WWE ’13 Review
Another year, another (fake) sports game. Annual releases are a mixed bag and are regularly criticized for their lack of growth and innovation in between installments. WWE ’13 is the latest entry for the popular wrestling franchise, providing its devoted viewers the chance to partake in a virtual version of their favorite televised entertainment program. This wrestling sim has a lot to prove this year, especially after THQ’s “Live the Revolution” marketing. In order to exceed expectations, THQ has decided that the game’s focus needs to be shifted backwards to move forward, hence the Attitude Era theme. Does traveling back in time help WWE ’13 really separate itself from ’12, a game that released less than a year ago?
Let’s find out what’s HOT and what’s NOT in our review of WWE ’13.
The Right Attitude
WWE ’13 may be a part of an annual release, but this entry has found one way to stand out from the rest. The beloved Road to WrestleMania is no longer the advertised single player experience (actually, it’s nowhere to be found). Instead, a new mode called Attitude Era has taken its place. It’s an offering that both long-time wrestling fans and newcomers looking to brush up on the franchise’s hard-hitting history can enjoy. Attitude Era is comprised of 6 chapters spanning the Monday Night Wars — a time in which WWF and WCW were competing with similar Monday night offerings (Monday Night Raw and Monday Nitro) for the biggest percentage of wrestling’s viewership. Here, players will be directly involved in the WWF side of things, starting with the creation of D-Generation X and leading through notable events starring The Rock and Stone Cold Steve Austin.
As you play through each nostalgic event, you’ll be treated with actual footage and audio from the past shows, making the mode’s appeal all that stronger. Afterwards, players get to take control of key superstars performing in key match-ups. The main objective is usually to win, but the game gives players the option to accurately recreate history. This comes in the form of Historical Bonus Objectives. The added objective is challenging and exhilarating. For example, one bonus objective has you, playing as Hunter Hearst Helmsley, try to “lure” the British Bulldog into distracting the ref by attempting to pin a critically injured Bret Hart. Then, once the referee is distracted, you can Irish Whip the beaten Bret out of the ring to be further assaulted by Shawn Michaels without a DQ. Historical accuracy isn’t the only reward for completing these optional goals. Rewards, such as Attitude Era characters and arenas, are given at the end of matches where the optional circumstances are adhered to. Some of the best options revolve around the game’s new OMG moments. The OMG mechanic requires at least one Finisher to perform and have some extreme results, ranging from opponents crashing through crowd barriers and destroying the ring itself. The nostalgia coupled with the expertly crafted chapters of wrestling history create a truly enthralling and addictive experience.
Last year’s WWE game changed up the series quite a bit, but it wasn’t all good. New things are rarely perfect their first time. WWE ’13 has polished up the mechanics, characters and moves of its predecessor. Reversals require precise timing, but thanks to all reversals being assigned to one button (R2 on PS3) and a “TOO FAST” or “TOO SLOW” prompt appearing when you’re timing is off, it helps adjust your button presses appropriately next time you find yourself on then business end of a devastating grapple. The transitions into the hits and reactions, which have also been improved, allowing for a more fluid experience. Character models are looking better, as you’d expect from a new installment, but their accuracy can vary between superstars. Overall, WWE ’13 isn’t the “Revolution” it’s hyped as, but it definitely rounded out the edges of last year’s revolutionary title.