WWE 13 Review
WWE is in a rut. WWE 13 is the perfect example of this fact. The only real forward steps this year’s entry to the wrasslin’ series has taken are by going back to the Attitude era – that point between 1997 and 2002 when it was genuinely must-see TV – and recreating it, blow for blow, insult for insult, censored use of the term ‘WWF’ for censored use of the term ‘WWF’.
Nostalgia is a powerful thing and, in the case of wrestling fans, a very powerful thing. So starved are they for something that’s actually enjoyable to watch these days that they’re certain to lap up the Attitude content, power through the hours of content it offers, hit every historical match condition (hit Vince with the chair when Dude Love ducks it, bliss!) and lap up the videos and photography from the era thrown their way. Stone Cold, Bret Hart, The Rock, Mankind, Kane before he got fat, the New Age Outlaws, British Bulldog, Ken Shamrock, even the Big Boss Man: there’s so many names here it can’t help but bring a smile to the face of players of a certain age.
But the game behind it, cowering at the back of these personalities of yesteryear, is very similar to what came last year. All the talk of a Predator 2.0 engine just means it’s a bit quicker and – unless you turn the on-screen prompts off – reversals are easier for fat-handed berks to pull off. Beyond that it’s the same tweaked and iterated engine that has been in dire need of a factory recall and total reworking for the last… god, since Smackdown vs Raw 2006. Clipping is still a massive issue, with moves simply not registering contact when they make contact and other silly little foibles and problems that really shouldn’t exist anymore. It’s been years. There’s no excuse.
Similarly there’s little rhyme or reason for character movesets being very similar across the board. The need to pad out what the performers actually do is understood, but not every single WWE Legend used a gutbuster. They just didn’t. It’s lazy and smacks of a rush-job.
WWE is in a rut both on TV and in the videogame world, and all the nostalgia in the world can’t fix that. Both products need a fundamental reinvention if they’re to become anything other than an irrelevant side-attraction you can only sometimes be bothered with. Frankly, WWE 14 needs its own Attitude era.
You’ll notice this number is higher than that we gave WWE 12 (50%), even though we complain about a barely-evolved sequel here. Well, the power of nostalgia and the strength of the Attitude era combine nicely. Other than that? This is a pointless game.