One man revolutionized the entire sport of professional wrestling last year, adding him with an unforgettable era creates the blueprint of THQ’s latest WWE ’13 video game. THQ is back with their latest addition to the wrestling franchise bringing some classic gameplay and new modes, but with new comes issues.

Attitude Era is THQ‘s newest mode replacing that of Road to Wrestlemania, which in my opinion was well needed. Every year we notice changes of the franchise wanting to evolve and this game gets it right when it comes to story mode. Six chapters filled of nostalgic WWE footage, cut-scenes, in game actions and more, THQ takes us behind the eyes of legendary superstars and teams as it provides a history lesson for newer fans and a walk down memory lane to those who witnessed these moments up front. From main objectives to clearly win the match and progress forward, historical objectives make it a better experience for players wanting to do a bit extra and relive classic moments from those matches. Completing all the objectives can be a bit challenging but knowing what is unlocked once completed is sure rewarding. From Attitude Era wrestlers, championship belts, classic attires and more, it’s really a satisfying feeling going from match to match. Single player has finally been done right and for some, this mode alone will be their deciding factor on purchasing the game.

With new changes come some slight misses, WWE Universe 3.0, which is essentially a General Manager mode, really didn’t do it for me. It felt as it was missing a certain something to really grab you in and make you want to create your own show card. I played through a quite bit of matches, defended some titles and created story lines, but its something that can be forgotten.

Core gameplay is unchanged but has been slightly polished for a better experience. Each wrestler is unique with their own style and AI has been updated to better respond to environment, like managers and tag team partners. I did encounter a few glitches when wrestlers collide or are blocked by a certain object. They sort of just stand there and flicker for a bit before being free. One thing THQ added for this year’s game is a feature called WWE Live, in a way to enhance your game experience with authentic crowd noise, commentary and sound effects which on paper sounded like a great idea, but of course there were a lot of issues with this. Some commentary was spot on when it came to certain moments during matches, but once that excitement was over, back it went to the random and dull commentary. I loved the authentic crowd noises but it was confusing at times, it would be loud or quiet in a lot of moments that shouldn’t which killed the momentum at times. WWE is known for having great camera angles during their live broadcasts, trying to incorporate that to their video games didn’t quite workout. The changing and flickering of camera angles during signature or finisher moves killed the impact of the move and confused the living crap out of me. The biggest issue was during a Royal Rumble match, performing a QuickTime Event became a hassle with camera angles changing and not being able to accurately hit the correct input. Gladly enough, these features can be turned off manually.

The Create A Wrestler online community is huge, and THQ has made some major updates to that feature as well, now allowing for create & share. You now can select custom wrestlers, rings, arenas and more without having to upload to their network, its all there and ready to go. I spent a bit of time on the creation process of a wrestler and got lost from time to time, the detail is there, but I feel the UI could have been laid out a bit better. Online play is still as fun but what really caught my attention are the pre match tweaks you can make, like selecting specific preferred connection or weight detection. Without a doubt better changes from the previous version.

Overall, WWE ’13 takes the right steps in the future of the franchise. An amazing nostalgic timeline of classics, return of great exhibition matches like King of the Ring and “I, Quit”, and even having a roster of nearly 100 superstars and legends (DLC will also be released for even more content), this alone will overshadow the minor negatives of the game and might even make it the best wrestling game ever. It’s a well balanced sim wrestling fighter for all types of gamers; lets just hope the hardcore guys can manage reversals on Legend Difficulty. The game is a blast to play with friends and going through the entire roster makes it feel like a different game every match.

WWE ’13
Publisher: THQ
Developer: Yuke’s Yokohama
Category: Fighting/Wrestling
Release Dates: October 30, 2012 (NA)
Platforms: Xbox 360, Playstation 3, Nintendo Wii

Review Disclosure: WWE ’13 was provided to us by THQ for review purposes.