Review: WWE ’13

Posted: October 28, 2013 in Gaming
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If you are a fan of wrestling, like a fan of football, you probably look forward to a new incarnation of gaming every year. Fortunately for you and I, WWE ‘13 not only fulfilled my hopes and dreams of wrestling greatness for another year, but also leaves me hopeful about where the series can/will progress to in the future.

If you played last year’s WWE 12, then you will feel right at home. The overall controls and gameplay are essentially the same, just more fluid and responsive. To that end, there are some key improvements and additions to make your wrestling experience much more intense. First off, character targeting and collision detection has improved. When you are pulling off the Moonsault outside of the ring, your character will not aimlessly flip directly behind him/her if the opponent is slightly to the right. Your character will actually adjust to the targets position, making it look more realistic (and so you do not land flat on your face). The OMG moments are another great addition. Remember the fateful night when Big Show and Mark Henry tore the ring down with a thunderous Superplex? Well, now you can relive it. Finishers through flaming tables, ring breaking Superplexes, spears through the ringside barricade and more are all included to make you jump out of your seat and chant ECW!  Finally, two additions (or returns depending on how long you have been playing WWE games) that may go overlooked are the special guest referee and I Quit matches. As a ref, you are given a fairness meter. Follow the rules (count pins, ring outs and check on submissions) and your meter goes up. Abuse your power (hit competitors, slow counts) and your meter drops. The bonus you get when maxing out your meter is what will make people play fair. When it is maxed, you have the ability to either use a finisher or give one of the competitors a good ol’ fashioned Survivor Series screw job. The I Quit match is more about principle than anything else. You pummel your opponent until they actually admit defeat and say I Quit. This is controlled by a meter, which gets more and more difficult to control the more damage you take.

Any fan of WWE games in the last decade or so has enjoyed one of the most talked about and awarded creation suites in gaming today; WWE 13 does not let you down. Character creation is just as solid as it is ever been with detailing in facial features such as cheek bone structure, eye socket depth, even width and depth of jaw lines. The layering system allows for the more creative of us to design or recreate complex tattoos, logos, and ring attire. Additional call names and wrestler hometowns make entrances much more personalized. Creation does not end with your wrestler. Rings, move sets, storylines, entrance videos, you can even go so far as to create your own arena then upload it online for the WWE Universe to download and rate. If you have the time, patience and desire, you could make your own universe with nothing resembling the current WWE world.

Speaking of universe, Universe mode returns with the guidance of one Paul Heyman as the man behind the curtain. With his help, several branching storyline cut scenes have been added to give depth to what some felt was a bit of a flat universe last year. Tag team turmoil can lead to an ugly split as one partner betrays the other and leaves him for dead mid match. Injuries can occur as one superstar spears the other off the ramp into oblivion. Do not like another wrestler? Interfere in their match and help the other competitor. Along with new action camera angles that flow seamlessly with the action, this mode is designed to give you the feel of reliving WWE programming or creating your own controlled chaos.

Last year’s “Road to Wrestlemania” was a letdown for many, but “the Attitude Era” mode does justice for all. If you were able to watch the antics of DX, the path of destruction left by the Undertaker or the mud-stomping of Stone Cold, this is a wonderful trip down memory lane placed in your hands to control. If you were busy back then or not yet a thought in your parents’ minds, it is a history lesson to catch you up on why Shawn Michaels, Triple H, Chris Jericho, the Rock and so many others who came up during that time are revered in the sport today. With bonus match objectives, photos, video clips, even direct sound bites from back in the day, this mode proves  WWE and THQ joining forces can have amazing results in both gameplay and fan service.

I am not here to sell you a dream, however, so I will not pretend the game is perfect. There are glitches here like there are in any game today. I have slipped inexplicably through the ropes when I was supposed to have been thrown out of the Royal Rumble. I have slammed a guy through a table only to have it not break and my table match continued. I have even seen my characters do some weird fusion dance to which no amount of pausing (or un-pausing) could fix. The announcing is still hit or miss. Wrong moves and character names will be announced some times. The crowd, while definitely louder, has lost the personalization of chanting for or against the wrestlers during the match. These imperfections do not break the game by any means, but it simply shows there is still room for improvement and can definitely sour the experience from time to time.

All and all, I am a huge fan of the game. Minor missteps in superstar representation (i.e. Daniel Bryan still has the YES! entrance) and even missing wrestlers (i.e. the Primetime Players) is annoying, but it is due to time constraints and the development cycle, so I will allow it. There is DLC up until January that will help flesh out the roster better with the likes of Damien Sandow, A.J. Lee, the Usos, and Mr. Feed Me More himself, Ryback. If you are a fan of wrestling, get this game. If you are a fan of creating and watching your creations work, then get this game. If you need a way to get out some aggression without being arrested, get this game. Bottom line, you should probably get this game. I give this game a 9.


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