Review: WWE '12

-Eric Lee Lewis

THQ has long given wrestling fans the best games for the wrestling/sports entertainment followers and WWE ‘12 is no exception to this statement. Put one part great gameplay, one part stellar graphics, and 2 parts story-telling and you have 2011’s best wrestling game. 

WWE ‘12 is comprised of gameplay elements of the Smackdown! Vs. Raw series, Here Comes the Pain, and WWF No Mercy. This is a great mix but, it is not perfect. WWE ‘12 is running on THQ’s own game engine that they created just for WWE ‘12. Just as with every new game engine, there are a few blemishes on the armor. Blemishes that may be able to be buffed out in this upcoming year’s game (I will get to that when it comes later this year). This new “Predator Technology” allows for more realistic character movements.  

This new technology does make the characters look great while delivering their moves, but seems to have taken away some of the smoothness of the hit-detection. Sometimes, when throwing strikes, the punches and kicks themselves feel like flailing instead of a purposely thrown punch or kick. This new tech also seems to cause some glitches in some of the match types. At certain points, when trying to throw opponents through tables or other objects, it seems as if the game is trying to decide whether or not to let you throw them through or on that object. 

The WWE games have a mode that is the staple of the series in recent years, Road to Wrestlemania. Road to Wrestlemania this year has been cut down to three different story lines. This may seem like a much smaller amount than in years past but, there are three story lines that are not as short and have much more content than ever before. The three stories that the player plays through are the villain story, outsider story, and hero story. First, it is important to note that these stories are much better than most of the story lines on WWE television. The three stories all revolve around three characters. These characters are ass follows: Sheamus (Villain Story), Triple H (Outsider Story), and a character that you create with a name of Jacob Cass (Hero Story). Now, if you can not stand one of these characters, you are simply out of luck. If you decide you don’t want to play the story, you are also kind of screwed as the RTWM mode unlocks most of the game’s content. I may have a problem with one of these characters but it was very easy to play through the story due to how well the stories are all written.

I may have a lot of good things to say about the story mode but, that doesn’t mean that everything is all rainbows and sunshine. About 90% of the matches in RTWM have a predetermined outcome. These events are usually triggered after the objective that is displayed at the bottom of the screen is achieved. For example, at one point I play as Sheamus and I have to weaken one opponent and let him tag in his partner so I can press Y or triangle when a prompt comes up over the opponent’s head. As soon as the prompt is triggered the game goes into a cutscene where the story allows you to figure out whether you have won the match or lost and how this outcome was reached. This could be a problem for some players though. As gamers we expect to win at all times. While winning is a great part of gaming, it is not always a part of wrestling. I, for one, enjoyed watching Big Show knock out Wade Barrett and Sheamus and pile them onto each other and sit on them for a pin. It’s just how story goes in today’s wrestling product. RTWM may not be for casual fans but, it is DEFINITELY for the hardcore fans that love a great story. 

While RTWM is nice and all, WWE Universe Mode 2.0 has arrived. Universe mode was introduced in SvR 2011 as a mode that allows the player to basically create their own show and play forever. While this was a nice option in SvR 2011, it was lacking a lot of key elements that players desired. Here is where Universe 2.0 enters.  Universe 2.0 has multitudes of belts to unlock and choose as the belts that are a mainstay on whatever show you choose it for. Let’s say I don’t like the ugly John Cena spinner belt that makes me want to gag every time I see it, I can replace that  belt with the legendary Winged Eagle belt from the “Attitude Era”. Don’t like that ugly Intercontinental belt? Switch it out for the old-school Intercontinental belt that Cody Rhodes recently reintroduced. Customization in Universe 2.0 is amazing and has allowed me to keep playing WWE ‘12 to this day.

There are plenty of other issues that I have with WWE ‘12 but they are all minuscule issues like repeating commentary, Michael Cole is the worlds most annoying runt of a man, body parts sometimes float through each other, and the camera, sometimes, but rarely gets wonky. 

All together most fans will know what to expect from this game. The usual robust creation suites, added create-an-area, and more create-a-finisher make an appearance. Pick this game up for the $60 if you are a wrestling fan. This is where things get a little weird though. I will be giving WWE ‘12 two separate scores; one for hardcore wrestling fans and one for casual fans. 

Verdict -  

  • Hardcore wrestling fans: 90% 
  • Casual Wrestling fans: 75% - Official WWE ‘12 Trailer.