WWE '12 Review

Player(s): 1-4
Extra Features: Online Multiplayer (2-12 players), Leaderboards, Add-On Content

Another year, another WWE wrestling game! This time, the overall gameplay of WWE changes a bit more than the past WWE games for the better. WWE'12 is developed by Yuke's and published by THQ. It is the fourteenth game in a series of WWE wrestling games and is the sequel to WWE Smackdown vs Raw 2011. WWE'12 claims to be "Bigger, Badder, Better" than its prequels and it seems to do so with its changes.

The main modes in WWE'12 are the single player events, Universe and Road to Wrestlemania. The single player events are one match of either one on one, two on two, triple threat, fatal 4-way, 6-man, handicap, or specialty. A player can choose a character or opponent and battle it out to try out each of the games events. Universe mode features a line-up of WWE events such as Raw and Smackdown and allows the player to decide the results for each match. A player can choose any character in a match and play that character, simulate the match to quickly decide a victor or have a wrestler interfere with the match. The whole event play list goes throughout the calendar year. Universe was my personal favorite mode overall since it feels much more like the actual WWE show and it allows for a lot more player control than Road to Wrestlemania.

Road to Westlemania is a story mode that has three main characters for each of its three acts. A player will play through as Sheamus, Triple H and a Create a Superstar character as the story plays out. The cutscenes are all scripted and depend on the player to rise as the victor for the story to continue. The overall story and cutscenes are well done for this mode, but the characters that a player can control are very limited most of the time. In triple threat matches, you can control other wrestlers by tagging them in, but for the most part, you are stuck controlling one of the three main characters.

WWE '12 screenshot 32

WWE'12 features a new limb targeting system that makes holds a bit different from the way they used to be done in previous WWE games. After grabbing an opponent with the A button, a player can hold the RB button and tap Y, X, B or A for an attack that will hit the opponent's head, left arm, right arm or legs respectively. This allows a player to easily have control over damaging a certain part of the opponent's body. Moves that are done in WWE'12 depend on how much damage your opponent has taken.

The pins are different in WWE'12 as well. Pins are now harder to break out of depending on how weakened a wrestler is. A bar appears on the screen and the pinned player must hold down the A button to build up a meter and let go of the button once the meter builds up to a certain indicator on the bar in order to get out of a pin. WWE'12 also features "Dynamic Comebacks" that allow a player to instantly gain two finishing moves and "Wake Up Taunts" where a player can force a downed opponent to rise to his/her feet as the winning wrestler taunts and then finish off the opponent with a finishing move.

As usual in a WWE wrestling game, the reversals play a big role in controlling a match or gaining an upper hand. Once again, reversals are all about timing. Pressing the RT button right before your opponent's attack connects will allow your wrestler a chance to quickly counter your opponent's attack with a strike or transferring your opponent into a wrestling hold.

The overall fighting in WWE'12 seems much more fluid than past Smackdown vs Raw games and the overall experience feels much more like the actual WWE TV programs. The wrestlers are all highly detailed and look very similar to their real life persona. Stage entrances are just like the way they are on the actual TV program and the voices make the experience much more realistic. The announcers use several descriptions to highlight moves in a match and almost never repeat the same lines. They talk more like they are having an actual conversation when watching a match unfold instead of just shouting out quick phrases to make you laugh. With Jerry Lawler's voice in the background, the wise cracking is always there though! The stage entrances are still very over-the-top and truly make a wrestler stand out. The Undertaker's dark presence is truly brought to life with his entrance and Randy Orton's overly larger than life ego is displayed well.

The cast of WWE'12 features a total of 46 playable wrestlers from the start - 40 males and 6 divas. The game also features several unlockable superstars that are unlocked by playing the game. There is a Create a Superstar mode where a player can create a wrestler, entrance, move-set, finisher, story, arena, logo or highlight reel. As usual, all of the creation options are all detailed in customization. All of the wrestling superstars can also be customized based on their outfits. Each superstar has unlockable outfits that can be customized as well.

WWE '12 screenshot 54

Maybe it's the fighting game fan in me, but I still can't help but feel that a WWE game should have some sort of training or tutorial mode like a fighting game. Sure, the controls are easy, but it would be nice to have some sort of mode that is like a sandbox for a player to mess around with and learn how to play better instead of learning the new controls through on-screen text in a menu. Just pressing the start button to beat up on a second player gets old after a while with the need to make up new accounts to do so. I keep hoping for this with each installment in the WWE series, but once again, it's not there.

WWE'12 is easily one of the best wrestling games I have played thus far. Its Road to Wrestlemania mode is really its only flaw that stands out. It would be much better to have a mode where we could enjoy playing with a variety of superstars instead of only being able to control the ones that the story follows. WWE'12 is loaded with content so it has a lot of replay value. The new controls help out for making the overall wrestling action move fluid as well. Overall, WWE'12 is the best looking and most up-to-date wrestling game out there for now and one to check out if you're in the mood for some wrestling action!

The Good:
+ Looks and plays just like the WWE wrestling programs
+ The new gameplay controls work well

The Bad:
- Road to Wrestlemania is too limited and boring

Final Rating: 88%. WWE'12 changes up the gameplay controls and makes the overall wrestling experience more enjoyable than previous games in the series.