WWE ’13 or Finally, Attitude is Back!

It’s a dream come true. WWE says goodbye to PG and welcomes back the controversial yet successful Attitude era. Real stories, real characters, blood, sex and the real Degeneration X!
Sadly, it’s only a video game.

But WWE ’13 is not exactly bringing some Attitude to today’s WWE, it’s a time travel back to the defining moments of that legendary era: We relive the iconic Montreal Screwjob, the birth of the DX (the real one, not that ridiculous kiddie cheerfest post 2000), the ever-shifting tale of the Brothers of Destruction, and of course, the rise of two of the three (the third one is too obvious to be named) most famous wrestlers ever: The Rock and Stone Cold Steve Austin. And yes, WWE ’13 manages to make it fun – no stupid backstage handicap brawls all over the place, less scripted events – and the scripted ones implemented way better, and most importantly, you get rewarded for recreating the best moments of the Attitude era. All this stuff is supported by original commentary, music and entrances, and emphasised by video clips which highlight the feuds from back then.

Boy, we’re talking about damn good times. You know, these days they call it a story if Punk wants some respect or if AJ (no, not AJ Styles) has some dinner with our dearest posterboy John Cena and it’s a huge scandal … and honestly, that’s about it at the moment in WWE’s happy PG teletubby playground. Back in Attitude times, Stone Cold won the title from Michaels, who had inherited it thanks to the Montreal Screwjob, then lost it to Kane, won it back, fought the Undertaker … and so on. Oh, and that amazing build-up to Wrestlemania XV! You know, it was possible for 10 guys in main event regions to have intertwined story lines. But, erm … alright, alright back to WWE ’13. The Attitude mode is not only fun, but also unlocks tons of locked content – from new wrestlers and extra outfits to bonus matches and Universe cutscenes. Yes, we know what happened – and even though, even if we watched it more than a decade ago – it still might give us goosebumps. The presentation work has been done perfectly … almost. To avoid mentioning the now forbidden name WWF (as WWE was called once), the F is silenced in some of the original commentaries – and it really, really sounds awkward. By the way, Rabidgames recommends playing it on easy to unlock everything, then replaying the most iconic battles on a higher difficulty. Why? For once, some objectives are insane on normal – beating some guy within 2 minutes within 10 seconds after a finisher, or a Triple Threat match which actually is a Handicap match.

Speaking of difficulty and the gameplay, WWE ’13 is again an improvement over its predecessor and namesake, WWE ’12. On normal, epic matches can be … well, really epic. It goes back and forth, reversal after reversal, and when finishers hit, the tension rises. Sometimes. You can have a great match, and if you replay it, it’s a lame one-sided, not that epic match. Come on Yukes, it shouldn’t be like that. The same problem is to be found when we talk about the AI in WWE ’13: Sometimes, opponents are pretty smart. They wrestle less repetitive, leave the ring when they need to and even AI controlled tag team partners seem to be an intelligent life form. Again, sometimes. If some stellar constellation is awry however, the AI is dumb as chicken shit and just seems to stand around, waiting for you to attack a dummy. It really is a shame – a constant AI, and WWE ’13 could have become a great and challenging game. Speaking of challenging – please THQ, please Yukes, difficulty can be more than just forcing up the counter rate. In spite of the flaws, WWE ’13’s gameplay is mostly fluid and fun, and if you encounter a 6 time leverage pin reversal orgy, it can be pretty epic as well.

Another plea – please don’t call bringing back match old match types NEW – I quit and Special Referee are not NEW, they’re just BACK. Remember this next time, please. That being said, Special Referee is simply the best match type there was, the best there is, and the best there ever will be. It’s just too brilliant! Play it with 3 of your mates, and see who’s best in bribery. But there are some new gameplay additions to be found in WWE ’13: There are catch finishers – certain moves can be used to counter a flying attack from the top rope – which look amazing. Sadly, it’s just a handful of moves. And then, there are OMG! moments – special actions which most likely decide a match – be it a finisher on the commentators’ table, smashing the corner barricades or two super heavyweights leveling the ring (which grants the “Holy S**t” achievement). There are also some new moves (limb target moves can now be assigned), new animations and overhauled backstage area gameplay  (thank fuck for that one!).

The myriads of creation option return in WWE ’13 – and as expected, the game delivers. Creating a whole arena, a whole show with all-new championship belts and with CAWs*? You got it. Well, the championship belts can’t be created from scratch (which sucks), but still, all we want is to get rid of Cena’s fugly spinning belt, don’t we? CAWs* look alright, but there is one ever-recurring issue: long hair looks shit. Not just shit, it looks like hair-like diarrhoea; formless chunks of hair clipping into bodies. This fucking problem has existed since Smackdown 1! FIX THIS SHIT! Sorry, back to work. Apart from hair, CAWs* are alright. Big people look really big now, you can play around with damage modifiers, but there’s nothing revolutionarily new under the sun in WWE ’13. Mind you, the creation suites have always been a strength of THQ’s wrestling games, so there’s nothing to worry about.

After you have unlocked everything in the Attitude mode, after you have created and/or downloaded all CAWs* you want, it is time to buy some beer and crisps (or pizza or whatever floats your boat) and lock your social life safely away. WWE 13’s Universe mode is a fucking beast. You can run up to 6 shows a week (what about RAW, Smackdown, Attitude, ECW, WCW and TNA?) and you can assign one PPV each Sunday if you feel like it. You can follow developments by studying your expansive statistics section, manage your titles for all your shows, book shows in advance, change matches on the spot and so on (Cena is nothing more but a lousy jobber in Rabidgames’ Universe, by the way – and Heath Slater for WWE Champion!). There are some new stories in WWE ’13, but don’t expect to see all of them that soon. Stories take some time to unfold. But even without stories, the Universe mode is still long-term fun.

Online … well, let’s be honest, the WWE games have the worst online community … ever. CAWs* with super stats, spamming the same moves all over again, expolitation of moves, you name it, it happens. WWE ’13 is no exception. Online is not fun. But at least, there is good news in the Download department – it is now possible to reliably search the database for stuff the community has created – and as usual, there is some great stuff to be found. As a result, it is possible to download 10 wrestlers within 10 minutes instead of 1 wrestler in half an hour.

At the end of the day, WWE ’13 is a series of small improvements, and more of an evolution than a revolution. And still, it is the distilled essence of the last couple of years, refined with the best single player mode for quite a while (actually, Here Comes The Pain is the best one in this regard). If you don’t like wrestling or wrestling games, you should have stopped reading a long time before this paragraph. If you love today’s WWE (by the way, why do you?), you can experience glimpses of the golden times of McMahon’s empire. If you love the Attitude era and if you love wrestling games, drop everything and buy this game. And that’s the bottom line.

Cause Rabidgames said so: Yes, WWE ’13 is not the perfect wrestling game, but it is easily the best of this generation. The awesome Attitude mode, tons of wrestlers from then and now, a massive creation suite, online working fine and the impressive and improved Universe mode will chain you to your console for countless hours – if you’re willing to forgive WWE ’13 for a series of nuisances. 

* By the way, why do we call them CAWs? CAW means Create A Wrestler … we could say CWs (Created Wrestlers) or, politically correct CSs (Created Superstars), but CAWs does not make any sense. Think about it – “hey look at this awesome Create A Wrestler!” Please, let’s stop using it for logic’s sake.

One Response to “WWE ’13 or Finally, Attitude is Back!”

  1. I enjoy the efforts you have put in this, regards for all the great articles.

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