An In-Depth Look at WWE '13 @ E3 2012

An In-Depth Look at WWE '13 @ E3 2012

  • By: CM Boots-Faubert
  • Posted 30th Jul 2012

WWE 13

Like it usually does at its official events, the wrestling empire that is the WWE arrived at E3 2012 with a splash of excitement, as its designated spokesman and wrestler Sheamus (Stephen Farrelly -- Stíofán Ó Fearghaile) exploded onto the scene and helped make the WWE '13 exhibit space a testosterone-charged ring of its own. In addition to being an Irish professional wrestler and actor, Sheamus is also the reigning World Heavyweight Champion, and appeared at E3 to promote the upcoming next offering in the well-established extreme sports and wrestling series -- WWE '13.

The Celtic Warrior made an appearance on G4's "E3 2012 Live" where he spoke about the exciting new features that the game holds, and the Dublin-born athlete made it very clear that he is excited by the game, which he plays, and honestly hopes that the effort to address the many shortcomings that the fans have focused upon in earlier titles will, in this newest series entry, help to heal the rift that has existed for nearly a decade.

If you were to survey the fans of modern wrestling video games you should not be surprised to find that many still claim that the Nintendo 64’s WWF: No Mercy, which was released in November 2000, is the best wrestling game ever. In fact a huge percentage of gamers still have their Nintendo 64 hooked up to their TV just to play that one game, and how about that?

WWE '13 Announce Trailer - Live the Revolution!

It probably matters that the release of No Mercy happened at the very height of the popularity of both wrestling and wrestling games, and the fact that the game was created with an intense story line and featured a roster of some of the best-loved characters from the ring -- Triple-H, Taka Michinoku, Funaki, Mankind, Stone Cold Steve Austin, The Rock, and wrestling icon and current business baron Vince McMahon helps to explain its enduring popularity and the reason why all future titles in the genre are measured by -- and usually fail to live up to -- its example.

Perhaps it will help to remember that the cornerstone of WWF: No Mercy -- and one of the reasons that it resonates so well with the fans -- was the inclusion of the drama that was the rivalries that existed within the court of royalty in the sport at the time. Anyone who even lightly followed the sport would be aware of the rivalry between Stone Cold Steve Austin and The Rock, as well as the secret pact that Vince McMahon made that so upset the fans. If you are tempted to point out that all of that is in the past, well, not so much really -- wrestlers might briefly forget about rivalries and who did dirty to who, but the fans never do!

WWE '13 Mike Tyson Trailer

Those rivalries and the stories behind them from a time that is now called "The Attitude Era" spanned the entire continent -- and really where else can you expect to see Vince McMahon wet himself while the business end of a pistol is being held to his head, or Mankind being thrown off the top of the Hell In A Cell? Even in the bad old days of the pre-Internet era of the 1970's when the wrestling circuit meant packed municipal arenas in southern towns and low-key stars like Steamboat Mulligan, a trash-talking Tony Atlus, and the likes of Andre The Giant, Gorilla Monsoon, Billy White Wolf, Bulldog Brower, and the Yukon Lumberjacks kept us glued to the edge of our seats -- you just knew that one of their friends was going to pass a metal folding chair into the ring and someone was going to get a can of woop-ass unloaded on them! But yeah, even in the bad old days you did not see the level of pure and unadulterated hate and other emotions that we saw back then.

While fans of No Mercy may be convinced that nothing short of a return of the Attitude Era would make any difference in changing their opinion of the... Wait... Well what do you know?! The meat and potatoes of WWE '13 is a return to the Attitude Era!

-- The Return of the Attitude Era --

Considering the utter disappointment that last year's career mode presented to serious fans in WWE '12, they will be very happy to wave goodbye to the Road to Wrestlemania as in its place as the career mode in the game is entirely set within the Attitude Era, with a newly honed focus upon the feuds, the personal travesties, and the best of the lowdown putdown in-your-face your-momma 'tude that made the mid 00's a great time to be a fan...

Before you start to fret that this is going to be little more than disjointed small-time theater we can reassure you that it will not -- the briefing and the preview at E3 illustrated in detail that the upcoming focus will not consist of a selection of separate matches with no linking themes, but rather presents as one very long timeline during which your wrestler's adventures dovetail into those of the other personalities -- and players -- so that the campaign can be experienced in chronological order ensuring that you do not miss a beat -- or a beatdown -- from the start of chapter one to the finish of the game.

Packed in between the classic footage, emotion-rousing posturing, and footage vignettes that explain how the Monday Night Wars are going, your wrestling career will steadily progress from bout to bout with the odd bonus match unlocked as you play through the campaign, and no matter what side you identify with, the battle between the WWE and its rival wrestling company is bound to provoke an emotional reaction!

Content is king when it comes to wrestling games, and like most wrestling gamers the idea of short-cutting a bout for convenience is as offensive as having a win called by technicality, so the news that the annoying "Press to finish the fight" prompts that seemed to pop up in every match in WWE '12 have been completely removed from the game should be welcome news indeed.

WWE '13 "Austin 3:16" Collector's Edition, featuring Stone Cold Steve Austin

As part of its bid to recapture the excitment of the past, THQ has added a new element to the game -- called 'Spectacular Moments' -- that both highlights and allows you to relive the spectacular special moves that usually get the crowd over-involved in the emotion of the moment (think table smashes, ring breaks, and the low-down and dirty moves that, nonetheless have a breathless element to them), and lest you forget where all of this is really coming from, on those rare occasions when you pull off one of those moves you will get a three-part replay that will instantly connect this to the action sequences of WWF: No Mercy to bask in your glory (or shame) in vivid color.

Yeah, it is a presentation sequence and mini-CS that is pulled right out of No Mercy, but again, that is the point. Call it what you like -- capitulation? Surrender? The right thing? The obvious choice? -- any way you look at it the refocus of WWE '13 with an emphasis upon the game play and presentation that made WWF: No Mercy the iconic benchmark that it is should clearly communicate that THQ and the WWE have acknowledged that the gamers were right. You don't try to fix something that is not broken, and for most serious fans the efforts that went into almost all of the games since No Mercy were just that -- attempts to fix what was not broken.

While THQ has been fairly tight with details, the first batch of Superstars to be featured in the game have been announced, and they include Stone Cold Steve Austin, Sheamus, Chris Jericho, Mark Henry, Mick Foley (in his Mankind persona), CM Punk, Big Show and The Undertaker. On June 19, THQ confirmed that Mike Tyson will be available in the pre-orders of WWE '13,

In the end at E3 we were only treated to what amounts to highlights of the upcoming title, but it was enough to convince us that there has been real change, and the return of some iconic figures combined with the thrill of making your own wrestler and taking them through the long and complicated process of building a career -- through the story of campaign and beyond -- assures us that there is a genuine reason to be excited, and that the next game in the series is something to look forward to.

WWE '13 is being developed by Yuke's and published by THQ with versions for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and Nintendo's Wii. Its release date is set for October 30th, and in addition to the bog standard edition we can expect to see the "Austin 3:16" Collector's Edition of WWE '13 available for pre-order for Xbox 360 and PS3. Also, pre-orders for the PS3 in North America will include a bonus disk from "Stone Cold Steve Austin: The Bottom Line on the Most Popular Superstar of All Time," while the 360 will get a different disc. The game has been rated T (for Teens) by the ESRB, and it has received a PEGI 16 rating from the Pan European Game Information center. As usual the Australian Classification Board has come down with a heavy-handed M (for Mature) rating.