Developer: Yuke’s Yokohama / Publisher: THQ / Played On: Xbox 360 /Price: $59.99 / ESRB: Teen [Blood, Crude Humor, Mild Language, Mild Suggestive Themes, Use of Alcohol, Violence]
The Attitude Era of the WWE was an important period of growth and success for a company that was struggling to keep up with competitors for ratings and relevance among wrestling fans. This era signaled the emergence of strong personalities such as Shawn Michaels, Stone Cold Steve Austin, and The Rock, to name a few. The WWE soared to new heights during the Attitude Era. Now with the help of WWE 13, old school wrestling fans get the chance to re-create historic moments through a brand new career mode. If you were too young to remember this great era in wrestling history, don’t worry: there is plenty here for newer fans of the WWE to get a hold of as well.
Standard game modes such as single matches in any variety of match style and choice of arena return. Universe mode returns as well, giving you the opportunity to plan and play years of weekly TV broadcasts as well as monthly pay-per-view events. It would be nice to see a little more in the way of between-match content during universe mode, such as more character story and dialogue. But the level of customization alone will have you hooked for quite some time. You control the lineup of Superstars, the venues, the day of the week the shows will occur, logos, championship belts, etc. all to your exact liking.
The biggest and brightest addition to the game modes this year is the aforementioned Attitude Era career mode. Attitude Era is a linear career mode that takes you back in WWE history to the time period of 1997-1999. Attitude Era is broken in to six chapters, each with a variety of matches and side challenges to take on. The side challenges are a nice touch, as they are not required to move forward in the story line, but do add to the authenticity of the historic event and help you to unlock Attitude Era superstars and venues for use in single matches. As a fan of Shawn Michaels, Brett Hart, and Hawk and Animal of the Road Warriors tag team, I was thrilled to play through the glory days of wrestling with some of the names that got me into the WWE in the first place.
I had a lot of fun with created content in WWE 13, and especially with the create-a-superstar feature. The tool set in which to customize your wrestler is very robust and much less limiting than many similar games that I’ve played in the past. You can actually skew the body types to make a freakish looking character that is sure to keep you laughing throughout your first couple of matches. If you are looking to make a very realistic re-creation of your favorite wrestler of the past, odds are you can probably accomplish that as well given all the creation tools.
Online modes consist of single matches that can involve any Superstar, venue, and rule setting you desire, including community created superstars and arenas. Including the created content online brings great customization options to life on your home console and for the world to see as well. Although I noted some lag while playing an online fatal four way match, overall the servers seem to be much more reliable this year which is a great sign for those hoping to climb the leaderboards or just to play some entertaining and fun matches with friends.
The gameplay in WWE 13 is very similar to that found in WWE 12. The more revolutionary game control changes happened in last year’s title, and it is a very good decision to have them return for another go round. Grappling moves trigger smoothly and the submission minigame of mashing buttons has added the ability to crawl for the ropes as a means of escape this year.
After playing for just a short time in head-to-head matches with a friend, it became clear that the brand new mid-air finishers added to this year’s game are an extremely welcome addition to the gameplay. We found ourselves setting up tables and other objects and creating the most over the top mid–air collisions we could dream up. We are talking about smashing through two tables at once, leaping from the top ring to the announcers’ table and smashing it to bits, and out of nowhere choke slams to unsuspecting flying superstars.
The developers have also added OMG moments this time around, which consist of spectacular animations at a point in the match where you have built up a certain amount of power and have your opponent in a predetermined area of the arena (such as corner barriers or the top turnbuckle). Two of the best OMG moments include throwing your opponent right through the retaining wall and into the crowd area, and my personal favorite which involves two super heavyweights collapsing the entire ring. While the OMG moments are very cool the first time you see them, it would be great if there were more instances when they could actually be triggered. On a down note I noticed several instances of glitched animations consisting of wrestlers disappearing into the ring or being warped from one place to another, but nothing that was severe enough to alter the match results.
The presentation aspects in WWE 13 are both great and frustrating depending on the situation. The rapid switch camera angles designed to mimic the real life WWE broadcasts are a great idea, but sometimes the angles take you out of what you actually need to see while wrestling an opponent. Ring entrances are great and for the most part mirror what you see from the real life superstars. I very much enjoyed all of the classic graphic overlays, banners, and arenas while playing through the Attitude Era mode.
The broadcast team does a pretty solid job in calling the action, but can get quite repetitive. The best sound elements come in to play when commentary or dialogue taken directly from classic Attitude Era matches is used. Menu and loading screens seem to take much less of your time to navigate in this years game, as well. This is a welcome surprise as I have often felt that past versions of the game provided more time waiting for the game to load than actually playing it.
WWE 13 builds upon the successful base that WWE 12 provided in gameplay evolution, and makes a good game better. Despite a few glitches, the gameplay is very solid and mid-air finishers and OMG moments add to the fun. Attitude Era mode is innovative as career modes go and provides us a great history lesson regarding the WWE. The superstar roster is also very impressive as the inclusion of Attitude Era wrestlers provides for great variety. If you are an old school WWE fan longing to play with your favorite superstars of yesteryear, then this game is a must buy. Younger fans can learn a lot about the WWE’s past by playing through the Attitude Era mode as well.
+ Attitude Era is a top-notch career mode
+ Mid-air Finishers and OMG moments are flat out fun
- Gameplay glitches still exist but do not ruin the experience
8.5 / 10