WWE 13 is a breath of fresh air for the professional wrestling video game franchise, and with a host of solid improvements to gameplay, animation, and the return of classic game modes, it’s sure to be enjoyed by wrestling fans and gamers alike.
WWE 13’s main improvement over WWE 12 is its visuals; the game feels much more realistic than the previous games in the franchise. ‘Predator Technology’, the engine that was used for WWE 12, has now been upgraded to version 2.0, which features more fluid animations and over 300 new moves. The odd collisions and weight detection, which were a problem in WWE 12, have now been completely fixed, with a new weight detection system and automatic attack homing being added. The controls have also majorly improved in this year’s game; reversals, for example, have become much easier to pull off now whereas in WWE 12 it could get quite frustrating, especially when facing a tougher opponent. There are four different types of grapples (headlock, arm lock, grapple from behind and a side headlock) which then turn into five different move types, depending on which direction you press. Mobility has also been improved, making it much easier to navigate your way around the ring and outside, as well as around your opponent to get the upper hand.
Unlike its predecessors which focused on ‘Road to Wrestlemania’ storylines, WWE 13 is focused around the ‘Attitude Era’ of WWE – reliving some of the greatest moments in WWE history. It is composed of six different Attitude Era storylines and follows Stone Cold Steve Austin, The Rock, Mankind, D-Generation X and The Brothers of Destruction in some of their greatest triumphs. The storylines are great, and cut scenes before and after matches feature real footage from the WWE’s Attitude era. THQ worked closely with WWE officials and historians to recreate some of the greatest moments in the franchise. The story mode is very well done, and the rewards for completing “historical bonus” objectives are a great touch that kept me playing the game for hours on end.
Returning in WWE 13 is the ‘Creative Suite’, where you are able to create new wrestlers/divas, move-sets, finisher moves, and entrances. You can also create your own unique playable storylines (with over 500 new cut-scene options), submit them to the ‘Community Creations’ marketplace, and browse content made by other players around the world. The marketplace itself has also been revamped to make browsing user created content quick and easy.
A new and exciting feature of WWE 13 is the ‘OMG!’ moment; a special finisher move used to cause absolute devastation to your opponents. These range from barricade breaks, putting your opponent through the announcers’ table, and even collapsing the entire ring. This is a great new feature added to the game, and is a great way to do some heavy damage.
One of the largest issues with past WWE games has been their repetitive and somewhat boring audio. To remedy this, WWE 13 features a new audio system, dubbed ‘WWE Live’, which uses audio recorded from live events to produce a host of new crowd sounds and chants. This really adds to the atmosphere of the game and makes it feel like you are actually watching a WWE program – especially with in-depth commentary from WWE Hall of Famers Jim Ross and Jerry “The King” Lawler.
Another game mode that has returned to WWE 13 is the ‘Universe Mode’, where the player takes on the role of a General Manager and is able to book the matches for each show. Furthermore, the player is now able to set up custom schedule from Monday to Saturday with Sunday being reserved for pay-per-view events. ‘Universe Mode’ generates storylines through ‘highlight matches’ which adds a sense of randomness to the season’s events. For example, you may be playing as Stone Cold Steve Austin in a match against The Rock and at the end of which Chairman Vince McMahon may come out and announce that the match will be restarted, and that it will be changed to a different match type. There are many different scripts and stories that keep the game interesting, so there are always new things happening within your universe.
WWE 13 has re-introduced exciting new game modes not previously featured, such as the famous ‘I Quit Match’ where the player must make the opponent say the words “I Quit”, and King of The Ring where players must battle their way to the finals for a chance at the title. Special guest referee has also made a comeback this year and allows players to don the black and white stripes and call matches themselves.
Being a WWE fan, I was very impressed to see how WWE 13 held up, especially after the legacy of iterative wrestling titles in previous years. WWE 13 features the best visuals and gameplay of any WWE game to date, with a solid set of improvements and the return of some classic game modes and match types. If you enjoy wrestling, you will enjoy this game.
Written by guest contributor Joseph Castle.