Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Rental Review: WWE 13 (Xbox 360)

Again, thanks to Redbox, I had just over a day to review WWE 13 for Xbox 360.  Originally, I took part in a group review podcast of it, but it can't be edited.  According to @ChrizAkaTheMole, whenever he loads it into Movie Maker, he gets the "Blue Screen of Death".  So....I'll just write up my impressions instead.

The graphics still look pretty good, detailed and faithful to their real-life counterparts, but the models look very plastic-y to me when they get sweaty.  The crowd, however, looks better than ever.  The don't look like flat sprites or low polygon people.  Sure, they aren't near as detailed as the wrestlers, but they move at different rates and don't look like copies of each other as much as they used to.

The sound...well, honestly some of the commentary sounds like it was recorded in a tin can in the "Attitude Era" mode.  My fellow Xpounders feel that is intentional to get a "retro" feel, but it never sounded like that to me.  It just sounds horrible and sticks out like a sore thumb.  However, the lines for the in-match commentary feel less canned than previous years.

I'll admit that I kept getting confused with the controls.  They switch them slightly each year, and some things that switched the previous year didn't stick with me.  Probably because I only played WWE 12 for a day, same as this one.  Since it was a rental, there was no instruction book and I had to look up the controls in-game.  Even so, I fell into habits from games past and hit the wrong button occasionally.

Instead of "Road to Wrestlemania", the story mode this year is "Attitude Era".  I love what they tried to do here, having the player relive significant moments from the best era of professional wrestling.  It's also a bonus that they have actual audio and video from the time in the game (with the appropriate censoring of the F in WWF).  However, you must do every match in order.  They have them divided up into sections, but cannot jump to different sections, which I would have liked.  They also seemed to get difficult pretty fast, and made even harder that there is a laundry list of things to do in each match to unlock an extra (that may or may not be worth it).  It wasn't as bad as WWE 12's story mode, but it wasn't very fun for me.  I'll just stick to Exhibition.  Universe mode is back and I didn't really notice many upgrades.  There did seem to be a lack of automatic story lines, which I've heard they will address in a future patch.

Matches were still fun when playing as the characters I create.  I didn't have much time for story creator, and it wasn't like I could upload or download anything anyway.  Create a finisher is still solid.  There a lot of moves to set this year, and I almost felt like there were too many, since it took so long to set them all.  The entrance creator is still the same, and unfortunately still won't loop the music to fit the entrance if you pick longer animations.

All in all, there is a good amount of replay in just the story mode, boring as it is.  I had the most fun in exhibition matches, but probably not $60 fun.  I'm going to wait for a price drop like the last few years.  The game doesn't seem quite as buggy as last year, at least on the 360.  I have no interest in playing online, so there isn't much to comment on other that doing the 1 match for the achievement had some lag.  So, the servers are still pretty bad.

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