With the highly-anticipated WWE '13 video game set to be released on Oct. 30, there is no question that gamers and wrestling fans alike can hardly contain their excitement. While WWE '12 may not have fully delivered on its promise of a new generation of WWE gaming, WWE '13 seems likely to pick up the slack.
WWE '13 has been marketed as a revolution when it comes to WWE video games, and based on everything that we know to this point, I'm convinced. Not only are there several new features that are sure to please, but many of the features that were introduced last year have now been improved upon.
WWE '12 took some big steps forward last year, and the latest edition of the game figures to elaborate on that. As someone who was somewhat disappointed by WWE '12, I wasn't sure that I would be purchasing WWE '13, but now, I can't wait to get my hands on it.
Waiting another month for WWE '13's official release won't be easy, but in an effort to whet your appetite, here are the 13 coolest things about WWE's upcoming video game. If you aren't convinced as of now that it will be a revolutionary experience, perhaps you will be at the end of this slideshow.
One thing that miffed many fans of WWE video games was the removal of the classic storyline mode from the title a couple years ago. A Road to WrestleMania mode replaced it, and while there were some good things about RTWM, it didn't seem like a satisfactory stand in.
WWE '13 will focus, in large part, on the wildly popular Attitude Era, however, and with that comes a brand-new Attitude Era mode. According to IGN.com, the Attitude Era mode will allow you to use eight of the most popular characters from that time period in a continuous, branching storyline mode. In it, you can relive many of the most memorable moments from perhaps the most successful time in WWE history.
The mode will allow players to compete in 65 matches over the course of two years with in-depth video packages filling in the empty spots. While this may not appeal to every current fan, it offers something very different from what we have seen in recent editions of the game, and it could very well draw in past fans who don't even follow the WWE product currently.
One of the most exciting parts about every new WWE game is the revealing of the roster, and WWE '13 didn't disappoint in that regard. In addition to a stacked roster of current stars, WWE '13 will feature 30 Attitude Era superstars and divas in accordance with the game's Attitude Era focus. Not only can these characters be used in Attitude Era mode, but they can be mixed with newer stars in WWE Universe as well.
Not only will fans get to use the usual suspects like Shawn Michaels, "Stone Cold" Steve Austin and The Rock, but more obscure characters from the Attitude Era such as The Godfather, Val Venis and Gangrel as well. In many ways, the roster almost makes WWE '13 two games in one as their is a clear divide between past and present.
WWE '12 did a nice job of utilizing legends, but there wasn't much rhyme or reason to them. With guys like Kevin Nash, Legion of Doom, Arn Anderson, Eddie Guerrero and others, the eras just seemed to be all over the place. Many of those guys are in WWE '13 as well, but there is an established direction to this year's roster.
One of WWE '12's biggest features was the implementation of the create-an-arena mode. It was hugely popular, as it allowed gamers to customize rings and announce tables and barricades, but it wasn't anything near a finished product. WWE '13 appears to have tied up all the loose ends, however.
The main complaint last year was that the stage wasn't customizable, but according to SmackTalks.org, players can now choose from 15 different stages and they can be customized with different colors, lighting and a host of other options. On top of that, the crowds can be edited, and the venue itself can even be changed from small ECW-esque bingo halls to huge open-air stadiums.
You could argue that customization is the most important thing in video games today, as everyone wants a truly unique experience, and based on the strides that WWE '13 has made in create-an-arena mode, I believe that will be the case with this game in particular.
Every WWE fan loves to be able to recreate real-life moments in video game form, and WWE '13 will allow for that to happen thanks to new Spectacular Moments. According to WWE '13 creative director Cory Ledesma in an interview with WWE.com, Spectacular Moments creates an authentic WWE experience for the gamers.
Specific spectacular moments that can be pulled off include Big Show superplexing Mark Henry and causing the ring to collapse, Henry throwing Sheamus through the barricade and even The Undertaker throwing Mankind from the top of the Hell in a Cell structure and through the announcing table. Tons of wrestling fans' favorite actual moments can now be played out on WWE '13.
