Flashy entrances, new superstars and new finishers! It must be time for THQ to release their brand new WWE game, WWE’12. Refreshing the previous Smackdown vs. Raw series, WWE ’12 brings better graphics, new game modes and a brand new game engine. It’s no wonder WWE ’12 uses the slogan “Bigger, Badder and Better than ever” with such new features at its disposal.

Story
Rather than having to tire yourself playing the weekly and PPV’s to reach Wrestlemania, “the grandest stage of them all”. The new “Road to Wrestlemania” story mode shortens the amount of time you have to spend to get to Wrestlemania. Road to Wrestlemania has several sequences; Villain mode”, “Outsider Mode” and “Hero mode where you control 2 specific WWE Superstars and in one of the sequences your own created Superstar.
I guess Triple H felt like smashing up his own car...
The order in which the sequences come are; the “Villain mode” subsequently followed by the “Outsider Mode” and ultimately ending with the “Hero mode”. I admire the fact that they tried to tell a story, even during a match but I personally watch WWE for the wrestling and not the poor acting which they seemed to reproduce here. When the superstars talk during a promo the lip synching doesn’t even seem fluid.

The story is very weak and is what brings the game down the most. The backstage segments and the series of interferences make this mode quite repetitive, particularly the amount of backstage fights there are. Whenever I started off from my locker room I had a feeling that I would either get rushed or have to attack someone there. The positive thing I found regarding the story was how the legends were introduced, despite the fact that the repetitive scripts ruined the story.
The British have taken over!!
Scripted events even seem to even occur in a match where you have to press a button after having weakened the player adequately to go to a cut scene of the match. This was a brave decision but a costly one as I felt this was an unnecessary addition. These scripted events already seem to have a predetermined result as to how the match would end and I would rather beat the opponent to a pulp and pin him or lose valiantly than having to watch a cut scene of me getting screwed over. These scripted events became a fundamental part of Road to Wrestlemania as it happens in ring and even during backstage fights.

Gameplay
With the new addition of the “Predator Technology” it certainly seems to have done wonders, enhancing the gameplay and making it more realistic. However with the engine being new and all it wouldn’t exactly be perfect and as a result you would find some bugs with it. A funny incident occurred whilst I was playing concerning the bug where I simply reversed the opponents move. As a result their skin physics got tangled, which seemed awkward and hilarious at the same time. The rope physics is also new to the game, even though it is good it isn’t as solid as it’s supposed to be. Seeing as the ropes are meant to be steel bound whereas in the game it seems more elastic.

The gameplay seems to follow a pace, as you first start off with light attacks and gradually as the opponent gets weaker you are able to pull off the stronger grapples with more ease. One thing I noticed about the CPU is that they seem to know when you have a Signature, because the first thing they do when they get up from the floor is leave the ring and try and waste time till your Signature has disappeared. It certainly shows that the designers of WWE’12 worked a lot on this particular area of the game more so than the story.

WWE is definitely bigger with a huge roster of 63 Superstars including legends. WWE ’12 doesn’t only seem to go forward by bringing in new talent into the game but also keeps fan favourites and legends. The universe mode allows the player to control each weekly show, create matches, add stipulations and create rivalries. There is even the option to mix the show up a little by having the weekly shows invaded by WWE legends and perhaps even change the show completely to WCW with the WCW title even available.
Maybe Booker T should fire his ballet teacher.
The customizing doesn’t end in the Universe mode of course as you are also able to create wrestlers, logos, entrances, finishers and the new addition of creating an arena. The range of things you can do and the flexibility and freedom is remarkable. Players are able to recreate their favourite superstar that aren’t in the roster or even improving a low rated superstar like Yoshi Tatsu by making him overpowered which allows him to dominate the likes of John Cena and Undertaker; yeah you can do surreal things here. The create an arena feature allows you to freely create the arena of your liking, even creating a similar arena of WWE’s rival show TNA.

Online Gameplay
When searching for a match online you are able to either play a ranked match or a player match. The ranked match allows you to gain points even when losing but you obviously receive more points when you have won. Whereas the player match allows you to just play a match for fun with nothing on the line. When creating a match online you are able to choose the type of match you want, the stipulations, how many players, whether you want to allow user created content or keep the game a private session to play with friends. Matches online seemed to suffer a lot from lag, making it difficult to perform moves such as; the reversals and other core mechanics. This however didn't seem to matter with some of the other players as they gave the impression that they have adjusted to the lag, on the other hand the lag still spoils the overall experience.

The new 40 man Royal Rumble is a welcome addition as it’s a brand new feature and as a result will obviously be a long match. If you aren’t familiar with the Royal Rumble all you have to do to win is to throw your opponents over the top and be the last remaining superstar. You can eliminate your opponent by Irish whipping them towards the ropes where they will hang on whilst in a groggy state. You then have the opportunity to eliminate them. The good thing about the gameplay here is that there is an equal chance in the battle of trying to stay in the ring, and the person trying to knock the person out as it relies on speed and reaction. The first person to press the correct button on the screen will have the advantage. I tried this feature out and entered a lobby of 12 people. If you get eliminated early on after being tag teamed against and thought this was it for me but it turned out that you get another chance using another one of the wrestlers and whilst you wait for your turn you get asked questions like who do you think is next to come out to the ring? Or who do you think will be eliminated next? It gives the player something to do whilst waiting, which I thought was a clever feature.

Graphics
The graphics has been improved on massively, the detail and texturing on the superstars compared to THQ’s previous title is very apparent, whereas the acting during promo’s and other segments isn’t as polished as when the superstar enters the ring. The movement themselves are quite solid however the attention to detail is not maintained throughout the whole game. The environment also seems well textured and it shows that Yukes have clearly been studying the weekly shows because it seems like they put in a lot of work to blur the line between the WWE shows and the game by replicating the exact same camera, lighting and pyro effects. However the characters seem to stand out the most with the rich detail they contain. It shows that the main focus was to get the wrestlers to stand out.
The Rock showing John Cena what a roller coaster feels like!
Without a question the gameplay is important but entrances certainly do add a lot to the game as it does in WWE by creating an intense atmosphere for example, when Kane makes an appearance or a controversial reaction for when John Cena makes an entrance.

Verdict
THQ has definitely outdone itself as WWE’12 manages to retain all the good parts of the Smackdown vs. Raw titles and improves massively on it with their new Predator Technology. However the story certainly needs much improvement and is what brings the game down unfortunately. The gameplay looks very realistic and fluid and seems to have definitely captured the essence of the wrestling in the WWE.

Story = 4/10
Gameplay = 8.5/10
Graphics = 8/10

We Know Gamers Final Score = 6.8/10
Had a chance to play the game? Tell us what you thought of it in the comments section below!


WWE 12 Review

Reviewed by Abdallah Hussein
on Jan 16 2012

Rating: 6.8/10

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