WWE '13 Review (Playstation 3)
WWE ’13 is the latest effort that boasts a new ‘Attitude Era’ mode and other features that are sure to improve on last year’s effort. To list a few WWE ’13 includes: WWE Live, Predator Technology, and the ‘biggest roster ever.’ WWE Live is a great way to make the game feel closer to the real product, and they get all the camera angles right. There are a few hiccups when the game camera changes to the opposite side of the ring (I found it happened on Irish whips) but they are not very frequent. The new Predator Technology (2.0) claims to provide the ‘most fluid and fun WWE action to date’ and I agree with that statement. One of the biggest problems with past WWE games was that you couldn’t get your opponent in the correct position, and sometimes you would miss out on using a finishing move. WWE ’13 gets it right in implementing the R analog as the grapple positioning tool, and you are able to playthrough a match without worrying much about where to set up or stand.
This year’s roster features both current and Attitude Era stars, and in some cases (like Undertaker and HHH to name a few) they appear as two separate characters. The roster is much bigger, and it benefits from the inclusion of the AE guys, but there are a few others that were left out. Specifically speaking, Antonio Cesaro, Ryback, The Usos and Drew McIntyre are featured as future DLC. One of the biggest complaints people have about THQ’s handling of the WWE franchise is the rosters, and I have to somewhat agree with them. I know there are cutoff dates and whatnot, so sure, Ryback and Cesaro (and Damien Sandow) get a pass, but The Usos and McIntyre should already be in the game. On top of that, guys like Curt Hawkins and Prime Time Players should be included, at least have the former as individuals like they were on NXT. One thing I do like is how DLC like Brian Pillman will be included; he doesn’t take away from the game itself, and it will be a nice addition. (Here’s hoping he comes with preloaded videos detailing his involvement with Stone Cold Steve Austin and the Hart Foundation) I won’t attempt to guess what the plans are, but I would like to see newer Superstars and bonuses be used for DLC instead of ‘seasoned’ veterans.
As someone who has taken a bit of time off from the franchise, it was refreshing to be able to jump into a game and start a match. I like the change to an L-analog grapple system, and the strikes, whips and other commands seem to work well. One issue I did have with the game is that is sometimes difficult to whip your opponent into or onto an object, such as in a Tables Match or in a Royal Rumble. Other that the controls responded well and the animations worked accordingly. The pin ‘kick out’ mechanic is a nice switch from the old button mashing technique of older games, and getting the timing down correctly proved to be a fun challenge. If the gameplay needs any kind of help, I would have preferred to see an in depth move guide, because some people may be a bit rusty and forget how to do a power or submission grapple correctly, and the difference between the grapples. (Picture me facepalming when I repeatedly kept applying abdominal stretches with Shawn Michaels in a non-submission match. I forgot about the difference between tapping and pressing the cross button.)
Customization is such a big part of gaming these days, and WWE ’13 provided more than enough tools to make the game unique. All of the creation choices are loaded with options, and you can create wrestlers, titles, shows and entrances with ease. You can basically do whatever you want to tailor an existing superstar to your liking, and short of firing them you can change their entrances, brand assignment, alliances and more. I didn’t get to play too many matches online (due to Hurricane Sandy) but I spent plenty of time searching through other user’s uploads. One of the best parts of this game is the custom superstars and other downloadables available. Some of the ones I downloaded were because they weren’t available yet due to being future DLC, and they were very impressive. (GGOA’s Antonio Cesaro was just as good as the THQ model, IMO) I love how you can download a Superstar (or Diva) and get an entire package with them: several attires, entrance moves, music and gear, and some even provide the actual entrance song. This feature is a great time saver if you are trying to get that one character just right, and want to give props to the creator by voting on it.
The in-game sound is a nice change from game specific soundtracks of old, and the mix of several different Superstars’ theme is nice to listen to. There were a few times I heard repeats, but for the most part the songs were mixed well and made me feel like I was in the arena listening to them. If they wanted to improve the menu music a bit more, I would go for something like the ‘MLB: The Show” series’ Sounds of the Show type jukebox where you can make playlists of both imported and Superstar themes that you control. One of the only other issues I had was the post match commentary (especially a few of JR lines) being too loud, but that seems to be addressed in the new patch.
(Funny note: the first time I started up the game I was expecting to hear the song that is in all of the ads with some type of video, and completely had a Todd Grisham moment when ‘Just Close Your Eyes’ cued up instead. It’s… Christian?)
I will start with the menu visuals first: I love them. I think they are clean, bold, dynamic and have a nice flow to them. I barely had any load times, if any, and the cover image of CM Punk placed on the right hand side clearly establishes the brand and the theme of this year’s game. If you are some of the fans who refuse to buy this game because Punk is on the cover, seriously grow up. You are missing out on a good game for petty reasons. In fact, if it bothers you that much, print a custom cover. As far as the in game graphics and character models go, they are very detailed but they could be improved. I know graphics don’t make a game, but there are so many good things THQ did with this game that some of the character animations stick out negatively. I know the polygon rate has gone up over the years, but some of the characters still look the same and look rather cartoonish. (Cactus Jack stuck out a bit)
WWE ’13 has every match type you could ask for… well almost. THQ made sure to add every ‘common’ match type, and threw in a few others, like the rare Inferno Match, because of its ties to the Attitude Era. I don’t really play gimmick matches that much, outside of TLC and Hell In A Cell matches, but there isn’t anything that should be included and wasn’t. I wouldn’t mind seeing a Bullrope Match or something really rare, but then again it’s not hurting the game and that suggestion may just be a ‘wow’ factor that is unneccessary. In fact, the only match I really noticed that wasn’t included, and should be, is the 2 vs 2 vs 2 tag match. Other than that, the game has endless different combinations of matches, which is great considering the lack of replay ability in some series.
In closing, WWE ’13 is a fun game for many different reasons. Attitude Era lovers and new fans should get enjoyment out of this entry in the series. THQ did a good job adding and updating several features that help make the series better. This game doesn’t cater to one genre of fan, and that’s a good thing. The Attitude Era videos are a nice trip down nostalgia lane for older fans, but the newer fans can see how crazy the often praised time in WWE was. If you are still on the fence about the game, you may want to give it a shot with the Black Friday deals coming up. It is a good entry in the series, and I would even say it is the best one since Here Comes The Pain; the creation tools and customizations really put it over the top of any of the Smackdown series games I have played since the ’07 game. THQ made strides in a lot of different ways, and I hope they continue to provide updates and support to WWE ’13 for awhile because it deserves the attention. This game is fun to play and it’s well worth the value; there are a few mentioned negatives, but the positives greatly outweigh them. I won’t give this a number or star review, but WWE ’13 it is worth checking out. It’s fun, complex, challenging, accurate and true to the WWE brand, both Attitude Era and now. Like I said, the game is really fun, and that’s the bottom line, right?