A review of WWE’13 I wrote for the website www.square-go.com
If you think people look down on video game fans, you should try being a fan of pro wrestling. If you listen to some people, you would think it to be a fixed pantomime full of steroid addicted oafs rolling around in front of an audience comprised of NASCAR t-shirt wearing obese idiots. On a bad day maybe, but at it’s best it’s pure theatre of the highest order wherein an audience is swept up in the story playing out in front of them. This is the kind of wrestling that you glimpse whilst playing WWE’13.
This is, obviously, a wrestling game and another annual release in the series. This usually means that not much has changed last year which, broadly speaking, is the truth. There have been the odd nip and tucks but nothing too drastic. What is different from last year is The Attitude Mode.
Some historical context: The Attitude Era in WWE is a period roughly from 1997 to around 2001. It was a period that saw the WWF (as it was then) being decimated by it’s biggest competition, WCW, in what was known as The Monday Night Wars. It was a period where it threw off the shackles of the past and turned into something harder, edgier, tougher. It was, arguably, the greatest period in wrestling history and WWE’13 allows you to play through it’s highlights.
For a wrestling fan, this is a nostalgia bomb of unforeseen proportions; before you start each match you get video packages summing up the feuds and storylines at the time. You get to re-enact some of the most legendary moments in wrestling history. You get to be The Undertaker as he throws Mankind off the top of a sixteen feet high cell through the Spanish Announcers table.
Now. That last sentence. Read it again. If, when you read it, you got a jolt of excitement through your spine then don’t even bother reading the rest of this, just go and buy the game because it’s made for you.
However, if you read it and went “Who threw what of the what now?” then you might have issues with the game; you’ll notice the slightly wonky controls that have a bad habit of doing the wrong thing at the right time. You’ll get annoyed at the fact that the game never does a good job of telling you how to play it with the moves list for each character buried in the title screen rather than in the in-game pause menu. You’ll find it hard to look past the graphical glitches and slightly dodgy commentary. People new to the game, and wrestling itself, would get a lot out of Attitude Mode but for those that were there it’s on a whole other level.
This isn’t to say that there isn’t anything to the game beyond the Attitude Mode; there is a huge amount of stuff with the current generation of WWE wrestlers with storylines by wrestling legend Paul Heyman as well as plenty of online modes. This is before you get to the Create A Wrestler mode that also allows you to download the creations of other players.
So when we get down to it, before you consider buying this game you have to ask yourself a question; did you watch wrestling in the late nineties? If yes, just buy the damn game. If you didn’t, then knock a point off the score. With a steel chair, obviously.
Four stars out of five