This feature reminds me a lot of what we've seen in games like Madden and the NBA 2K series as some of the most famous games, and moments in those respective sports would have to be replicated in order to advance in the mode. This is simply another in the long list of wrinkles that promises to make WWE '13 great.
WWE '12 took a huge step in the right direction in terms of gameplay quality thanks to the introduction of Predator Technology. As is the case with every new physics engine, though, there was room for improvement. That is where Predator Technology 2.0 comes in, which is the system that has been put in place for WWE '13, according to creative director Cory Ledesma.
Many of the gameplay features are the same as last year, but some of the minor tweaks figure to make the experience infinitely better. Not only is the gameplay more fluid and streamlined as a whole, but the little details are especially impressive. The WWE video game series continues to strive for realism, and preventing small wrestlers like Rey Mysterio from picking up a large wrestler like Big Show is a major part of that.
Also, the homing system makes it much easier to hit your opponent with accuracy, especially on top-rope and springboard maneuvers. There are always going to be aspects of the gameplay that can get better, but I'm optimistic about what WWE '13 has accomplished in that regard.
As mentioned previously, WWE '13 continues to add subtle features that help contribute to the game's realism, and catching finishers can be added to that endless list. A staple in WWE is countering a top-rope maneuver, and until this year, that hasn't ever really been possible. Catching finishers ensures that gamers can do it with style, however.
According to WWE '13 creative director Cory Ledesma, characters with stored finishers can thwart a top-rope attack by hitting a vulnerable opponent with a finisher out of nowhere. The best real-life example I can think of was when Randy Orton turned an Air Bourne attempt from Evan Bourne into a devastating RKO a couple years ago.
This type of thing happens fairly often in the WWE, but it wasn't possible to replicate it in a video game. On the surface, it may not seem like a huge deal, but the more gameplay features that are added, the more realistic the game gets. I can't help but be excited about the vast array of possibilities that catching finishers are sure to produce.
WWE '13 will mark the third game in which WWE Universe mode has been in place, and while it never really excited me in the past, I can't wait to see how it operates this time around. Rather than having exhibition matches or even a storyline mode, WWE Universe mode was instituted a couple years ago to ensure that every match you play is important and part of an overarching universe.
In many ways, it seemed more restrictive than innovative, but I have begun to change my tune. According to IGN.com, big changes are in store for WWE Universe 3.0, not the least of which is the involvement of Paul Heyman. The former ECW head man is one of the greatest minds to ever grace the wrestling business, and it just so happens that he helped write and design over 200 cut scenes within the mode.
There are also tons of branching storylines that offer the gamer a number of different paths, and the entire angle can be changed depending on the choice that is made. In that respect, it reminds me of the critically-acclaimed No Mercy for Nintendo 64, as it is essentially impossible to complete the mode in the same way twice.
Whether we like it or not, video games are relying more and more on downloadable content, and since it isn't going away any time soon, we might as well embrace it. The WWE video games in particular have utilized downloadable content often in the past few years, but WWE '13's DLC in particular should attract the interest of fans and almost guarantee a massive amount of sales.
According to IGN.com, THQ has announced its plans for three different DLC packages. The first will include Rikishi, Scotty 2 Hotty, Grand Master Sexay, Gangrel and Val Venus. The second features Tensai, Ryback, Drew McIntyre, Yoshi Tatsu, A.J. Lee, Natalya and 10 different championships. Also, the final package will come with Damien Sandow, Antonio Cesaro, The Usos, Brian Pillman and Chainsaw Charlie.
Many fans probably wish that a lot of those guys were already in the game, but based on the likes of Tensai, Ryback, Cesaro and Sandow getting pushes late in the developmental process, downloadable content made the most sense. If nothing else, at least the packs are separated pretty well in terms of Attitude Era guys and current characters, so fans have the ability to pick and choose.
One fantastic feature that has been absent from WWE games for the past several years is special guest referee mode. I used to love playing SmackDown: Here Comes the Pain in exhibition mode as a special guest referee, as it offered so many different options over the regular matches. It really made no sense to eliminate it from the games, but I'm ecstatic that it's back.
