Last year, WWE ’12 drastically changed the formula for wrestling games with its control scheme and up tempo game play. This may not have made all of the Smackdown vs Raw fans happy, but I never bought any games from that series so I don’t care about them. Now THQ tries to follow up on their success with WWE ’13. While it may not be as revolutionary as their ad campaign would lead you to believe, WWE ’13 is still a pretty good experience for wrestling fans.
The primary feature of WWE ’13 is Attitude Era Mode. Gone is last year’s Road to WrestleMania, where you played through a made up storyline where you only play as three different characters (Triple H, Sheamus and a created wrestler). Now you go through significant moments of your favorite wrestlers from the Attitude Era and the Monday night wars. They take place in chapters, starting with the development of DX, to Steve Austin’s run and so on. It’s a hell of a lot of fun. They have recreated specific moments right down to capturing the audio from the original airings of the matches and promos. Mixed in is some actual footage to take you back to that time. To make things better, unlike Road to WrestleMania where the goal was only to accomplish certain objectives to trigger a cut scene (like performing a move near a certain area), all you have to do to progress in the Attitude Era Mode is win. Of course, there are extra objectives to accomplish in order to unlock more content (putting an opponent through a table for example), but at the end of the day you start and end every match. A big step up from last year. For the most part, it all works great. The only issue that I have is with the censoring of the term WWF. Because of the World Wildlife Fund, WWE is not even allowed to show or even mention their old name. It’s easy enough to adjust the logo, but they say WWF a lot in the audio clips, and it leads to everyone being censored as if the “F” stood for something completely different from Federation. Legalities aside, WWE ’13 does an outstanding job taking you back to wrestling’s most outrageous era. I loved taking the walk down memory lane.
The gameplay and graphics are pretty much exactly how we left them last year. One button grapple moves, quicktime signature comebacks and reversals. A lot of reversals. Too many for my taste. There seem to be a lot more this year, and while it’s annoying against the AI, it can be almost maddening against another person. The window to pull off a reversal just seems bigger, and I had a number of moments where three or more reversals occurred in succession. At times it leads for a rush when you finally pull off that move without being reversed, but other times it almost feels broken. Speaking of broken, I’ve noticed some more glitches early on that normal. Getting stuck to the ring post, stuck in the air and things like that. It may be fixed in an update before I even finish this sentence, but it doesn’t seem good to launch with so many bugs when you’re essentially reskining last year’s effort. They did seem to fix the weird issue with the ropes being too flimsy though.
The one other thing of note is the characters. THQ claimed that they had the biggest roster of any wrestling game ever, which is technically true. There are plenty of options coming the current roster with the Attitude Era, however that also leaves you with a lot of characters having two models. Old and new Undertaker, old and new Rock, current John Cena and thuganomics Cena. You get the idea. They are considered different characters, but it most cases they are really just new skins. Cheap trick but whatever. Everyone you need is either in the game or going to be available in DLC, like Damien Sandow and Ryback. It’s as good as you are going to get.
If you have WWE ’12 and are all about Universe Mode, you might not need to shell out the cash for an updated roster and some added tweaks (especially with the user creations available). But if you want a fantastic look back at the Attitude Era to go along with those updates, WWE ’13 is definitely for you.