WWE 13 Hands-On Preview
This past SummerSlam weekend I had the honor and privilege to play WWE 13 alongside a ton of different media outlets. Being my third year doing this, and as fun as it was, I was there for one main reason; to give the WWE Games Community information on the next WWE game. So without further ado, ladies and gentleman, boys and girls, children of all-ages, I bring you an in-depth preview of one of the most anticipated WWE video games in sometime. Starting off with the Attitude Era, here is your preview of WWE 13.
Attitude. Everyone in the world has one. How they use it depends on the situation, but when you say “Attitude” to a wrestling fan, they can only think of one thing: The Attitude Era. A time in wrestling that was over-the-top, creative, different, and nothing close to what we see on TV now-a-days.
From the shenanigans by a group of degenerates, to the battles between two different wrestling brands that owned Monday Nights, and the unexpected leadership of the world’s toughest S.O.B that guided a revolution which brought wrestling fans together from around the world. All we looked forward to every week was to see what was going to happen next. However, this revolution was so long ago that newcomers who watch WWE now have no idea what the Attitude Era is (which makes those who were around that time feel old). Well on October 30th, fans who were around to see the era unfold and fans who weren’t will get to play through this moment in time in WWE 13.
Reliving moments in eight different stages like the formation of Degeneration-X, the epic battles between “Stone Cold” Steve Austin and The Rock, the screw job in Montreal, Mankind winning his first WWE Championship, and more; players will be able to play from late 1997 all the way to Wrestlemania XV. Whether or not you remember how things happen, THQ does everything to show players what happen between each storyline by providing more than 20 videos explaining the situations. They are all masterfully done thanks to the help by WWE and these videos help players relive these moments while also explaining how or why they were so important. There are 65 playable matches, objectives, historical objectives, and even a rating chart showing what the ratings between Nitro and Raw were at that specific time. Not to mention over 100 unlockables in this one mode alone.
But I think you know all this by now don’t you? Let’s step away from the explanations and press facts and give you a hands-on impression of the mode. Heck, I will sum it up in two words: very impressive.
The match I played was Road Dogg vs. Stone Cold. As I start the match, Road Dogg and Billy Gunn are making their way down to the ring. At this point, you can hear JR and King talk about the situation, but more on the commentary a little later. The objective I played was to run down the ring with “Stone Cold” and beat Road Dogg. The historical objective was to do so within two minutes and hit him with a stunner. Aware that Billy is at ringside and knowing he is able to distract the ref, I ran to the ring, hit him with a Stone Cold Stunner, and went after Road Dogg. So as I beat the life out of Road Dogg and manage to do so with 16 seconds left on the clock, the game goes straight to the next scene. No loading, or celebrations, it just goes to the rest of DX entering the ring and attacking Austin. It ends with Austin’s arms tied up on the top rope after being beaten down by DX and HBK rubbing the title against his face and talking smack.
Not only did I recreate the scene in my own way by stunning Billy before the match started, but I completed the objectives and watched the story unfold the way it actually happened. This is what you can expect in Attitude Era mode.
Though what gives this mode life and makes it so good is the commentary of Jim Ross and Jerry “The King” Lawler. They do all the commentary whether it is in this mode. As Road Dogg and Billy Gunn made their way to the ring, you can hear JR and King talking about the current storyline during intros and throughout the match. The chemistry between both announcers was just the way it was back in the good old days. It’s very difficult to put into words just how good it was but it is the best commentary ever done for this franchise.
Update: I thought I heard JR and King outside of Attitude Era mode in which they both still announced while in an Attitude Era arena. My memory seems to have hit a wrong turn at this specific part so my apologies.
THQ did an amazing job re-creating the Attitude Era and when the game comes out in October, fans will not be disappointed.
Last year in WWE 12, gameplay was fined tuned with the help of the Randy Orton themed “Predator Technology”. In WWE 13, it goes Matt Hardy version 2.0 and it has certainly been improved. The pace of the matches are like watching a true life WWE show, moves are a lot smoother, reversals flow very well, and overall I didn’t find many problems. If anything, the only thing that stood out is that the funky physics with the weapons in WWE 12, are somewhat back in 13. After using chairs, ladders, tables, and stairs; the only odd thing was how they sometimes jump around the ring after impacts or when you throw them. To be honest, they can improve on this next year but it really isn’t anything that takes away from the experience.
Gameplay is mostly the same from last year’s aside some tweaks within the pin system, match settings, infinite specials, OMG moments, and reversals. First off, reversals are still done with RT but are a bit harder to time. The computer no longer goes for a move at a specific moment of a grapple like in 12′ so you have to be more patient. The reversal icon will appear over your characters head and if you time it correctly you’ll counter. If not, the game will tell you if you were late or early. The pin system has also been improved in the way that if you were in an epic battle for 10 minutes and are beat up, a chop block to the leg that was never hit on during the match will not cause you to lose a match. Only big moves like finishers, signatures, high-risk moves, or roll-up pins will affect where the blue safe zone will be and how fast the meter will go within the bar. Also, characters who have the resiliency ability will be able utilize it while trying to kick out of the pin instead of having to press it before you try to fill the meter up.
Players will also be able to choose between three different match settings: quick, normal, and epic. The more in-depth wrestling fan should understand already what that means but I will go in detail anyway for those who don’t. Quick matches are your squash matches of the WWE. Moves will have a lot more impact and finishers and signatures will provide more damage than normal. Picture Ryback vs. some random dude, the obvious intention is to end the match as quickly as possible. Normal is exactly what you think it is, it’s normal. What you would see on Raw between say, Dolph vs. Jericho, a match that could take one or two finishers and last about 5-10 minutes. As for epic, well that’s for those kind of matches that you feel should take longer to play through. For this example, picture HHH vs. Undertaker. Damage to body parts take longer to affect a player and it will take more than one finisher to beat an opponent.
