The arena was alive with energy and not a single empty seat could be seen as the fans eagerly awaited upon the announcer lift the microphone to his lips and introduce the first competitor to the ring… only to realise that the player is still selecting which spandex would suit the rest of his ring attire! Yes, it seems like we once again in treat for yet aggressive and violent year in the WWE universe. While some could argue that WWE is neither sport nor entertainment, the wrestling industry has always had a big following across the globe and it seemed only right that being the only remaining fan within the Parable team, that they called upon me once again to provide you information about the changes and newest editions to WWE ’13 and how they are different to WWE ’12 and older instalments in this franchise.
Predator Tech Engine:
First introduced in WWE ’12 to provide a more realistic animations and camera angles that replicate the live recordings has been given a well-needed update in WWE ’13. The most obvious and noticeable thing for a long term fan is that the game features far more fluid animations between the wrestlers’ transitions from one move or counter to another. For quite some time the biggest drawback with the WWE series is that everything felt static and robotic and it’s obvious that a ton of effort has been placed into fixing this and providing a more realistic simulation. Also making its return to the series is the weight detection system, which makes the game provide smaller wrestlers alternative moves on much larger competitors instead of unrealistic throws and grapples. Limb targeting also has a more predominant role in this year’s game, allowing players to slowly pick apart a select part of a wrestlers’ body and use it to their advantage. Although when wrote down these seem like game-changing elements for a casual fan or someone new to the series, in essence all that has been provided is a cleaner presentation.
One of the most followed and if not the most popular addition in the WWE Video-game franchise has been the creative modes that have been offered to fans over the years. Create-a-Wrestler (Or Create-a-Superstar as it’s called these days) remains relatively untouched this year with minor additions being added such as kick-pads and the ability to turn tattoos and face paint transparent again; an element removed from the previous year that resulted in a large uproar in the creative community. Create a Finisher has been relisted as “special moves” allowing players to decide if the move created is a signature, finisher or even a standard attack providing fans the chance to have a truly unique and custom move set.
Create-an-Entrance-Video and Create-an-Entrance remain untouched from the previous game with no new elements provided for either bar updated animations for select licensed wrestlers. This year’s main focus points are the Championship Editor and Create-an-Arena. In Create-an-Arena, fans are now able to completely modify the the entire stadium from the Titantron, stadium’s venue and the original features such as editing the ring and broadcast table. As someone who has been playing wrestling games for years, the sheer amount of options available on hand to edit your arena where very nostalgic of the arena editor available in WWF Attitude. Sadly however the championship editor does not provide fans with such in-depth and creative choices, as all you can do is change the colour of the plate and leather scrap and that’s it. Once happy with your colour choices, you can set the name and select some preset words for the announcer to say when the title is on the line or mentioned in-game. Considering THQ provided players Create-a-Championship so many years ago in Smackdown Vs RAW ’06 and ’07, it baffles me as to why they think they could offer fans such a restricted alternative so many years later.
If there is one thing that has always dragged the WWE series down in recent years is its awful online service. Although it’s somewhat more fixed compared to last years, that’s hardly an achievement to beat considering the how much downtime and maintenance was needed for it. History repeats itself here sadly for WWE ’13 as attempting to play online results in some horrible lag in larger matches and at times, unresponsive servers that decide that enough is enough and that you need to be kicked from the session mid-way into the game. The only real use that comes from the online is the fantastic selection of community creations on offer to download and really does highlight how dedicated and creative the fan base is. From comic book heroes to indie wrestlers not hired in the WWE, someone has likely made it available for public use online.
First introduced to the WWE series in Smackdown Vs RAW 2011, Universe mode allows players to completely customise the rosters available (Or create their own) and decide the course of the title holders, who the fans love and hate and even who fights who. In essence it was THQ’s attempt at recapturing the magic from Smackdown Vs RAW 2006’s GM mode. The issue here is that despite how creative you are with these shows, the games persistent road blocks ruin the process. You can set up countless feuds, tag teams and match ups and nothing will come from them. None of the interactive elements that where demonstrated or advertised will happen, unless you willingly hand control over to the CPU and have it build feuds and storylines that make no sense from your perspective.
In GM mode not only did the game keep track of how important the feuds you created, but it had a competitive edge as you battled either the CPU, your friend or even yourself as you tried to obtain the most ratings and beat your competition. In Universe mode, no matter what you do does not feel important or game changing. Having a spontaneous world title match as your main event does not change anything bar a small notification stating who won. Universe Mode has a ton of potential but I don’t think THQ realise it.
Attitude Era Mode:
The biggest selling point to WWE ’13 is the Attitude Era mode, allowing you relive many iconic moments from the most well-known point in the company’s history in a long and well developed single player story. Clueless as to what happened then? Video-packages and in-depth information provides newer fans information as to why this storylines and moments in WWE where so important for the company and its survival. There is no denying that this games focus is on recapturing fans attention with nostalgia.
The ropes are out of reach and I have no other choice but to tap out and admit that while WWE ’13 has built upon many of the drawbacks and flaws that WWE ’12 provided when the Predator Engine was brought into the game, there are some really obvious issues that need to be fixed for the future. It’s a fun throwaway game, great in short bursts with friends or alone but not a title to be played for long sessions. However for a game that’s marketing catchphrase is “Live the Revolution” there is little to nothing revolutionary about WWE ’13 and instead depends upon fans to look at what’s on offer with rose-tinted glasses and hope that it’s enough to let them get by another year.