WWE ’13 Review: More Polish Needed

WWE ’13 has been both heralded as a prime time successor to WWE ’12, as well as decried as one of the worst wrestling games in recent memory. Final verdict:: Eh, it could have been worse.

The game certainly has its merits. With a wide berth of DLC, the most expansive creation system ever conceived, and a story mode that actually takes the player on a nostalgia trip through the Attitude Era, it is far from one of the worst. However, various issues prevent it from really looking like a finished product. Most of these are simply bugs that provide more amusement than irritation. One prime example is an instance where after a wrestler had been eliminated, he continued to stand there and attempt to grab the opponent. It’s almost like a B-movie at some point, where the flaws allow simply for riffs and don’t detract from the game.

However, a major flaw is in the controls. Quite frankly, they’re very loose, especially with the Irish Whip mechanic. It is 50/50 on whether or not you will whip them in the direction you actually want. Add this to consistent difficulty with dragging the opponent and random quirks in the targeting that can send your wrestler in the wrong direction, and the game overall definitely needs a patch of some sort. It’s as if the makers went for quantity over quality, and so ended up with a game that had lots of flash and bang, but needs a lot of polish.

There are some more major issues that seriously had no excuse for making it past the testing phase. There appears to be no simple way at all to put your opponent through a flaming table, despite this being a possible win condition. If it is possible, the controls for it are so difficult so as to make it nigh-impossible. In addition to this, a major programming issue can occur when a wrestler starts bleeding. Sometimes, after the camera zooms in on the damage done, it doesn’t zoom back out. This leaves the player’s POV on a small area, and unable to actually properly defend themselves until the camera zooms back out. Even though these issues do not occur commonly, the mere fact that they made it into the final product screams for a patch.

As far as the story mode itself goes, it is a vast improvement over the worn out “Insert popular as of the making of this game wrestler here, make them fight villainous wrestler at the time of this game”. Instead, it takes the player back in time to follow along with the Attitude Era, watching the rise of D-X, Stone Cold Steve Austin, The Rock, etc. For those who experienced this time firsthand, it will be a nice change. And for those who didn’t, it will provide for a decent enough analog.

As with prior installments, a huge highlight is the Creation mode. It is to the point where not only are wrestlers, entrances, and finishing moves customizable, but now entire arenas and story modes. Colors, the Titan-tron, logos, and even the crowd itself are all customizable.

Something that fans have taken issue with is how rather limited the DLC character list is. It’s essentially limited to some prime picks of the Attitude era and about a dozen topical current stars. It’s simply lacking in variety, even from WWE’s own history, not to mention the history it purchased from WCW and ECW. With such a rich library at their fingertips, how could the WWE not take advantage of bring in a veritable treasure trove of DLC wrestlers that would make even the most jaded of fans mark the hell out.

Something that would be a heavily appreciated addition in future installments would be expanded freedom when the action leaves the ring. At this point, one can only leave the ring, go up the ramp, and off to the sides of the entrance. Hell, you can actually spear your opponent through the ring barrier, but you can’t go through the hole you make. This is screaming for a revamp. With the OMG! System of using the environment to do heavily damaging moves (breaking the announcer’s table, suplex to the outside of the ring, spearing them through the ring barrier), there would be so many locations throughout the arena for added options. How about diving off of the entrance way, or even off of the Titan-tron? A brawl throughout the arena, into the crowd, perhaps even in the streets, would add more dimensions and options. Sticking with having set areas for street fights really takes away the point of being able to fight anywhere.

All in all, WWE ’13 is not the worse game in the series by any means, but it could stand for some vast improvements. Here’s to hoping that THQ listens to the feedback of the disgruntled fans and makes the game even more palatable. Cheers.

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