The Rock Bottom, the Stone Cold Stunner, D-Generation X, Socko, these words should strike a chord with every young adult nowadays. The stories and the personas that carved a generation: The Attitude Era of the WWE.
With the up and coming release of WWE '13, THQ invited Sabotage Times to the lovely venue of The Brickhouse in Shoreditch to come and try the game before its release; to see if the game could live up to the hype it is putting out; to see if WWE '13 can accurately relive the Attitude Era in its own format, bringing back the past while still making it accessible to younger fans who have never heard the words "Montreal Screw-job".
Upon entering we were all greeted with a true to life version of a WWE ring, spotlights and all, the room filled with TV screens, each of them with copies of the game ready for anyone to play, a fully stocked bar and a few lovely ladies to speak to (So basically a man's version of heaven). After a stow of the bags and a quick pint to steel the nerves, it was time to get to work to see if WWE '13 can tick all the boxes and perform the seemingly impossible task of pleasing old and new fans alike.
They really have gone to every length to reproduce the old wrestling days, going so far as to use the original audio tracks and camera angles in the cutscenes that replicate what was shown on TV
To begin with, I jumped straight into the story mode, the Attitude Era. From here you are reliving old matches from wrestling's yesteryear, when the blood ran thick and chairshots were the lullabies of a generation, and on that front, it did not disappoint. You are able to complete the matches in any way you see fit, something easy for fans of the series and wrestling games in general. However, the uniqueness comes from the bonus criteria, where you receive more rewards and bonus iconic matches in the Attitude storyline by reproducing the amazing life threatening stunts that wrestlers were once allowed to perform.
This serves a double purpose: an added challenge in completing the sometimes surprisingly difficult criteria and showing younger fans who never saw The Undertaker throw Mankind from the top during a hell in a cell match through an announcers table, the lengths that wrestlers once went to and the shock value that they once commanded. Obviously, if this is done in a multiplayer match, bragging rights should last a good few years. They really have gone to every length to reproduce the old wrestling days, going so far as to use the original audio tracks and camera angles in the cutscenes that replicate what was shown on TV (I checked).
The control scheme is intuitive and easy to pick up, meaning new and old fans alike will be able to pick up and play right out of the box; within two matches you will know enough of the basics to do anything you want to in a match, from a chairshot to top rope dive. Where the games' intricacies can really kick in is in the reversals system. All it boils down to is a button press, however the timing needs to be perfect on this, or you will eat fist over and over. Luckily to help everyone reach a similar level, an onscreen prompt will appear with "Too fast!", "Too late!" or "Reversal!" to help you fine tune this, and before you know it, you and your opponents will be locked in a battle of timing one-upmanship, with your reward being the ability to drop someone on their head. Classic.
You have a huge roster of characters, all of their different intricacies, tattoos, and even scars that they have in real life are accurately depicted in this game
In terms of the graphics, WWE 13 does not disappoint either. You have a huge roster of characters, all of their different intricacies, tattoos, and even scars that they have in real life are accurately depicted in this game. Sadly, I did not have time to go into the games creation modes, though in recent years they have allowed everything from customising the angle of a characters entrance second by second to the transparency of their facial hair, so I am sure that they do not disappoint on that front.
However all is not perfect with the gameplay. Throughout the attitude storyline there are certain moments called "attitude moments", these are the small things that can turn the tide of a match, such as accidentally hitting the referee and knocking him out, meaning all bets and rules are off until he gets back up again. These are done through a quick time event that appear literally out of nowhere and do seem a little out place in the standard gameplay of WWE '13. You could be hitting a button for a punch combo and all of a sudden have messed up the moment which came and left before you knew it. You've failed the moment and have to restart the match to get all the criteria. Bryce Yang, the senior global brand manager for THQ who I was lucky enough to ask about this said that the idea was to the recreate the snap decision moment and instant turnaround that would be in an actual match. The idea is great, however the execution leaves a little to be desired. There is still some time before release though and if the transition into the moment where the button prompt would be was just a little longer, it could make the attitude moments a welcome addition.
What this all boils down to is:
Does the game recreate the Attitude Era and make it enjoyable for fans old and new?
Is the gameplay accessible, fun and varied?
Are the graphics good?
Is this the best one of WWE’s long standing game franchises?
The answer to all four is ‘Yes.’
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