Growing up, my friends and I would spend hours with games like WWF No Mercy and Smackdown trying to recreate our favorite moments. We would throw Mick Foley off the cage, pit wrestlers like Stone Cold Steve Austin against rivals like The Heartbreak Kid Shawn Michaels. On top of that, we would create our favorite stars from rival companies like ECW and WCW to have dream matches we thought we would never see. Now, WWE 13 does all of this for you and though I'm not sure how fourteen year-old me would have taken it, I probably would have gotten a lot more fresh air.
That's because WWE 13 is simply a wrestling fan's dream; it's got all of the glitz, glamour and pageantry of current WWE programming combined with a love letter to The Attitude Era, one of the most turbulent but critical time periods in the company's history. Sadly though, the game is plagued with issues that have hindered the engine for years and stop it from being the gem it could be.
The biggest addition to this year's game is the Attitude Era Mode, which finds you playing through some of the biggest moments from the 90s and early 2000's era WWE. Specifically you'll be playing as Stone Cold Steve Austin, Shawn Michaels, HHH, The Undertaker, Mankind and of course, the Rock. You're free to recreate the moments like the infamous Hell in a Cell match between Undertaker and Mankind or the formation of DX as they happened, and you'll unlock cool videos and photos as you do, but you'll also be free to change the outcome and rewrite history if you'd like.
Attitude Mode doesn't stop there though, as you can also unlock a number of the eras biggest stars that aren't featured in the main game like Ken Shamrock, Paul “I'm going to be the Big Show one day” Wight and the Godfather. The best part of the mode though is being able to relive and often remember some of these moments that kept me and my friends captivated every Monday night for years.
Of course, there would be no sense in calling the game WWE 13 if it didn't feature the company's current product and top stars. Everyone from CM Punk to Brock Lesnar, Brodus Clay and Daniel Bryan are included and for the most part (read: not their faces) feels remarkably similar to their counterpart. As a CM Punk fan (growing up, we often watched him compete in the MidWest Independent scene before WWE and ROH), I use the Second City Saint often and from the entrance to the finishing maneuver, everything feels true to life. The game does suffer from some of the same issues it has for years, like players getting stuck in their animations, but those moments seem few and far between this year.
WWE 13 is easily the best looking wrestling game ever, each wrestler is recreated with intricate detail...again, except the faces. The commentary is once again the main issue though as Jim Ross, Jerry Lawler and Michael Cole just seem to spit out random phrases at the most ridiculous times, often not even matching what's going on in the ring. Curiously enough, the new Attitude Mode uses actual sound files from the matches taking place, but the rest of the game is stuck with the same crap commentary as recent years -- THQ, please hire the team behind the NBA 2K series for WWE 14, I'm tired of playing with my headphones on.
Aside from the regular gameplay and Attitude Mode, WWE 13 features mostly what you would expect it to -- WWE Universe Mode, Online and a pretty cool creation suite, which features the return of Community Creations. That mode is a bit exciting for me, since it makes it so much easier to download some great created wrestlers, arenas and move sets.
From Raw to Smackdown and NXT and Superstars in between - there's a lot of WWE programming on TV each week, but if you still can't get enough, you could do a lot worse than WWE 13. It's a fine tuned love letter to both the current WWE product as well as the stars and moments of the past. Smell what you're cooking, have a nice day and figure out what the bottom line is -- WWE 13 is easily the best wrestling game in years.