The world of video games has come along way, and so has the world of professional wrestling. In the years since the video game medium began, there has been over 70 wrestling games, and 56 of them are from the WWE. Of all the wrestling game titles, I think it is safe to say that WWE 13 is by far the most anticipated. It’s not because of its innovation or its impressive new graphics, it’s because WWE 13 revisits most pivotal time in wrestling history, the Attitude Era. Widely considered the best time to have been a wrestling fan, the Attitude Era is notoriously known for the Monday Night Wars and the rise of Stone Cold Steve Austin. It definitely a generation of WWE Superstars that helped make what WWE is today.
So without further do let’s just jump right into what everyone has been talking about, the Attitude Era Mode. Naturally, the Attitude Era Mode is the new story mode that allows you to replay some of the key moments and matches from the late 90s. Even before you begin to play the new story mode, WWE 13 delivers a brief intro on the history on the Attitude Era. The game talks about the war with WCW, and even uses the Monday Night Wars as a timeline to guide the player through the pivotal points in history. From the formation of the NWO to the beginning of the feud between Stone Cold Steve Austin and Vince McMahon, players will be able physically play through the turn of the tide for the WWE.
In the Attitude Era Mode, WWE 13 recreates some of the epic matches moment for moment, word for word. Many of the matches feature specific objectives unique to what actually happened during the real match. For instance, Undertaker must throw Mankind off the Hell in Cell and Shawn Michaels must slap the sharpshooter on Bret Hart so Vince McMahon can take part in the infamous Montreal Screw Job. Completing these objectives will further unlock the story, as well as, other wrestlers, historic venues and extra matches. These moments offer great nostalgia for the player, but at the same time they can at sometimes be downright frustrating.
I literally spent almost 30 minutes trying to figure out how to throw Mankind off Hell in the Cell. In that time, I did find it quite amusing that Mankind could throw Undertaker off the cell, but after the 3rd or 4th time the joke got old. Unlike in the previous Smackdown vs Raw titles where you could easily push someone off the cell, WWE 13 requires you do a specific action. I originally thought it would have been one of the games OMG moment, a new feature that cost the player one Finisher to execute an over the top moment like Superplexing the Big Show and breaking the ring. Unfortunately, that was not the case. I was able to throw Mankind from the Cell, but I’m still unsure how I did it. There were only a few other instances where I ran into similar problems.
As a fan who witnessed the Attitude Era firsthand, I love how the game’s commentary was exactly spot on with that of the original matches. The only downside to this is it feels like good ol’ JR and Jerry “The King” Lawler are reading off a script, and the delivery is not as intense as the original source material. Another note I wanted to make about the Attitude Era Mode is in the menu. You are given choices of what chapter or story you would like to play. Those chapters feature a specific highlight for a Wrestler or Group, but once you start playing, the stories just blend into each other. This is more linear to the way the Attitude Era timeline actually played out, but they should have included a feature where you can just play that specific character’s story. When the story objectives don’t get in the way of gameplay, the Attitude Era Mode is actually quite fun, and fans will surely enjoy playing through their favorite memorable moments.
For the most part, WWE 13 only has a few minor changes from what we saw with WWE 12. You are given even more customization for moves and wrestlers. Create-An-Arena is back and better than ever. Reversing moves are much easier than before. There are still a few familiar glitches in the wrestling animation left over from the Smackdown vs Raw engine. What I really enjoyed about this game was playing through the exhibition and playing online. I love that fact the new WWE game series has brought back that classic slower paced chain grappling and it is a step in the right direction for THQ and WWE Games.
Being an avid wrestling fan and gamer, I was able to play a large amount wrestling games over the years. I vividly remember owning WWF Raw is War for the Sega Genesis and WWF War Zone for the Playstation, but there is only one wrestling game that continues to stand the test of time, WWF Wrestlemania 2000. Along with WWF No Mercy and WCW/NWO Revenge, many of the wrestling titles created by the AKI Corporation are still considered the best in the genre. There’s even an entire community dedicated to updating the game with the latest wrestlers and the latest venues. With the new WWE series moving away from the over the top ridiculousness of Smackdown vs Raw and returning to more a grounded and slower paced approach, many fans of the famed AKI series will find a renewed love in WWE 13.