Release Date: November 22nd, 2011
Platforms: X-Box 360, PlayStation 3, Wii,
Genre: Professional Wrestling, Fighting
Rating: T for Teen
(Victor Valley)–World Wrestling Entertainment is the leader in sports entertainment, having been in existence since 1952. Many top performers have graced the squared circle over the years: from Hulk Hogan, Macho Man Randy Savage, Andre the Giant, The Rock, Bret “The Hitman” Hart, Stone Cold Steve Austin, John Cena, HHH, and CM Punk just to name a few. Every year, the WWE puts out a new installment of their video game franchise, Smackdown vs. Raw. This year, they have decided to start anew with WWE ’12, but is it for the better or worse?
Story: The story for a wrestling game is usually pretty simple: a wrestler fights his or her way up the ladder until finally reaching the title belt. WWE ’12 sticks with this formula, with the “Road to WrestleMania” mode, as well as in the “WWE Universe” mode. The selection of wrestlers to choose from is mind blowing when you count the unlockables and downloadable content: the roster total taps out at over 70! Playable characters include modern day fighters like Cody Rhodes and the Undertaker, but in a nod to the past the game includes current UFC fighter Brock Lesnar as well as legends like the Macho Man and Vader.
Design/Art: The design models of the wrestlers themselves are nicely detailed, but something about them just feels off. As with the entrance animations, which have the same oddness to them. This game introduces the new Predator Technology, which allows for animation interruptions and fixes animation problems found in the past. Unfortunately, the game feels like a step back in regards to the way it looks.
Gameplay: The heart of any good wrestling game is the game play. The previous controls found in Smackdown vs. Raw have been scrapped in favor of more “user friendly” controls. The reverse tactics are hard to pull off and aren’t quite in sync with the display on the screen. The controls are easier to pull of signature moves and finishers; it just takes some getting used to.
The various match types are back: the over the top Royal Rumble, triple threat, fatal four, TLC, and ladder matches. Notably gone is the backstage brawls, which make no type of appearance. There is a hardcore mode, which is the closest to the backstage brawls of old. Weapons are still available under the ring, making for some mayhem to be had.
Overall: This game is meant to be the beginning of a new era in video gaming for the WWE. Too bad it takes too many steps back and not enough forward. The expansive roster is a nice touch, but the clunky controls and mediocre graphics are too much to overcome. An average game, I give WWE ‘12 a 7 out of 10.