Hands-on preview: Old School: it’s not just a signature move of The Undertaker, it’s the angle THQ and Yuke’s are taking with WWE ’13. We grappled with the new Attitude Era mode and can now put on our best gruff voice to cut to a promo telling you what’s new.
WWE ’13 heavily focuses on the ‘Attitude Era,’ the period between 1996 and 2001 that many sports entertainment fans still see as a golden age. Still known as the WWF back then, it was a time which saw the rise of superstars like Triple H, ‘Stone Cold’ Steve Austin and The Rock, with storylines that were much more risqué than those of today’s more family friendly shows.
Alongside the usual yearly roster update, WWE ’13 adds a plethora of stars of the 1990s, coinciding with a new mode which takes centre stage, appropriately dubbed Attitude Era. It’s based around a series of real story arcs from WWE during the late ’90s, the first of which is ‘The Rise of DX’ – a stable founded by Triple H and Shawn Michaels which went on to become one of the most popular in WWE history – and we got to spend a few hours seeing what it has to offer.
The controls themselves are familiar, with single-button taps or flicks of the analogue stick unleashing strike, grapple and submission manoeuvres as you look to gain enough momentum to unleash signature and finishing moves. WWE ’13 sees two new additions to the controls. The first is a simple system of on-screen prompts when you fail a reversal, which tell you whether you reacted too early or too late. It’s a nice little addition to newcomers.
OMG moments are another new feature for WWE’13: these are area-specific actions which are activated through a simple push of one button. Get an opponent against the corner of the crowd control barriers, for example, and you can slam them right through it. It’s a neat touch which adds a little more wow factor to the generally limited options of previous games, while serving to bring back memories of iconic moments. It’s all done using a game engine which looks to have been polished for this new instalment.
A short video introduces us to The Rise of DX before we’re taken back to 1997 playing as Shawn Michaels in a match against Mankind. We could simply beat him in any way possible, but Attitude Era offers you the chance of recreating history, with goals in the top right hand corner of the screen. Here, our objective is simple: hit Mankind with a chair in a no-disqualification match.
Oh my God!
For example, during a later match which sees us playing as Triple H, we’re told to put our opponent through the announcer’s table and a regular table. The latter became somewhat frustrating, as despite being on the wrong end of a beat down, our opponent kept countering our attempts, to such an extent we gave up and just went to finish the match, resulting in a standard 1-2-3 finish instead of a little bit of in-game cutscene recreating history. Failure to remain true to wrestling history will also result in not getting unlockable content, including superstars, arenas, and alternative attires, after the match.
There are two slight annoyances with this: the first is that, as mentioned above, the game can make certain actions somewhat difficult. The second is that some are hidden to begin with, meaning you’ll only know what you have to do early in the match if you have memories of the events themselves. They get unveiled eventually, but it’s a slight punishment for those without in-depth knowledge of events that occurred fifteen years ago.
Despite these slight gripes, Attitude Era looks promising, offering a true-nostalgia trip for WWE fans, allowing us to relive some of our favourite moments. It offers something different to the Road to Wrestlemania stories of the past, and the number of different scenarios to play through means there will be plenty to do in Attitude Era alone.
In addition to this backbone of WWE ’13, there’s the standard exhibition match mode allowing you to take superstars and put them into a variety of different match types. Pitting the superstars of today against those of yesterday is enjoyable, even allowing you to pit those who are still active now against their 1990s selves. We can finally answer that old age question for sure, who is better PG era Kane, or Attitude Era Kane? (The answer is the latter, by the way). Community creation tools also return, once again allowing you to create your own superstars, arenas ,and storylines online, giving wrestling fans almost an infinite number of things to do with the game.
The overall formula might mostly be the same, but the addition of Attitude Era nostalgia and various tweaks are likely to make WWE ’13 one of the most successful games in the long running series.
WWE’13 , from THQ and Yuke’s, is scheduled for release on November 2nd in Europe for Xbox 360, PS3 and Wii.