The WWE series hasn't been quite as entertaining as expected in the last few years. It's lacked the characters and the controversy of the late-'90s Attitude era - an era when pressure from then-rival WCW pushed the quality bar continually higher. It seems someone at THQ agrees, because Road To WrestleMania mode has been scrapped in favour of Attitude mode, which ignores its current superstars and instead focuses solely on reliving moments from the Attitude era.
This mode is a treat for long-time wrestling fans, providing a selection of 65 classic real-life matches involving 35 superstars from the turn of the millennium. From the obvious offerings of The Rock and Stone Cold Steve Austin to once-famous mid-carders like the New Age Outlaws and the Godfather, each scenario will put a smile on the face of anyone who remembered it the first time around. As well as standard conditions for progress (usually winning the match) you're also given optional "historical" tasks, recreating what actually happened back in the day and unlocking extra costumes, arenas and superstars in the process.
Attitude mode aside, much of WWE 13 is the expected evolution of what's now the 14th game in the THQ/Yuke's WWE series. The Havok engine physics have been tightened slightly - with tables and ladders reacting more realistically when you land on them - and wrestlers' attacks seem to flow better with more realistic transitional animations. There are also new "OMG" moments where you can use stored finishing moves to trigger events such as breaking the ring.
Customisation features have also been enhanced. The arena creator now lets you fully customise the entire arena including the stage and TitanTron instead of just the ring, while the enhanced WWE Universe mode (where offline players ultimately spend most of their time) finally offers full editing powers over the schedule.
WWE 13 isn't going to win over people who don't like wrestling games, and it won't put off existing WWE fans because, let's face it, they were always going to buy this anyway. What its "half-modern, half-Attitude" roster might do, however, is appeal to lapsed wrestling fans - those who stopped watching in the early noughties. This is a reminder of why their era was so great and offers a great nostalgia-bomb through a flaming table of joy.
The best WWE game for ages
- Brilliant new Attitude-era story mode
- Improved physics and overall feel
- Universe mode is more customisable
- Legend Jim Ross commentates
- Lack of story for modern stars