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E3 2011: WWE '12 First Impressions

Feature; Jun. 20, 2011; Channels: Video Games; By Ryan Goodman
Subtypes: Opinion, Preview
WWE '12 fails to impress at E3 2011
Los Angeles, CA, USA

THQ is ready to step back in the ring once again this fall, promising a brand new WWE experience, that is totally different from the stale SmackDown! Vs Raw series. WWE '12 was at E3, and from what I can tell, THQ is looking to the past to move the WWE franchise into the future. That's not a good thing.

WWE '12

WWE '12 promises to have a full roster of WWE superstars when it's released, but the version at E3 only had a handful to choose from. I got to try out The Miz and Alberto Del Rio during my 10 minutes or so with the game. One of the things THQ promised when they announced WWE '12 was that all of the animations and graphics would be rebuilt from the ground up. From what I could tell, it still looked like recent WWE games. Each wrestler did their own realistic gestures during their ring entrance, but it still felt and looked the same as the older games. Perhaps this is an early build of the game, but if that's the case, then they've got a lot of work to do over the next few months.

The game controls have been simplified from previous versions, but it played like some of their older, non-SmackDown games from the 128-bit era. What came to mind when I played this was one of their GameCube games, Wrestlemania X8. The game play relies heavily on countering your opponent's attacks. While a counter system is important to have in any fighting game, it should not be the game play's core.

Overall, I was left unimpressed. While the game does play differently than most recent WWE games, it doesn't feel like something new or revolutionary. It's OK to look back and bring in some older game mechanics, but it shouldn't be from one of your less popular titles. Instead, it should have been from one of your previous successes, like the old Nintendo 64 games. From the looks of things, WWE '12 will be staying in the locker room on my holiday shopping list. The game is set for release on Nov. 22.

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