Friday, November 9, 2012

WWE '13 Review: The Attitude is BACK!

While I have been known over the years to have my WWE video game reviews up and ready to be viewed prior to launch, this year I wanted to take my time with this one.  To fully experience everything this game had to offer.  It took a lot of time to digest the massive game that is WWE '13.  So without further ado, here are my thoughts...

Live the Revolution, that is the tag line for WWE '13.  One that I personally think has been confused and misconstrued by a majority of the other reviewers and the general WWE games community. I've seen a lot of "clever" one liners over the past two weeks, such as the revolution occurred with WWE '12 and this years game wasn't a revolution at all.  Looking at it from my point of view, these people couldn't be more wrong.

In my opinion, the tag line has nothing to do with a "revolution" of game play. Or a crazy new engine or anything like that.  The tag line was EXACTLY what it said...LIVE the Revolution!

Back in the late 90s during the Monday Night Wars, WWE was in a bad way against WCW.  To turn the tide of their fortune, the Attitude era was born.  A revolution that is still looked back upon today by many as the greatest era in the history of not just the WWE, but the wrestling industry in general.

THQ allowed people go back in time and literally live the revolution by playing through a crucial period of the Attitude Era.  Allowing us older fans to be nostalgic all over again while giving others to experience it for the first time, and learn why these great superstars are so important today to begin with.

Much like NBA 2K11 allowed us all to go back in time and steps into the shoes of arguably the greatest basketball player of all time in Michael Jordan, WWE '13 served as a reminder to a lot of us just why we are still fans to begin with.  I know me personally I was a fan of wrestling years before the Attitude era.  But in regards to someone like Michael Jordan, I question if I didn't grow up during his era...if I would be a fan of the NBA today.  And I gotta think there's a lot of wrestling fans out there that feel the same way about the Attitude Era.

As far as I'm concerned, the Attitude Era mode could very well be the best single player story campaign experience in wrestling video game history.  While there were a few small things missing (ex: No D-X celebrating with Mankind after winning his first WWE Championship) THQ did a fabulous job of recapturing the Attitude Era and almost all of its important in defining moments in that two year period.

While I felt some of the match order seemed out of order, due to the bonus match unlocks and the "Hart vs. Soul" match being at the end of the mode.  I can see and understand why they did it, and for the most part it worked very well.  I was very pleased to with the structure of the mode as compared to WWE '12s Road to WrestleMania and felt the mode flowed easier than it's predecessor.

Off Script, the "spin off" section of Attitude Era mode had its hits and misses.  While I enjoyed a majority of the matches, some just became frustratingly difficult. For example, the Chris Jericho '99 match with "Road Dogg" Jesse James drove me up the wall due to the table physics, something I truly hope we see improved upon in WWE '14.  But overall "Off Script" was a fine addition to the Attitude Era mode.  I would say the entire Attitude Era mode took me roughly 11 to 12 hours to complete.  Something a lot of single player games that are out of the market right now don't even get CLOSE to.  And as the fans of the franchise know, Attitude era mode is just the icing on the cake.

Universe 3.0 ascends to new heights this year giving us the player control over our Universe more than ever before.  Want a show on every night of the week? Go for it! Want your own major custom brand in your own custom arena with your own pay per views? You can do that too!

THQ went out of their way to address several of the concerns from Universe 2.0 and so far its turning out very well.  I really don't want to dive too far into Universe with this review as I will be doing Universe thoughts in depth in my blog going forward.

But one noticeable thing I'd like to see changed for next year is not forcing us to have a major, minor, tag, and divas championships on each branded show.  If I want 4 singles men's titles I should be able to do that.  If I want 4 divas championships I should be able to do that as well.  Hopefully THQ will allow us even more freedom with Universe 4.0 next year and we will get this option as well. Heck, maybe we can even sometime in the future take our Universe online and play with our friends!

Speaking of online, it has had some MAJOR improvements on the server side of WWE '13.  While it still has hiccups from time to time with some time outs and de-sync issues, it seems more often than not to be running beautifully. I've been able to upload and download creations without a problem and have multiple matches with friends online that have been an absolute blast!

While create a superstar brought back a lot of things people were missing from the past few years I couldn't help but feel disappointed with lack of clothing and hair updates in the mode this year.  While the characters look better and closer to the real in game counterparts its pretty much the same mode that was in last year, which really makes me wish THQ would implement something going forward if they are going to do this that would allow us to transfer our characters, logos, and arenas from one year to the next.  Some people do a lot of work one year and don't feel like doing it all over again a year later.  I think this would be an awesome feature for THQ to add in a future WWE Game.

Overall to me, the only new feature that didn't seem to click perfectly this year was the introduction of "WWE Live".  While the crowd at times is an improvement, sometimes it hinders the experience.  There were at some points in Attitude Era mode that I had trouble hearing the voice over work because the crowd was too loud. I also don't think that the crowd chants enough to go along with the superstars and divas in the ring, maybe that's just me. I know the sound is a work in progress and I know it will get better going forward, but this year it kinda let me down since it was hyped so much as one of this years bigger features.

But truthfully, with that being my only major complaint I can't help but tell you how much I really love WWE '13.  I haven't been able to play a WWE game for a full year from one to the next since Here Comes The Pain.  I really feel this game has the potential to do that for me.

In closing, I lived the revolution in the Attitude Era mode, I'm creating my own Universe, and I'm having a blast online playing with my friends.  If you are a WWE fan and you have been on the fence about WWE '13, trust me! You need to pick this one up! And that's the bottom line, because Showtime said so!

WWE '13 Review Score: 9.25 out of 10

Disclaimer: This WWE '13 review was done on the Xbox 360 version.  I have not played the PS3 or the Wii versions of this title.


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