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WWE '13

by Andy Goergen - November 30, 2012, 8:53 am PST
Total comments: 2


Two degenerates, a Brahma bull, and a Texas rattlesnake walk into a bar...

Professional wrestling is not a competitive sport. It is a dramatic event wrapped in the trappings of a competitive sport. The interesting thing about video game adaptations of professional wrestling is that there is no distinction. Wrestling video games are as much sport games as Madden NFL Football, and thus every year we are treated to a new release with a roster update and a few new modes. WWE 13 for Wii has the distinction of being the last wrestling game, and probably last sports game, to launch on Wii before it is officially a last-generation system. Even so, it’s a slobber-knocker.

The main campaign mode in this year's WWE game is Attitude Era mode, a carefully crafted set of video packages and matchups that tell the tale of some of the major superstars that rose to prominence during what is often considered the WWE's finest era, the WWE Attitude era, which stretches from 1997 through early 2000. The game breaks Attitude Era mode into six main chapters; the first five focus on specific superstars, and the final showcases the events that led to WrestleMania XV. "The Heartbreak Kid" Shawn Michaels, "Stone Cold" Steve Austin, Mankind, The Undertaker, Kane, and The Rock are among the icons featured in this mode, with many supporting characters appearing along the way.

Seeing a modern wrestling game dedicate a mode to recreating these classic matchups and personalities is a treat, especially for anyone who followed wrestling during this period. The video packages, as per usual, are superb, and while the specific pairings get a bit repetitive (How many times did Kane, The Undertaker, and Mankind all meet in the ring during 1999?), the objectives in each match keep things fresh and fun. You can also unlock tons of bonus matches if you go the extra mile and recreate the original matches with specific stunts and sequences. The more you play, the more characters, outfits, and arenas you unlock. The game dedicates almost half its roster to wrestlers from the late 1990s, including alternate (younger) versions of superstars that still wrestle today like The Rock, The Undertaker, Chris Jericho, and Triple H.

In addition to Attitude Era, the game includes WWE Universe mode, which returns from prior years mostly unchanged. It's essentially a way to recreate whatever WWE storylines you want, and at the pace you desire. If at any point things get too crazy for your tastes, you can reset the mode back to its default settings. With this mode, dedicated wrestling fans get a chance to shape the WWE world as they see fit, for as long as they want to play. The game automatically puts matches on each card, but you can change them around as you see fit before beginning each show. You can even change the difficulty on the fly by setting it to a Quick, Normal, or Epic length match. The lack of direction felt a bit daunting to me, but for many wrestling fans, this dream booking will provide many hours of gameplay. This mode allows you to play the game in perpetuity, playing or changing up matches on the various WWE events that take place during the year. Championships swap, teams form, and alliances break.

The gameplay is polished, as you may expect from a developer who has made these games for about a decade. The grapple/strike/reversal system feels somewhat simplified, but has many combinations that aren't necessarily obvious. Though the game doesn't come with a detailed manual (the era of the single-page instruction pamphlet is upon us), there is a somewhat helpful tutorial in the pause menu. It doesn't tell you much about how your specific wrestler operates, but it does provide instruction in executing useful maneuvers like submission holds or Irish Whips, and repositioning your opponent as needed.

The game looks great at times, awful at others. From a distance, things look fantastic; the wrestlers animate just like their real-life counterparts, and actual superstars provide the voice acting. Unfortunately, closer views reveal some incredibly ugly models, notably among the audience members. The game doesn't show them up close very often, but when it does, they resemble Silent Hill monsters. The wrestlers are much better, of course, but even among the superstars some duds crop up. Faces are hit and miss; some look great, but others are completely unrecognizable.

As a complete package, WWE 13 may be the best wrestling game on the market in years. Although the storyline mode caters to a bygone era, there are still plenty of modern wrestlers to choose from, and match types aimed at current WWE fans. Though the Wii version lacks the downloadable content and online play of its HD counterparts, it still feels like a solid update.


  • Animation and voice acting is top notch
  • Campaign mode is tailored for fans of the Attitude Era
  • Controls are simplified, but filled with options
  • Models can be quite ugly
  • No online play


TJ SpykeNovember 30, 2012

The Attitude era is actually from about 1998 to 2002 (the exact dates are debated, but this is the most commonly agreed one, though I don't know what THQ defines it as in the game). The game looks better than in past years, but I have heard some pretty bad bugs in the HD versions.

JasonMaiviaNovember 30, 2012

A lot of those bugs are also in the Wii version, and it's unfortunate that THQ and Yukes will NOT provide fixes for them.  There will be no patches, because they've purposely left out online support.
Frame rate can get pretty low, the game is glitchy as hell, it freezes from time to time, Signature and Finisher indicators won't show for Gamecube controller users, and sometimes the animation goes too fast (especially springboard and other flying attacks).

The Wii version is also missing every single new feature that's been added to the series since 2009.  This year, there's no create an arena, ring, belt modes.  The Create a Superstar mode is still the very same thing that's been in since the older games (HD consoles have a totally new creation mode), and still no online play.

The graphics are still bad as ever, with games, like WWE Day of Reckoning on the frickin' Gamecube looking far better.  The last PS2 game, Smackdown vs. Raw 2011, had better shadowing and lighting effects that the Wii version ever had.

Running Heavy Attacks and Grapples still won't activate at times, which is something THQ and Yukes have never addressed for Wii.  You will run at your opponent while holding down the attack or grapple button, but your wrestler will sometimes do absolutely nothing.  THQ once mentioned that the timing for Irish Whip rebound grapples was supposed to be fixed this year, but...it's not.  It's still pretty bad.

An 8.5 score is way to generous, especially when there's still a lot of crap that's been purposely left out, and many problems that have been left in, along with glitches that will never be fixed.

The roster, the Attitude era, new animations, and the slightly touched up game play controls, are the only good things going for it, but still, overall, it's an incomplete mess.

  It's still a fun game, but only worth buying if you love wrestling games and you haven't bought one in a long time.  But stay far, far away from the Wii version if you own an HD console.

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WWE '13 Box Art

Developer Yuke's Co. Ltd.
Players1 - 4

Worldwide Releases

na: WWE '13
Release Oct 30, 2012

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