If ever their was a group of nostalgia hounds, it's gamers. We love nothing more than to talk about how awesome (insert old gaming franchise here) was and how the remake, reboot or whatever doesn't hold a candle to it. And its strange as well that the only reason that remake, reboot or whatever even exists is because we're such nostalgia hounds. But we love us some old stuff, and we love it when our new stuff reminds us of our old stuff. The new WWE ‘13 is a perfect example of this, a game that, despite its name, is only cool because of all the old stuff in it.
This latest chapter in THQ's annualised WWE franchise has as its focus a new mode called Attitude Era. Attitude Era functions like an interactive history lesson, telling the story of what many wrasslin' fans consider to be sport entertainments golden era. Previous WWE games sort to artificially create a storyline around a create-a-character which more often that not ended up giving players tepid story with very little tension. This new mode rectifies this mistakes of its predecessors by retelling the greatest storylines of the WWE and challenging players to complete their matches exactly as they occurred in the history books.
Smartly, fulfilling these 'historical objectives' are optional so it isn't necessary to throw Mankind off of the Hell in a Cell cage to smash into the announcers table as Undertaker did in 1998, but doing so is the only way to access the game's host of unlockables. Aside from teaching players about the history of the legends of wrestling, the mode is also a pretty good tutorial, introducing new match types and gameplay mechanics. Bar none, Attitude Era is the best thing to happen to the WWE games and on its own would be more than enough reason for anyone to purchase the game.
With that said, WWE '13 does offer more than just nostalgia. The WWE Universe mode is still in there, focusing on the current goings on in the televised WWE. Universe gives you full control over match and television scheduling, feeling a lot like a combination of a career mode and general manager mode. Unlike its implementation in previous versions, storyline generation seems to happen more organically and guiding a created superstar’s career is way more compelling.
Of course nostalgia and compelling storylines will only take you so far. WWE '13 gameplay is largely the same as WWE '12 with only some additions and tweaks, for example the ability to crawl for the ropes as a means to escape a submission. Combat is pretty easy to get to grips with and it doesn't take too much effort to learn the basics. The brand new mid-air finishers are a welcome addition adding a dynamism to matches that wasn't there before. It's now possible to smash opponents through two tables at once or to leap from the top turnbuckle on to the announcers’ table.
No doubt the game is fun, but it is marred by some errors that really shouldn't be there. For instance, now and then characters would glitch through the floor the ring or get stuck in other geometry. It wasn't often, but when it did happen, I had reload the game. Also, while the presentation overall is very good, some of the characters just didn't look like there real life counterparts.
But even with those small issues, WWE '13 is undeniably a champion of game. It hits all the right notes for wrestling fans, balancing old school nostalgia with current gameplay. At the same time, it's easier enough to play that it won't alienate new fans and doesn't neglect the inclusion of the modern wrestlers either. WWE '13 is not just a good wrestling game, it's good video game period.
It get's a 9/10 from me
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