the Attitude Era mode. Old hands at the WWE franchise may be used to the story-based modes prominent in each game. The usual mode is known as the Road to Wrestlemania mode, which has this year been replaced by the Attitude Era mode. A nostalgic look back at some of the greatest matches from the mid-to-late nineties. Showcasing quite a few of the actual video footage from the era, as well as dubbed voice over the in-game moments, this is truly a step up for a WWE game. THQ has never before done anything like this before and this becomes abundantly clear when you play through this mode. There are numerous bugs prominent throughout the matches, some of them even game breaking. The commentary (which I will go into further detail later) is quite lively and topic-relevant at times, whereas other times it can become quite repetitive and bland; something THQ has never really even tried to improve on during their history with the WWE video games.
Aside from the Attitude Era mode, WWE Universe mode makes a return from the previous titles. There is literally no change from the previous games’ Universe modes except for a few minor things. Firstly, you will notice that as opposed to how the previous Universe mode worked, the shows now flow seamlessly from one match to the next without booting you back to the menu. This leads us to a new way of character selection. Instead of picking which Superstar/Diva you want to play as before the match, you are given the option to choose in the opening moments of the match.
Editing Universe mode is easier than last year. You are able to edit Superstar attributes, moves, abilities, hit point rates, titles and even the story options. Don’t like the changes you made? Just reset everything back to default. It’s that easy. You can fiddle around with brand rosters and teams, even allowing you to create your own brand with its own logo. Not enough for you? Create your own Pay-Per View. The possibilities have really been amped up. Keep track of the statistics of the different brands, including who has the title and for how long.
Glitches are not just restricted to Attitude Mode as I did find quite a few even in Tables matches. It doesn’t matter how hard you try you are almost never able to put an opponent through a table in any traditional way of the phrase. Only after several tries are you able to do this and this is a severe problem that THQ needs to fix. Perform a move in the corner while an object/opponent is obscuring your path and the character becomes stretched and warped.
WWE 13’s character roster consists of a whopping 83 Superstars, more than any other title in the franchise’s history, and this is before DLC characters, of which there are 20 confirmed. Add to this the custom character creation mode, and you have an endless supply of playable characters. Each and every character has been accurately recreated based on the persona’s themselves and as mentioned before their move-sets are impeccable.
Speaking of Custom Creation, the Custom Creation system in WWE 13 is jam-packed full of features, including a diverse Character Creation System, an Entrance Creation System, a Move-Set Creation system and plenty of other modes to help you customise your game to your own liking. The only thing I didn’t like about this system was the limited amount of items/options available during the creation process and I feel that THQ could have branched out significantly more from the previous title.
WWE 13 literally borrows exactly the same graphics engine from its predecessor. The animations are still about the same, and save for the collision-system which seems to only work when it wants to I have very little gripes with it. As mentioned in the gameplay section, there were quite a few graphical glitches prominent in the Attitude Era mode and Tables matches which was a serious problem for me.
On a good note however, you could see that the audience rendering and animation is quite a step up from the previous game and wholly impressive in its own right. Additionally, the camera angles tend to jump around to such bad effect that it impacts your gameplay experience, but fortunately THQ has included a feature on the pause menu to switch this off.
One of the strong points in almost all WWE games is the soundtrack. Taken straight out of the show, each and every Superstar’s intro music is lovingly brought into the game to good effect. I have always been a huge fan of the choice of music employed by the company and THQ certainly knows how to implement it.
As mentioned earlier in the review, the commentating, except for the pre-recorded sessions in the Attitude Era mode, is still the same bland, overly repetitive drivel we have come to expect from this series and it disappoints me to no end how THQ has never gotten around to improving this.
The online portion of WWE 13, as with previous titles allows you to play both Ranked and the standard Player Matches using all the modes available in game. As with the previous titles, playing this game online proves problematic with our local connections. The previous titles I played on a 512k ADSL line and a 1 MB ADSL line respectively, and even though I am on a 2 MB line now, the same problems persist. There is a lag that just simply doesn’t allow you to fully experience the game as it is meant to be played online. The reversal system especially suffers as a result of this.
Matchmaking seems fast enough, so there was no problem there. I suppose with the right line speed, the online portion can be truly enjoyable as I noted other players going at it with apparent ease.
WWE 13 suffers from quite a number of severe problems. Be it graphical/gameplay glitches or poor commentary. These are just some of the problems THQ will need to sort out if this game wants to be better received. These problems can however be put aside if you consider the excellently put together Attitude Era mode, which very accurately lets you relive some of the best matches in the company’s history. The soundtrack as ever is excellent and it complements the game beautifully. If you’re a WWE fan, especially one who grew up with the franchise in its hey-day, I highly recommend this title, despite its pitfalls. Otherwise, just wait for it to hit the bargain bin.
Official ITF Rating: 7/10
Courtesy of ITF Gaming