The last time I remember watching wrestling was when I was around twelve. In fact me and my friends were so caught up in WWE fever that one of my more imaginative friends made up a role playing game, where we all rolled a 20 sided dice during a make believe match to decide whose wrestler would be victorious. There was no prize obviously, well unless you count the make believe championship belt.
Oh how times have changed, no longer do we need to pretend to be in the ring, instead, thanks to THQ’s WWE video game, we find ourselves in the ring for real, feeling every blow, seeing every bone crunching move and not to mention every bead of sweat dripping from the wrestler’s brow. The only way you could possibly get closer to the action would be to throw on some spandex and hold your own ring invasion during one of the popular sports live shows.
Thankfully, we will not be putting on the spandex any time soon and neither should you, because with this latest version of WWE, developer Yuke Media Creations has given us one of the closest representations of any sport on a video game. I won’t pretend to know who any of the wrestlers are, I’ve long moved on from being a 12 year old wrestling fan, however I know for a fact that every wrestler in this game is extremely accurate in comparison to the sports person it is representing, while everything else you could possibly want from the game is also firmly in place, making for one amazing and authentic experience.
The authenticity starts with the wrestlers themselves, offering a roster of over 60 superstars, including names such as The Rock, Shawn Michaels and Triple H. There also also plenty of other big names, including the ever present Mr Mcmahon. Each wrestler obviously has their own signature moves, as well as the ability to beat the living daylights out of you if you’re not paying attention, especially on higher difficulty settings. Interestingly, you can even decide how the AI will act during a fight by tweaking the frequency options in the main menu, making things both interesting and fair.
As you would expect, authenticity is the key to WWE 12, therefore each match feels like it would on TV or I’d imagine, in person. Every main character loves to make an entrance and this has been captured beautifully. It’s also very entertaining watching as characters celebrate a win, with the loser looking on in despair. This is what you want to see from a sports game, because these moments are all part of the passion fans feel when watching.
In addition to the wrestlers and TV-like experience, all other aspects of the game have also been included in WWE 12. Therefore, whatever match type you want to play or title you want to challenge for, it’s all here. In fact anything that isn’t here soon will be, thanks to the the impressive DLC, which it seems will be adding even more to the experience somewhere down the line.
WWE 12 is packed full of single player goodness, starting with newly improved WWE Universe. This year’s incarnation certainly brings in the changes, allowing you to rename the sports various shows, give them exclusive titles and even interfere with matches. There is a much more story-less approach here, instead allowing you the ability to simulate the shows and manage them in a way which you see fit. Another change is that the Exhibition mode is now separated from the Universe, allowing you to jump straight into any match you wish, be it One on one; Hell in a cell; Last man standing or whatever else takes your fancy.
Another change which may or may not appeal to fans is that of the Road to Wrestlemania mode. This year Road to WrestleMania takes a different approach, having you play one long storyline spanning 18 months, which involves playing as one of just three wrestlers. During this mode you can play as either Sheamus, Triple H or as a Created Superstar as you not only try to wrestle your way to the top, but also take part in backstage segments and other story elements, which sometimes make the more feel like a slightly long winded affair, although I am sure these will appeal to most fans.
The final element to the single player experience are the Create modes, which bring a whole range of options, which will make even the most obsessive wrestling fan happy. Within Create mode you can create a superstar, a entrance movie, design a story and even create the arena in which matches take place. In addition to the latter options, you can also create a finishing move, logos and more. Finally, you can also adjust existing wrestlers’ moves, looks and attributes; it’s almost like creating your own WWE copycat brand, complete with strangely similar looking wrestlers.
Obviously going online steps things up even more. No longer will even the smallest element be predictable as you take on human opponents in order to win bragging rights and avoid a bruised ego, as well as a bruised wrestler. Online seems to have everything you would expect, including a fantastically competitive World of like-minded fans, although suggestions that they are playing the game with one hand while waving a large oversized novelty hand in the other are unfounded.
It used to be that you would need to add a bit of imagination alongside your favourite sports based video game in order to recreate the perfect experience, however it’s getting to the stage where games such as WWE 12 are almost as good as the real thing. Just being a fan and watching WWE is now no longer an option, because when playing this latest game in the series you are actually in the ring taking part. WWE 12 provides such an impressive, authentic experience that you may not need to watch the sport again, because you can live it instead.
Rating: ExcellentReview Policy
WWE 12 launches November 25 on PS3, Xbox 360 and Wii. You can order your copy here (PS3), here (Xbox 360) and here (Wii).