Speaking of finishers, you’ll have the ability to set a certain amount of finishers for the match. You can give yourself one finisher to start the match, two, three, or infinite. You can choose to give yourself as many finishers to start off and your opponent nothing. So if you’re in a destroy Cena mood, there you go.
Being advertised as much as the Attitude Era, “OMG!” moments make its debut in WWE 13. Players will have the ability to perform amazing moments such as breaking the ring with two super heavyweights, catching opponents mid-air with a finisher, or even hitting them with a character specific special on top of the announcers table. All of these are done by simply having a stored finisher and using it at the desired moment. They all look really cool and are shown via reply from different angles. The most notable of all the moments is the ability to catch your opponent mid-air with a finisher. Whether you are on the ground or standing, if your opponent decides to use a top-rope diving attack or a springboard attack, you will be able to catch them by pressing Y. It is not an easy thing to do as you must time that button press at the same time they launch themselves into the air. You will get an indicator that flashes, but it is gone in less than a second. I was not able to pull it off the few chances I got, but I know when you do, whether you pull it off or it’s pulled off against you, you’ll certainly go “OMG”!
I had the ability to play with a handful wrestlers from both the current roster and the Attitude roster, including Dolph, Brock, Stone Cold, Hunter, Dude Love, and even Brodus Clay. I have to say that my favorite person to play as was Chris Jericho and yes the Liontamer is in the game and looks just like the one he put Ziggler in back at SummerSlam. CM Punk had the elbow drop as a signature, Austin has two different stunners in the game, and the way Brock throws characters with his belly-to-belly or German suplex look more real than arcade like (meaning they weren’t launched 6 feet behind him). The one major complaint I had with the roster was their move-sets.
Brock does not have the kimura, Y2J’s moonsault is not a signature, Miz’s signatures and finishers are mixed up (the snap DDT is his second finisher), Dude Love doesn’t have Sweet Chin Music, and mostly everyone on the roster had the same running swinging neck breaker as their running grapple. There are a few other things within the move-sets I encountered, but overall this was the only negative thing that came out of my time with the game. Knowing the game isn’t finished, I expect to see some changes to the move-sets. So before you rage, wait until October 30th to see if they make any changes or additions.
I spoke earlier on how JR and King make reliving the Attitude Era very enjoyable and spot on to how they were around the late 90′s. Well, some of this has to do with the WWE Live feature that enhances the audio in the crowd, commentary, and helps provide a live arena atmosphere to capture the WWE as if watching it on TV. For the most part, it does a good job. Plenty of signs are scattered across the crowd, they scream and boo depending on who is coming out, and they do yell “Yes, Yes, Yes” as Daniel Bryan makes his way down the ring (they don’t when he is kicking the opponent via his signature though). I wish the audio was a bit louder. I was using a pair of head phones that were on the station I was on and while I could hear the crowd with the volume up, I feel they could be louder.
One of the smallest details that actually help show how THQ tried to bring in the live WWE atmosphere is the ring of the bell. As soon as the match starts and you hear that bell ring, you actually think you are watching a live show. I know, it’s very small but you’d be surprised how authentic it actually sounds.
As for commentary, the difference between King and Cole is night and day when stacked up against JR and King. In a way it’s good and in a way it’s bad. Let’s just say I ended up playing all my matches in Attitude arenas. I was not kidding when I said both JR and King breathe life into the commentary booth of this franchise.
For those creative folks of the WWE Universe, I do have some information for you. While I wasn’t able to play around with the mode due to it being locked, create-a-ring has returned and from what we know, it’s better than ever. You will still be able to customize the ring to your heart’s content but what makes create-a-ring an even bigger improvement is the ability to change the stage. Not just the stage though, you’ll be able to change the arena and atmosphere. From what I saw, there are a ton of different stage set-ups to choose from including the old Smackdown stage with the giant fist, the ability to choose whether it’s in a big arena or a small one, and you’ll be able to choose whether it’s indoor or outdoor. Not sure what kind of outdoor arena you can choose from though the only two I saw were the Tribute to the Troops arena and the Wrestlemania IX stage.
The little time I had with WWE 13, this was the most I was able to gather. The only thing I didn’t mention was how the heavyweights played in the game. Let’s just say, they are a lot bigger in scale and smaller dudes will not be picking them up at anytime as any lifting moves are replaced with moves that are physically possible to do on them (which is more realistic). With a roster of more then 80+ superstars and divas from the Attitude Era and the current roster, WWE 13 is looking to heighten the bar yet again. From predator technology 2.0, there robust creative features, to a huge roster of past and current superstars, and an “Attitude” that hopes to educate fans while reigniting the love of a company so many supported in the 90′s.
There is a lot to look forward to in WWE 13 and the exciting part is, not everything has been revealed. There’s still Universe mode 3.0, online, and the announcements of any and all DLC. THQ is really doing a lot to provide the ultimate WWE experience and whether or not you like the roster, or if you are one of the rare people who didn’t care much about the Attitude Era; they really are working as hard as possible to create the ultimate WWE video game experience.
If you have any thoughts or questions on anything I may have missed, leave a comment below or hit me up on twitter.com/just_cow. I’ll be more then happy to discuss the game with you all.
Update: I meant to add in a quick detail about Special Referee making its return to the WWE Franchise, and let’s just say that if you don’t do your job well, a man in clown-shoes will kick you out of the match and replace you with a real ref. So watch your actions carefully and choose the right person to screw over, unless you really want to call it down the middle.