There are certain things you can count on year in and year out. On average you will go to the toilet approximately 2500 times, gamers will spend around 478 hours on their console and Yukes/THQ will release a new WWE game.
This year’s offering is WWE 13’ a game that harks back to a time in wrestling where the entertainment was high and the viewing numbers ever higher. None other than the beautiful Attitude Era and this game is chock full of attitude but the newer wrestlers suffer for it.
Right off the bat you can smash people with steel chairs, enter a 30 man Royal Rumble or take your most hated wrestler to the top of a Hell in a Cell and throw him off.
The main menu is a breeze to navigate even for anyone who hasn’t played a wrestling game in forever. As usual you can add your own stipulations to matches right down to how many finishers your opponent has.
If you want your game with a bit more story then there are two options.
There is WWE Universe where you can play weeks upon weeks of matches which all lead to PPV events where you choose certain outcomes. It’s like RPG wrestling but not as interesting – I found it to get a little stale after a while. I admit I am not the wrestling fan I once was but the WWE Universe mode just felt endless, which I suppose could be a good thing but I personally like to head towards a goal.
For those of you who do like more of a story, well you are in for a treat with the Attitude Era mode.
This replaces last year’s lacklustre Road to Wrestlemania, a storyline so long and convoluted I almost fell asleep. No sleep for me this time around, the Attitude Era was not only my favourite time in wrestling but just a master class in how entertaining it could be.
In this mode you play through various character arcs and matches that defined the Attitude Era, whether it be Shawn Michaels VS Bret Hart (also known as the Montreal screw job) or Undertaker and Mankind in a Hell in a Cell at King of the Ring 98’ nearly everything is there. It’s exciting and addictive to play, more so with the added bonuses that are attached to matches. These are called historical bonus objectives – it makes the match as authentic as possible whilst giving you something to work towards. There are also Attitude moments. These are quick time events that you can complete when they appear on screen, usually prompting you to push a button to complete the event.
Now, neither of these events of bonus objectives needs to be completed but if done so it gives you wider access to more content including old wrestlers, new wrestlers old outfits, rings/belts/PPV’s etc.
The thing about the Attitude Era is it was so expansive it could have had a game dedicated to itself. I mean most of the new wrestlers weren’t even involved in this era and there isn’t a hell of a lot for them to do. In saying that playing through this history is fun and if you are new to WWE it could teach you what some of the older guys have done for the company.
The look of the game is not too different from WWE 12’, the same engine was used so we can’t expect it to look better or worse. Some wrestlers look bang on and others look like Mickey Rourke in ‘The Wrestler’ (probably not what Yukes were going for).
The movement is good, a little stiff and robotic at times but it’s easily overlooked. Sometimes their hair looks painted on and in this day and age of next gen gaming we expect a little more care and attention taken with characters.
The entrances are accurate but lacking. Wrestlers who move fluidly in the ring become large immovable objects when entering the match. I think a little more time could have been taken with the entrances to make them pop, it’s something people look forward to week in and week out and something there is loads of footage off so shouldn’t be too hard to recreate.
The crowd look like they have had their faces bashed in with kettles, I’m guessing the in game engine isn’t powerful enough to show us a 1000 strong crowd but do the ones at the front need to look like Flat Stanley’s brothers and sisters?
The animations are really good, only going wrong at the rarest of times. Once, The Rocks legs stuck inside the ring whilst he was outside, it didn’t anger me just made me laugh.
There was once a time when a small wrestler picking up a large one would result in a laughable animation, now though it all looks really smooth with small guys like Rey Mysterio finding it hard to pick up someone like Kane.
The only problem with the graphics I had was in Attitude Era mode. Some wrestlers were badly rendered, Triple H for instance looks like they took a young face and slapped it onto his body now. Back in the 90’s Triple H wasn’t as muscle bound, he was big but not the body builder big he is today.
Stone Cold has problems too. They have given him a six pack… now the only 6 pack Steve ever had was a cold 6 pack of Bud Lights. Then there were the in game problems – The Rock being accompanied by an invisible Mark Hendry and Kane with a disappearing/reappearing Paul Bearer.
My biggest problem with the whole game is the sound. Not the effects as they all sound genuine and well thought out but the commentary. King and Jim Ross seemed to have phoned their commentary in this year. So much is repeated that sometimes I muted the sound just to get the irritating voices out of my head.
King talking about GPS in Attitude Era mode well before GPS became a well-known and everyday item, calling Triple H ‘The Game’ years before this name was given to him. This annoyed me as it took away from being fully immersed and left me with a sour taste in my mouth. Also where are Taz, Michael Cole and Booker T? Sometimes the commentary got it right but it didn’t matter because pretty much straight away it brought you back to earth with something stupid or the same thing repeated 100 times. There’s also no option to turn it off meaning I HAVE to listen to these guys drone on about the same stuff.
Is the actual wrestling any good you say?
The answer you will be glad to hear is yes, it is. The button layout is simple and effective. The horrible reversal system from last year has been fixed and can now become the tide turner in a match and not the nuisance that stopped you from winning. You can target various body parts to make your finisher more destructive. The grapples are easy and even easier to change up when already grappled. Anyone should be able to pick up this game and fight straight away.
And lastly we come to online connectivity. There is bound to be plenty of DLC for this game with Val Venis, Rikishi, Grand Master Sexy, Scotty 2 Hotty and Gangrel already up for download.
I played one multiplayer game and there were no drop outs, so fingers crossed the bugs WWE 12’ had with multiplayer are gone.
WWE 13’ is a good game. Yes, it has some graphics and sound issues and there isn’t a hell of a lot for the new roster to do but it’s all made up with Attitude Era mode. This mode packs a serious punch and is long enough to burn through a couple of nights. It’s better than anything any WWE game has done in years and I think it was a stroke of genius.
Should you go out and spend your hard earned cash?
Well if you were around for the Attitude Era and love it then it’s worth your time. If you are only a fan of the newer stuff you might want to stay clear.
3.5 nerds out of 5
(if it wasn’t for the annoying commentary and lack of thought put into the graphics it would be higher. Attitude Era mode saved it from being a low rated game so well done to Yukes/THQ for some masterful historical storytelling)