WWE '13 Review

I love professional wrestling. I do my best to catch every episode of WWE RAW every Monday. I have a long history with the sport, and with the video games based on it. My favorite wrestling game is WWF No Mercy, but I honestly thought I would change my mind last year after hearing details about WWE ’12. I played WWE ’12 and pretty much hated it thanks to its absolutely awful Road to WrestleMania mode, but I did like some of the changes to the core gameplay. I just wanted those changes to be included in a better game. Well, WWE ’13 is the game I was hoping for.

This is due mainly in part to the fantastic Attitude Era mode. I started watching wrestling in 1998 so I am pretty familiar with what’s included in the mode, and I love it. Yuke’s had a big obstacle in front of them in attempting to cram almost four entire years of wrestling history into one game. The degree to which they have pulled it off is impressive. However, the objective-based gameplay is going to be an annoyance to some people. I enjoyed it, but I think some of the hints as to what you’re supposed to do are a bit vague.

Fortunately there’s none of that “prompt button” crap like there was in WWE ’12. During the Attitude Era mode you can actually–get this–WIN MATCHES, or once you do a certain amount of the objectives a cutscene will trigger. I always felt like I was in control, which is what I want to feel like when I’m playing any game. Also included is something called “Off Script”, which is a collection of matches in which the player is presented with several “What if…” scenarios. It’s all extremely interesting, and I can’t wait to see what THQ does with the story mode in WWE ’14.

WWE Universe is the other big mode included in the game, and it’s a blast. It really has no point, but it works because it relies on imagination. Players can create their own shows and change matches and do whatever else they want to do, which is what makes it so fun. It’s actually better to just play WWE Universe instead of playing exhibition matches because it makes for a more worthwhile experience. All of it gets boring after a while (any game does), so why not make it as fun as possible while you’re still playing it?

The in-ring action is a mixed blessing. It’s basically the same as it was in WWE ’12, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it can be. The Predator Technology 2.0 engine makes animation transitions look good, but it can also lead to some irritating glitches. I was playing a match with Randy Orton and after I delivered the RKO I was going to pin my opponent had Orton not been floating above the ring. Stuff like that happens all the time in the game, and it’s an issue that should be addressed. Still, I can’t help but marvel at how advanced the technology really is. It’s far removed from the engine present in, say, WWE SmackDown! Shut Your Mouth.

The creation suite in WWE ’13 is simply amazing. Some might say it offers too much content, but that’s the beauty of it. Every facet of a player’s created wrestler can be fiddled around with, from their entrance to the color of their shoelaces. Every game developer in the world who wants to even dare to put a creation suite in something they’re making should play WWE ’13 and take some notes. Even then, good luck delivering something as immense as what WWE ’13 offers.

WWE ’13 may not top No Mercy in my mind, but it is without a doubt the best wrestling game I’ve played since it. It’s the little details that matter in video games, and WWE ’13 is packed full of them. It’s nowhere near perfect (how could it be?). It is, however, fantastic. It’s fun, interesting and innovative. I don’t see WWE ’14 topping it, but I’ll sure as hell be picking up a copy of it when it releases next year.