WWE 13 is the latest in a longline of wrestling games. As an annual franchise it faces the same challenge as games such as Fifa. The question is if you keep coming to the table how do you make sure that what you bring is new and fresh. With new releases costing in the region of fifty pounds the annual release has to do something significant in order to encourage purchases. Often the blurb and hype surrounding these games boasts of something new but fails to deliver. This time, the publisher is boasting of bringing a revolution to wrestling games but is it a revolution. I'm pleased to report that if not a revolution then it's certainly a sizeable movement pushing in a new direction.
These games have moved on from their initial button mashing mayhem and this game offers a linear story which in fact actually serves to give the single player game a cohesion that many previous entrants to the franchise have lacked. The game is presented in chapters interspersed with cut-scenes and the approach works surprisingly well. Rather than facing an unlimited line of short fights that don't serve any purpose, instead you feel part of a bigger story and soon are swept in which gives each fight a reason and gives the gamer an add incentive to continue playing. That "just one more go" feeling bites early on and I was surprised how much time had passed by the time I first switched this game off.
Each match also offers some secondary objectives. This also adds to the longevity. The first time you play I think the focus is always on just winning the match. The fact that for most matches you haven't actually completed all the objectives gives you a reason to come back and replay. This for me adds to the value for money that this game delivers and again is a new aspect of this annual franchise. (I think what we are seeing with these developments is the beginnings of that revolution we were promised.)
The sound in the game in places is excellent and in other places an irritating distraction. Specifically, the crowd noises are usually realistic (they should be, they were sampled from real crowds) but the commentary is drab, repetitive and really annoying.
Online though is where this game shines. Take away the commentary and replace it with the audio feed of your opponent. Take away the stock moves and approach of the AI characters in the single player and replace with the random and fast paced moves of the human opponent. Take away the plodding lack of desire to win that you get from the AI opponents and replace with a human opponent that wants nothing more than to see your face hit the canvas. The online gameplay is fast, well built and great fun. Initially you will take a hammering as the WWE online experts pounce on your unsuspecting and ill prepared character but with time, patience and practice the online gameplay is really where this game shines.
Overall this game is not quite the revolution it promises but it comes pretty close. As far as value for money goes though if you are picking this up for under full retail price, as indeed you are certain to at this point, then it represents great value for money.