Even though I don’t watch the WWE anymore, I can still appreciate a great pro wrestling video game. ‘Pro Wrestling’ for the original Nintendo was a fun game and my first experience in digital wrestling. There have been some hits and misses over the years for sure. Some of my fondest memories as a gamer were playing 4 player co-op with friends on the various WWF and WCW titles on the Nintendo 64. We’d literally spend hours playing fatal 4 way ladder matches and screwing each other over as special guest referee on the classic ‘WWF No Mercy’.
Last year’s ‘WWF ’12’ reinvented THQ’s long running series ‘Smackdown vs. Raw’. I enjoyed the new control scheme as well as the beautiful graphics and the never ending WWE Universe mode. Online was a different story with server problems beyond imagination, not working way more often than not. It didn’t bother me, since I rarely play online.
I recently had major foot surgery done and I’d be stuck at home for the next few months. I purchased WWE ’13 mostly for kicks and grins trying to kill some time while I’m stuck at home. What’s happened since has pleasantly surprised me. Hell, since I bought the game, I haven’t even gone back to ‘Resident Evil 6’ yet. Anyone who knows me knows how much I love RE, so that’s a major statement in itself.
The game itself is incredible, jam-packed and just plain fun. Let’s start off with the roster, which boast more than 100 playable characters [including yet-to-be-released Downloadable Content or DLC]. That is, by far, the biggest roster in any wrestling video game to date. That doesn’t even include the popular create-a-wrestler [CAW] which can hold up to 50 creations or the 2 non-playable managers: Paul Bearer and Ricardo Rodriguez. The best and probably most popular part of the roster are 44 superstars from the Attitude Era that lasted from 1996-2002. Unfortunately, some major players from that time are not included in this game. Copyrights as well as working for rival Impact! TNA Wrestling prohibits major stars like Kurt Angle, the Hardy Boyz and the Dudley Boyz from being in the game. The good news is simply called ‘Community Creations’ found in the Online portion of the game. Just like ‘WWE ‘12’, gamers around the world can create any current or former star. Not only create the superstar, but his or her entrance and move-set. Then the gamer has the choice of uploading their creation to the Community Creation. I’m telling you now, that there are some gifted people out there who do a tremendous job creating carbon copies of their superstars. Many gamers dreams are answered because Kevin Nash’s theme music is the old now theme music. So if anyone wants to create a Hollywood Hulk Hogan or anyone else from the infamous group, they now have proper music. In my case, so far I have uploaded Angle, the Hardyz, the Dudleys and Paul Heyman to join my roster.
The Attitude Era is regarded by many fans to be the greatest time in the history of pro wrestling. Led by Stone Cold Steve Austin, the WWF surged passed WCW in the Monday night ratings war. The Attitude Era is the game’s main selling point and I think the creators pulled it off perfectly. The Attitude Era story mode replaced the Road to WrestleMania mode from year’s past. With the previous games, the story mode was made specifically for that game and it didn’t have anything to do with current or past storylines. The Attitude Era lets you relive some of the greatest, controversial and epic moments and matches in wrestling history. Some of the highlights include playing playing as Bret Hart as his captures his 5th and final WWF World Title from the Undertaker at SummerSlam 1997, playing as Shawn Michaels during the infamous 1997 ‘Montreal screw-job’ and playing as Stone Cold as he captures his first WWF World Title at WrestleMania XIV with special guest referee Mike Tyson [who is a playable character if you reserved the game before it went on sale] and. This story mode will take the average gamer about 10 hours to complete. Along the way, you can unlock superstars, championships and arenas to compete in. It also shows video clips of some of the Era’s greatest moments. And while you play these matches, fan favorite commentators Jim Ross and Jerry “The King” Lawler give all new commentary and I think sometimes they even use the original commentary which is pretty cool.
The replay value of this game is simply phenomenal. So many match types including the return of special guest referee as well as a [10 up to 40 man] Royal Rumble, the Championship scramble, “I Quit!” matches, inferno matches, last man standing, hell in the cell, elimination chamber, money in the bank [simply called 6 man ladder], TLC [tables ladders chairs] and the return of the King of the Ring tournament. There are over 20 different Championships to unlock, win, or retain in different match types. Several classic WWF arenas can be unlocked as well including WrestleManias XIV and XV, Badd Blood 1997, Over the Edge 1998, One Night Only 1997, and Survivor Series 1998. WWE Universe mode 3.0 is replay unto itself. It is a never ending mode where it takes you through weekly shows Raw, Superstars and Smackdown as well as the monthly pay-per-view events. In this mode, you can defend or win titles, create feuds, even turning superstars heel or face [bad or good].
The gameplay is exceptional too as the remained for the most part the control scheme from last year’s game. The reversal is key when you play. Don’t expect to win if you can’t time the reversal prompts when they pop up. One cool addition is in regards to stored finishers. When you set up an exhibition match, you now how the option to start with none, 1, 2, 3 or infinite finishing moves. Infinite would be considered cheap by many but it’s still fun to have that choice I think. Other additions this year include the OMG! Moments like heavyweight wrestlers like Big Show and Mark Henry suplexing off of the top rope and destroying the ring. Other moments are throwing some poor sap off of the hell in the cell onto the announcer’s table. Not an OMG! Moment in the game per se, but still fun to watch. You can also smash through the 4 corners barricade in front of the audience. Some of the wrestlers like CM Punk, Chris Jericho and Randy Orton can use their finishing moves when their opponents springboard towards them off of the top rope. Nothing like seeing an RKO out of nowhere like that.
All in all, an excellent wrestling game. Any gamer who appreciates a good wrestling game will simply love the fact that there is so much to do. You don’t even have to be a fan of the WWE like me to really enjoy this game. Is it as good as the popular wrestling titles on the N64? I think one bald redneck said it best…
“Oh hell yeah!”
Score: 9.5 out of 10