WWE '12 Review (Xbox 360)
Anytime a game improves, it should be considered a success. That’s exactly how I feel about WWE 12.
A marked improvement over Smackdown vs. Raw 2011, This year’s game has a new control scheme that harkens back to the basics of the series. The initial grapple buttons are mapped to A and X respectively based on the system. From there you can use the right stick to chain grapple. This will set up different moves based on the position you are relative to your opponent. The animations of these moves are similar to previous years, but still look great. THQ did a good job making sure that every superstar has all the moves in their repertoire.
THQ also added a new limb targeting system. This helps especially with superstars who use submission as finishers. So if you are Alberto Del Rio, it is probably a good idea to target your opponents arm to set him up for the cross arm breaker submission.
New this year is the comeback moment. If you are taking a beating in a match you just might get the chance to mount a comeback and snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. A button prompt will appear over your head, and once pressed it will become a quick time event as your superstar progresses through his authentic comeback routine. It gives you the sense that you are never out of a match and they just look flat out awesome.
Another cool addition is Wake Up Taunts. When you use your finisher, instead of doing it immediately, either you or your opponent will go into a cut scene where they wait for you to “wake up” before they apply their finisher.
But with the good, there is the bad.
AI issues hold the game back in some ways. Sometimes they disrupt the flow of the match. For example, the AI could have me on the ropes (no pun intended) and might stand there looking into the crowd for a moment. This might allow me to recover and go back on the offensive. There are times when The AI will apply their finisher yet they won't go for the pin. This could end the match, but instead you get a reprieve. I don’t want to win cheap.
Some of the worst gaffes happen during multiple man matches. It seems your teammate(s) are lost. They jump up and down of the ring apron for no reason at times. If you have a match where more than two superstars are in the ring it gets crazy; mo one seems to know what to do at times. This has me playing more one-on-one matches -- it shouldn’t be like that.
I have also seen some strange glitches that also effect gameplay. Sometimes my opponent will lose his finisher as he tries to apply it, yet somehow wiffs. This isn’t a good wiff, this is a glitch wiff. I have only seen it a couple of times so it’s not some pressing matter that will infuriate gamers.
Other glitches include some clipping and minor resolution issues.
Overall, the gameplay as a whole has made strides this year. At the very least it shows the commitment THQ and Yuke’s have made to us as gamers.
This is where THQ nailed it. I seriously feel like I’m watching WWE television. With the 25 new camera angles during gameplay I feel fully immersed. The superstars theme music now has a reverb effect which only adds to the authenticity. And the entrances come complete with authentic pyro.
Also, the superstars (and diva’s) are represented well. The character models are pretty well done.
There are a couple quips I have about how some things related to presentation work in Universe mode. You are supposed to be able to choose which superstars you want on which show. The only problem is, when you put someone on Superstars for example they tend to pop back up in the other shows. I haven’t been able to figure out how to fix this issue, but I am sure if there is a work around it will be found by my OS brethren.
One thing I have to say is that in Universe mode the simulated matches come out, for the most part, realistically. You will rarely see a guy like John Cena losing to Heath Slater, if ever. In fact, you will rarely see that match even happen. The AI does a fine job setting up feuds. They tend to make sense. I have seen the Rock attack John Cena, Alberto Del Rio feud with CM Punk, and the Undertaker and Kane team up. The cut scenes add a lot to the spats between superstars. There are supposed to be over 100, but to be honest I have seen some repeated scenes. Overall though, the Simulation Realism is impressive.
THQ is having some serious sever issues which has prevented me from playing more than a couple matches online. When I did get to play it was smooth with only a very minimal amount of lag at times.
I also attemted to download some created wrestlers, but was shut out after only getting one. Every time there after the screen froze on me.
I am sure THQ will get this issue straightened out. But it is troublesome due to the fact that other titles have experienced significant server issues at launch.
If you are a wrestling fan then you owe it to yourself to at least give WWE 12 a spin. If you are a hardcore wrestling fan like myself, the game is a must own. While the game isn’t perfect it’s the best we have seen this console generation.
Learning curve: The new controls might take some time getting used to. Other than that everything is pretty straight forward.
Visuals: The graphics look great and the colors pop, It is the best looking wrestling game ever, by far.
Audio: While the sounds such as themes and effects are great, the announcing is once again ghastly. This is something THQ really needs to hash out for next year.
Roster: There is just a fantastic selection of superstars this year. Some are immediately playable, some unlockable, and some DLC. There are over 60 when it’s said and done.
Score: 8.0 (Great)