GAME NAME: WWE ’13
PLATFORM(S): Xbox 360, PS3, Wii
RELEASE DATE(S): October 13, 2012
Following last year’s rebranding and ambitious, albeit disappointing, WWE ’12, THQ said that they listened to the criticisms and decided to go back and rebuild yet again. This time, they didn’t disappoint.
The big draw for WWE ’13 is the “Attitude Era” mode, a story mode that lets you relive some of the most classic moments on Raw during the Monday Night Wars. The mode is broken down into chapters, beginning with the genesis of Degeneration-X and ending with WrestleMania XV. The story is told through matches, cut scenes, and video packages. Controlling one of the featured characters in each chapter, the player competes in some of the most well known matches from that time and can unlock bonus matches by completing optional “Historical Objectives” within each match. For instance, during the infamous Hell in a Cell match between The Undertaker and Mankind at King of the Ring, it’s not required that you toss Mankind from the top of the cell and through the announcer table, but it is a “Historical Objective,” and there is a real thrill in recreating such an iconic moment.
The bonus matches that can be unlocked are matches that take place during the same chapter, but revolve around different wrestlers in a less-hyped story arc, such as the battles between The Rock and Ken Shamrock over the Intercontinental title. Completing “Attitude Era” unlocks one last set of bonus matches, which take place toward the end of the Monday Night Wars and include matches with Edge and Christian, Lita, and the Acolytes. Completing all of the matches and optional objectives in “Attitude Era” unlocks a number of different arenas, championships, divas, and superstars, as well as the Attitude Era versions of some superstars such as The Undertaker and Kane
The Universe mode in WWE ’13 is largely the same as in WWE ‘12, but that’s a good thing. With some minor tweaks on branching storylines and the details of how to customize weekly shows and pay-per-views, the Universe mode is still perfect for everyone who has ever wanted to create their own sports-entertainment dramas. Not only has the ability to create a pay-per-view returned, but other options such as limiting it to one brand or one type of match add more layers of customization to a tremendously thorough mode. Also, should the player find that they’ve created too many different stories and gotten too bogged down, or if they simply want a fresh start, there is a “reset” option.
Creation modes in WWE ’13 still remain strong. Creating a superstar or diva offers up plenty of options on appearance, abilities, attributes, and wardrobe choices for in-ring, entrance, and cut scenes. Couple this with creating a custom move set, and it’s possible to spend hours simply developing your own wrestler. Also, minor additions have been made to both the list of hometowns and the list of names that the announcers will use for your superstar. The Create-a-Finisher mode continues to improve, adding more moves to incorporate into your finisher, although some basic holds are still surprisingly absent. The Create-an-Arena mode brings back the thoroughness to detail from WWE ’12 while including some additional options with regards to lighting and design of the entrance. Creating a championship, however, is the only mode that feels somewhat underwhelming. Although the list of selectable names gives you a variety of possible six-word titles, the only other options are to change the color of the belt and plate and whether or not to limit it to cruiser weights. This makes it understandable why the Championship Editor mode is tucked away and somewhat difficult to find. Creating an entrance and a highlight reel are almost completely the same as before, but again this isn’t a bad thing as these modes were already well fleshed-out
Online gameplay requires an online pass, but there is a 7-day free trial version if you don’t have one. The only catch to the trial is that uploading, voting on, and downloading user-generated content is blocked. The handful of matches that I played through ran smoothly, although the only thing that puzzled me was a setting called “fair play” that you could toggle when searching for matches. The only place this option was ever explained was on a loading screen that appeared very briefly when going into the online mode.
While the commentary is poor, crowd signs occasionally block the camera, and the online pass is a perpetual bummer, the bottom line is that this is a fantastic WWE game with in-depth creation modes, a weighty roster, hundreds of new moves, and a wide variety of matches. For die-hard WWE fans or players who are just fans of the games, this is definitely worth your money. And if you’re not down with that…well, you know the rest.
The Xbox 360 version of the game was used for this review.