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WWE '12 Review

Review; Dec. 29, 2011; Channels: Video Games; By Ryan Goodman
Does this grappler rise to the top of the video game squared circle?

Not long after the release of the previous WWE game, THQ announced it would be going back to the drawing board for the next one, WWE ’12. THQ promised to build the entire game from the ground up, including brand new graphics and animations. Early builds of the game, such as the one seen at E3, seemed to back away from most of those statements. While the final product is far from perfect, wrestling fans will be pleased to know that this in-ring competitor is ready to move toward that championship gold.

WWE '12

WWE ’12 features a roster of the who’s who in World Wrestling Entertainment. All of the big stars are there, including John Cena, C.M. Punk, and The Undertaker. There’s also several of the WWE Divas and other on-air personalities, such as commentators Jim Ross and Jerry “The King” Lawler, along with the head of the WWE himself, Vince McMahon. The game also has many past superstars, such as Shawn Michaels, Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat, and even UFC star Brock Lesnar. If that isn’t enough, THQ plans on adding more characters via DLC, and you can make your own in one of the most detailed creation modes you will ever see. The game also includes all the main shows and arenas, such as Wrestlemania, and you can create those from scratch, too. You can also stream your own music to add yet another layer to the customization.

WWE ’12 also features virtually any type of wrestling match you can think of. Along with your basic one-on-one and tag team battles, you can also fight multiple opponents at once, lay the smackdown inside a steel cage, and even participate in several of WWE’s specialty matches, such as the Royal Rumble and Money in the Bank. The game also features two main story modes: Road to Wrestlemania and WWE Universe. In the former, you play out three different scenarios -- as a hero, villain, and outsider -- going after the ultimate prize, the WWE championship. WWE Universe, however, is where you’ll likely be spending most of your time, as you become the matchmaker. You get to control who fights who, and who rises to become the top contenders on each show. In many ways, WWE ’12 is a wrestling fan’s dream putting you in the shoes of Vince McMahon and letting you control the entire WWE universe with a touch of your fingertips.

The game’s major hiccup, however, is a big one. WWE ’12 prominently features online play, including several of the match types, and a community forum where you can download and upload your created wrestlers and arenas. The problem lies in that THQ’s servers are hardly ever up long enough to even log on. THQ has said that it's working out the kinks, but as of this writing, WWE ’12 has been out more than a month, and the problem still persists. When it is finally working, it will probably be a great component to the game, but for now, it’s completely useless.

WWE '12 Screenshots
Click the image to view game screenshots

Despite the lack of consistent online play, THQ did, for the most part, back up what it promised when WWE ’12 was announced. The game does feature improved graphics and new animations. Most of the theme songs for the wrestlers are in their current form, too, which had been a big problem in many previous WWE titles. Another positive is that the commentary in the game doesn’t sound as repetitive as in previous titles. The in-ring action moves very smoothly, and it should only take you about a match or two to get the new controls down. The game features a new “predator” system, in which you can target an opponent’s limb to maximize damage to that area. One annoyance, which hasn’t changed since the E3 build, is that it seems the computer knows your every move at times and consistently counters. The good news is that the game has AI control options, where you can use sliders and turn down the amount of reversals and other things CPU opponents do in the ring. Overall, WWE ’12 plays very well and is probably the most realistic wrestling game from a control standpoint since WWF No Mercy more than 10 years ago.

In the end, WWE ’12 is a must-get if you are a wrestling fan. Casual fans and gamers can get a kick out of it, but the game may only take them too far. Had it not been for the major issues with the online play, WWE ’12 could have easily been the new champion of the video game ring, but until those issues are resolved, this bout will have to settle for the middle of the card.

* Editor's Note: This review is based on the Xbox 360 version.

Comments

Review Score
7.5

Teen

Titles rated T (Teen) have content that may be suitable for ages 13 and older. Titles in this category may contain violence, suggestive themes, crude humor, minimal blood, simulated gambling, and/or infrequent use of strong language.

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