According to WWEGaming.com, WWE '13 will bring the return of special guest referee mode, much to the elation of gamers everywhere. It was initially thought that it would simply be used in Attitude Era Mode cut scenes, as there were images of Mike Tyson and Mankind as officials, but luckily, you can act as a special referee whenever you please.
No matter how good the game is, there will come a time when I get bored of the same old matches, but special guest referee mode offers a different perspective, as you can call it down the middle, slow or fast count, involve yourself in the match physically and everything in between. Players of the game want as many options as possible, and this is yet another great one.
The King of the Ring tournament is no longer a staple in the real-life WWE, but it will make its triumphant return in WWE '13. The re-implementation of King of the Ring mode isn't random either, as it ties into the Attitude Era theme quite well. Many rising stars won the King of the Ring during the Attitude Era, and it subsequently launched them into superstardom.
According to WWE.com, King of the Ring mode is back, and it is fully customizable to boot. Not only can you choose four, eight or 16 participants, but you can choose the types of matches within the tournament, and there is even a special coronation cut scene for the winner. I absolutely love tournaments in professional wrestling, particularly King of the Ring, so this feature is another thing that has drawn me in.
WWE Universe 3.0 sounds fantastic as it is, but adding the King of the Ring tournament offers even more possibilities for booking and storylines. This is another thing that was probably very easy to include, but it makes a world of difference to me.
Like the King of the Ring tournament, another fun game mode in the form of the "I Quit" match has been added to WWE '13, according to WWE.com. Although there are usually a couple "I Quit" matches per year (most of which end with John Cena inevitably overcoming insurmountable odds), the match type hasn't been in a WWE game for eight years, so it is a welcome addition.
Submission matches have long been a part of the WWE video game franchise, but it isn't the same. In the "I Quit" match, the referee actually puts a microphone in front of the grounded wrestler in order to see if he wants to quit. The "I Quit" match in WWE '13 is also much more advanced than the one I remember, as players must complete mini games to force the opponent to quit or to avoid having their character quit.
One thing that I have noticed in WWE games the past couple years is that it hasn't taken me long to go through all the match types and ultimately become tired of them. It was frustrating because it was obvious that more could have been added.
Obviously, the WWE '13 creators took that sentiment to heart, as other gamers have complained about the same thing. I don't envision boredom setting in for a very long time when it comes to this year's installment.
This particular slide really doesn't have anything to do with gameplay, but one thing that has always bugged me about WWE games was the lack of entrance attire. Some players simply skip through the entrances and couldn't care less, but I love watching the entrances, listening to the music and taking in all the little details, as I believe those are the things that make a game truly great.
The lack of entrance attire in particular has always miffed me because it didn't seem like something that was overly difficult to put in the games. I admittedly don't know anything about the coding and how much space entrance attire takes up on the disc, but there is always great entrance attire in the create-a-superstar mode that simply went unused since you can't add to a superstar when you edit them. Some superstars have had entrance attire in past games, but WWE '13 takes it to a different level.
Not every superstar has entrance attire this year, but a very high percentage does, and I feel like that enhances the game in a big way. From things like The Miz's jacket to Zack Ryder's shirt, headband and iPhone and even to Tensai's full garb, all of the player models look so much better and realistic in WWE '13 because of this feature.
I can't wait for the regular edition of WWE '13 to hit the shelves, but there is an even more in-depth version of the game for the insatiable gamer and WWE fan who simply needs more. That, of course, is the special Austin 3:16 collector's edition. Not only do you get the regular game, which is great in its own right, but you receive a host of other features as well.
According to THQ.com, the Austin 3:16 collector's edition contains special packaging with Austin's signature smoking skull, a card autographed by Austin himself, a special Austin t-shirt attire, Austin's ATV entrance, Mike Tyson as a playable character and finally, the third disc of the Stone Cold Steve Austin: The Bottom Line on the Most Popular Superstar of All Time DVD.
I would be more than happy with the regular WWE '13 game, but the collector's edition offers so many extras that it may be worth it to spring for that instead. Whatever the case, WWE '13 is an absolutely stacked game that I fully expect to live up to the hype when it comes out on Oct. 30.